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Facebook’s Algorithm Change: 3 Tips to Maintain a Successful Social Media Strategy

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As you may have heard, Facebook made a big splash in the news last week with Mark Zuckerberg’s announced changes (postnewsroom) to how their algorithm surfaces posts from businesses, brands, and media in their news feed.

If the news didn’t make it to the top of your feed, Facebook has decided that it will prioritize posts in the News Feed that spark conversations and inspire meaningful interactions between people. These interactions can be any form of engagement, but interactions between people like comments, shares, and messages in addition to posts from friends will be weighted most heavily.

So as you develop your 2018 social strategies here are 3 tips to ensure success for your business on social media.

Focus on Engaging Content

According to Facebook, “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

This means that if you are already creating quality, engaging content that sparks conversations, then you’re in a great place. You may see a small drop in your reach, but your strategy won’t be drastically affected. However, if your content doesn’t get much engagement it’s time to change your strategy.

Invest Time and Budget into a Paid Social Strategy

For brands this is the final nail in the existing coffin of organic (free) reach. Because of that brands should focus the majority of their efforts and budget on paid social strategies that drive real business results.

Facebook News Feed Ads are a powerful marketing tool for small and medium businesses and our research across more than 300,000 ad campaigns has found that Facebook ads have the good rates, performance AND diversity of options to fit most business needs.

Diversify Your Social Strategy Beyond Facebook

It is also important to remember that Facebook is not the only solution to a successful social media strategy. It is just one piece of the puzzle.

And while you should continue to make Facebook a part of your marketing strategies, you should also include different platforms to drive the best results for your business.

Start spending more time in the planning of your multi-channel strategy and be prepared to change it if something is not working and as the social networks make additional changes.

Apryl Pilolli is 
Senior Product Manager Social at
Cox Media Group

Meet #umbsocial speaker – Mark Traphagen

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Stone Temple CEO Eric Enge and me on stage doing Here’s Why Live at the State of Search conference last fall.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

After a brief career in sales in my 20s, I went into teaching (English at the middle and high school levels), eventually becoming a school administrator. While at grad school about 15 years ago I got a job in a bookstore where I was asked to take them online. Through that experience, the digital marketing bug bit me, and I’ve never looked back. I love where my work has taken me, but the best thing in my life is my two amazing daughters and six grandkids.

When did you start to work in social media?

Social media started to become a thing while I was developing and marketing the online store for that campus bookstore, and it seemed natural to me to make use of it to keep in touch with our customers. I feel like my first social media experience, however, was in the comment section of blogs. It’s hard to believe now, but that’s where a great deal of online discussion used to take place. I would discover prominent bloggers who wrote about the books we sold and enter into the discussions in their comments. I was commenting as the store, but I never pushed sales. Instead, I would try to contribute useful things to the discussions. I found that many people did end up checking out our store as a result, and so when social media emerged, I already knew some best ways to market there.

How does a typical workday of you look like?

I think a lot of marketers would say what I’m going to say: there is no typical day! But some things I do regularly include daily engagement on all our social channels, creating content for our own site as well as a number of industry sites I write for, preparing conference presentations, and working with our data and marketing team to develop and publicize new data studies, which is the heart of our content marketing efforts. I also serve on the management team of our agency, so part of my role is helping to guide and grow the company.

Do you have a role model in social media. Someone who inspires you?

Too many to mention! One would be Rand Fishkin (@randfish on Twitter), the founder of Moz SEO software. Rand taught me the value of being authentic and transparent, and also how powerful it is on social media if you’re truly passionate about your topics. Another is Annie Cushing (@anniecushing on Twitter), an analytics expert. I try to emulate how hard she works to bring real value to her audience. People who follow her always learn something new.

What is the hardest thing about social media?

Time. It takes time to do social media right. There’s no shortcut around that. I love the new responsibilities I’ve gained in my job, but a part of me always misses those days when I had more time to be more engaging.

What do you see as some up-and-coming trend in social media?

The most effective social marketers I follow are embracing what Marketing Prof’s Ann Handley calls the slow content movement. That is, since their time is limited, they are spending more time developing fewer pieces of content (or new posts), but making sure each one they post is truly kick-butt great. And then they devote more time to actively engaging with their audience.

Can you name us a brand or company that you admire for their great social media strategy/execution?

One I’d highlight is JetBlue. They get the value of having an “always on” experience for their customers on social media. I’m always amazed and pleased by how quickly I get a response when I mention them online, even if my post isn’t a question or complaint. I’ll be on a JetBlue flight and tweet something like, “Flight attendant Brad is cracking me up on @JetBlue flight 377 today!” and a minute later I’ll get a reply from JetBlue like, “We know, right? But don’t get him into dad joke mode!” It makes the brand human, personal, and makes me glad I do business with them. How do they pull it off? They trained a huge army of work-from-home people who monitor and respond to their social channels. That cuts down on expense while giving them the capacity to be real time with their customers.

Did you make any social media mistakes in the past or is there anything you would avoid in future?

I’d be more thoughtful and intentional about the purpose and branding of our various social media accounts. On some networks we have both a company page and the personal profiles of our founder and myself. Many people follow all three, so I need to come up with a way to differentiate them more.

To be successful in social media, you need to ….?

Love it so much that it always seems like a hobby rather than work. That kind of passion for it is necessary, as it can be very taxing. Almost nothing lasts on social; every day you have to provide new value or fall off the map. That can be exhausting unless you’re a person who relishes creative challenges and human interaction.

What is your favorite book and why?

Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse. No other book has affected my thinking more deeply. Carse is a religious scholar who was intrigued by game theory. His book explains that everything in life is playing out one of two kinds of games. Finite games are any interactions where the goal is to bring the transaction to an end, and for it to end with clear winners and losers. On the other hand, in infinite games, the goal is to keep the game going as long as possible, rather to determine ultimate winners or losers. Infinite games always lead to more benefit for more “players,” and so they are to be preferred. In my marketing, I seek to create infinite game situations between brands and customers.

What is your favorite quote?

“There is no easy way from the earth to the stars.” – Seneca

What is your favorite movie and why?

Chariots of Fire. It’s a strong reminder that ambition should always be fueled and limited by conviction.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

For fun, I play bluegrass mandolin, and do competitive storytelling.

Where can we find more about you and you work? On our blog at https://www.stonetemple.com/blog, and my regular social media columns for Marketing Land (https://marketingland.com/author/mark-traphagen) and Search Engine Journal (https://www.searchenginejournal.com/author/mark-traphagen/). I am also the creator, producer, and co-star of our weekly digital marketing video series, Here’s Why (https://www.stonetemple.com/heres-why-with-mark-and-eric/)

Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen) is 
Senior Director of Brand Evangelism at Stone Temple Consulting

Program is online

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The first outline of the program for the 7th Social Media Day is online.
Minor changes are still possible, but you can see already an overview of the entire conference day.
More here

Apryl Pilolli newest addition to the speaker board

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I’m excited to announce that Apryl Pilolli from Cox Media Group is joining the speaker board of #umbsocial.

Apryl oversees Cox Media Group’s internal social marketing portfolio of more than $6 million annually. She has more than 20 years of industry experience in marketing and eight years directly with social media.  In addition, she is doing social media marketing for the own media properties Cox Media Group provides social media marketing for our clients as well.  Apryl leads the social marketing strategy for more than 400 clients in various industries including automotive, education and healthcare.  She has two adopted rescue dogs, one of which has stared in his own viral video.

Meet #umbsocial speaker – Kate Hutchinson

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Probably the best way to describe myself is that I’m curious about everything. I have an undergraduate degree from Trinity College, Hartford in History, and while I was there, I also studied symbolic logic, environmental science, folklore, art history, and Ancient Greek. My first job out of college was at Suffolk University, in the Physics Department, and while I was there I earned a Master’s of Education. After embarking on a stint in fundraising, I wanted to learn more about financial management, so I got an MBA from Simmons College. Along the way, I learned a lot about communications and marketing, and it led me to my current role in Engagement Marketing in the Education Services division of Dell EMC.

When did you start to work in social media?

I like to think I was an early, early adopter. In middle school, I began playing on the DOS based BBS boards, which had early chat rooms and forums where you could talk to people who also had a modem and dialed in, most of them local to where I was. As the internet evolved, I kept trying new things, particularly social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. When I was in business school in 2008, I helped other students to optimize their social profiles, and I eventually the Career Services office asked me to host some workshops on using social media for job searching. That led to my first job professionally working with social media, at a domain registrar, in 2010.

How does a typical work day of you look like?

My days vary a lot, because I work on a lot of different projects. But the first thing I do every morning is check my work email to make sure nothing is waiting for

Do you have a role model in social media. Someone who inspires you?

I’ve met a lot of people who do really amazing things with social media. In my own company, Greg McCarthy manages the social media campaigns around events, and he does an amazing job. He’s insightful, always learning, and always includes new people, no matter their skill level. I learn a lot from him. I also have to mention Jenny Newman, who is a great role model for reaching new audiences, and educating everyone on how to use it, from ordinary people to top-level executives. She is also relentlessly positive, something that social media could use more of. Plus, like me, she’s a big Wonder Woman fan.

What is the hardest thing about social media?

It’s always changing. Square avatars become round ones. Stars become hearts. Timelines shift from chronological order to algorithm based. Ads look like one thing and then another. This network is more popular than another. It’s hard to keep track of everything, and hard to figure out what new features are worth investing in and which ones aren’t. I spent several months at one point optimizing an e-commerce tab on a Facebook page, only to have the feature removed two months later.

What do you see as some up-and-coming trend in social media?

Not necessarily a trend, but I think a big shift is coming with the rise of AI and machine learning. Ten years ago or so, Google had an April Fool’s Day prank where they debuted a feature called Autopilot. The joke had an interesting punchline: “Two Gmail accounts can happily converse with each other for up to three messages each. Beyond that, our experiments have shown a significant decline in the quality ranking of Autopilot’s responses and further messages may commit you to dinner parties or baby namings in which you have no interest.” In 2009, this was a funny joke, since no one was really going to use auto-suggested chat messages, but today I use an iPhone that predicts the next word I’m going to use in a sentence while texting that’s eerily accurate. While AI exists and we’ve already seen them at work, particularly on Twitter, I think we’re going to get over the last of our apprehensions about “talking to a robot” and embrace the convenience that they offer. I’m thinking eventually I can tweet to Comcast that my internet is unacceptably slow again, and AI will let the account reply to mine and I’ll never have to call and wait on hold again.

Can you name us a brand or company that you admire for their great social media strategy/execution?

There are a lot of clever things I’ve seen on social, but I really love a company that has a sense of humor and is willing to roll with the punches. Wendy’s (the fast food chain) has a great presence on Twitter, and it’s funny and clever without being snarky or mean. I loved the “Talk Show” that Wendy’s hosted with the Little Debbie brand.

Did you make any social media mistakes in the past or is there anything you would avoid in future?

I’d say one mistake I’ve made is not joining networks because I wasn’t interested in them as early networks. I’ve missed out on my username on a few of them. I like being @kehutchinson everywhere, but on Instagram, I had to settle for @k.e.hutchinson, which is off brand. I try now, when I hear of a new network to get on, just to get my name, even if I won’t use it right away, just so no one takes it in case I want to use it in the future.

To be successful in social media, you need to ….?

Be a collaborator, and have an open mind. Social media is a lot more work than people realize: you have to plan, to write, to monitor, to report, and that’s just the beginning. Build a good solid team, and if you don’t have a team, build relationships with people who can help contribute to social. Having an open mind is important because social is unpredictable. Listen to lots of ideas, and try lots of new things. Not everything will succeed, and that’s okay. Just keep trying.

What is your favorite book and why?

The best book I’ve read in the past year is Felix Arabia, a chronicle of an 18thcentury Danish exploration of what today is modern Yemen. Six men including a linguist, a botanist, and a doctor, and the only one who survived was the surveyor and self-taught engineer, who didn’t learn to read until he was twenty years old. It’s an incredible story of adaptability and the willingness to learn.

My favorite book of all time is the Count of Monte Cristo. It’s a mystery, a vendetta, a love story, a philosophical pursuit of the meaning of life, and an adventure, all wrapped in one package.

What is your favorite quote?

“Impossible is a word only found in the dictionary of fools.”  –Napoleon Bonaparte

What is your favorite movie and why?

Now Voyager, with Bette Davis and Claude Raines. I love seeing Bette Davis transform from a nervous, mousy character to a confident woman who takes charge of her life.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

When I was six years old, I wanted to be an Egyptologist when I grew up, and it’s still a field I am fascinated by. My two favorite Egyptologists are Bob Brier (who actually replied to a paper letter I wrote him circa 2004) and Kara Cooney, with whom I’ve chatted on Twitter. I love that social media allows me to talk to archaeologists on demand, and I don’t have to wait for the mail to see if I got a reply.

 

Where can we find more about you and you work?

The best places to find me are on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’d like to see some photos of my crochet projects, check Instagram.

 

Kate Hutchinson is Sr. Marketing Programs Manager at Dell EMC