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Facebook News Feed Changes Will Bring About A Rethink

Facebook has announced changes to its news feed flagged last year which will have the effect of prioritising posts from friends and video content over posts from media outlets and businesses.

For news outlets and pages this will change the likelihood of their posts appearing in your news feed.

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of News Feed wrote in a post that Facebook was built to bring people closer together and build relationships

He wrote: “With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion. We will also prioritize posts from friends and family over public content…”

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

You can read Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement here in full:

So, what types of Page posts will show higher in News Feed?

According to Mosseri page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.

If you still want to see all content from a favourite page or business, you will still be able to; you’ll need to change the appropriate preference setting to see posts from your favourite pages.

This change is a sure-fire reminder that Facebook is there to make money and not just to give a business or publisher a free platform to promote itself and drive traffic. Organic reach will continue to decline for them and necessitate a rethink on the sort of content they provide and the level of sponsorship they will need or future posts.

If you’re a brand and can generate engagement, discussion and sharing then you may still be able to generate organic reach. However, all brands will need to rethink their content marketing strategies and decide how important Facebook is to their marketing programs.

Facebook has introduced these sorts of changes before and now it’s up to users and advertisers to react and respond.

Hopefully one meaningful change to news feed will be the penalising of publishers who seem to thrive on clickbait-type articles and headlines.  We’re looking at you, Fox Sports!

Image copyright: grinvalds / 123RF Stock Photo

What Is Cornerstone Content?

Put simply, producing cornerstone content is about getting your web or blog page to rank highly by Google.

Of course, it is helpful to have informative content for the benefit of your customers and site visitors, but ultimately Google will need to be told which of your articles are the most important – especially where you write a number of posts about similar topics.

Cornerstone content then are those articles (or a static page on a topic) that you feel are the most informative and that you would like to rank highly in search engines. The key then is to create internal links to that page of content or article.  Internal links are an important ranking factor.

It’s possible to have more than one cornerstone page on a website. You may have one for each of several key topics.

cornerstone content

Cornerstone articles can be long, including everything relevant and important for your readers about the topic. Make sure it uses good SEO practice – keyword focused, headings, imagery etc. Smart internal linking can push this article up in the search results. It’s a good idea to update it regularly and expand on it when possible.

You should link all your other posts about a similar topic to that article. An internal linking structure will increase the chance of your content article ranking in Google.

If you’re using the WordPress platform, the Yoast SEO Premium plugin makes it easy for you to identify which are the cornerstone articles and to be prompted to link to them.

Blogging guru Brian Clark outlines the two core goals of cornerstone content succinctly as:

  • The first goal of cornerstone content is usefulness and relevancy to the visitor, no matter how they arrive.
  • The second goal is to make that content so compelling and comprehensive that people are willing – no, make that excited – to link to it.

cornerstone content

Benefits of creating cornerstone content

  • It provides a very informative source and value to readers
  • Google is responsive to these sort of articles and they rank well in search engines
  • Cornerstone content helps you boost your blog’s credibility
  • People will be more likely to share this content on social media
  • It can attract back-links from other authoritative sources
  • Ultimately direct a lot of traffic and hopefully new subscribers and customers.

The benefits of linking can be seen by Fairfax media in all their articles and newsletters where they are constantly linking back to their own stories. They are forming content clusters with their authoritative journalism and feature articles.

cornerstone content

The Australian Financial Review will link back to a feature article (hyperlinked in blue) on the imposition of the big bank levy in all their articles related to this topic – a cornerstone article.

A content article that amazes us on our own blog with the constant traffic it receives is an article about the difference between publicity and public relations. It works because it provides answers on a topic, is informative, responds to a search query, and is shareable. And, as you can see, we will link back to it wherever possible as cornerstone content.

A New Year Means More Digital and Social Media Changes

Another year is underway and nothing’s more certain than the changing social media landscape. It’s important to keep updated with relevant changes to your social media accounts and initiatives.

Here’s a wrap of a few recent changes and trends which may impact your social media strategy:

News Feed Update Now Responding To Surveys
Facebook continues to tinker with its News Feed as it tries to improve the experience and show more relevant stories. This will of course assist with targeted marketing activities.

Facebook news feed

Facebook has traditionally used technology to hone the News Feed, tailoring the experience based on your likes, clicks, comments and shared posts. Facebook of course recognises that technology is not perfect in assessing your varied interests. It is now using qualitative research to have users rate their experience and assess posts in their feed. By surveying users and asking the question “how much did you want to see this story in your News Feed?”, Facebook is gaining a better understanding of what people are interested in seeing regardless of whether they interact with the post.

According to Facebook people are having a better News Feed experience when the stories they see at the top are stories they are both likely to rate highly and and likely to engage with.

Facebook is making an update to News Feed to incorporate this likelihood based on their research.

These changes will have a varying degree of impact depending upon the composition of your audience and posting activity. Facebook says that in general this update should not impact reach or referral traffic meaningfully for the majority of Pages.

Overall you should continue to post content that your audience finds meaningful and interesting.

Facebook provides some good information on News Feed Best Practices and also Page post best practices. Review these regularly and track the effectiveness of your posts to give you greater insight into your most valued content and best posting habits.

Facebook Sports Stadium
Facebook is clamouring to get a slice of the real-time chatter which goes on during big events, particularly big sporting match-ups.

Facebook sporting stadium

Photo by Donald Miralle for Sports Illustrated

This has long been the domain for Twitter where people can instantly share news, scores, opinions and generally vent about the last score. Twitter registered 28 million tweets for Superbowl 49 – up from 24 million the previous year and is favoured because of its immediacy.

Facebook has responded by launching Facebook Sports Stadium aimed at their 650 million followers who like sports. It’s a place where you can see:
-posts from your friends and their comments on the game
-expert commentary and posts from those who cover the game and access to their Pages
-live scores and stats
-other game information like TV schedules.

Facebook Sports Stadium

Currently available for American football games it will soon cover other sports around the world. We’re bound to see it in Australia soon.

It apparently struggled to keep up though with traffic during the recent Superbowl 50 between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers and was a number of minutes behind with the scores.

Facebook will persevere and it will be hard to bet against them making an impact during these live events. Soccer and the Olympics will surely be a huge worldwide draw card.

Instagram Multiple Accounts
InstagramOne eagerly awaited Instagram feature, which has been a long time coming, is the ability to run multiple accounts on Instagram. Up to now, you had to log off Instagram and log in under another account if you were, for example, using a private account and also managing a corporate account.

Twitter and Facebook has had this capability for a while and finally it has come to iOS and Android in the latest Instagram version, 7.15.

You now have the ability to add up to five accounts and you will be able to see which account you have active from several points in the app.

This will be a huge time saver.

Podcasts

Podcasts are poised to become one of the fastest growing mediums for individuals and brands wishing to reach new audiences according to smk (social media knowledge).

Podcasts have been around for some time and were first mentioned back in 2004. The rise of smartphones and tablets has certainly boosted their popularity.

smk identifies a defining moment in the rise of Podcast being when ongoing true story Serial became the first to pass five million downloads in 2014.

Podcasts are great to consume whilst you’re on the move with most listeners loving to learn about new things.

Some of the most popular Podcasts in Australia currently include:

Serial
Stuff You Should Know
Hamish and Andy
TEDTalks
Conversations with Richard Fidler

podcast

Don’t Commit These Social Media Fails

Despite many claims there are only a few real social media ninjas out there. While many businesses and individuals are doing it pretty well, there’s always room for improvement. However, there are some basic errors that too may accounts still make. Don’t get caught out making these obvious errors in your social media management.

Poor profile
We’ve all visited a page or profile and not been really sure if it’s the place we’re looking for or relevant at all to our needs. Make it obvious what you’re about and if you’re a business provide relevant contact information and a summary of exactly what you do or the products you are offering. If you don’t it could be costing you dollars.
Make sure you fill out your profile information in full and provide information people want about you. Don’t leave them in the dark and create a bad first impression. They will go elsewhere quick smart.

Buying followers
Avoid the temptation to buy followers. While it may sound tempting to buy a thousand new fans for ten bucks the reality is that they are largely fake accounts and won’t engage with your content.
Authentic engaging content is the holy grail and this will bring real fans who want to follow you for a reason. It’s the old tale of the hare and the tortoise as far as building a real following is concerned.

Not monitoring conversations
There’s no point building up a broad following if you’re not going to listen and take notice of what people are saying about you. You can gain valuable insight and feedback about your business from what people are saying about you – warts and all.
If you’re not paying attention you will miss out. If you’re attentive and prepared to interact you will be seen as authentic, caring and open for business.
There are many free and paid tools out there that can help you monitor and track conversations and sentiment. Meltwater, Hootsuite and Sprout Social are some of the better ones. Otherwise, just look and listen each and every day.

Call to action (CTA)
If you are wanting a visitor to do something; buy, refer, ask something, then you need to entice them to do just that and provide the way to do it.
Make sure you provide the link and let the person know what they’re being lead to – ‘Click here to to take control of your financial future now.’
Having no CTA just leaves them hanging and ultimately frustrated and unfulfilled. You’ve done the hard work in getting them there; don’t forget to close the deal.

Poor scheduling
You want to make sure that your audience is seeing your content. You need to understand them and their online habits amongst other key demographic information. Give your posts the best possible chance of being seen. Don’t post when your audience is less likely to be there.
It can be a bit hit and miss sometimes, but you can build up an understanding of the best times to post. Monitor your engagement and reach by day of the week and time and start looking for any patterns. Most good social media tools will feature a scheduling function to help schedule pre-prepared content to post at times you desire.

Huffington Post Australia Is Here But Not Everyone’s Happy

News website The Huffington Post has arrived in Australia as the 15th news platform in its growing global network, partnering locally with Fairfax Media.

HuffPost has the largest news audience in the US with 214 million unique visitors per month.

“HuffPost Australia will be dedicated to producing great original reporting about the critical issues that Australians face, and to telling stories that focus on helping Australians live more fulfilling lives, while opening up our blogging platform to voices from all across the country to start a conversation on the topics that matter to Australians most,” founder Arianna Huffington said at the time of launch.

Huffington post

Former journalist and News Corp editor Tory Maguire has been appointed Huffington Post Australia inaugural editor and will oversee a team of staff based in Sydney with many of them coming from Fairfax’s various titles. Other high profile hires have been made including former ABC and SBS political editor Karen Barlow.

HuffPost utilises a lot of contributed content from bloggers on a variety of topics and has been criticised heavily for not paying them but rather offering them ‘exposure’.

Dee Madigan, creative director, Campaign Edge told ABC Lateline she was sent an email by The Huffington Post’s blogging platform asking if she would contribute in return for “exposure”.

“They said, ‘We don’t pay, we’ll give you really good exposure’,” Madigan told Lateline.

“I’m a professional writer. This is how I make my living. I can’t pay my mortgage with exposure.”


The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy has indicated that any journalist who was approached to write for HuffPost should be paid.

The reality of course is that there will be many contributors happy to supply original stories and opinion free of charge to build their profile and utilise the site’s reach.

Others welcome the competition and the extra hiring of local journalists at the site. With the general culling of journalists which has happened over a period of time it is a good thing to see new opportunities for professional writers created in Australia.

Fairfax will bolster the operation in Australia also with advertising sales and technical support.

Other international news organisations have already established their Australian presence including Guardian Australia, Daily Mail Australia and Buzzfeed Australia.

Arianna Huffington, also a prolific author, was a conservative commentator before engaging in liberal politics and starting The Huffington Post in 2005. Of Greek background she has lived in Great Britain before moving to the U.S. At one stage she ran for the California governorship against Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arianna Huffington image from bandt.com.au 

The changing face of travel media and rise of the blogger

iStock_000034138194_1000x666As the digital media revolution has gained full steam in the last 10 years we’ve witnessed the ‘rise of the blogger’ across many areas of interest but none more so than in the world of travel.

Where once some key TV, newspaper and magazine travel editors dominated the travel media pack, along with some experienced freelance writers, today some of the most influential voices in travel are those armed with nothing more than a laptop and smartphone.

By setting up their own travel blogs, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, some keen travellers are now earning their keep as influential voices in travel with large numbers of loyal followers.

Often referred to by marketing types as ‘influencers’, these bloggers are now as much as anyone the place for keen travellers to get travel information, recommendations and hopefully, independent opinion.

So what does this mean for your travel business?

If you’re simply not engaging with them then you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to put your product in front of many prospective visitors. If you’re not engaging with them properly then you almost certainly won’t be maximizing the benefit.

Be aware, some of the better bloggers have followings in their tens of thousands – more than many magazines – and their content is going to have greater longevity online and through their personal endorsement.

Do your research on who the blogger is and in particular look for their numbers of followers on their various digital platforms and by all means request that of the blogger when dealing with them. They should be upfront about their follower numbers if they are serious. Also look for a good level of interaction from their followers by way of comments and shares. You may not be willing or able to support all requests but you need to treat them seriously and do your homework.

If you’re going to host them, treat them as you would any media VIP and give them the best and most authentic experience possible. It will be reflected in their posts about their visit and also lead to you being referred to again by them in the future.

Use your social media assets to thank them for visiting and share their stories about you to your own followers. Make sure you let them know what your social media accounts are in advance so they can be included in their posts.

Many tourism businesses and regions are actively pursuing bloggers and dedicated Instagrammers as part of their PR programs and creating special opportunities for them. Some major familiarisation programs have been created in Queensland and around Australia providing perfect story and photo opportunities.

Often renowned as Australia’s top travel bloggers are Caz and Craig Makepeace from yTravel Blog who are in the midst of a year long around Australia trip with their young family. Check them out and see how they’re setting the standard.