Venturing into the vast and opportunistic world of social media generally elicits excitement from most marketing and communications experts. But have we chosen the most efficient platform? And are we really making the most from our social media efforts?
Facebook is a great way to take advantage of social media for both personal and business purposes. It is one of the largest social media applications and has a vast reach with over 800 million active users, 50 % of which log on to their accounts on a daily basis. 350 million of these users do not just access Facebook from their PC’s – they log in via their mobile phones.
So Facebook has an excellent user base with good reach but which is type of account is best for you? Facebook groups? Pages? Profiles? Or business accounts?
It actually entirely depends on your purpose, requirement, and intentions for social media as they each have different functions. However, Facebook themselves have branded profiles as purely for personal use. If you are an individual looking to connect with friends, keep up with events, and engage with brands and interests then you need a Facebook profile.
Business accounts are as their name suggests – an account for individuals representing a business or celebrity (authors, models, actors and etc) used to manage Facebook groups and pages. As their main purpose is actually simply to manage other accounts they do not have the same functionality as a personal profile, group or page.
As for creating a social media presence for a business or person, you have two options – Facebook page or Facebook group. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each,
Only Facebook pages (and personal profiles) can apply to have a username URL. This is a short link that redirects to your Facebook page. The purpose of username URLs is for promotion so a person or business can say ‘Find me at Facebook dot com slash company or person name’. Facebook groups do not have this ability.
Facebook groups have excellent messaging capabilities – this is one of the most beneficial aspects of groups. Groups are able to send out mass emails direct to their members’ inboxes; however this is capped at 5 000 friends. Pages allow you to send messages to unlimited followers, but only page notifications, not inbox messages. Messages sent direct to inboxes are proven to be more effective in engaging conversation, but this feature becomes less useful if you are targeting an audience larger than 5 000 friends.
Facebook pages have ‘insights’ which is data collated by Facebook allowing you to analyse your social media use and determine your traction and engagement levels with your audience. They also allow you to see which form of media is being consumed most frequently – audio, posts, video, as well as many other features. This allows businesses to report on social media use, effectiveness and ROI to an extent. The group feature does not have insights.
Facebook pages are able to deliver promotional devices such as the ‘Find us on Facebook’ friends or a likes counter. This is basically an image displaying profile pictures of current likes that links to Facebook, allowing people to easily ‘like’ your page. This feature is also not available for Facebook groups.
Facebook groups have the ability to restrict access to certain individuals although it also depends on the type of group – there are three: open, closed, and secret. Open groups and Facebook pages work similarly – anyone can join and are automatically accepted. Any Facebook user can request to join a closed group; however, they must be approved by an administrator before being added. Secret groups cannot be found in searches, and the only way to join is to be invited.
Facebook Location Targeting
Location Targeted Posts
Facebook pages offer the ability to target the location of your post to a language, country, state or province, and even city. Allowing you to send specifically targeted messages based on language and location. This is an incredibly valuable tool for marketers, as they can create social media campaigns that use one page to focus on several locations and languages, while still sending specific information to each segment.
Both Facebook pages and groups are indexed by Google and generally receive good rankings. Although for SEO best practise Facebook pages allow for more opportunity to optimise their content.
For example including keyword rich text in the ‘About Us’ box is beneficial as it is high up in the html code and is one of the first and only places accessible to search engines.
Also Facebook usernames (which are available to pages, but not groups) allow you to enter keyword rich URLs which Google ranks as quite important.
Facebook Default Tab
You are also able to change your default tab with Facebook pages, but not groups. It is recommended that a keyword rich page such as your wall or info page is chosen above a welcome page.
One SEO practise available for both pages and groups is creating a relevant link neighbourhood. If you are a pet store, linking out to dog groomers, vets, and dog obedience pages creates a good link network. You should also attempt to receive links back to your Facebook page as this is a very effective way to gain rankings.
Overall your objectives and goals for social media will drive your decision in choosing which method to display your communications. However if you are an individual looking at keeping a circle of friends, hosting and attending events, and engaging with groups of interest and brands a Facebook profile is the most suitable option.
Facebook groups are an excellent way for people to congregate and discuss issues pertaining to a particular topic or issue. They are also an excellent means of creating and organising small to medium events.
As for a business or company that wishes to have a social media presence to connect and communication with their customers a Facebook page will allow you more flexibility in discussion, distribution, analytics, optimisation, and promotion.
Using social media tactics and strategies to engage your audience on a platform that is user focused rather than company focused is fast becoming common practise. But how well are you measuring your social media performance? How far is your content being spread? And how much traffic is twitter actually sending to your website?
Christopher Golda, a Canadian technology entrepreneur recently has said that most people struggle to accurately capture twitter analytics. Golda is the creator of BackType, a social media analytics platform that allows companies to analyse their social impact as well as social media’s impact on their business.
It was the acquisition of BackType by Twitter that gave birth to Twitter Web Analytics. Launched just two weeks ago, it is said to be able to,
- Track how much of your websites content is being shared
- Analyse the effectiveness of your twitter button integration
- Measure the amount of traffic twitter sends to your website
Currently this new technology is available to only a small pilot group, but it said to be made available to website owners worldwide in the next few weeks.
Is it worth trialling? Most definitely.
Measurability is key to success in a market that is already difficult to analyse due to the fast pace of the industry and many want to know how social media is directly affecting their bottom line. The ability to accurately report on the effectiveness of social media campaigns, the use of social media as a support for direct marketing, the ROI of outsourcing to social media consultants will be a well sort after tool.
The question is how effective will Twitter Web Analytics be?
Article Source https://dev.twitter.com/blog/introducing-twitter-web-analytics
Google has rolled out an update to their search results display by “blending” social results throughout normal search engine result pages. Social Circle results were appearing at the bottom of results, however they are now displaying throughout the top ten positions.
If your friend shared a link on Twitter and that page appears within your search results, their name will appear underneath that listing. It will display their Twitter profile picture, their name and the words “shared this”. E.g. Jacqui Jones shared this
Google’s algorithm now takes into account results from a social perspective. Even though Google is keeping the specifics of how social activity affects search results, there is speculation that the more frequently a URL is “shared”, the higher it will move up within rankings.
It’s important to note that Google’s Social Circle feature has been fully rolled out in the United States. It is still yet to be released in Australia and other parts of the world.
Social media and search complement each other and are increasingly becoming more intertwined than ever before. Google has launched its newest search product “Google Realtime” in an effort to provide real time content from comprehensive sources.
So far when I search within Google Realtime, Twitter results are primarily displayed.
Search results can be refined by search type (everything, blogs, news, discussions, videos, maps, shopping, books and more), time period and location.
Twitter retweets and replies to an initial tweet can be viewed as an entire conversation with additional comments indented for easier viewing. Messages are also organized from oldest to newest.
In addition, Google Realtime is integrated with Google Alerts, allowing for updates of specified topics to be emailed to you.
Twitter’s co-founder Biz Stone reported that Twitter’s search volume has increased by 33% since April 2010 growing from 19 billion to 24 billion searches per month in June 2010.
Most of this traffic however, does not occur on the Twitter.com property itself, but rather through API requests from Twitter clients such as TweetDeck and Seesmic. No one 3rd party delivers the main share of API calls.
In April 2010, Danny Sullivan spoke with Twitter’s director of search, Doug Cook, who said that at times, queries per day read 750 millions, and expects Twitter to have 1 billion searches per day in the coming months.
Walter Isaacson interviewed both Biz Stone and Evan Williams, founders of Twitter during the Aspen Ideas Festival, July 2010.
They stated the following metrics for Twitter are:
- 130 million registered users
- 70 million tweets per day
- 200 million users visit the site every day
- 800 million search queries a day
Biz describes Twitter as an “information network, to get information needed now”, rather than a social network. Their positioning statement “what are you doing now” has changed over time to “what’s happening”.
Evan says that Twitter Search is still in its infancy. Twitter messages are provided to Google, Bing and Yahoo to display within their search results, however even they say it’s a search problem that is yet to be solved. Essentially search engines like Google use “freshness” as one of their signals to find the most relevant information, however since it is real time information, there is no history for the document so it is currently very difficult to deliver the best answer.
New functionality on Twitter allows users to tag tweets with location meta data such as venue name, neighbourhood or city. The exciting thing about this aspect of Twitter if it is used widely enough is that it can provide users with extended search capability to find out what is happening around them.
View the full video interview with Biz Stone and Evan Williams.
I have a love hate relationship with Facebook. On a personal front, I love being connected to my friends and hate the idea of businesses marketing to me. On my professional side, I am a “search” person at heart, because I like being in control of what advertising is presented to me when I’m searching specifically for a product or service. Being found at the moment a customer is searching for you, in my opinion, is an ethical way of doing business. You are not bombarding people with messages that are irrelevant to their needs.
Since the inception of Facebook, there have been shifty marketers who create applications and trick people into providing information. I absolutely despise that type of behaviour and it has rubbed off on my perception of what Facebook is about, even though there have been many changes made by the company in regards to privacy policies and user data access.
However, I cannot ignore the ever growing popularity of Facebook, and now the numbers stare at me in the face, that its community is using the internal search engine to search for products and services.
In February 2010, ComScore announced there was a 10% increase in the number of searches from the previous month conducted on Facebook.com. This was a jump from 395 million searches to 436 million searches.
Jumping forward to April 2010, Facebook experienced 624 million searches, although there was a slight decline of 2% in May 2010 to 609 million searches. It will be interesting to watch the search growth in the coming months.
Even though there has been substantial growth in the use of Facebook’s internal search engine, we need to analyze this further. Do people use the search engine in the same way that people use Google or Bing? What are people searching for? A keyword research tool for Facebook would be highly beneficial, but I imagine this will only be made available if it is of benefit to Facebook itself, in the same way that Google has their Keyword Suggestion Tool for the purpose of encouraging marketers to advertise with them.
AimClear Consulting Services underwent a Facebook SEO Ranking Factors study. Following is a summary of some of those results posted by Marty Weintraub on June 24th, 2010:
- The Facebook Suggest Box targets users that have the search query within their name
- Facebook heavily focuses on personalization, by presenting results of pages you have visited previously
- Facebook will also prioritize results of relevant events that the search user or their friends are attending
- Facebook returns pages that the user or their friends like, when they have clicked on the “Like” button
- Fan Pages and Applications are returned within the results based upon the highest friend count
- Mentions of the business name, product or service by friends of the search user increases rankings within results
It is still early days for Facebook’s internal site search function and what impact this will have on the search industry. Over the coming year we will keep an eye on developments to watch how social search unfolds, particularly with Facebook.
I read some time ago that people will no longer “search” for information or at least it will be greatly reduced, due to friends and connections “sharing” information online through social networks. Why should I search for something, when content of relevance comes directly to me?
Yes it is true that our friends and friends of friends are sharing information, but it does feel like a barrage of noise some of the time. It is a constant babble that is difficult to mine through and to find what is pertinent to you when you need it most.
Research shows that we are more likely to trust recommendations from friends than from a stranger or from a business who is trying to sell us something. 78% of people believe what other customers have to say about a product or service (Source: Edelman 2008). If the customer happens to be one of your friends or a friend of a friend, then their recommendations, comments and research becomes even more believable.
Being called an “experiment”, we have just seen the launch of Google Social Search, a new search product that draws results from friends and friends of friends. It’s currently available in Google Labs for anyone to try and comment upon.
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