In: Facebook29 Jun 2012
Facebook is rolling out another change. Yeah, I know, what else is new. But this one is actually pretty handy after you get the hang of it, although I will admit that it took me a day of working with it to understand it completely. If you’re finding it confusing I hope this post will help and of course I’m assuming that the option has rolled out to you already. If it hasn’t and you don’t see a “Voice” menu item between your name and “Home” in the top blue nav bar when you’re using Facebook as yourself (on a fan page) then bookmark this page so you can come back and read it later after the option shows up for you.
To see the Voice menu button you’ll need to be using Facebook as yourself and not your Page. The purpose of the new option is to make it easier for admins of more than one Page to switch back and forth between using Facebook as a Page and themselves. Previously, the way we did this was to select an option on our settings page to “Always comment and post on your page as [Your Page], even when using Facebook as [Your Name]” so that even if we were using Facebook as ourselves our posts and comments would always be as the Page.
Using the old system, to switch back and forth between Pages and your personal profile you would click the down arrow to the right of the “Home” button and select the Page or your profile from the drop down menu.
I always found using the “Use Faceboook as:” drop down cumbersome so I just added all of the Pages I admin to a folder in my bookmarks. I selected the option to always post as the page in the settings for each Page and always used Facebook as myself. If I wanted to post on my own profile, I was Hugh Briss, and if I wanted to post on my own or another Page and had turned on the “Always comment and post…” setting, I was posting as that Page and not myself. Not a bad system and easier than switching to using Facebook as the Page from the drop down menu and then switching back to Hugh Briss if I wanted to post on my personal profile, but if I did want to post on one of the Pages where I’d selected the “Always…” setting as Hugh Briss, it wasn’t possible unless I went into the settings and temporarily turned off the “Always…” option… until now.
With the new Voice option the system has been simplified and I’d have to say it’s one of the better changes Facebook has made lately. The first thing to understand is that there is no longer any need for the “Always comment and post on your page…” setting. Simply visit each Page you admin while using Facebook as yourself, select the Voice button and set it to say “You are posting, commenting, and liking as [The Page].
After you’ve made sure the Voice for each Page you admin is the Page and not yourself, you can always use Facebook as yourself and ignore the “Use Facebook as” drop down. Just create a folder in your bookmarks so you can access the Pages or click the Home button to view your personal news feed and select the Page you want to post on from the left sidebar. Instead of selecting a Page from the drop down (which always switches you to using Facebook as that page) and then having to switch back to yourself when you want to post on your personal profile, now you can always post on a Page as the Page and your profile as yourself, no switching necessary. And, if you do want to post on a Page you admin as yourself you can make the switch quickly using the “Voice” button without having to access the settings.
In: Facebook21 May 2012
One of the changes Facebook made to our fan pages when they switched to the new Timeline layout was to create a section at the top of the Timeline that only shows “Highlights” by default and that means that the only status updates you’ll see near the top of a brand Timeline are from the Page itself and all “Posts by Others” are segregated into a small box at the top of the right column. The only other way to see posts by others is to switch from the default “Highlights” view to the “Posts by Others” view.
You can see posts by others in the Timeline itself by scrolling down past the “Highlights” section but by that point those posts are probably at least a few days old.
Don’t worry, I have the solution. Yes, it would be a lot easier if Facebook just gave us the option to show posts by others along with our own posts in the Highlights section of our Timeline but the good thing is that using this method allows us to only feature certain posts by others rather than all of them.
If you refer to the screenshot below you’ll see how to pick certain updates in the “Recent Posts by Others” box to show right on your Timeline. Just mouse over the post and click on the “x” that appears in the top right corner. When you mouse over that “x” you’ll notice that it indicates “Remove” but don’t be scared, just click it anyway and you’ll get a drop down with some options. The first option that says, “Default (allowed)” seems a bit confusing but that’s just letting you know you have that option selected in your settings. But, if you click the “Allowed on Page” option and then refresh your page, you’ll see that post (which is still showing in the “Recent Posts by Others” box) is now also appearing right on your Timeline along with your own posts.
Good news! Facebook Offers are no longer only available to a select few but are now available to all Pages. Now, here’s the bad news. Unfortunately (for now) Facebook Offers are only available on Pages that have selected the Local Business category and have listed a physical location since Offers can only be redeemed by walking into a place of business. Hopefully that will change soon and all Page owners will be able to create an Offer that can be redeemed through online order forms, over the phone, etc., but until then, the rest of this article will only apply to businesses that are open to foot traffic.
I’m going to assume, since you’re still reading, that your Page qualifies and you already have the Offers option and you’re familiar with how Facebook Offers work, but if you aren’t, this video explains it pretty well.
Facebook Offers obviously provide an excellent new opportunity for location-based businesses with Facebook Pages who want to bring more traffic into their stores, restaurants, car lots, etc. They give you the ability to offer someone a free cocktail with their meal; a free shirt when they buy a pair of pants; a 20% discount; or a free tank of gas with a test drive. But, there’s another benefit to Offers. They can be used to get people to Like your Facebook Page.
When you create a Facebook Offer it’s posted to your brand Timeline and also appears in your fans’ newsfeeds. That’s great if you already have lots of fans and are just looking for ways to get more of them into your store, but what if you don’t already have a lot of fans? Well, one option is to spend some money and buy “sponsored stories” on Facebook. Other options include promoting the offer on your website or blog and via email, and in those cases, many of those people won’t already have Liked your Page and that’s how you’re going to use Offers to build your fan base.
As I mentioned, when you create an Offer it is posted to your Timeline and just like any status update, that post will have a permalink. By copying the URL of that permalink and using the link on your website or in an email you’ll be able to drive traffic to your offer. For example, if you have a restaurant you could put a nice ad on your home page that says, “Click here for a free Margarita” and link to the Offer permalink page. But, here’s where I’m going to suggest a different approach so you not only bring new traffic into your place of business but get them to Like your Page as well.
To redeem a Facebook Offer someone needs to click “Get Offer” below your Offer headline and then they get an email from Facebook with your offer. They can either bring that email in with them or show you the offer on their mobile phone. They DO NOT need to Like your Page to get the Offer. Now, obviously, people who see your offer in their newsfeed will be fans already but that won’t be the case if you promote the offer in a Facebook ad or on your website. So, here’s the solution.
Many of you are already familiar with fangating or offering an incentive on a landing page to encourage people to Like your Page. It involves setting up an app page that you can link to from your website, email signatures, other social networks, Facebook ads, etc. and instead of people who follow those links landing directly on your Timeline page, the first page they will see is your landing page. Landing pages provide an excellent opportunity for you to tell people what your Page is about and why they should click the Like button, and one way to entice more people to do that is to give them an incentive. Some people offer a free eBook to everyone who Likes their Page, or a discount on their first order or a free MP3 download of their latest song, and that’s how you would use the Facebook Offer. Offer visitors that free Margarita, free shirt or tank of gas for “Liking” your Page on your landing page and then just make sure to drive traffic to the URL for the landing page instead of directly to your Timeline page. You can link to the landing page from your website, emails, other social networks and from Facebook ads and now, not only will you be getting more people into your store but you’re also going to be getting more Likes.
What about those folks who don’t follow one of your links and end up on your Timeline page directly and don’t see your landing page? No problem, just create an eye catching app button that links to your “welcome” page and put your offer on the button. Do you think someone that visits your Timeline and sees a button below the Timeline cover that says, “Click Here for Free Gas!” or “Click for a Free Margarita!” will click that button?
By the way, when you offer the incentive on a landing page you don’t want to put the link to the Facebook Offer right on the landing page itself, you would put it on what we call a reveal page that only becomes visible after someone clicks the Like button. Once they Like your Page the landing page refreshes showing them a new page with your “Thank you for Liking us” message and a link to the Facebook Offer permalink.
If you need someone to help you set up your landing page Offer, please click here or email me at hugh at socialidentities dot com.
In: Facebook19 Apr 2012
I thought it might be helpful for some of you if I gave a very simplified explanation of what I feel are the Facebook Insights stats worth paying attention to and why. I have included a screenshot showing a comparison between two of my posts to illustrate my point. I’ve also included Facebook’s explanation of what each metric shows.
Reach: The “Reach” number is described by Facebook as the “unique people who have SEEN your post” but that’s not really true since obviously Facebook has no magic way of tracking whose eyes actually focused on your update. The number simply represents the number of times your update appeared somewhere and the potential existed for someone to SEE it. This could be in your fan’s own newsfeed or in their friends’ newsfeeds if they shared your story, or friends of their friends, etc. If you see a Reach that is higher than your actual fan count, that simply means that it was seen by lots of friends of your fans and of course, that is always a good overall sign that you’re doing something right. It also gives you a good idea of how well your updates are standing up against Edgerank. A high Reach compared to your total number of fans is a good indicator that Edgerank isn’t adversely affecting your views.
Engaged Users: How many people clicked on your post. Most of your fans are going to read the post right in their newsfeed but if you include a link, photo, or video and they click any of those things, it registers as engaging. If your post is strictly text, in most cases they don’t need to click anything so this number isn’t necessarily helpful in determining whether people liked your post or not, but it can be useful in comparing similar posts. For example, if you posted 5 videos in the last week and 2 of them had a high Engaged number and the other three didn’t, you could probably make the assumption that you should post more videos like the 2 that had high Engaged numbers.
Talking About This: This one is relatively straight forward since it simply represents the number of unique people who liked, commented on, or shared your post. It is a very important number though because it is the best way you have of seeing how popular your posts are. The more people who interact, the better your post probably was. This number gives you a quick general indication of what you’re doing right or wrong.
Using my two example posts you can probably tell which one had a link. Even though the second one had a few hundred less views it had a significantly higher engagement number, which means people clicked on it for some reason. The first was a text only post and the second included a photo. Now, please don’t take this to mean that all your posts should have photos, videos or links because all it tells us is that lots of people clicked on it for some reason, but it doesn’t necessarily tell me that no one read my first story. The first story didn’t require any engagement but it did have a higher reach.
The number that is most telling in this case is the “Talking About This” number. Since considerably more people liked, commented or shared the second story, one would assume it was the most popular. That may not necessarily be the case here though because the fact is that the first story was just a quick observation I posted very late at night and the second story is one that included a photo with an explanation of the new profile photos size and I posted it around noon. What the comparison does tell me is that it’s probably reasonable to conclude that an informative post is going to do better than a simple observation. A post with a photo, link or video is probably going to do better than one that is just text and it also tells me that it’s important to know when most of your fans are awake and using Facebook.
I didn’t bother explaining “Virality” because I think it’s obvious and a calculator will show you that it’s simply the percentage of people who interacted with the story in some way and the more people who like, comment or share a post, the better it’s virality potential.
Btw, if you click on any of the Insight numbers it will open a graph showing more details about that number that you can analyze but like I said, I wanted to keep this post simple.
In: Facebook17 Apr 2012
You may have noticed that for the past few days the size of the profile photos on both our personal and business Timelines was fluctuating. Depending on the browser one was using sometimes the photo would appear at the normal size and then other times it would be quite a bit larger. Of course this prompted a lot of speculation that Facebook was changing the size to make profile photos larger in response to new larger size of Google+ profile photos. Others were reporting they thought it was a bug and then eventually reported that it was indeed a bug.
Well, apparently it wasn’t a bug and Facebook has increased the size of our personal profile photos from 125 pixels to 160 pixels square. For most of you this will be meaningless but for those of you who got creative and designed a profile photo that somehow integrated into your Timeline cover, you’re going to need to make a modification to get things to line up correctly again.
For now, the size of the profile photo on our business Timelines remains at 125 pixels square but I really can’t think of any good reason why Facebook would have two different sizes so I suggest being prepared to deal with those images magically growing at some point too.
By the way, there has been no confirmation of any of this in writing on an official Facebook page but according to a “spokesperson” who was contacted by ZDNet, “I can confirm we’ve increased the size of profile photos”. Personally I hate taking the word of a “spokesperson” considering how often they seem to be wrong, but for now, that’s the closest thing we have to an official confirmation.
Edit: Actual confirmation from Facebook has finally appeared via email indicating that profile photos for “Pages” will be changing on April 26. Here’s the text of the email.
“On April 26, we will be updating the size of the profile picture on all Pages. We are letting you know about this small change in advance so that you can update your profile picture on April 26. The new profile picture will be 160 x 160 pixels and will sit at 23 pixels from the left and 210 pixels from the top of the Page.”