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Social Media

Creating meaningful content for Facebook

Facebook have announced it will be taking steps to limit the number of low-quality ads on their platforms by disapproving more of them and reducing the distribution of the ones that are approved. Which got me thinking, what are the key ingredients to creating high-quality content on Facebook?

Before we dive in let’s go through a little background and talk about what ‘low-quality’ actually means. In Facebook’s own words low-quality ads “include clickbait or direct people to unexpected content, create bad experiences for people and don’t align with our goal of creating meaningful connections between people and businesses.”

Facebook break it down in more detail in their own blog post, but it’s basically the trashy content shown in the images below, the kind which either directly asks for engagement or where, when clicked on, presents you with a gazillion irrelevant pop-up ads which you have to get rid of before you can get to the inevitably underwhelming content hidden underneath.

Working in communications, Facebook does a lot of stuff which makes me bang my head against my keyboard, but this one I think is spot on. At DTW, we’re not in the business of begging for likes, and we’re certainly not out to deceive our audience into clicking on our content. And from my own perspective as a consumer, it’s great news – these types of posts are annoying, pointless and not what I’m on Facebook to see.

So, as communicators, how should we be engaging with our audience on Facebook in a way that resonates with them whilst still benefiting our brand? And not just in ads, but in organic content too. Obviously, every organisation is different, but I’ve whittled it down to these three basic key ingredients:

Know why you’re posting in the first place

Every single thing you post on social media should have an aim, because what’s the point in posting just for the sake of it? What story do you want to tell your audience, what impact do you want to make, and what do you want to result from the post? It’s easy to get into a repetitive cycle of posting things because ‘it works’ without really knowing why. But it’s important to take a step back, take a look at things strategically and ask yourself those questions, because you can’t create meaningful content if you don’t know the meaning of it in the first place.

Create content your audience can connect with

The joy of marketing on Facebook is that it’s easy to get into the mindset of a consumer, because you probably have a Facebook account and are one yourself. Think about how you and your friends or family use the platform. What do you click on? What do you like? What engages you so much you leave a comment or share on your own profile? Now think about how you can apply that to your own organisation. Aim to educate, entertain or evoke an emotional reaction. To get the most out of Facebook’s algorithm you want to create content that starts a conversation rather than posts which are consumed in passing and then quickly forgotten about.

Be transparent

Hopefully, you aren’t alarmed by Facebook’s latest announcement, and if you are then maybe we should have a chat about your social media strategy. But it does highlight the need to be completely open and honest with your audience about what you’re asking them to click on. Do you want them to find out about your latest initiative? Tell them! Are you asking them to sign up to a service? Make it clear. Either way, be upfront, and don’t get too caught up in having incredible engagement rates across the board. If your post is about a niche topic, expect engagement to be lower, but know that the engagement you do get is probably better quality than if you’d tricked your audience into clicking on it.

So, I think that covers off some of the basics. Of course, there’s more I could chew your ear off about, but we’re all busy people and we’d be here all day. If you made it this far, let me give you a virtual high five and a bonus tip – always, always, always include images (or preferably video) in your Facebook posts, the algorithm loves it and your posts will get noticed by your audience. I’ve already waxed lyrical about getting your social media image sizes right, maybe my next blog will be about getting the creative content right too.

Thanks for reading! – Hannah

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Latest News Social Media

Does size really matter?

It’s the question we all ask at some point in our lives – does size really matter? Everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks theirs is right. For me, size totally matters, if your social media images aren’t in the right dimensions you could be massively reducing your engagement levels…

So, now you’ve picked your mind up out of the gutter, let’s have a chat about why that is.

Whether you’re educating your audience with an infographic, shouting about your latest offer with an image or simply updating your profile and header images, we often spend hours crafting the perfect creative content for social media, but do you put as much effort into making sure it’s the right size for each platform? If the answer is yes, high five to you! Grab a cuppa, maybe a biscuit, and put your feet up because your work here is done. If the answer is no, you might want to read on about the impact this could be having on your brand…

First of all, do you even use images on a regular basis? At DTW we recommend that clients always include visual content like an image or a video when posting to social media, with a few exceptions of course. So, why do we do this? It’s simple, social media is an increasingly visual space, and you’re more likely to receive engagement and increase reach if you do. The numbers speak for themselves, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without*, and it’s the same on Facebook with image-based posts receiving 2.3x more engagement than those without**.

But of course, it’s no good just using any old image, it has to be relevant, interesting, eye catching and if you’re posting on Facebook ideally containing less than 20% text. We call it a thumb stopping creative, an image that’s so good it cuts through the noisy social media landscape, grabs your audience’s attention and stops their thumb from scrolling down the newsfeed.

So, where does size come into all this? Let me paint you a picture. You’ve written the perfect post and you’re feeling pretty smug because it’s topical and witty but still hits your key messages. And you’re even more smug because the image you’re using is so mesmerisingly thumb stopping it would halt even the most jaded Twitter user in their tracks. It’s what social media management dreams are made of, right? But once that thumb has stopped, what do you want your audience to see? Making sure your image is the right size means your audience:

  • Appreciate the full image
  • Aren’t confused by cut off words
  • Don’t misinterpret what you’re trying to say because of cut off words (like your meet-up event for Cockapoo owners…)
  • Don’t miss important details like locations or dates

Everything you post on your social media feed reflects your brand, so what do you want yours to say? And more importantly, what does it currently say? Tailoring your images to each social media platform helps you to engage your audience, easily convey your message and give the appearance of being a professional, up-to-date organisation.

However, as with everything there are exceptions that prove the rule. Sometimes you might make a graphic too large for the feed preview so the audience are forced to click on it, or if you’ve taken a photo on the go it’s much better to get it out there whilst it’s fresh and relevant than waiting to get back to the office to squeeze it into the right dimensions.

And let’s gain a little perspective, if you post an image that isn’t exactly the right size, the world won’t fall down around you. The key takeaway here is to try and use relevant, eye-catching imagery in the right sizes whenever you possibly can, so your social media feeds can look their best and deliver the best results.

So, you’ve made it this far – congratulations! As an added bonus for sticking with me, I’ll let you in on a great way to make sure your social media images are always the right size. Sprout Social have this nifty cheat sheet containing every social media image size you could possibly need, and the best part is that when the platforms make an update (which, let’s face it is practically all the time) Sprout updates this guide too. And as a Sprout Social Partner Agency, we can vouch that they’re good eggs with reliable info.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah

*https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-power-of-twitters-new-expanded-images-and-how-to-make-the-most-of-it

**https://buzzsumo.com/blog/how-to-massively-boost-your-blog-traffic-with-these-5-awesome-image-stats/

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Latest News Social Media Uncategorized

Twitter: When brands break up

**Editors note: This blog was originally published on 24th July 2018, with all details correct at the time of publication. The dispute between UKTV and Virgin Media has now been resolved, with an announcement on 11th August 2018 stating the two had reached a ‘long term agreement’ reinstating all of UKTV’s channels and services to Virgin Media.

Breakups – we’ve all been through them. The boyfriend who refused to wash his socks, the girlfriend who lost your cat, or the friend you realised you actually have nothing in common with. Accusations thrown around, harsh words said in the moment. Sound familiar? I thought as much. So, let’s all agree we can relate as we grab our boxes of popcorn and watch the spat currently playing out between UKTV and Virgin Media in the very public arena of Twitter.

Now, I’m not here to comment on who’s right or wrong in what is clearly a complicated negotiation of contracts and something I know nothing about. Instead, I’m going to happily sit here in my comfort zone and analyse who’s doing the better job of managing their reputation and communicating with their audience. (TLDR*? It’s UKTV)

So, before we begin, I’ll catch you up on what the issue is here. Around four million Virgin Media households have lost access to 10 UKTV channels following a dispute over fees. Virgin Media have said that UKTV are “holding back channels” and asking for “inflated sums of money for its paid channels like Gold.” UKTV have said that Virgin Media want to “drastically cut” the fee they pay for their channels and UKTV just can’t afford to take the hit. Got it? Good– let’s go!

The news first broke on 19thJuly and since then UKTV have tweeted about it (including retweets, not including replies) 19 times, whilst Virgin Media are trailing behind with a slightly less impressive 3**. Now, whilst I’ll usually champion the whole “quality over quantity” approach, in this situation, with such a major change to the package they pay for, Virgin’s customers want to be kept updated with conversation about what’s going on. They want to know that this issue is at the forefront of Virgin Media’s minds. And, most importantly, they want to feel as though something is being done about it. 19 tweets say, we’re here and we’re concerned, three tweets in the space of 6 days doesn’t really cut the mustard.

As with the tone of most arguments, it’s all a little “he said, she said.” But if we compare the tweets being put out by each account, UKTV have done a great job of putting Virgin’s customers first, whilst explaining their own point of view. Virgin Media on the other hand are taking an approach more concerned with directing the blame away from themselves and trying to instigate a manhunt for UKTV. Not very classy. It’s worth noting that at the time of writing, Virgin Media haven’t issued any tweets about why they’re asking for more money from UKTV.

Whilst we’re here, I’d like to do a quick shout out here to UKTV’s use of video throughout all of this. Great use of video is so important in social media and has been for a long time. Platforms like Twitter want to show it, audiences want to engage with it and it’s way more personal than a press release.

Whilst Virgin Media have posted a video, it’s a recording of a BBC News clip showing their Chief Digital Entertainment Officer giving his statement, retweeted from the Virgin Media Corporate Twitter account which isn’t even remotely consumer facing. Come on guys, let’s try a little harder…like our friends over at UKTV. They’ve issued two of their own pieces of video, presented by their General Manager for Comedy and Entertainment channels, straight to camera so he’s directly addressing the audience, making them feel acknowledged and heard. And the content hits the mark too, clearly explaining UKTV’s point of view, recognising Virgin Media customers’ frustrations and apologising. Whilst this is turning into a bit of a love letter to UKTV, I will give credit to both brands here – their choice of spokesperson is spot on.

Choosing someone who is clearly in charge and is directly involved in the situation is important as it gives them authority and credibility.

UKTV Tweet:

Virgin media Tweet:

When it comes to engaging with their audience, in this situation it’s incredibly important. Not only to provide them with good service, but to manage your reputation and influence how customers perceive your brand. To their credit, Virgin Media have done a great job of responding to frustrated customers and haven’t just ignored their complaints. On the other hand, as we can see in the examples below, a lot of their replies are obviously coming from a batch of stock responses.

Now, don’t get me wrong – stock responses can be very useful, but they start to become problematic when responses are required in such high volume. Although very handy for your workload, they do come across as robotic and lacking in personal touch.

And it doesn’t go unnoticed:

So, this blog is getting a little long, so I’ll wrap things up. What can we all learn from this? It’s not that Virgin Media have done anything outstandingly bad here, they haven’t.

But UKTV have done a much better job at engaging with their audience and promoting themselves as a brand who put their viewers first.

My main takeaways are:

  1. Keep those stakeholders primarily affected, such as customers, at the forefront of your communications
  2. Engage your audience with meaningful conversation
  3. Use engaging and informative video to convey your messages

Hannah

*Psst! In case you’re not into internet abbreviations, TLDR = Too long, didn’t read, although that’s probably not relevant given the length of this one!

**Accurate at the time of publishing.

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Digital Latest News Social Media

Facebook’s News Feed Changes In 2018 – What We Know

“It’s the end of days for Pages, the Facebook apocalypse” – Social Media Examiner

“the end of the Facebook News Feed as we know it” – Mobile Monkey

“Facebook feed change sacrifices time spent and news outlets for “well-being”” – Tech Crunch

These are just a few of the headlines from my social media news and insight sources that have appeared after Mark Zuckerberg announced that his first move to ‘Fix Facebook’ in 2018 is to change how the News Feed works.

Is it as bad as all that? Well, as Jon Loomer put it – we just don’t know yet.

What are the changes?

Breaking it down, here’s what Zuckerberg is saying:

  1. People are better than Pages – he wants to encourage us to post more personal content, rather than just sharing videos and links, which he sees will create ‘meaningful’ conversation
  2. He thinks the passive content consumption of videos and links is bad for our well-being
  3. Posts from Pages and Publishers aren’t going to appear as much in News Feeds, even if they have a lot of clicks and Reactions

What does this mean for communicators using social media?

If you read through the announcements from Facebook, Mr Zuckerberg himself, and the more optimistic articles – it shouldn’t mean much. If you are posting content that is meaningful and will trigger conversation, your content should still appear in the News Feed.

If you read the analysis from other blogs (ones – it is important to point out – that rely heavily on Facebook for organic traffic to their websites), we’ve been backed into a corner where we can’t talk to our audience any more.

Here are 4 key things I’m taking out of this announcement:

  1. General day-to-day performance of our page posts will go down. We will see our organic reach decline further
  2. Comments will become the most valuable interaction on Facebook, clicks will not be ‘valued’ the same way in terms of engagement rate (BUT ‘comment bait i.e. ‘comment on this, tag a mate who does this’ will be punished)
  3. Advertising will become more expensive. As the reach for Page Posts reduces, there’ll be more demand for the already jam-packed advertising spots available on the News Feed
  4. Other platforms may become the best avenue for our campaigns. It may be that we find Twitter or LinkedIn offer a better alternative when it comes to talking to our audiences.

The important thing for us, as communicators, is that we remain flexible and adaptable in our strategies and campaigns so we make sure we get the most from social media to help achieve our objectives.

My thoughts

As marketers, this shouldn’t be a surprise, organic reach of page posts is next to nothing now anyway, but it’s always been pretty obvious that was Facebook’s way of forcing Pages to pay to have their posts seen. Is this another tactic to have us spend more money?

Most likely, but I think it is something more. Social networks evolve as user behaviour evolves. To me, it seems Mr Zuck wants to turn back the clock on Facebook and have it as it used to be… status updates about what we’re watching on TV, photos of our activity – back when Facebook was a platform for university students. But here’s the thing:  we are still sharing that content, just not on Facebook. We use the likes of Instagram and WhatsApp (which Facebook owns) to talk about our favourite TV show with our friends, and document the story of a great day out to our friends and followers.

I think Zuckerberg needs to stop trying to manipulate user behaviour, these things evolve. Facebook has evolved into a content discovery platform where we enjoy videos of cute wild cats, or interesting facts and articles about topics we’re interested in. Let it be that, Mr Zuckerberg. Let the users do and share what they want.

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Digital Latest News Social Media

Mobile First – Making your video ads stand out on mobile

Last week Facebook released some new research it has carried out around the performance of video ads on its platform. <link to https://www.facebook.com/iq/articles/stand-out-in-feed-optimizing-video-creative-on-mobile>

The report makes for some interesting reading and highlights many of the things we already knew – such as video ads developed with a structure and narrative that caters for the way that users consume video on social media outperform content that has been developed for other platforms or has been adapted to try and make it a better fit for posting.

So, what can you do to make your video ads work on social?

  1. Keep it short – the content that performs best on mobile according to the research is under 20 seconds in duration.
  2. Early use of branding – in the age of the thumb stopping creative, we also need to ensure that branding is positioned prominently in the first two seconds. The research shows that there was a much higher recall of an ad where the brand was featured prominently in the first couple of seconds as opposed to an adapted ad which might utilise a logo watermark to convey the brand.
  3. Know your audience – this isn’t necessarily a finding of the research, but it should go without saying that you should ensure you tailor your approach and creative to your audience (as well as making use of the tools available to target them).
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Digital Latest News Social Media

Saying Farewell to Facebook Organic Posts

The internet is awash with rumours. And we, at DTW HQ, are 90% certain they are true: Facebook will (we think) be removing organic page posts from the news feed (but not yet).

What is an organic page post?

Currently, when you log into Facebook, your news feed is populated with posts from both profiles (your friends) and pages (brands or businesses). Some of the posts from brands or businesses are organic posts – these are from pages you have liked or followed, others are paid posts – these are from pages who have paid Facebook to show their content in more news feeds. Guess who Facebook likes more…

Since 2013, organic posts have been hitting fewer news feeds, triggering marketers to pay Facebook more and more for the privilege of having their content appear in these feeds.

What’s happening now?

Facebook are currently testing moving those organic (non-paid) posts to a new ‘Explore’ feed only in some countries, freeing up the news feed for posts shared only by profiles and people.They claim they have no current plans to roll this out globally. However, it would be more of a surprise if they don’t do this for everyone.

Facebook’s ad spend ‘only’ increased by 27% last quarter, as opposed to Instagram’s 55% and Snapchat’s 73%.

What does this mean?

At the moment, there’s nothing to do but carry on as normal. Facebook have stated they aren’t planning any major changes to the feeds, but we all need to be keeping a close watch on that organic reach.

It does mean marketing budgets will need to consider more money for paid promotion on Facebook should they want to keep a similar level of interaction and reach that they’re used to.

We don’t know if or when this will happen, but, as they say in the Cub Scouts, always be prepared – and hang on to your Facebook budget – you’re going to need it.

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Social Media

Facebook Announces Withdrawal of 17 Ad Formats

Facebook has unveiled (another) set of changes to drive us all to use its publishing tools as opposed to third party applications like Hootsuite and Sprout Social.

As of the 15th September, 17 post formats on Facebook will no longer be available to boost. They are apparently post types that are rarely used (see below for a full list) and are not tied to any advertiser objectives, meaning that nothing will change in the main Power Editor/Ads Manager interface.

However, one thing to note is the removal of the ability to boost a post from an app posted to a page’s timeline. This MAY affect any page managers using third-party publishing tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Buffer. As of yet, Facebook hasn’t been clear if it sees these tools as an app or as a separate functionality altogether.

Facebook has always preferred managers to use Facebook’s own scheduling functionality instead of using publishing tools like Hootsuite, so there is a possibility this is another move by the network to try to curb the use of those applications.

If you do use Hootsuite et al, the best way around this news is to post any posts that have a budget planned for them directly to Facebook and boost from there.

Alternatively, you could start scheduling from Facebook. We do this already as it means we have full control over how a post will look on the platform without risking any ‘quirks’ that many of these tools have (like funny URL strings, or misshaped images).

In short, its Facebook’s latest trick to get us all using its publishing tools, so watch out if you don’t, they’ll be coming for you.

PS – The following post formats are the ones being removed:

  • Boosting share of products from shops
  • Boosting the share of a story about a for-sale post
  • Boosting a check-in on a map, at a restaurant, or in a city
  • Boosting the share of a note
  • Boosting the share of a poll
  • Boosting place recommendations
  • Boosting the share of cultural moments
  • Boosting the share of comments
  • Boosting change of a profile picture
  • Boosting a file upload or share
  • Boosting a sports event
  • Boosting of a video or image uploaded through the Facebook camera
  • Boosting of attendance for an event
  • Boosting the share of a video playlist
  • Boosting the status of watching a television show, movie, or other types of programming
  • Boosting a post from an app posted to a page’s timeline
  • Boosting a political endorsement
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Social Media

What is Nomophobia?

Nomophobia. We’ve all been there, whether it’s because we’re running late or you were thinking about something else – you’re in a situation where you realise: you forgot your phone. There’s a sinking feeling, a panic. Can you go home to get it? Who’s been trying to get in touch? How will you check Facebook? Or get to the next level of Candy Crush (just me?..Ok).

You see the usual social media posts “it’s like losing an arm! I’ve forgotten my phone – contact me on here” and you get the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in the pit of your stomach.

phone outdoors

This is called Nomophobia – the fear of being anywhere without your phone. A phobia you may smirk at, but, in reality, probably have to some scale. Phones are used by people as a tool to browse content and fill idle time. When waiting for a bus, or an appointment, we instinctively get our phones out and subconsciously look for interesting things to enlighten, educate and entertain us.

We shouldn’t be surprised there is a term like this – as of 2016, 71% of UK adults owned a smartphone. A study showed that UK adults spend an average of 66 hours a month browsing on their mobiles – that’s just over 2 hours a day. It all adds up.

Facebook’s mobile-only active users has surpassed 1 billion worldwide, and as a result they are introducing mobile specific algorithms in their news feed; they even use bandwidth to dictate the sort of content you consume. For example, did you know if you’re in a 2G area, you won’t see as many videos in your news feed?

The fact that there is a name for the fear of being without your phone just shows the importance of mobile in content discovery.

So why should marketers be mindful of Nomophobia?

As the internet becomes more mobile focused – marketers need to think about the content they are publishing on social. Catch your audience’s attention in those idle moments; make your creative thumb-stopping, think about how that video will look on a mobile device, does the link you’re posting go to a mobile-optimised website?

And whilst Nomophobia sounds a bit daft – we marketers should be nomophobic when it comes to our strategies. There should be a fear that without mobile in our plans, we could be missing out.

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#teamDTW Digital News Social Media

Social Regulators Roundtable – 6th December 2016

A good turnout

Communications professionals from a wide variety of regulatory organisations gathered in London yesterday for the first ever Social Regulators Roundtable.

DTW and Digital Allies were honoured to be invited by the hosts – the Solicitors Regulation Authority – to help facilitate the day. Collectively, we explored the issues and challenges facing regulators on social media, including senior management involvement, employee advocacy, engaging stakeholders, tone of voice, measurement and social media policy.

The purpose of the day was to share ideas and issues commonly faced by people in a team or on their own, working at the sharp end as communicators for regulators. And certainly, by the end of the day, connections had been made and smiles were on faces.

It was a great day of discussion following introductions from SRA Chief Executive Paul Philip and Executive Director, External Affairs, Jane Malcolm.

Attendees from the SRA, ASA, RICS, BSB, PSR, FRR, ARB, Ofwat, CAP and the Homes and Communities Agency discussed the challenges they faced and what they hoped to learn from each other.

czajqhgxgaazmc9

Key takeaways from the day included:

  • There is a real desire and a drive from regulators towards engagement and away from using social just to broadcast – and that means posting content that is suitable for a social media audience (including light-hearted content) without compromising the authoritative voice of a regulatory body.
  • Employee engagement and advocacy is seen as a very exciting area – but one with pitfalls and there is a need to prove to senior management teams that the risk is worth it. Social media policies are often placed in the disciplinary sections of staff handbooks – is this the right place for it? It adds a negative tone to the use of social.
  • Evaluation and measurement is very important, but determining a significant ROI for a regulator is very difficult as there is no key conversion or call to action. As ever, the key with evaluation is focusing first on identifying what is REALLY important and understanding WHY you want to measure it.

Everyone recognised and sympathised with each other and we all enjoyed and learned a lot from the day.


We received great feedback from attendees with talk of further meetings and of course some social networking and online sharing to back it up.

A huge thanks to John Rieger and the Digital Communications team at the SRA for organising an excellent day.

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Digital Latest News News Social Media

Twitter introduces customer service bots

Twitter launches customer service bots in direct messages.

There are many brands and accounts on Twitter that pride themselves in great customer service on the social network. This is usually because they invest time and money in staff and equipment that can enable them to provide such a service; examples of this include KLM and train networks.

Now, in theory at least, it will be easier for smaller companies to provide a similar level of service as those larger brands with Twitter’s new tool.

So, how does it work?

As a twitter user, you can set up an automated welcome message that greets the customer before they’ve even started typing. The customer can then select different categories of queries that have automated responses; or request to speak directly to an agent.

new_twitter_dm

 

Think automated telephone systems without the painful dictation (“AGENT…” “Putting you through to…payments”) or dreadful hold music.

Sounds good, so what’s the catch?

Aha – you did ask. You need to open your DMs to everybody (not just mutual follower/followees), which means if you are a brand likely to get bombarded with irrelevant messages, tread carefully and ask the following questions:

  • Does the level of genuine queries warrant a system like this?
  • Do I get a lot of the same queries that have the same answer?
  • Would a system like this contribute to my overall customer service level?

So should my organisation sign up?

If the answer to any of the questions above is yes, then exploring this tool further is worth it. We would still recommend a third party customer service system like Sprout Social or Hootsuite, in addition to this to help you filter through the noise and answer questions as efficiently as possible.

It is also worth keeping in mind that Twitter isn’t revolutionising social customer service automation as Facebook launched a very similar tool for their Messenger app earlier this year. At least this way customers and brands that lean towards either Facebook or Twitter have a level playing field in which to implement good customer service.

Ultimately its good to see Twitter recognising this growing area and trying to do something for help, but more fundamentally there are still too many people and brands using social media without defining why they are there or thinking about how they’re going to measure success.

Don’t forget the big picture

My advice is to sit down and challenge yourself or your organisation’s presence on social and get all existentialist and ask the big questions.

  • Why am I here?
  • What am I trying to achieve?
  • How am I going to measure success?

Thanks for reading

Jess