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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.

5 Social Media Tips For Tourism

If you’re in the tourism industry and looking to enhance or begin your social media and online presence, then there’s some key considerations to think through and some planning required. Have a look at what other successful businesses are doing and learn from their efforts.

seeaustralia

Think about what types of online media your audience is likely to use. Is it Snapchat, Facebook or Twitter? Or something else? And don’t forget about TripAdvisor. Many consumers rely on online reviews for their decision making. Peer influence is very important in the process. Over 50% of Facebook users say their friends’ photos have inspired their choice of holiday and shaped their travel plans.

Here are five key considerations to shape your tourism social media efforts:

1. Be informative

Your goal should be to become an authority on your region and its attractions. Avoid the temptation to simply plug your own business at every opportunity. You will win a loyal following if you’re able to provide a regular flow of useable information that provides advice and tips for visitors.

Provide accurate updates on local happenings and interesting events, new tourism product, travel conditions and yes, even the weather.

Suggest a list of key things to visit, great photo spots, provide maps and amazing photos.

If you employ an imaginative and informative content strategy it will help in SEO and have your business rank more highly on search results.

If you give potential visitors value in terms of superior content, they are more likely to have a connection with your brand.

2. Be authentic

Be real and believable.

The effect of ‘gilding the lily’ can be a loss of confidence in your business by visitors and result in negative online reviews and an erosion of trust with your audience.

Show what the experience is that visitors can truly expect – accommodation, activities, scenery, food and most importantly the character and characters around you.

A rising tide floats all boats, so the more you can accurately enhance the profile of your region the better for you. There’s not a finite amount of success available.

3. Involve your audience

Social media is very much a two-way street. Interact with and have a conversation with your online community. Ask questions, ask for feedback and invite them to contribute content. You’ll be amazed at how many gorgeous photos, stories and experiences can be shared from your own visitors.

Feeding time at Lovers Cove 🐠🐟💦 #fishfeeding #daydreamisland #lovewhitsundays #thisisqueensland 📷@dream.living

A photo posted by Daydream Island Resort And Spa (@daydreamislandresortandspa) on

They’ll give you honest feedback and recommendations. Thank them for their reviews and don’t ignore their communication – good, bad or otherwise.

Consider what competitions, promotions or incentives you can run on your platforms, big or small. Encourage guests to tag your accounts on their posts on their own pages.

4. Employ a content marketing strategy

A lot of great content doesn’t happen by accident. Much of it is planned and thought out.

A simple but effective tool is to utilise a content marketing strategy and it can be as simple as using a calendar. This can be a spreadsheet, online doc, or paper diary.

  • What advice pieces can we create?
  • Consider the time of year e.g. Christmas, Easter or school holidays
  • List local events we can post about
  • Look at seasonal opportunities
  • Are we running any promotions for specific booking periods?
  • Look at a theme for a certain period – e.g. to coincide with Mothers’ Day, or a local food festival.

Once you start its pretty easy to brainstorm a whole list of topics and specific pieces that can form your content platform.

You will also need to consider what medium it’s best for – your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, local or national media, or all of these.

Don’t forget to include video. It’s one of the most powerful forms of delivery and all platforms are embracing it. Your videos don’t need to be long or elaborately produced productions.

Once you’ve got a calendar settled it will help drive your activity and keep you focused and motivated. It needs to be flexible but with a bit of effort should help fuel your content creation.

Here’s an example of what a calendar may look like:

tourism

Source: Webbedfeet.com.au

5. Post regularly across all channels

Don’t allow your content or online presence to wither on the vine.

Post regularly across all your social and online assets. It doesn’t need to be every day for each medium but you should feature regularly and make sure you are responding to messages and thanking your community for their involvement. They will like being appreciated. And, don’t forget to share…

 

3 Time-Saving Tips to Manage Your Social Media

Manage your social media community before it begins to manage you.

This is good advice if you’re building your social media presence and intend to use it as a useful marketing tool and a source of information for your audience including potential customers.

A dedicated social media presence takes time and requires daily attention and some planning.

Don’t feel you need a presence on all social media accounts, especially if your resources and time are limited (Do you really need that Pinterest account?), but narrow down the key ones to a manageable few and make a concerted effort on those. It’s better to do a few channels well than a lot poorly.

Here’s some other key tips to help you save time and be more effective.

Implement a content management plan
A proactive social media presence requires a solid content marketing plan. Your audience will respond more positively if your content is well thought out and timely.

It doesn’t need to be complicated. Maybe call it an editorial calendar and identify key dates, events, holidays or seasons. Work out a monthly plan and break it down into weeks. Is there a specific theme for the month? Is it a holiday or a summer related activity you wish to promote?

Try and mix up your content so it’s not too repetitive but make sure it’s all relevant.  Indicate which platform it will be posted on and what external resources are required e.g. images, video etc.

Identify your clear target audience for each post and keep them in mind when you create the content.

social media

Use a social media management platform
There are various tools that help you manage multiple social media accounts and platforms. Some of these include Hootsuite, SproutSocial and TweetDeck.

There are others but these are three popular suites that can integrate your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts (and others), enable posting to different accounts from one central dashboard, view numerous feeds and schedule posts in advance, which can be a lifesaver.

These tools also have the added advantage of giving you metrics of all your accounts in one place like your reach and levels of engagement.

SproutSocial also has a nifty service called Landscape for resizing an image beautifully for each social media platform.

Practice social media listening
Social listening is the art of listening in to conversations taking place and being willing to engage or join in the conversations.

If you’re not monitoring your accounts then you will be missing out on important feedback and insights into your community and customers.

It’s important to note that many customers may not say exactly what they feel directly to you or on your page; their criticism may be on an anonymous page or competitor profile. Put simply, you need to expand your efforts in just looking in the obvious places for feedback.

The above companies also incorporate social media monitoring into their tools where you can monitor sentiment and search for key words or terms.

Put simply, there’s no point in engaging in a social media marketing effort if you’re not going to monitor and interact with your audience.

Image copyrights: rvlsoft / 123RF Stock Photo and 2nix / 123RF Stock Photo

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.

Social Media: Are you listening?

ListeningSo you’ve gone to the trouble and expense of setting up your social media platforms and engaging in a content marketing program to share topical content you believe will be of interest.

But what do your customers really think of you?

For some time now we’ve seen and heard of examples of individuals causing quite a storm with seemingly localised complaints or comments which have caught fire and resonated far and wide.

But it’s important to note that many customers may not say exactly what they feel directly to you or on your page; their criticism may be on an anonymous page or competitor profile. Put simply, you need to expand your efforts in just looking in the obvious places for feedback.

Social listening is the art of listening in to conversations taking place and being willing to engage or join in the conversations.

There are several good social listening and monitoring platforms available including from iSentia, Meltwater and Hootsuite. These platforms set up correctly can give you an accurate and real-time indication of the sentiment being displayed towards you and your brand, and identify the key influencers and sceptics. Conversations can be monitored by channel and interacted with in the appropriate way and priorities identified. Social factors are also very important in ranking algorithms for search.

With the right tools you can listen in multiple languages, geo-locate your searches to be where your audience is, use conversation maps to monitor emerging trends and keywords, filter out unwanted noise, and quickly identify key influencers.

Successful social companies are already contacting disgruntled customers with a possible solution before they have the opportunity to become militant. Airlines, like Qantas and Virgin, are becoming adept at this and addressing many issues at the point of frustration and in real time. Needless to say I find it often easier and quicker to get a Twitter response from Telstra these days than trying the call centre.glad-wrap_300

Glad Australia recently had no choice to but to listen with a wave of backlash over their ill-considered decision to change the cutter on their cling wrap product. Instead of tearing in a downward motion, like we’ve done for decades, Glad decided to change the cutter to the top of the box thereby forcing users to pull up. It just didn’t make sense and infuriated many including yours truly. A back-flip has ensued and common-sense prevailed with Glad soon reverting to the original design.

Phew! Thanks for listening.

Social Media No Longer Child’s Play

SOCIAL media is no longer the sole domain of teenagers looking to comment on their friends’ status updates. It is now firmly entrenched in the fabric of corporate communications and is fast becoming the number one avenue to engage with stakeholders on a very real and authentic level.

We at Villain Designs and RG Communications integrate social as one of the main tools we provide clients looking to gain an edge in communicating with target audiences and boosting brand awareness. In an online world, it provides a seamless lilypad between a client’s website, electronic direct marketing and more. It also serves as fantastic support to offline marketing and has really changed how we as communication designers approach creating meaningful methods for brands to listen and engage.

Award winning global brand agency Landor Associates recently posted their forecast for 2015’s trends and it was interesting to read trend number four, which aligns with our view on social being a really integral B2B tool going forward, and we think they couldn’t have put it any better:

“Move over millennials and consumer brands—the B2B world is fast realizing the usefulness of social media. After all, business is and always has been about building relationships. And what better way to make connections, discover potential clients, share white papers, and engage with communities, stakeholders, and NGOs than on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other dynamic platforms?”

“These tools will become increasingly powerful, go-to resources for the future of B2B. Leaping on this trend, global shipping container company Maersk has become a surprising Twitter darling, sharing news, inspiration, and stunning ship-in-action photos with its 112,000-plus followers, resulting in greater brand awareness and reputation.”

Maersk Twitter Profile. Source: Landor.com

Maersk Twitter Profile. Source: Landor.com

So when you’re looking to kick-start 2015 with a new approach to communicating with stakeholders, don’t count social out by relegating it to the realm of ‘child’s play’ or ‘irrelevant tech fad’. If set up correctly with the commitment to follow through and with consistent professional effort, your content marketing and social policy could drive your brand into the 21st century reaping untapped success for your business.

Quote source: www.landor.com

Content is definitely king

Cricket Australia has continued to evolve its digital prowess as it splits its corporate web presence from its evolving content arm.

Cricket.com.au is now solely devoted to cricket content in the form of coverage, scores, video and live audio match-streaming. A corporate site has been developed at CricketAustralia.com.au which contains the more corporate information which may not be of interest to the casual fan.

Cricket-com-au-home-page-600wImportantly, the content site has grown its newsroom from two journalists and editors to 11. Clearly content is king for Cricket Australia and it has seen a return in impressive traffic numbers to its site over the last 12 months with unique visits in 2013/14 almost double that of the previous season.

Cricket.com.au is now rivalling the previous undisputed king of cricket websites, Cricinfo, for coverage and analysis particularly in regards to Australian cricket happenings. Some big name writers and journalists have been employed to provide comprehensive reviews, match previews and features. Interestingly these writers are given much free reign in what they cover – the good and the bad of Australian cricket, and the result is balanced coverage – not just written to serve their employers’ interests.

This does wonders in the important credibility stakes for Cricket Australia’s content marketing strategy.

The goal of content marketing is to attract and retain customers by creating and curating relevant and valuable content. Once the content is created it can be delivered to an audience through relevant platforms including websites and social media.

Two corporates that are doing good things with content marketing include GE Money and the Commonwealth Bank.

GE Money earlier in 2014 launched its Art of Money online magazine which provides advice and insights from contributors in the key subject areas of Home, Car, Life and Travel. There’s also a Money IQ quiz to see how financially savvy you are.

Art of Money is not heavily branded as GE Money, though it doesn’t hide it totally either. Rather it provides advice, tips, real life scenarios – in short: great content and is well worth checking out. It’s a soft sell for relevant GE Money products. Even if you don’t become a customer of GE Money you can’t help but be left with a positive impression of this site as a resource.

Similarly the Commonwealth Bank has put much effort into developing valuable content and advice for its blogs including money management, technology, community, business and property.

Flight Centre is also significantly ramping up its content creation capabilities as it continues to lead the way as a one-stop travel provider. It has appointed former News Limited Escape editor Brian Crisp to be Editor-in-Chief of its content team.

You don’t have to be a large business like these to employ a content marketing strategy. One can be created to suit your budget and resources. But it is clear that it has become an important component of any marketing program.

Use the platforms that you own to demonstrate your expertise rather than just relying on third party endorsements which are much harder to control and secure.

 

*Cricket Australia image and stats sourced from www.marketingmag.com.au