Deeper Political Divides in Social Media in 2017

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You think 2016 was rough? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Trump. Clinton. Bernie. Obamacare. Make America Great Again. Black Lives Matter. Email servers. Putin. Benghazi. Wikileaks. Fox News. CNN. Trumpists. Snowflakes.

If you’re paying attention on Facebook, you know your friends’ opinions on many of the above subjects.

Some may think that with the election behind us and the inauguration happening this week that the heated debates are done. I think it’s just warming up.

 

The New (Ab)Normal

Just a few years ago, the public sharing of so much political nastiness was simply not done. At least it was not done by adults and professionals. But after the past year of raw political argument, we have lost all filters.

The incoming President of the United States has forsaken all filters including media editors and his own spokespeople in favor of instant Facebook posts and real-time Tweets. Love him or hate him, we’re now all doing the same thing.

 

Swapping Positions 2009 to 2017

An interesting change between those on opposite ends of the political spectrum is happening in 2017, and I don’t mean the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There’s a role reversal happening in the poli-social space.

In the US and much of Europe, Liberals are now taking over the role of opposition to the Conservative’s new position as the establishment.

For the past 8 years, Conservatives have played the role of the rebel alliance fighting the big-government empire. Think of that timeframe: for most of the lifespan of social media, or at least the lifespan of marketing and massive use on Facebook, Republicans have been on the offense in social media messages while Democrats have had to play defense. When President Barack Obama took office in January of 2009, the Democrats also had control of the US House and the US Senate. The Republicans used social media to attack that establishment. Eventually the tide turned back in their favor.

Now with the GOP in the White House, retaining the Senate, holding the House, and growing their lead across most state governments, it’s the Democrats’ turn to go on offense. This may lead to a great frenzy of counter-culture activity on social. We could be seeing the dawn of a new of 1960s style protest movement, although it’s a sterilized digital version where you don’t actually have to leave your phone to participate.

 

More #FakeNews

How do some respond to news that they just don’t like? Call it Fake News. Be prepared to see about half of the content shared on social media to be called fake news by someone. Caution: the more that label is used, the less of an impact it has.

I personally plan to save the fake news moniker for so-called established news sources that publish false news and ignoring the phony sources that pop up.

 

More Unfriending = An Opportunity for Marketers

On my own personal Facebook account was unfriended by just one friend, but unfollowed or hidden by an untold many due during the 2016 election. Once some people start trimming their friend lists, it’s easy to continue. This could be the start for many Facebook users to scale down their list of friends to their real friends, or more likely, those who share many beliefs.

Here’s where my marketing friends (the real and the Facebook kind!) can find an opportunity in this mess —

Friends’ posts in the newsfeed rank higher than anything from brands or publishers since a June 2016 Facebook update. More unfriending means more prime real estate for your brand’s content on a fan’s newsfeed! Don’t give up on organic Facebook posts quite yet. After a divisive year, there may be a lot of holes to fill!

For more discussion on social media trends we’re spotting for 2017, check out this recent episode of Social Geek Radio with my co-host Deb Evans and special guest, my Qiigo colleague Liane Caruso!

 

 

How Your Brand Can Get 10X More Organic Reach on Facebook

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As Facebook organic reach continues to drop, some marketers are completely abandoning all hope of having fans see any unpaid posts.

On Social Geek Radio and on this blog, we’ve recently discussed how Facebook Live is like “old school Facebook reach” (thanks to Nick Powills for that phrase!). But what if you simply want to drive fans to your website, landing page, or blog?

The prevalence of Facebook Live videos is further hurting the organic reach of your shared link. It’s a zero sum game; that great organic reach attained by other brands’ Facebook Live videos will take away from your posts’ reach.

How can we get old-school reach numbers on old-school links?

 

Override the Link

While all organic reach is down, links to posts and pages appear to be doing far worse than photos. Using that to our advantage, we can share a link just as we would share a photo.

Here’s how:  Hold on to that copied link that you would normally paste in the posting area. Instead, select Photo first and upload an appropriate image for the post. You may want to first go to that blog or page and save an image from the page. After you’ve uploaded the photo, now you can paste the link. Add text before that link and you’re done.

I’ve been doing this consistently on pages I am managing over the past few months while also occasionally posting similar links as links on alternate days. My Photo + Link posts are all getting 20% to 45% reach each day! The Link posts are getting 2% to 10%.

The Photo + Link posts get 10 times more reach than the links alone. If you’re doing this now or will being trying it out, I’d love to hear about your results!

 

FranTech 2016

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Digital Marketing … Technology … Franchising … if your business depends on any 2 of these 3, then you should attend FranTech this year. Registration just opened for FranTech2016 October 26-27 in Austin and the agenda looks outstanding.

I am looking forward to moderating a discussion along with my Social Geek Radio co-host Deb Evans on the digital marketing plans of an up & coming franchise system. We’ll be interviewing the marketing pros from SafeWay Driving who will share how their marketing tactics are growing their business (and saving lives along the way!).

Join me and my team from Qiigo in Austin and register for FranTech 2016 today!

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Using Snapchat for Business…Reluctantly

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Why We Don’t

Here are the top reasons many marketers have given me when I’ve asked why they’re not using Snapchat for their business.

  1. I don’t see a viable use for business
  2. It’s for kids
  3. By the time we get rolling, it will be replaced with the next “big thing”

All of these things were said about Facebook in 2010. And the internet in 1995. And probably television in 1950!

 

Why We Should Dive In

Snapchat’s potential for brands lies beyond sending funny pics that disappear. This week on Social Geek Radio, Deb Evans and I will start our exploration into Snapchat for your business with guest Sarah Shah who will guide us through the Snapchat features that brands are using to engage. Join this discussion at socialgeekradio.com

Diving into live streaming video apps Meerkat and Periscope also helped get our creative juices flowing for the advent of Facebook Live for businesses. So learning Snapchat’s business applications now may prepare us for the coming changes of the Facebook properties Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. All of them compete with Snapchat in some manner and the commercialization of each will be driven by that competition. 

 

When? Now.
 
When do you need to get onto a new social network? Right after it appears to make an impact and right before your competitors do. That window is now for Snapchat. Hang with Social Geek Radio for this one…we’ll figure it out, even if we do so reluctantly!

 

Anchor: Radio By The People

 

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What Instagram is to photos and Periscope is to video, Anchor is to audio.

Anchor was a big hit at SXSW this year much to the pleasure of its investors and founders.  Thanks to my Social Geek Radio co-host Deb Evans for hipping me to the hippest place in the social sphere today. In fact Deb featured Anchor last week on our Social Geek Radio podcast’s #GeekItOut segment.

Anchor is simple app that allows users to broadcast short audio clips and it allows followers to engage and respond via audio clips as well.

For me, the most effective part of Anchor is the easy integration with Twitter. I don’t think many people are interested in cultivating a new community and new followers. While you can manage a group of Anchor followers, the key here is using Anchor as an, uhhh, anchor for audio-only content and sharing it to your current community on Twitter (as well as Facebook). In this case, Anchor is a lot like an audio YouTube: a link vault of short clips that you share on other social media.

I also like Anchor’s onboarding process. No Facebook blue arrows or anything to read; Anchor sticks to its audio focus and has a friendly voice talk you through a fast setup. Nice touch.  (Note to Ello: I’m still waiting for you update my password.)

Give Anchor a try now and connect with me there. Would love to hear your thoughts there! 

 

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Shot of a recent Wave on Anchor

 

 

 

Don’t Just Tweet Your Booth Number

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Tweeting your booth number = Junk Content

You know it’s getting close to the big annual conference in your industry when every supplier starts Tweeting their booth number.

My team, colleagues, and friends are gearing up for #IFA2016 from the International Franchise Association and we’re seeing it all over the place.

These companies don’t share anything all year then suddenly think, “Hey it’s nearly convention time. Now what was that Twitter password…?”

They’ll log into Twitter to let the world know they’ll be at booth #123.  Oh and they’re giving away an iPad, because everyone will flock to the booth for that. And then they’ll go silent for another 11½ months.

Twitter is dying my friends. And it’s mostly because of junk content like that.

 

If Not The Booth Number, Then What?  

A few weeks ago, my Social Geek Radio co-host Deb Evans and I discussed some other things to share on social that might give some more value to your fellow conference-goers. Here are a few from our podcast:

  • Share details on a speaker you’re looking forward to hearing.
  • Post about a topic that’s on the agenda and get an engaging conversation going ahead of time. (This is what I like to do most)
  • Ask who else is en route and suggest meeting for coffee and chat. (This is what I need to do more of myself!)
  • If you’re familiar with the location, share items about the history, food, entertainment, transportation, or anything else out-of-towners might find interesting. (Deb is great at this)

 

But What About That Booth We’re Paying For?

Can you slide in a mention or two of your promotion? Absolutely! But I always suggest your social content be at least 80% about OTHERS and at most 20% about YOU. So after 4 or 5 updates on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook about the conference or other people participating, go ahead and share something about your promotion, contest, giveaway, or trade show activity. As long as this isn’t the only thing you’re pushing out, it’s cool.

 

I’ll be Tweeting a couple of booth numbers later this week for the IFA Convention myself, to let anyone interested in the Social Geek Radio podcast know where they can join us live. In fact, I’ll post it now! We’ll be at the Manalto booth (#461) on Sunday 2/21 and at the 1851 Franchise booth (#134) on Monday 2/22. Now that that’s done, it’s back to more posts about Others. See you at the show!

 

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Digital Trends with Scott Monty on Social Geek Radio

 

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This week’s special guest on Social Geek Radio is Digital Marketing leader Scott Monty!

We’ll chat about Marketing Trends, the Auto Industry, Sherlock Holmes, and everything else in Scott’s wheelhouse.

Download Wednesday night at 8pm ET:
http://socialgeekradio.com

Subscribe now to Social Geek Radio on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/social-geek-radio/id372755526

 

Also, check out Scott’s weekly newsletter covering the latest news in digital marketing each week!

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The 2016 Model of Google +

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Like an aging car model, Google+ has a fresh new look for the coming new year.

I was a huge proponent of G+ for many years. Since its inception, I have told countless peers, friends, clients, and all marketers that they must get on Google+ now, share your brand’s content, and engage! 

With the new model of Google+, I can tell you now that I’m not so sure how to tell a brand’s story there. And, the chances of engaging with customers are nearly nonexistent.

Of course, there’s still an important SEO factor. But this will be replaced by search results showing consumers your Google My Business page, Google Places page, and your brand’s website. (Until 2017 when we make all websites irrelevant and just drive people to your Facebook page. But I digress…)

Through the lens of content sharing and engaging, Google has succeeded in taking the social out of social media marketing. There’s just no one engaging. And most of all, I don’t see a path for marketers to pull in new fans and customers to G+ pages and compel them to “follow” the pages, when the pages are now harder than even to find. 

 

Recommendations for using G+

I recommend not spending much time or many resources on Google+. However, sometimes when everyone else is going another way on social media, it just might be worth hedging a bit and trying one more time, perhaps from another angle.

So if you’re marketer who’s not yet ready to give up on Google+, or if you’re true Social Geek and want to check out Google+ again, here are a few recommendations and tips:

G+ Tip: Use the mobile version only

It’s mobile or nothing. Maybe you’ll want to use the desktop version to set some things set up but then walk away.  There are just too many areas to make the desktop version usable by anyone. People? Well, business pages are here too. Pages? My business? All of the confusing navigation from the desktop version is missing in the mobile version – and I’m glad!

In the mobile version, there are only 3 areas:

1. Home – feed of updates from your friends and brands you follow (just like Facebook, and just like the “old” Google+).

2. Communities – like a more visual Facebook or LinkedIn Group.

G+ Tip: By sharing things here, we can reach and engage with people without “friending” them and letting them into our personal lives (what many are hesitant to do on Facebook).

3. Collections – like Pinterest or Instagram; you’re sharing images of your favorite things.

G+ Tip: When you add a post to Communities or Collections, it also adds to your timeline with an indicator that it’s also part of the other group. No need to add twice!

G+ Tip: share photos and text from the mobile version, try to avoid sharing links for now. An early glitch shows that when saving a link to a blog post, the photo I chose to be the thumbnail does not appear in the mobile version of the same post.

 

For further discussion on the new Google+, please check out this week’s Social Geek Radio podcast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving! Oh My God, They’re Turkeys!

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Theatre of the Mind

In 1978, television give a big Hat Tip to radio’s “theatre of the mind.” On WKRP in Cincinnati, you “saw” the whole horrific turkey drop, but you never actually saw a single turkey! 

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Art Carlson: “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

The art and science of radio allows for intriguing storytelling due to the need to describe in detail the events and subjects.

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I recently listened to a fascinating interview with President Ronald Reagan from the mid-1980s discussing his early stint broadcasting University of Iowa football games on WHO-AM Des Moines. When asked if he would have moved into TV sports broadcasting if he hadn’t gotten into film and eventually politics, he surprisingly said no. He felt that his strength was verbally telling the story and painting a picture of the action. Radio needed that, but Television didn’t.

Podcast Storytelling

All marketers talk about storytelling, but most have bypassed content marketing in audio form. Podcasting may be the simplest and most cost effective way to reach a targeted (and potentially large) group of customers. You share industry news, discuss relevant topics to your customers, and tell your brand’s story. And you don’t need studios in Cincinnati, Des Moines, or anywhere else to get the word out.

Mass versus Niche

One of the issues with terrestrial radio that lead to today’s listenership challenges was the race to appeal to too broad of an audience. The strategy of least offensive programming where stations and groups played content that neither turned off nor inspired listeners created a universal blandness up and down the dial.  

With podcasts, no niche is too small and no subject is too inside. Podcasters aren’t aiming for mass audiences; they’re connecting with smaller, specific audiences.  

For more on content marketing and social media, please join me on the Social Geek Radio podcast. The show airs Wednesday evenings, and is free via download here or on iTunes

Is Facebook Replacing the Internet?

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Facebook. It’s where your customers are.

Just a couple of years ago, many digital marketers frequently forecasted the end of Facebook:

It surely won’t dominate for long. There must be some Facebook killer out there. Be platform agnostic – don’t build your business only on Facebook.

But now, unless your customers are a small niche group, they are on Facebook and spending more time on Facebook than ever!

Sure, there’s also still great value in Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and … well, I guess just Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Snapchat, Pinterest, and the rest all have their place, and are great for some brands and audiences, but not all.

Play the numbers. Your customers are on Facebook and spending less time on the non-Facebook portion of the Internet. And that portion may be replaced or eaten by Facebook. Here are some parts of your digital world that may soon be replaced by Facebook and a next step for each to help you prepare.

1. Facebook Replacing Your Company Website

Some consumers already won’t leave the “Friendly Confines” of Facebook. In the months and years ahead, fewer of them will be likely to leave and go to some corporate website.

If your digital marketing strategy only focuses on driving people from Facebook to your website, consider skipping this step and engaging that audience while they have given you some attention.

What activity can customers do on your website that grows your business? Ordering product / eCommerce? Making appointments? Downloading videos? Do that same thing on your Facebook page.

Next Step: Look at your website and replicate the business-driving activity.

2. Facebook Video Replacing of YouTube As a Social Video Channel

Facebook is taking a big bite out of YouTube’s video ad business. At the same time, we should look at the current state of using these platforms to share organic video content.

YouTube is amazing, but it’s a repository, not a social channel. Sure, continue to upload all of your videos there for consumers to find through YouTube / Google searches, but don’t drive your Facebook fans there. Where would you prefer customers spend a few extra minutes? On your Facebook page where they can engage and communicate with you or on your YouTube channel, which lends itself more to snark from trolls than genuine customer engagement?

Next Step: Start posting your original video content direct to Facebook, not links from YouTube.

3. Facebook Ads Replacing Online Ads

The Ad Blocking trend is a HUGE opportunity for your brand on Facebook.

Ad blocking tools block nearly all types of mobile ads. But what’s not stopped? Facebook boosted posts (as well as Twitter promoted Tweets and other social ads).

Steve Rubel of Edelman recently wrote that this situation will make earned media more valuable and I absolutely agree. The way to best draw new customers to your brand is with interesting and relevant content. And the best way to attract consumers to that content in the first place is by paid ads on social channels.

Next Step: Jump into Facebook ads, particularly boosted posts now.

What other parts of the Internet do you think may soon be eaten by Facebook?

Please share in the comments section below. We’ll continue this discussion on this week’s episode of Social Geek Radio with my guest digital strategist and author, Chris Adams!