Well, Facebook just made a Page admins job more difficult, as if we need to spend more time managing our Pages. I noticed a few days ago that I was starting to see a lot more comments being hidden as spam on my Page, as well as a few others I’m an admin for, but none of the comments were spam and often were posted by people who comment on the Page frequently. At first I thought it was a glitch but yesterday I ran a few experiments and posted the results on my Page and found that everyone was having the same thing happen on their Pages.
Basically, it comes down to this. Facebook is once again doing something they think is helpful when in reality, it’s not. I’m sure there are Pages out there that get quite a bit of comment spam but I doubt it’s something a majority of Pages suffer from. So, if once in a while someone posts some spam in a comment I can simply hide the comment and if they do it more than once I can ban them. Simple, right? Well, Facebook apparently doesn’t think that’s simple enough so they’ve decided to start helping us. That would be okay with me as long as they were just hiding comments that contain more than one link or keywords that obviously seem to indicate that the subject might be spam, but, unfortunately, Facebook has taken that a step too far and now they’re hiding comments as spam if they contain tags for Pages or links to other Pages or posts on other Pages.
I often refer to other Pages or posts on other Pages to support my point or to give credit to a source when I comment and the easy way to do that is to either tag the Page or post a link to a post on a Page. Mari Smith likes to have what she calls Fan Page Fridays and encourages her fans to tag their Pages or link to them in the comments so they can get some exposure and more fans. Now, Facebook is automatically hiding those comments as spam and until the Page admin unhides them, the only people who will see them are the people who posted them and their friends. What if the person who needs to unhide the comment isn’t actively following the comments for that post? That means that it may be several minutes to hours before the comment will become visible to others, if ever. And the fact that the person who posted the comment does see it themselves will lead to many people feeling their comment is being ignored when in reality it’s just not being seen.
I assume Facebook decided to do this to cut down on spam, which it will probably do, but unless a Page admin is vigilante it’s also going to cut down on the conversation and potentially lead to people no longer commenting because they think they’re being ignored.
How will you know when a comment has been hidden as spam? You’ll see a row of three dots where a comment should be.
Click on those dots and the comment will expand but remain greyed out, giving you the chance to read it and decide whether you want to unhide it or leave it hidden, or delete it. As you can see in the screenshot below, comments that include a tag for a Page or a link to a Page or a link to a post from a Page will be hidden as spam whereas a comment with a tagged friend or a link to a URL that is not on Facebook won’t be.
One thing that strikes me funny about this is that even though Facebook wants to keep people on Facebook and doesn’t like it when we post links that lead offsite, they are hiding comments with links within Facebook as spam but not hiding comments with links that lead people away from Facebook.
In: Social Media19 Mar 2013
UPDATE: Inside Facebook has reported “Facebook tells us this change went into effect on March 6, and the guidelines page has been updated to reflect this.”
I have checked both pages on Facebook that list cover guidelines and can no longer find any reference to not using contact information, prices, calls to action, or arrows pointing to the Like button.
The last time I checked, these were the rules, with the newly added 20% text rule, in Section III B of the Page Terms:
Covers may not include:
i. images with more than 20% text;
ii. price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;
iii. contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
iv. references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
v. calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
This is the only text I can find explaining the rules now:
What are the guidelines for my Pages’s cover photo?
All cover photos are public, which means anyone visiting your Page will be able to see the cover photo. Cover photos can’t be deceptive, misleading, infringe on anyone else’s copyright or be in violation of the Pages Terms. You may not encourage people to upload your cover photo to their personal timelines. Cover photos must be at least 399 pixels wide and may not include images with more than 20% text.
Complete Page Terms:
All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines. Covers may not include images with more than 20% text.
Is this a glitch or has Facebook decided the 20% text rule is enough to keep our Page covers from being used as blatant advertising and rethought telling us not to ask people to Like our Pages since the more fans we have the more likely we’ll be to pay to promote our posts?
FYI, I have heard from one person in the UK and one in Canada that they still see the 5 rules but no one I’ve asked in the US sees them anymore.
EDIT: Several people have reported that although they still saw the old rules, after they cleared their cache they saw them as I am. Screen shots below. Click to view actual size.
In: Social Media17 Mar 2013
If you enjoy dark humor you should follow this Twitter account. According to the bio, @fterlife is “Channeling tweets from beyond the grave through a ghost writer with a laptop and a Ouija board.”
Ghosts are real but none of us would be caught dead on a reality show so we all hide when those idiots show up.
— @fterlife (@fterlife) March 16, 2013
How many times have you seen someone offering a prize to people who Like or comment on a photo even though that clearly breaks two of Facebook’s rules, which are (paraphrased) that you cannot use Facebook conventions such as photo Likes or comments and that if you run a contest on Facebook it must be run within an app?
It doesn’t seem fair, does it? You work hard to promote your company’s Facebook Page within the rules and yet your competitors are blowing past you and getting thousands of Likes because they run a contest asking people to Like and share a photo, which obviously would be a brilliant way to promote a Page… if it wasn’t against the rules.
Here’s another question. How often do you hear about a Page being shut down for running an illegal contest? Not many, I know. In fact, I’ve only heard of two that I can verify and both of those Pages were eventually reinstated after the owners pleaded long enough with Facebook.
When I see a Page running a contest/promotion that clearly violates the rules I will occasionally send them a polite message giving them the link to Facebook’s promotion guidelines because I’d hate to see someone’s Page get shut down because they just didn’t know the rules. Usually, I get a nice reply thanking me for letting them know but yesterday I got a reply that took me aback and prompted me to write this. And, although I normally wouldn’t, I’m going to name names, because they actually asked me to.
Here’s the wildly successful contest CW’s Custom Coolers is running. https://www.facebook.com/
They are asking people to Like and share a photo for the chance to win a $150 cooler. They indicate that they will hold a drawing to select the winner. How they plan to notify that winner is beyond me and of course, that’s a third rule violation since Facebook says “You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.” Then there’s a fourth violation because when you run a contest like this you obviously have no way to get “A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.”
At the time of this writing, the post has 182,012 shares, 49,092 Likes and 7,587 comments. What?
Now, you’re probably asking yourself why I started this post by saying that apparently Facebook’s rules were flexible, and by flexible, I mean just for show. Well, here’s the reply I got from CW’s Custom Coolers.
“Hi hugh, I’ve actually been contacted by fb and congratulated on the success of my like and share. Anyone that has a 833,000% increase in views in a 72hr period….Facebook knows. There is difference between business fb and personal fb. We are very thankful for everyones concerns on the rules but they are simply not true. Thanks CW”
So, there you have it. Confirmation from Facebook that the rules are just suggestions. If you decide to start breaking the rules and get caught, just show them this post and tell them that Facebook told CW it was cool.
For your reference, here are the official rules: https://www.facebook.com/
Disclaimer: I’ll leave it to you to decide if CW was telling the truth. Personally I believe he was contacted by Facebook but it was his ad account rep who congratulated him and not someone who was qualified to comment on the rules.
Are you taking full advantage of that nice big header banner the new Twitter layout has? Custom backgrounds are great and give us a nice way to make our Twitter pages look professional, include our branding, and share additional information, but the header is the first thing anyone is going to notice. Use a compelling photo, find a creative way to incorporate the avatar into the banner image, or use the space to promote your brand and do a bit of advertising. The point is that getting someone to notice the banner immediately brings their attention to your bio text and if you’ve done a good job of writing that bio anyone checking out your profile will be able to make a much quicker decision to follow you and will be more likely to click the link to visit your website as well.
Remember too, that the new header banner is now visible when someone views your Twitter profile using the mobile app. Considering how many people are using social networks on their mobile devices, not taking advantage of that space is a missed opportunity.
If you could use some professional help with your Twitter background and header I’ll be happy to help. Shoot an email to hugh [at] socialidentities.com or visit my website: http://socialidentities.com/
With Facebook’s new Graph Search becoming available to more and more users it’s time to start thinking about what prying friends (or enemies) might find out about you if they access your computer when you’re not looking. Click the infographic to view full size.
I just found a very cool website called ThingLink that lets you create interactive images that can contain embedded links, photos, videos and music and then embed those images on your website or blog or share them on Facebook, Twitter and email. Here’s one I created as an online business card this morning. Mouse over the image.
Here’s ThingLink’s explanation from their website.
Be creative! Make your images come alive with music, video, text, images, shops and more!
Every image contains a story and ThingLink helps you tell your stories. Follow image channels from your favorite bands, bloggers and friends. Your ThingLink interactive images form a channel that other users can follow.
Share your channel with friends on Facebook and Twitter, and follow your friends. Touch and discover.
I’m about to suggest something that I know won’t excite a lot of you at first, but I hope you’ll bear with me. I think Facebook should start charging a monthly fee for brand Pages. What?!
I’m sure we all agree that Facebook should be free for individuals who use Facebook to share information with friends and family. Their presence generates billions of dollars a year in advertising revenue even though they do not profit from its use themselves. On the other hand, businesses do profit from using Facebook — many of them are making millions of dollars a year from it — and, in my opinion, Facebook certainly has a right to some compensation from those businesses. The problem is that Facebook has decided the way to make money from Pages is to limit the number of posts fans see in their newsfeeds and then telling us that if we pay they’ll show our posts to more of them. They throttle our posts using an algorithm called Edgerank. If you’re not familiar with Edgerank or how it works, please Google it.
Recently a few well-known companies, including advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, have accused Facebook of adjusting the Edgerank algorithm to decrease the number of posts a Page’s fans see. Those allegations have yet to be proven, although many of us have noticed a sizable drop in our post reach numbers; but even if it’s not true, there is a logical reason why Edgerank affects Pages far more than individuals. Fans engage with a Page far less frequently than they do with their friends, and the less an individual engages with a Page, the lower the chances of that Page’s posts making it into their newsfeed. To alleviate that problem, Facebook has begun charging a fee to those who decide to “promote” their posts so more of their fans will see them.
The latest numbers indicate that as of April there are 42 million Pages on Facebook. Those include pages for 4 million businesses with the rest belonging to popular figures, sports teams and fan-generated community Pages. Perhaps we should give community Pages a pass as well as non-profits. Obviously non-profits aren’t going to profit financially from those Pages, although they could greatly benefit in other ways, so I’m not sure about that one. Perhaps a reduced fee for non-profits. I have no way of knowing how many community and non-profit Pages there are but the number Facebook would be working with if they did charge a fee would be considerably higher than the 4 million company Pages.
Please note that I’m not suggesting Facebook should do away with promoted posts. Promoted posts are just a way to make sure more fans will see a post and are similar to “sponsored stories” (only better) because they show in the newsfeed instead of a sidebar, and they don’t look like advertising. Actually, I think promoted posts are brilliant. The only problem I have with them is that no one is going to pay to promote all of their posts; and since an average of only 16% of our fans see our non-promoted posts, most of them never have the chance to read what we say.
The first question is how much would someone pay to have a business Page on Facebook? I realize that’s a loaded question because surely a company like Coca-Cola would be able to justify paying thousands of dollars a month. So the question is how much would the “average” business be able to justify paying? Would $19.95 a month be unreasonable? I don’t think so; and if you can’t generate $20 a month from your Page, you’re not getting enough benefit to justify wasting your time on Facebook in the first place. Maybe the price could be based on the number of fans the Page has, starting at free for less than 100 and then starting at $9.95 a month for more than a hundred all the way up to a few hundred a month for Pages with hundreds of thousands of fans.
So, for the sake of argument, let’s say that out of the 42 million Pages on Facebook, 10 million of them belong to a company or individual who is using that Page to generate a profit. Let’s also assume that most of them would consider $20 a month a fair price to pay to reach more fans organically and will still pay to promote posts for which they want to generate a much higher reach. In theory, that would generate $200 million a month or $2.4 billion a year in addition to the revenue from the promoted posts.
The second question is what would we expect for our $20 a month? Simple; a fair shake with Edgerank. I suggest that Facebook tweak their algorithm for Pages so that a fan would not need to engage as often to achieve an Edgerank score that would result in a lot more of that Page’s posts showing up in their newsfeed. It would be especially important to include a grace period until those fans actually have a chance to engage with a Page they just liked. If Edgerank keeps a Page’s posts from showing to fans who don’t engage with that Page, then obviously a new fan would never see any posts to engage with in the first place.
If Page owners know they aren’t talking to the wall when they post something, I don’t think they’ll have a problem paying a small monthly fee to use Facebook; and if they feel they’re getting some real value from having a Page, they’ll also have no problem paying to promote some of their posts to reach more fans. It’s a win-win for Facebook and a win for Page owners.
In case you haven’t heard yet… hey, I don’t know, maybe you were in a coma… Twitter modified a few design elements earlier this week. The purpose was primarily to improve the mobile experience, but the two changes that are the most exciting for those of us who think it’s important to brand all of our social networking pages, are the addition of a big new header banner, a la Facebook, as well as the option to center our backgrounds, which opens up all kinds of new design possibilities and makes using the right side practical. It also means that the design elements maintain their position relative to the main tweet area no matter how large the viewer’s monitor.
The screenshot above shows my Twitter page as it looks when viewed on a 1280 x 1024 pixel monitor. I design all custom backgrounds for this size monitor. It’s one of the most popular sizes and also the smallest size monitor it’s practical to design for.
The image above shows how much space is available on each side of the main tweet area when viewed on a 1024 x 768 monitor. Although there are people using small monitors with this resolution, (iPad 1 and iPad 2 do but the iPad 3 is 2048 x 1536), as you can see, it’s just not practical to attempt to design a background that works on such a small monitor.
The next three images show how my Twitter page looks on progressively larger monitors. It’s important to design the overall image with plenty of extra background image on the sides even though you’ll want to keep the important parts within the area that is visible on a 1280 pixel wide monitor. I recommend saving the overall background image at 1920 x 1200. At that size your background should look great on even the largest monitors… except for those folks using something larger than about 23 inches, and in most cases when someone uses a monitor larger than that they’ll keep their browser narrower than full screen.
1366 x 768
1600 x 900
1920 x 1200
If you’re interested in having a custom background and header banner designed for your Twitter page, please visit my website for more information.
Your brand (personal and business) is one of the most important things you have. Don’t mess it up. If you need help, I’m here for you.
Copyright © 2013 HughBriss.com
Hugh Briss is the owner of Social Identities.