Facebook Zero: Doing Business on Facebook – What Now?

Cats Against Facebook Zero You may have heard this new term that’s emerged: “Facebook Zero”.  Facebook Zero refers to a state on the social media behemoth where you have zero organic reach for pages.  This has been the trend in recent Facebook algorithm changes and now Facebook has rolled out yet another change that will affect the way your page reaches it’s target audience.

The new changes will affect the way your page content gets delivered and seen by users not already vastly engaged with your content.  It used to be that “likes” on posts were one of the defining factor of how popular your posts were and how much action you got.  That has not been the case for awhile now so businesses have been scrambling to find new ways to engage their customers and get their content to a wider audience.

Facebook ads have become more popular but businesses were also trying to create engaging posts to garner “likes”, “comments”, and “shares”.  With the new algorithm change (fresh off the press as of this week), the new goal is shareable content. Facebook received feedback from users that they no longer want to see every time their friends are liking and commenting on Pages they are otherwise not engaged with.  The only way to increase your Pages organic reach then, is to empower and enlist your audience to share your amazing content.  When individuals share your content, it has a higher chance of appearing in a news feed. What does this mean to you?

“This change further underlines the need for brands to move from a broadcast focus to making themselves part of the conversation. With this update, Facebook is essentially saying that their users want to use the platform to interact with friends and the content they’re individually interested in, and the only way to effectively promote your pages without moving to paid ads is to generate conversation amongst people independent of your properties. That’s obviously easier said than done, but the principle for Facebook marketing remains that you need to create great content, you need to listen to what your audience wants and is responding to, and you need to become part of those conversations in order to attract more direct interactions with individuals and ensure your brand is part of any relevant conversations.”

“Having people speak on your brand’s behalf is the best way to ensure you’re maximising Facebook reach – this is why employee advocacy is becoming a big focus, because who better to speak on behalf of your brand than those who live it everyday? Happy, engaged, socially-empowered employees can play a big part in brand awareness”  – Social Media Today

Is it time to give up on Facebook? Facebook still has over a billion active users, spanning a wide range of demographics.  If you use Facebook wisely and put the time and effort in to create something people love and can interact with, it is still worth it.  But, you know your company best and, if you track the results, you will best be able to determine if the return on investment is assisting or resisting your growth.

Take-Away Tips: 1.) Engaging Content (research what works, stop doing what doesn’t, KNOW your audience) 2.) Make it Interactive (move from just broadcasting a message to finding ways to engage online and offline) 3.) Use your Superfans (enlist people who love you and what you do – employees and/or clients to tell your story, share your content)

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Social Poaching: Reducing Friends to Fans and Followers

THE TIMES: Feb. 19, 2015 by VICKI MCLEOD

In her book The Joy of Missing Out, Finding Balance in a Wired World, author Christina Crook poses the question: “What are people for?” She poses it in the context of online relationships and whether or not we see other people simply as consumers. Her book is thought-provoking and challenges us to think about whether the arms-length nature of digital communications is removing us from meaningful engagement and ultimately, what it means to be human.

Her insights are timely. As the digital and social media space becomes more crowded, we are forced to ask ourselves what are the ethical, social and cultural norms that will govern our behavior online? Where are the boundaries?

Most of us in the field adhere to a core set of principles grounded in transparency and authenticity, and teach businesses and individuals we work with to apply fundamentally the same social ‘rules’ and etiquettes online as we’d apply offline. What’s different in business is that we are not used to this level of transparency.

Social media has heralded not only a new way to communicate, but also a very different way to do business. A tension is emerging around the application of traditional business tactics in this new medium.

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Recently, a crop of tactics have emerged on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that could be considered ethically dubious, or at least inauthentic. In short form, we call it friend- or social-poaching. A familiar term from junior high school days, but with potentially more serious implications than hurt feelings or social exclusion when it comes to business.

Essentially, it is a Friends-of-Friends strategy to gain more likes, fans and followers to increase access to potential market and grow email contact lists. It involves monitoring the feeds of influential friends and strategically liking and commenting in online conversations followed by a direct friend request. Usually a canned or packaged invitation is sent via a private message to your personal profile or business page asking for more direct engagement. Largely, these interactions are initiated solely for the purpose of eventually making a sale.

It’s a kind of network marketing that can be very effective. But is it right?  Many in the field don’t endorse this tactic as a way of building relationships online. It takes advantage of genuine trust and real relationships built on shared personal or professional interests.

Given the power and reach of digital ecosystems, not only are friends vulnerable, but so are hard-earned business contacts, particularly those that happen to be friends, too. Because your social media feed is the point of introduction, you essentially become complicit in reducing your friends to the status of consumers.

According to Ronald Sharp, a professor at Vassar, “… social poaching stems from an inappropriate or distorted view of what friendship is. It views friendship as a zero-sum game, or as an attempt to maximize your resources. It converts the natural generosity of friendship into a kind of investment.”

Me, I’m in favour of an abundance of generosity, along with openness, trust and transparency, and I prefer not to reduce friends and clients to simply fans and followers. Which brings us full circle to the question we must ask ourselves, in this wired world: What are people for?

Vicki McLeod is a Maple Ridge Social Chick , the  host of Everyday Happiness: The Pajama Podcasts and is a business and personal coach and consultant. She is a speaker at the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in March, and is happy to answer your social media or business questions. Find her at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca

Social Media Content & Connections Workshop October 12, 2012

Wanting to learn how to share great content that will engage your audience on Facebook? How about learning to network effectively on LinkedIn to build your professional connections? The Social Chicks have invited Donna Willon of Focused Networking to join us to offer a day-long workshop on getting your business connected! Register with the Chamber of Commerce Serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows today!

Here are details on the day’s events:

Session 1—10:15am—noon
Creating Effective Social Media Content with The Social Chicks

Want more engagement on your Facebook page? The Social Chicks will run you through what type of content is most effective to increase engagement. The Facebook Content & Engagement session will cover:
·         Developing great content for Facebook
·         What are the elements of great content
·         How to add value—what is good information
·         How to use, photos, videos, add links
·         How to build  relationships online
·         How to network

*This session will focus on the creative aspects of using Facebook for business rather than the technical set-up of a Facebook page.

Session 2 —12:45pm—2:00pm
Build Your Business Connections on LinkedIn with Donna Willon

As a professional, how do you stand out from the crowd and differentiate yourself from the millions of professional users on LinkedIn? This session will show you  how to  maximize your LinkedIn profile and company page to grow your networks. The LinkedIn session will cover:
·         Why Use LinkedIn
·         Your LinkedIn Profile – and all the components to make it exceptional
·         Who to invite onto LinkedIn and Why
·         How to build a strategic team
·         How to sort and manage your contacts on LinkedIn
·         The importance of groups – which ones to join and why
·         Applications to use on LinkedIn
·         Your Company Page on LinkedIn

Hope to see you there!