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January 20, 2013 @ 12:00 am
While some folks were sleepily reading about Zuckerberg in the paper, SMB attendees were treated to a live introduction to Facebook’s new “Graph Search” by Katie Harbath, Facebook’s Manager of Public Policy. Here is a pdf of her slide deck: Tips Tricks and Politics for SMBMadison (big file, be patient)
While still in beta (you can sign up to be on the waitlist here) this new product promises to blend the best of the social data gold mine Facebook holds onto with the wildest Boolean search combos you can come up with.
Facebook and the 2012 Election
To reach coveted voters, political strategists focused their attention with renewed vigor to social media outlets. Obama digital director Teddy Goff said “the problem with GOTV targets in the 18-29 year old age group is that half of them can’t be reached by phone.” In a classic case of toss your hook where the fish are, their research found roughly 85% of those without a listed phone number could be found on Facebook.
It became clear, politics is local, and politics is social. On Election Day alone there were 71.7 million mentions of the election on Facebook. The “social graph” of connections spread news, views and calls to action in a way that affected this election like no other. Although there are in actually more Facebook users (160 million) in the United States than there are eligible voters, the power of persuasion within the platform is where it showed its real power.
Harbath cited a Pew study which found that Facebook users are very politically active. 57% are more likely to persuade a friend or co-worker to vote; they are 2.5 x more likely to attend a rally (hey Madison, have any of those?) and they are 43% more likely to vote themselves. After the vote, Pew found that 45% of eligible voters were encouraged to vote through social media and 22% let their friends know they voted through social media channels. In the 2010 election, Facebook did an experiment with their 61 million users with the “I Voted” box. Harbath said “by friends seeing friends had taken some sort of action, they sent 300,000+ more people to the polls.” It all goes back to the value of social proof, and trusting the opinion of a friend over a stranger.
Facebook as a Strategic Platform
The Obama campaign’s Facebook app was credited as “one of the most important things in the campaign that was built.” What it did, and its applicability to businesses, is turn supporters into messengers. When a user was driven to barackobama.com, and clicked on the “share on Facebook” button, the user would automatically message to their friends that they committed to vote. It would then show a “connect screen” and ask the user to share with specific friends in targeted areas, thereby spreading social influence to key battleground states. In addition, campaigns turned to Facebook as a primary message center, and followed a best practice to frequently add a photo or graphic image. “Posts with images gain about two times the amount of engagement than any other type of post” said Harbath. The image posted by the Obama campaign stands today as the most Liked image in Facebook history to date. Harbath advised “if you can add images that evoke emotion it is a proven formula for increasing the likelihood of sharing.”
Facebook as a News Platform
Campaigns also turned to Facebook to not only break news such as someone running for a seat, but also as a response tool. The Obama campaign posted a simple photo with the caption “This seat’s taken” in response to the infamous empty chair routine by Clint Eastwood at the GOP Convention. “They certainly pitched it to the press” said Harbath, “but this was a quick way to get all their supporters to rapidly counter what the Republicans were saying.”
Facebook as an App Platform
Apps were another tool (using Facebook’s Open Graph technology) that campaigns used to integrate social into their traditional website. Harbath noted, “When someone took an action, it shared that action with their friends.” For instance, if someone was volunteering to make calls for a campaign, and they were logged in, it shared that they were making those calls on their news feed. “The more you start to see your friends taking action on a single thing, you start to wonder what you are missing out on” said Harbath. Statistics cited from the Obama campaign: one million Obama backers signed up for the “commit to vote” app, 600,000 friends of the campaign sent messages to five million contacts and one in five people contacted by a friend acted on the request. This jaw-dropping numbers caused Katie to ask the crowd, “How many of you would love a 20% return on investment?” Campaigns also used Facebook for petitions, merchandise, discount offers and innovative targeted advertising.
Harbath made sure to point out that the success of the campaigns use of social is very applicable to business. “Think about social and social design in everything that you are building. It will benefit you a lot in the long run, especially when you see how you can utilize supporters and long-term customers to bring more people into your door.”
Katie ran through a number of advertising products Facebook now offers. More info is at Facebook.com/ads. It includes a dizzying array of choices to segment and target your audience. Mobile news feed advertising has been “incredibly effective” paired with short content and a strong image. “It is harder to read the text on a smaller screen, but an image will be noticed right away.” A new product, called “Custom Audiences” allows a buyer to leverage already identified segments of customers or prospects. Simply send Facebook a list of email addresses, they encrypt it and then tell you what percentage of those email addresses have Facebook profiles, which then you can target with an ad and reach the exact people you want to.
For those who are already buying ads, Katie did announce a new advertising policy. With the proven strength of images over text, purchased display ads may now only have text cover 20% of an image. There is a new grid tool available that helps identify the amount of text translated to that restriction by typing into boxes. Five boxes of text = 20% and that’s all you get.
Tips and Tricks
Katie wrapped up with some rapid-fire valuable advice:
1. There is a new feature called “Follow” essentially every time you post something, you choose who to share it with, for instance everyone (meaning public), or only those in custom lists such as family or co-workers. This can be strategically inclusive or exclusive! It also allows an unlimited number of people to follow your updates, beyond the 5,000 friend limit. The difference between this and a “friend” is that you can follow the posts of someone without knowing them personally. You have to be logged in, then go to: www.Facebook.com/about/follow.
2. Your profile image is the most important image you will ever post on Facebook because this is the one that will appear next to all of your content and news feed, and most people will never go back to your page. “Make sure it is clear, recognizable and truly represents you or your organization.”
3. Post short, succinct content. “Post between 100 and 250 characters, less than three lines of text. Short posts receive about 60% more likes, comments and shares than posts of 250 or more characters. Keep it short, then add a link for the reader to click on to find out more.”
4. Post photos or videos. When you upload an image; post a caption and a link where you want them to take additional action. “Posts featuring an album, photo or video generate 180%, 120% and 100% more engagement than text-only posts respectively.”
5. Post regularly. Post at least once a day, three to four times a day is the magic number. “We find that 9:00-10:00 pm is the timeframe of greatest engagement on Facebook.”
6. Ask for your fans opinion. “Your page should be a place for conversation and a way to gather feedback.”
7. Use their “Questions” product for polls.
8. Fill-in-the blank posts are a simple and popular way to garner fan engagement.
9. Give your fans access to exclusive information. “It doesn’t have to be anything hugely profound, it can be behind-the-scenes photos, breaking news, announcements or anything to help them feel special.”
10. Your post content should be timely. “The more you talk about what people are talking about the more likely you are to appear in their news feeds. Fans are more likely to share and engage with you about topics that are already on the top of their mind.” Build a content calendar with holidays and key events so you can look ahead for content to start building. “People like to share things so they look smart to their friends, so anything you can provide people to pass that feels like unique or insider knowledge is a good way to go.”
11. You can now schedule posts. The mechanism to do so is a graphic of a clock that appears directly below the “write something” box.
12. If you have more than 5,000 fans on your page, you can organically target posts. Below the status update box is a small graphic that looks like a target with four points. The drop down menu gives options to add targeting to your post including gender, age, location, language and more. It will also give you an estimate of how many people you can reach. “The benefit of adding targeting to your Page posts is so only the most relevant people will see the post in their news feeds. Unlike when you limit your Page’s audience, adding news feed targeting does not affect who can see the post on your Page, so anyone can still share it.”
13. Mobile page management is now available for Android! (It was Apple only for awhile). The app is called Facebook Pages Manager. This allows you to manage your page completely from your smartphone.
14. Insights. The key metrics Katie recommends paying attention to are People talking about this and Weekly Total Reach. “People talking” is the number of unique people that have interacted with your page in some way, shape or form. This shows how high your engagement level is. Weekly total reach is the number of unique people over the last seven days that have seen your content, by your fans sharing with their friends. “Even though you have a fan, that is just the first stage of the relationship. You need to be engaging with them, sharing content that they in turn share as well. If they stop engaging with you, it is less likely they will see your content in their news feed.”
15. Ads Social Plugins to your website. They are tidbits of code that make it easy to like your page and share your content on Facebook. Go to Developers.facebook.com
16. Page apps can add a lot of targeted functionality. www.involver.com is one source.
The last thing Katie talked about is Instagram. It is a completely mobile app that allows you to easily share photos over all of your other social platforms. Some How tos are on slides 53-56.
Resources from Katie
As promised, Katie provided the following links to questions that were posed by the audience:
1. Effect of targeted posts
NPR’s work on these. Link has aa few stories on it: http://digitalservices.npr.org/term/facebook-geofocusing-experiment
2. Best practices for image size and resolution (issue with uploading albums not getting pulled in to news feed)
Albums issue is a bug we’re working on. The recommendation for image size and resolution tell folks to check the attached ads and sponsored stories guide. This will help anyone on ads and if they want image size they can look at the page photo post specs.
3. Trolling issue- solution when someone is attacking legitimate content (blocklists) (sample policies for banning users)
Moderation blocklist: https://www.facebook.com/help/131671940241729/
U.S. Army comments policy: https://www.facebook.com/USarmy/info
4. Resources for parents/teachers to talk to youthful users
5. About contests
Promotions guidelines are here on section E https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
6. Resources for reading to stay up on changes (sites/blogs/magazines)
7. Resources for free apps for tabs (best of)
9. About the subscribe option
10. Non-profits best tips and tricks
11. Shut off in settings so can’t be used in a sponsored ad
Here is more info on that. I was mistaken in that you can opt out of social actions but not sponsored stories. https://www.facebook.com/help/155389304528852/
12. Sign up for graph search beta
Truly a info-packed power hour! A heartfelt thank you to Katie for sharing so much rich content!
A big shout out to our sponsors: Hiebing, HiveMind, LLC, Engaging Social, pc/nametag, DiditDirect, Melissa Carlson Creative, Suttle-Straus, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Christine Schmieden for securing the beautiful auditorium for this event and Food Fight’s Market Street Diner in Sun Prairie for the fantastic coffee and breakfast treats.
Here is the Prezi if you really want to have the complete collection!