What Facebook's News Feed Update Means For Your Social Media Strategy 

facebook social media strategy

For a while, Twitter has been the place where people flock to catch breaking news stories and hold conversations around TV shows and sporting events in real time. Now, with Facebook’s latest News Feed update, it looks like the social media giant is tackling Twitter in its own backyard. But how will it affect your social media strategy and social lead generation?

Facebook announced on Thursday that it has been testing, and is due to launch, an algorithm change that seeks to bring new and timely posts to the forefront of user’s News Feeds. Although Facebook may be a little late to the party in the real time engagement space, it still has some beneficial implications and opportunities for businesses small and large due to the sheer number of users on the network.

Traditionally, Facebook optimizes News Feeds in accordance to what’s grown in popularity since you were last there. So, if you check Facebook on Monday morning, and one of your friends posts something on Monday afternoon that gets a lot of likes, you might see that post at the top of your News Feed when you log back in on Tuesday night. That’s all well and good generally speaking, but these days, users crave freshness and news. Things move so quickly that yesterday’s headlines are today’s toilet paper, especially around areas like TV, sports or events where timing and in-the-moment comments and interactions are key. 

To address this, Facebook’s latest update seeks to prioritize timely content in two ways:

1.    Through "factoring in trending topics: Facebook introduced ‘Trending’ in January to highlight popular topics being discussed across the world on Facebook. It now plans to expand on this by showing your friend’s posts on these trending topics in your News Feed. 

Whether this will begin to base trending topics around your peer group or friends, or on timely posts related to your interests and page likes, or whether it keeps the focus more on general national or international trending topics remains to be seen.

2.    The speed at which people like and comment: If people like and comment on something as soon as it’s posted, and then the engagement tails off, Facebook will treat this as a timely post and prioritize similar ones in user’s News Feeds. Although, again, whether this will work on a local, national or international scale is as yet unknown.

Facebook claim that, through its early testing, these more timely posts generate a 6% higher engagement rate. (FYI: Facebook classes ‘engagement' as the number of users sharing, commenting, liking or clicking on a post.)

What This Means For Your Social Media Strategy

For businesses big and small, these changes present opportunities for those that can react quickly to change. Slightly bigger changes will be required for many companies, so that those who manage social media are given:

•    Flexible working hours, 
•    Autonomy,
•    Decision making authority, 
•    Absolute trust, 

All this is needed in order to keep your finger on the pulse of the global conversation and take advantage of real-time participation. 

There’s even an opportunity for Facebook to extend this timely prioritization into the advertising realm. For example, Facebook could potentially offer a real-time advertising service that allows brands to pay to be put in front of their target customers during, say, an episode of House or the Superbowl.

The Right Time

Marketing is an amalgamation of lots of things, and one of the most important elements of marketing is 'getting the right message to the right people at the right time’. However, when your customers are global and they don’t switch off, that time is now, and Facebook may have just given you a window of opportunity, so open your curtains.

 

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Posted by Friday, September 26, 2014 3:23:00 PM Categories: B2C SMB social media social media marketing

Five Security Tips You Need To Implement 

By Steve Hoag

Website security tips

Website security is a huge issue right now. Heartbleed has affected many people. Homeland Security claims it’s no safe to use Internet Explorer anymore. A new threat, ‘Covert Redirect’ recently reared its ugly head last week. Multiple US agencies and Fortune 500 companies were affected by threats like these. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important to maintain a high degree of security on your website. You never know when you may be the target of a cyber-attack. With that being said, check out these five tips you can implement right now to keep your site secure:

Restrict users from uploading files to the website server.

One of the easiest ways to boost your website’s security Is by preventing users from accessing your server files or uploading their own. Clever hackers may eventually find their way in, but don’t make it easy for them by allowing them to upload malicious files.

Require passwords that use a variety of character types.

There are too many people out there that have easy to guess passwords for important websites. Your password should never include your name, or anything else that’s easy to guess. Make sure that your website requires users to choose passwords that include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.

Keep your website software updated.

CMS developers will often come out with new updates to address performance, security, and technology issue. Always make sure to update your site to take advantage of the latest developments! Hackers look for websites that aren’t updated, because their security systems aren’t up to snuff.

Read the news!

This may seem like a no brainer, but staying up to date with current events is an easy way to stay aware of new security threats and how to avoid them. Imagine if Fortune 500 companies decided to stop keeping up with current events and never heard of HeartBleed. They would have a huge problem on their hands, and have no clue what they were dealing with! A scary proposition indeed.

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Monday, May 19, 2014 11:53:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web development web trends website

How To Improve Website Accessibility 

By Steve Hoag

how to optimize your website accessibility

Website accessibility is all about making sure anyone and everyone can access your website. There are many users out there who have disabilities or may be using devices that require additional accommodations. That being said, some things that can be done to improve accessibility will improve the user experience for everyone. Check out these tips on how to optimize your website accessibility:

Ensure your color scheme has an appropriate amount of contrast.

Color blindness is a very common condition among users. Make sure that your color scheme has enough contrast so that people with color blindness can still distinguish what exactly is on the page. Tools like colorfilter.wickline.org help to mimic colorblindness on your website so that you can see where to make changes.

Utilize alternative content where necessary.

Alternative content is useful for users with vision/hearing problems.  Alternative content means using text for non-text content. For instance, using words to describe images, or including transcripts along with videos for users who are hard of hearing. A text only version of your website can also be useful for users with slower internet connections or devices that are outdated.

Utilize skip links.

Skip links allow speech software to skip over links/navigation items that are repeated on every page. This is useful for people who are vision impaired and don’t want to listen to the same menu items being repeated on every page. Skip links allow users to skip over repetitive links so that they can access the primary page content.

Explain Select Menus.

The default value on select menus should describe what the menu is intended for. For instance, if a form is asking for your bodyweight it should label the default value of the select menu as ‘select body weight’ instead of leaving it blank or including number with no explanation. This will help to ensure everyone clearly understands the purpose of forms and fields.

Use descriptive link names.

Use descriptive links whenever you can! A link that says ‘click here’ isn’t nearly as useful as ‘click here to download Windows 2010.’ When in doubt, be more descriptive. 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:24:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design web development website

What Is Website Usability? 

By Steve Hoag

what is website usability

Website usability is essentially the ease of use of a website. There are a variety of factors that go into usability including things like font, page load times, site search accessibility etc. It's important to ensure a high degree of usability so that more users can easily access and utilize your website. So how do you improve website usability?

Keep load times reasonable.

 Users are going to go to another website if a page takes too long to load. Users are fickle. They aren't going to sit around waiting for your website to perform better.

Use an easy to read font/color scheme.

What good is a website if a user can't read any of the content on it? Pick a normal font and color scheme to make life easy on your users. The last thing you want to do is burn your customers' retinas.

Intuitive navigation.

Another important factor in website usability is employing an intuitive navigation system. Make sure all the important sections of your website are easy to find and access in the nav system. It's important to also ensure that your nav system isn't overly complicated. Don't include too many menu items. Stick to the basics to keep it as streamlined as possible. 

Keep copy concise and explanatory.

A website with a high degree of usability makes great use of its copy. It's concise, easily digested, and very informative. There isn't much filler to discourage or frustrate users.

Make sure headings are clear and descriptive. 

People don't read website copy word for word. They skim and scan the entire page for what's important. That's why using clear and descriptive headings is useful. They can often replace a long-winded paragraph, and are much more user friendly. Would you rather read a sentence or five sentences to understand the same message? Exactly.

Make URLs meaningful and user-friendly.

Using meaningful URLs that have keywords in them can be helpful for users and search engines alike. They can help users understand where they are within a website, or the purpose of a page. 

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Monday, April 28, 2014 10:35:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C SMB web design web development web trends

15 Tips To Optimize Your Social Media Marketing 

By Steve Hoag

tips to maximize your social media effectiveness

Social media marketing is one of the most important components of internet marketing. If it isn't already part of your marketing, it should be. Here are 20 tips to maximize your social media effectiveness:

1. Post regularly.

2. Post when your customers are most active. E.g. 9 am - 5 pm

3. Ensure you have company accounts on all social media channels that your customers utilize.

4. Always respond to mentions, comments, etc.

5. Thank people for sharing your content!

6. Don't only post your content. 

7. Use Google Alerts and custom list searches to quickly identify articles to share with your network.

8. Google Alerts and custom list searches are also useful for finding leads.

9. Ensure that you have a database to store lead information on.

10. Use social media management tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck to post and manage your accounts.

11. Use free or paid analytics tools to track click throughs. Bit.Ly or HubSpot are great free and paid options.

12. Use landing pages and forms to capture leads when people access your content.

13. Adapt your content and messaging based on your click throughs/engagement.

14. Establish which metrics to monitor on your social media accounts.

15. Keep track of these metrics, and create monthly reports to track progress!

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, April 16, 2014 6:35:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise inbound marketing landing pages SMB social media social media marketing
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