Social Round Up – Facebook Special

So I’ve been meaning to write a weekly post on all the useful things I’ve learnt each week as I’m constantly reading blog posts and news articles on all things social and I’ve finally got round to it!

This time it seems to be pretty Facebook focused as Facebook HQ appear to be having something of a shake up and there a few important updates to be aware of. I also came across the following Social Media round up summarising global trends in social usage.

Social Media Round Up 2012

This week Insights consulting released their ‘Social media round the world’ report which highlights some great insights into how we are using social media on a global scale and what the key trends are.

To summarise This year’s main conclusions are:

  • The social media landscape has stabilised: the large sites are getting larger and the small ones are getting smaller. Consumers are only prepared to create new accounts for sites which offer unique functions (such as Pinterest and Instagram).
  • The mobile (r)evolution increases the adoption and usage intensity of social media.
  • Consumers just love to link with (a limited number of) brands.
  • 80-90% of consumers want to be involved in co-creation, open innovation and structural collaboration with brands they love. Brands are not yet sufficiently open to this.
  • Consumers are major fans of market research communities where they can collaborate with companies. After Facebook a research community is the second most preferred platform. Reason is that consumers want their feedback to have an impact; and they are convinced that research communities can have such an effect.

Facebook Updates their Algorithm

As many Facebook community managers’ may have noticed, a significant proportion of brand pages saw a decrease in total reach last week despite what looked like normal levels of engagement. As you may have seen in Adweek, new research shows that Facebook has halved the reach of brands’ Facebook page posts.

It’s claimed this was down to an update to Facebook’s algorithm aimed at strengthening the importance of user engagement with pages.

Many of the big players in the social world have been making claims around this for the last couple of weeks, most recently We Are Social managing director Robin Grant  who wrote that he asked social analytics firm Socialbakers to look into the issue in depth .Socialbakers then looked at the reach of 15,380 page posts made by the agency’s 157 most active brand pages between August 10 and October 9. The numbers had plummeted. In fact, the average post’s reach dropped by roughly 50 %.

The shift means that Facebook’s algorithm – known as Edgerank – will put greater emphasis on the proportion of users who respond to page posts, whether through likes, comments, shares or other interactions.

EdgeRank is the name of the algorithm which Facebook uses to determine what appears in their users’ news feeds and uses combination of three factors: Affinity, Edge weight and Recency.

As reported by The Wall, “The output of this algorithm is what determines how likely any post, or piece of content is to appear in a user’s newsfeed. More than a quarter of all time spent on Facebook is on the Newsfeed, so getting visibility here is key for brands to make their voice stand out against the background hubbub of Facebook.”

The official Line from Facebook: We’re continuing to optimize News feed to show the posts that people are most likely to engage with, ensuring they see the most interesting stories. This aligns with our vision that all content should be as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family.

This means high quality content that is likely to engage is more important than ever if you want to maintain visibility on Facebook.

Facebook page see fan numbers decrease as Facebook makes an effort to remove Spam accounts.

Back in August, Facebook estimated the number of illegitimate accounts at 83 million, representing 8.7% of its 955 million active accounts. After criticism from the marketing community raised concerns about the success of Facebook’s targeted advertising model, the platform started to delete fake “Likes”.

Social Bakers report some pages have seen as many as 100k fans disappear in 24 hours! Panic not though as for most pages the daily fan decrease represents less than 1% of total incremental fans.

This is a positive move for community managers who should see an increase in engagement with spam accounts removed as the fans left should represent a more engaged and potentially loyal fan base.

Innocent Smoothies – Facebook Customer Engagement

Whilst we are on the topic of Facebook and how to get around its recent algorithm updates I thought I’d highlight a great example of customer engagement on Facebook from Innocent Smoothies.

Innocent are well known for their great use of social media to engage with their audience but last week their MD Richard Reed took to the platform to offer their fans the chance to ask him questions about how he started the business and to ask for words of

wisdom on launching your own companies. This was in response to his appearance on ‘Be Your Own Boss’ a BBC program.

There was nothing fancy about this but the response was fantastic and just goes to show the value of having a channel that directly allows you to reach your audience. It also highlighted how Innocent have really used social media to inject personality into the brand rather than using it is a corporate communications tool. Well done Innocent

Facebook Launches ‘Gifts’ in a bid to increase revenue.

Launching in the US this week, Facebook Gifts will be integrated with birthday reminders so users see notifications encouraging them to purchase gifts for their friends which they can send directly to their Facebook wall. Buyers have the option to choose from a selection of gifts such as a £5 Starbucks voucher. Once they’ve made a selection, the recipients get an alert and provide a shipping address. Then the buyer enters credit card information to make the payment.

Facebook get lots of lovely data on their users and will of course make money from these transactions by taking a cut of the voucher/present cost which will vary depending on the partner and product. Facebook currently takes a 30% cut of transactions made with virtual “credits” purchased on the platform, which are almost entirely used for gaming.

The potential for Facebook to monetise this newly acquired data by offering it to partners who will be able to tap into the newly established on and offline connection between users who have now provided Facebook with an actual street address is somewhat daunting and will no doubt result in highly targeted mailing campaigns. Over all it’s a nice idea that will undoubtedly make us lazier at buying presents and overcome by spam. Watch this space.

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