Step Up Your Social Ep. 10 — Facebook Wants You To Know What Your Competitors Are Doing... So Does Google
Don’t you wish you had a magic wand you could use to see what your competitors were doing well, so that you could grow your own business accordingly?
Facebook has a free feature, available to all Facebook Brand pages, that might as well be a magic wand. Yet so few brands are taking advantage of this simple, powerful and important feature.
So let’s dig into Facebook’s “Pages To Watch.”
Afterward, we’ll cover some other helpful and free tools you should be using to keep tabs on your competitors across the internet, including mailing lists, other social channels and the almighty Google Alerts.
Full Episode Transcript
Don’t you wish you had a magic wand you could use to see what your competitors were doing well, so that you could grow your own business accordingly? Facebook has a free feature, available to all Facebook Brand pages, that might as well be a magic wand. Yet so few brands are taking advantage of this simple, powerful and important feature. So let’s dig in to Facebook’s “Pages To Watch.” Afterwards, we’ll cover some other helpful and free tools you should be using to keep tabs on your competitors across the internet. But first up: Pages to Watch.
To access this great feature, go to your brand’s Facebook page. At the top, you will see a menu bar including the following items: Page, Inbox, Notifications and then Insights. Click there. If you haven’t been to your insights yet, you are missing out on a ton of valuable information. We’ll do some more deep dives into Facebook Insights down the road. But for now, let’s just stick to this particular tool.
Once you’ve clicked Insights, you’ll be on the “overview” page. Scroll down to the bottom and you should see a section called “pages to watch.”
If you have never been there before, chances are Facebook has auto-populated the section with pages they think you might want to watch. If they guessed right, great. If not, simply hover over the number on the left and you can delete it from your list.
To add new pages, click the option to “add pages.”
Once you have your pages set up, you’ll see some very basic data: the name of the page, it’s total page Likes, the percent it grew from last week, how many times they posted this week and what their engagement this week has been. None of those data points are all that useful. BUT, if you click on the name of any of the pages, something interesting happens.
Facebook opens up a pop-up box and shows you that page’s top content from the past week. Top content in this case means that it had the highest combination of reach and engagement of anything that page posted this past week. And you can scroll down and see all of their content from the week, ordered by how popular it was for their audience.
Quite a feature, right?!
Bear in mind, when you follow a page, they have no way of knowing you are doing so. So if you want to know what is working for your competitors, without having to continuously go back to their page and scroll through their feed, you can just pop on over here every couple of days and easily keep tabs on them.
If you see that several of your competitors are sharing an article or a meme and it is resonating with their audiences… well don’t steal their content. But definitely do be inspired by it!
The content that is working for your competitors will probably also work for you. Follow along, learn, and create your own content accordingly.
And here’s the thing, while of course you should be watching your competitors, don’t limit yourself to them. Follow influencers in your field, relevant journalists or publications, even high value customers if you they are using brand pages.
Figure out who’s success you most want to track, and then spend a few minutes setting up your Facebook Pages to Watch. It will be an amazing tool you can use indefinitely moving forward.
While we’re on the topic of tracking your competitors, influencers, high-value customers and the like, let’s cover a few ways to do so outside of Facebook.
First of all, if the people you want to follow have public mailing lists, sign up! There’s no better way to know what they are excited about, then to see what they are sharing with the people they care about most. It probably goes without saying, but you might not want to use your company or organization’s branded email to sign up for a competitor’s email list. So use your gmail address, or create something new specifically for this purpose. While it might seem weird to be on their list, don’t forget, unless they are limiting sign-up (and this is important: don’t lie in any way to get on their list!) they know that their list is public. And chances are, if you have an email, they’re on it! As far as influencers and relevant journalists go, you can use your branded email or not. Your call.
In episode two of this podcast, we covered the power and the importance of twitter lists. Twitter lists are a great way to follow relevant accounts. And you can use private lists to do so under-the-radar, even if your brand isn’t using Twitter as an outreach and communications tool. Go back and listen to that episode for more.
There are also plenty of third party tools out there that will track keyword mentions and send you alerts when those keywords pop up online. Some are free, most are not. But one powerful one that is free is google alerts. If you haven’t set up google alerts yet, you should do so immediately.
To do so go to google.com/alerts. Once there you can put in some relevant keywords and let google know that you want to receive email alerts whenever those words are used online. It’s important to know that google alerts don’t track content from social media platforms, so don’t expect to see Facebook or Twitter mentions on there.
But if someone mentions you or your brand in a blog post, or on their website, Google will usually catch it and send you an alert.
And here’s the thing, you can select if you want google to send you an alert as a mention happens, or to instead send you a daily or weekly digest of all mentions. For your brand, you should get those alerts as they happen. Unless people are talking about your brand numerous times a day, you want to know you’ve been mentioned as soon as possible. But if you also want to use them to track competitors, industry keywords, influencers and the like, you might not need them rolling in as they happen and you can opt to receive those alerts as part of a daily or even weekly round-up. The choice is yours.
One other cool thing you can do with google alerts is set them up for high value clients so that if that client gets an award or someone writes a story about them, you can be amongst the first to reach out and congratulate them. Alternately, you can let them know if you find something problematic that they might want to deal with
The tools are out there for you to keep tabs on the internet. The set up is relatively simple and the rewards can be immense.
So I’ll finish this episode with the same question I started it with: Don’t you wish you had a magic wand you could use to see what your competitors were doing well? Turns out, you do! You just have to take a moment and set it up.
Social media can be an overwhelming place, especially when you feel like you don't speak the language.
You’re scrolling through your social channels and you see a bunch of random letters tacked together — TIL, FWIW, IMHO — it can be hard to even know where to start.
So in this episode we cover a list of social media acronyms you should know. This list is neither meant to be exhaustive nor fully up-to-date (since internet language is constantly evolving!).
But in the meantime, you should probably know all of these acronyms if you want to keep up with your customers and your audience.
Any we missed? Tweet them at us using #StepUpYourSocial. In the meantime, HTH (Hope This Helps!).
NOTE: This list was modified from a previous blog post I wrote which you can find here.
Full Episode Transcript
Social media can feel like an overwhelming place, especially if you feel like you don’t speak the language. You’re scrolling through your social channels and you see a bunch of random letters tacked together — TIL, FWIW, IMHO — it can be hard to even know where to start.
So I put together a list of social media acronyms you should know. This list is modified from a blog post I wrote a while back which you can find at bit.ly/suys-acronyms. This list is neither meant to be exhaustive nor fully up-to-date (since internet language is constantly evolving!). But in the meantime, you should probably know all of these acronyms if you want to keep up with your customers and your audience.
If you come across any others you aren’t sure about, Google can almost always provide an answer pretty quickly. But if you find yourself stumped, feel free to reach out on Twitter, Facebook (I’m at Reverbal Communications) or drop me an email at email@example.com and I’ll see if I can’t offer an assist.
Without further ado, here are some social media acronyms that you should know:
TFW you open a book and find the author’s signature in it.” In other words, it’s a nice feeling that everyone knows and you are currently enjoying. Lean into it!
Any that I missed? Share them on Facebook or Twitter using the #StepUpYourSocial. In the meantime, HTH (Hope This Helps)!
There are 5 keywords that, when used in a post on Facebook, automatically limit your post's reach. Facebook has labeled the tactic in question as "Engagement Bait."
While Engagement Bait first started being penalized in the Facebook algorithm over a year ago, Facebook just recently began applying their penalties to video content, as well as to text.
In this episode, we cover the what, the why and the how of Engagement Bait, as well as some tips for avoiding it.
Full Episode Transcript
Here in Madison, there’s a music venue that used to run this really clever ongoing campaign — they would give away a free pair of tickets to an upcoming concert. To enter, all you had to do was tag the person you would bring with you in the comments if you won. Then they randomly selected one lucky responder to nab a free pair of tickets to the show.
But really, the biggest winner in this contest was the venue.
The contest cost them 2 concert tickets, but hundreds of people were identifying and promoting the shows directly to their friends. And not just any friends, but the friends they most thought would want to go to the show. So while two people got to go for free, hundreds of potential fans were being tagged by friends and notified that a show they might be excited about was right around the corner.
And not only that, the Facebook algorithm would have been going nuts seeing all of this organic engagement the venue’s page was generating. Every time someone tagged a friend, they were micro-targeting one person, but also telling Facebook that this content was hot and they should show it to lots more people. As far as the venue was concerned, this was a win/win.
And all it cost them was a pair of concert tickets!
I used to see this tactic employed on my Facebook feed all the time. You probably did too. And then one day, it just stopped.
That’s because in late 2017, Facebook labeled this type of content as “engagement bait.” And they started penalizing it in the algorithm.
Because Facebook can’t actually know your intention when you share a post, they defined engagement bait pretty broadly as simply any post that mentions one of the 5 following words:
It didn’t matter the context, using one of these words simply caused Facebook to devalue your content in the algorithm. Meaning they literally showed your post to fewer people.
As a marketer, this might be annoying. As a user though, you can probably understand why they did this.
While I loved that the concert venue was giving away tickets (I even won a pair once!) the tactic of asking people to tag their friends can get get to be pretty spammy. Like this post if your an Aries doesn’t do much to create meaningful conversations or connections online.
When Facebook first announced the new rules around Engagement Bait, they only applied to the text in your post. Then they updated it to also apply to text in the comments (as lots of clever marketers would simply make their engagement request in the first comment rather than in the post itself).
And now, Facebook has finally made the final jump — they will also demote content that uses engagement bait words (like, vote comment, tag and share) within the audio of a video.
While this might seem frustrating, just remember, it is genuinely in Facebook’s interest that you enjoy the content you, and everyone else, sees in their feed. If not, you, and everyone else, will stop logging in. And then there will be no one to market too anyway!
You can still encourage engagement, you just can’t do so using 5 key words. Don’t ask people to “respond in the comments.” Just ask your question. Your users know how to respond. And don’t ask for the like — create content they will like without being prodded.
Of course you can ignore these rules all you want. But Facebook ultimately decides how many people will see your posts. So ignoring their rules means limiting your own reach. The choice is clear as far as I’m concerned.
Engagement is great! Engagement bait — not so much.
You start a new Facebook brand page. It's only natural to invite everyone you know to like the page.
The problem is, you're actually hurting your page's future growth when you invite people who like you — but don't care about your brand — to like your Facebook brand page.
In this episode:
• We dive into the Facebook algorithm
• Talk about the difference between "good" and "bad" likes
• Cover helpful tips to grow your page with the right audience
• The importance of using a brand page for your page (as opposed to a personal account)
• And a whole lot more
If you run ads on Facebook without first building quality audiences, it's like you're standing in the street, throwing expensive flyers in the air, and hoping for the best.
Facebook offers you the opportunity to microtarget based on tons of different factors.
In this episode, we talk about the importance of microtargeting.
We will also cover the three different Facebook advertising audience types:
• Lookalike and
We'll cover what they are, how to build them, and why you should be using them to run ads on Facebook.
If you enjoy this this podcast, please consider reviewing it on iTunes. Thanks for tuning in!
"Stories" are the Facebook response to Snapchat — fun, quirky bits of content that disappear after 24 hours.
Throughout the Facebook Universe — WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and Messenger, people are currently sharing over a billion stories every day!
Instagram Stories alone has over 400 million daily active users — more than twice as many as Snapchat.
Stories have all kinds of fun and interesting capabilities built directly into the platform.
In this episode of Step Up Your Social, we cover the what, the when and the how of Stories along with a bunch of tips, tricks and fun things you should try.
Listen today and let us know if you have any questions, or anything to add to the conversation around this fun topic!
That's right! I've started a podcast.
It's called Step Up Your Social and it's intended to provide quick, actionable tips to help you master your social media. I plan on making these all "flash episodes," around 10 minutes long or less.
That way you can hop in, learn something quick and get right back to work!
Have a topic you want to hear me cover? Drop it in the comments, tweet it at me, or use the hashtag #StepUpYourSocial.
In the inaugural episode, I discuss the difference between crossposting your comments and autoposting them.
One of those is good, the other is very, very bad.
Give a listen. And then get right back to telling your story!
Ever wanted to spice up your Facebook post, but didn't know how?
With a Facebook Note, you can add a cover photo, as well as pictures and GIFs throughout your posts.
You can also format your text with bold and italics, bullet and numbered lists, hyperlinks and much more.
So instead of just another boring picture, your post can look like this:
Did you know that Facebook lets you save things you want to come back to later?
Ever see an ad you were interested in, but didn’t have time to dig in? Maybe it was a post from your favorite digital storyteller and strategist, walking you through some awesome Facebook feature you definitely want to learn about, just not at this moment 😉. Perhaps it’s a picture of your baby nephew, who’s just too cute for words and you don’t want to lose track of all those awesome pictures of him in his adorable little onesies.
Facebook has you covered.
Anytime you see anything on Facebook — ANYTHING! — you can “save” it, offering you easy access to it whenever you want to go back to it in the future.
Go to any post on Facebook and click the three dotes in the top right hand corner.
You’ll get a dropdown menu. The very first option will offer you what looks like a ribbon icon and the option to “Save post."
Click it and that post/video/ad will immediately be added to your Saved Folder
How Do I Find My Saved Folder?
This too is extremely easy. Go to your homepage and look at the tabs on the lefthand side of the screen. Under “Explore,” you’ll find your “Saved” folder.
You’ll also find a bunch of other cool things.
For example: You know those “On This Day” posts Facebook shows you, reminding you about that time you became friends with that person you don’t even know 8 years ago? Well sometimes there are days or people we might prefer not to remember (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind anyone?). Click “On This Day” and then go to “Preferences” in the top right corner. You can choose people or dates to be excluded from those otherwise fun and helpful Facebook reminders!
Okay, so back to your Facebook Saved Folder
Click where it says “Saved” and anything you saved will be there waiting for you.
You can even search within your saved items!
Once you’ve saved a few items, you can then build collections, to make it even easier to navigate your favorite material.
I always say that the only constant in social media is change. I don’t write to tell you every time any little thing changes on a social channel — if I did you’d hear from me literally dozens of times per week. But not every update is worthy of a blog post or an email.
Recently though, a few exciting updates have rolled out that are worth sharing.
You can now “follow” a hashtag on Instagram, just like you would follow an account.
Once you follow a hashtag, Instagram will include top posts using it directly into your feed.
To follow a hashtag, simply search for it on Instagram.
Then click “follow.”
Then you will start seeing relevant content showing up in your feed.
I'm very excited about this update, although it’s a bit hard to follow Twitter’s logic. They recently doubled the character length for tweets from 140-280, thus making threads, and therefore this update, much less relevant. But they're not irrelevant, so it’s still an exciting update.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept of threads, check out this blog post where I explain what they are and how they work (along with a bunch of other fun Twitter tricks and tips).
Before, when you created a tweet thread, you had to keep responding to previous tweets. Which is fine, but can be clunky. If you don't reply to the most recent tweet in your thread, they get out of order and your thread becomes hard to follow. It can take a few moments for your tweet to post, meaning you have to sit tight with your thoughts, waiting for it to catch up.
Now if you want to create a tweet thread, simply start typing your tweet. Below, next to the “tweet” button, you will see a plus. Click it and Twitter will open up another tweet for you. Keep going until you are finished and then you can send them all as a single unit.
BIG IMPROVEMENT, even if it's a little less relevant that it might have been a few months ago.
Facebook Stories aren’t new, but they have pretty much been getting ignored. Stories were Facebook’s response to Snapchat. They are small pieces of content — pictures, short videos or text — that disappear after 24 hours.
They have all the fun Snapchat-style filters built in, along with a lot of other fun tools. Spend a few minutes in there and you will find tons of fun toys. And they are updated regularly.
While Stories aren't new, what is new is that they are now available to Brand Pages. (Until recently, only personal pages could create Stories.)
To access Facebook Stories for a Brand Page, you can use the new Facebook Creator app. Or, open the Facebook app on your phone or tablet (currently, Stories only work via mobile), and go to your Brand Page. Underneath where you it lets you “write something,” click “create story.”
Once you have finished creating your tiny, disappearing masterpiece, add it to your Story.
Then anyone who likes your page will see it at the top of their Facebook page anytime they login for the next 24 hours. It’s a great way to get in front of your audience and to cut through the clutter of the newsfeed.
Quick note: you can also use Stories for Groups, and Events for which you have said you are attending. The Event feature in particular has the potential to be huge, in my opinion. Once people start using them, it will give everyone at a party, a concert, an event, etc. a way to create content and see what everyone around them is doing in real time. The engagement possibilities for that one are HUGE!
Those are the three social media updates I’m most excited about at the moment. Your turn — any to add?
When Facebook Live first came out, I’ll admit it — I was daunted.
I’m supposed to go to stream live to the world without the opportunity for a second take? Ummm, no thanks!
I had to worry about sound, lighting, my "script," distractions in the background... It was daunting.
But here’s the thing — Facebook Live is a hugely important tool in your digital toolkit. I regularly work with clients who go Live on Facebook for the first time and find that their videos reach more people that like their page! (300% reach — yes please!!!)
We know that people watch Live videos 3x longer than videos that aren’t live. And that they engage with them 10x more than regular videos!
So yeah, apprehension aside — Facebook Live videos get people watching and engaging.
Before I ever went Live on Facebook for the world to see, I came up with a hack that allowed me to ease my way into the otherwise scary world of live streaming.
And here’s the thing: It’s so simple, you’re going to laugh.
Before going Live for an audience via my brand page, I went Live via my personal page with my privacy settings adjusted to “Only me.”
This meant I could practice being on camera, see how the video looked on my computer, hear the sound, play with the awesome built-in filters, and a whole lot else, knowing that I’d be the only to see my first take.
So here’s the step-by-step breakdown.
Open up Facebook on your smartphone. Where you would say "What's on your mind, choose "Live."
If that option isn't there, then just click into the post and then click on the camera icon below.
You will then get a list of options. Choose "Live Video."
Once you have done that, directly underneath your name, you will see a dropdown menu that has likely defaulted to either “Public” or Friends.”
Click on it and you will get a list of privacy setting options.
Select "Only me."
Now when you go live, the only person who can see your video is you.
When you are finished going live, instead of publishing it to your page, just delete it. Or publish it to your page (if you want to play around with any of the settings) and you can delete it later, comfortable with the knowledge that your video only had an audience of one (you!).
I hope this hack helps you get over the initial hurdle of going Live. It really is a powerful tool and I highly recommend you experiment with it as you are telling your digital story.
Want more tips on getting started with Facebook Live. I wrote up a helpful checklist, full of things to consider before, during and after your broadcast.
On Friday night, I went to see a Grammy winning bluegrass legend wow his crowd with songs spanning his 40+ year career.
Because I’m both a bluegrass nerd and a social media nerd, I streamed one of his songs via Facebook Live.
It was late on a weekend night and it didn’t get a lot of views in real time. But over the next 36 hours or so, it was watched a few dozen times. (And now I can go back and rewatch the band anytime I want on my personal Facebook page!) But truth be told, by Sunday night, I wasn’t thinking about the video anymore than I was about the drive to and from the show.
But then Monday morning, something interesting happened — my video was “liked” by the bluegrass legend it featured.
Now let’s be clear: I don’t think that this artist liked the post himself (although he might have). More likely it was a member of his marketing or management team.
But the notification that he had liked my video popped up, and I have to be honest — I got excited. Like, more excited than I probably should have.
I work in social media for a living. I know how this works. I know he probably has some marketing agency liking positive mentions of him online. But you know what: it still got its intended effect out of me!
Having him like my video felt like getting a high five or a quick hello from a bluegrass legend.
Does that handshake mean that we are suddenly best friends? Of course not.
Does it mean I can suddenly shred on the mandolin like he can? I wish!
Am I still excited enough that I immediately want to tell all my friends about it? Yup.
Liking that post cost him literally nothing (save for whatever he’s paying his agency to manage his social media—but that’s a story for another post). Yet it added to my excitement about the show.
Social media serves many roles, not least of which is customer service and community relations.
Think about yourself as a movie star. When you walk down the street, people recognize you. You can't stop and have lunch with every fan. You can’t even stop and take a picture with them all or you’d never get anywhere. But you can nod and smile to everyone who waves at you.
That’s what a "like" or a "favorite" is on social media — it’s a head nod from a celebrity. It doesn’t suddenly make you best friends or ensure that they will buy your product/go see your next movie/buy your upcoming album. But it shows the fans that you are real, and that you respect them as people, not just as consumers. And it only takes as much time to create that connection as you need to give a single click of your mouse or tap on your phone.
If you see a celebrity on the street, and you wave at them, you are going to tell your friends one of two stories:
“Oh my goodness, I just say this famous person on State Street. It was so cool!”
*** OR ***
“I just saw this famous person on State Street. He was kind of a jerk.”
You’re the celebrity. Which would you prefer?
People often tell me they don’t use Twitter because they can’t “say what they want to say in 140 characters.” That’s true, but probably not for the reason they think.
While Twitter allows up to 140 characters, the average reader won’t get past the first 100. That’s right—tweets between 71 and 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate than those creeping up towards 140. Even Twitter’s strict character limit is still too long for most folks!
But what about Facebook? Unlike Twitter, you can write significantly more in a Facebook post. If you are wondering, there is a limit—it’s 63,206 (because why not end this massive limit with a 6?!). So you might assume you should be utilizing more of those precious characters in your posts. But that’s actually not true.
A Facebook post with 40 characters or less receives nearly twice as much engagement compared to longer posts.
That’s right: LESS THAN 40 CHARACTERS.
The Three-Line Rule
This limit may seem a bit oppressive (and complicated—who’s got time to count every character), so I usually recommend what I call the three-line rule. Try to keep your content under three lines of text (not including your link).
Quick, easy, concise.
Can a post be too short?
Alternately, people often share links/pictures/videos without adding any context to the post. I HIGHLY recommend you offer at least a few words as to why you are sharing whatever it is you are sharing.
A link without context will tell us the headline of the article, but it won’t tell your audience why they should care. Are you excited about the news you are sharing? Or dismayed? Is there a change coming that your audience must know about, or just an interesting piece of information, should they have a few spare minutes? Add a few words and spell out your key takeaway(s) for your audience.
Another fun trick: you can use a pull quote. A pull quote is where you literally pick a sentence (or a paragraph or two) that sum up your key takeaway from the article and share it in quotes.
The same is true for pics and videos. Who’s in the media (tag them if you can!)? Where are you? What is happening? Give us the context we need to be excited about your content.
So to summarize:
IF you want to write longer posts on Facebook (and there are times where that might make sense), there is a smarter way to do so than by just creating a regular post with a lot of text.
When you go to your brand page to create a post, it automatically defaults to a general post. But if you notice, directly below where it says “Write something…” there are a bunch of icons with additional options.
Some are fun, some less so. Play around with all of them and see if any of them are right for you.
The one we are talking about today though is a Facebook Note. To access it, first click “See All.”
Choose to “Write a note.” Then, instead of your traditional post box, you will see this:
Notice in the header, you have the option to add a photo! While this post type isn’t as powerful as some blogging platforms, it’s quite a bit more interesting than a traditional Facebook post. After uploading a photo, you can give your post a Title.
Then start typing.
But you’re not done yet!
Click where it says “Write something…”. Then select the plus in a circle. You now have the option to drop in a photo or embed throughout your Note.
Or click on the paragraph button directly below the plus and you can format as you wish throughout.
So the next time you have a bunch of pictures from an event, instead of creating an album, try adding them to a Facebook Note, dropping in the photos and telling the story of the event. Or try creating a top ten (or other such number) that will be relevant to your audience.
While this won’t replace your traditional post options, it does offer you an additional tool in your toolkit.
Next time you create a Facebook Note, tag me. I’d love to see what you are doing with this fun tool!
I wrote a guest blog post for Indie on the Move entitled: 5 Ways to Use Facebook Live to Grow Your Brand's Reach. While the post is (obviously) geared towards musicians, I think it can assist any person or brand who works directly with people. Try and think about your own audience: what might a "behind the scenes" peak look like?; what would be the equivalency of your sound check?; what might your customer see as your "tour"?
If you have good answers to any of the above, share them in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter. I'd love to hear about your customer journey.
If you aren't sure how these examples can serve as metaphors for you and your customers, drop me a line. Maybe I can help you figure it out!
Without further ado, here are 5 Ways to Use Facebook Live to Grow Your Brand's Reach.
If you spend time on social media, you’re probably familiar with Facebook Live, a relatively new Facebook tool that allows you to broadcast live—in real time—directly to your audience.
While you probably know what Facebook Live is, you might not realize just how powerful it is.
Facebook, at least for the time being, is extremely committed to this tool and is offering all implementers a powerful free gift for using it: guaranteed exposure and engagement!
When you stream via Facebook Live, Facebook gives a notification to every one of your followers that you are currently live. If your followers aren’t online while you go live, they’ll get a notification that you were live. This simple notification all but guarantees increased reach and engagement over even your most well-produced videos.
So that’s why it’s important. But you might also be wondering WHEN you should use it. Here are 5 ways you can use Facebook Live to greatly expand your band’s reach.
1) Do a weekly Live session right from your living room or practice space.
Give it a simple catchy hashtag to demonstrate it’s part of a series. Exs: #MusicMondays or #TuesdayBluesday. Having the day of the week is helpful, to help brand it as something people should expect every week. One caveat: if you tell people you are going to do it weekly, YOU HAVE TO DO IT WEEKLY. If that is too much responsibility, then go with #LivingRoomSessions, or #FunkyFacebook. You’ll lose a bit in the process, because it will be harder for people to know when to expect it. But better they don’t know, then they expect it and it doesn’t happen!
Sharing music like this gives you a chance to connect directly with your audience in a very personal way. They log onto Facebook to see updates from their friends and family… and there is their favorite band or musician, playing just for them! It’s like a private concert for your fans. And the best part: it cost you nothing.
2) Working on a new album? Take us “behind the scenes” into the studio.
Show us your drummer setting up his drum mics or interview your sound engineer about how he gets that special signature sound. This is an easy way to raise awareness—and build excitement—about your new album.
Conversely, when you release a new album, go live to talk about the process. Tell a funny story from the studio, or the meaning behind one of the songs. Is the local record store selling your album? Go in with your smartphone and show it sitting on the shelves. You get to brag a bit about your accomplishment, your fans know where they can find your music, AND the record store will love you: you just gave them a bunch of free publicity!
3) Whether you’re traveling halfway across the country for your next show, or just ten minutes down the road, hop on Facebook Live and let us know how great tonight’s show is going to be.
Will you have a special guest (you don’t have to say who it will be!)? Will you be playing a new song? Is it your first time at a new venue? What better time to talk to your audience then while you’re on your way to a show. For those in other cities, they’ll be excited to hear from you. And for those in town, your video might just be the reminder they needed to call their friends and head on down to the venue!
4) This one is similar to 3, but different enough to get its own point: livestream part of your soundcheck.
If you don’t do a soundcheck, then walk around the venue and talk to your fans. Or show the line to get inside. Or even just tell us how much you are enjoying your pre-show beer! This is your last chance to make a connection before the show starts, and to get all those fans who haven’t yet committed to coming out, to give it once last consideration. Pro tip: Don’t ask them to come, just talk about how excited you are about the night. If your excitement is genuine, they don’t need to be invited—they’ll be eager to get there all on their own!
5) As your band grows, you have more and more fans who live further and further away.
Just because someone isn’t going to drive 6 hours to see your show doesn’t mean they don’t wish they could be there. Buy a tripod (you can get a good one for $20) and set it up on stage. Livestream a song or two. Hell, livestream the whole show. (You can go Live on Facebook for up to 4 hours at a time!) It might be too late for someone not at your show to come out. But this brings them into the party, makes them wish they were there, and all but ensures they’ll try harder next time to make it out.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive—far from it. There’s no shortage of ways you can use this powerful tool to grow your reach and engagement. Are you using Facebook Live in other, clever ways? Please share them with me on Facebook and/or Twitter. I’d love to hear about them!
If you need any additional help with Facebook Live, or with anything else related to your digital story, drop me a line. I always love talking social media and music!
Facebook makes it easy to invite those who like your content to like your page. Check out this simple trick and start growing your page today!
Ever wonder what your partners, competitors or market leaders are doing well on Facebook? Guess what? Facebook has you covered!
You can actually set up “Pages to Watch” and then track both their weekly progress and their top posts of the week. If you haven’t already set up this functionality, fear not—it’s easy!
First go to your Facebook brand page (you might call it a business page). Then at the top menu, go to your insights.
In the left-hand menu, you will be in Overview by default. This section will give you top-line info on your page, show you analytics for your most recent five posts and, if you scroll down, allow you to watch any pages you have setup to watch.
Bear in mind that Facebook offers these free tools (and MANY others) on a tiered system. Your page must have at least 35 likes in order for you to access your insights in the first place and it must have at least 100 likes to unlock the pages to watch feature. So if you don’t see these options, fret not. You’ll get there! And when you do, you have plenty of great new tools to look forward to.
Assuming you can see “Add Pages,” type in a page and select “+Watch Page.”
Once selected, it will show up in your Pages to Watch section.
Right off the bat, you’ll see the pages total page likes, their percent change from last week, how many posts they did this week and their engagement this week.
If you click on them within your list, you’ll get a list of their most popular posts from this week.
It’s worth pointing out, none of the information you are seeing in this section is private. You could see all of this by heading to their page and looking through their posts, seeing their comments, shares and reactions and tracking their page like growth on your own. But if you have many competitors, it can be a lot of trouble to keep up with all of them.
This functionality puts every page you want to follow in one easy-to-access place and shows you their weekly growth and engagement. And Facebook will include you in the list, so you can see how your own page compares.
As far as seeing their top content of the week, while this too is nothing private or hidden, it is a good practice to see what is working well for others in your field. There won’t be any state secrets revealed, but it will help you see what is getting people excited in your field on any given week.
So set yours up, and share anything interesting or exciting you learn in the comments, or on social. Follow and chat with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook is nothing if not dynamic. Understand how part of its functionality works today, and tomorrow you’ll notice that it’s changed. A week later, it may have changed yet again.
The goal shouldn’t be to KNOW everything about how the platform works, rather to spend enough time with it that you know how to grow and adapt with it.
Recently, Facebook made a change to how it displays a brand’s response time and it added an option to send instant replies to messages you receive through your Facebook page.
Both concepts are easy, and worth taking a moment to understand.
The Change: Response Time
Until very recently, Facebook published to your page how long it takes you to respond to messages you receive through your brand page. It might say a few minutes, an hour or a day. It also publishes your response rate.
Pro-tip: Even if you are going to respond to someone through another medium (phone, email...), respond to their initial message to let them know. For example: “Thanks for writing, I’m calling now.” It’s quick, easy, not at all awkward, and it allows you to maintain a 100% response rate on your page even when communicating through other methods.
While Facebook still publishes your response rate, they made a major shift regarding your response time. It used to be something you couldn’t edit or control (save for responding quicker to messages in the future). It was a report for your customers on the speediness of your response time. No more. Now, it is a tool that allows you to let people know how long they should expect you to take to return their message.
If you have someone working on your social media full-time, it should take you less than an hour. Or maybe even just a few minutes. Let people know that. But if it’s just you and Facebook is one of 1000 things you are managing, you can now let people know that it might take you a day to respond.
The set up is easy.
Go to your Facebook brand page. Directly below your avatar, you will notice a section that shares things like how many followers you have, how many have checked in with you and the like. The very first thing in that section will be your response rate and your response time.
To edit it, go to your page's Settings (located in top right hand corner of your page). Then click on Messaging in the left-hand menu.
From here, simply pick your (reasonable) time frame.
Pro tip: Be honest here, both for your own sake and for that of your customer. If it’s going to take you a day to respond, don’t say you will respond within an hour. Set up expectations that you can meet, and then work hard to meet them.
So that is the change Facebook made. But they also recently made a fairly substantial addition to their brand messenger.
The New Option: Instant Replies
You can now set up Instant Replies that will automatically be sent to anyone who writes to your brand through Facebook.
Let’s say you rarely check your Facebook messages, but you live in Gmail. Send an instant reply telling people that you’ll be in touch soon, but if they want a quicker response, they should email you as well. Or provide a phone number they can call. Or let them know you will be in touch, and send them to your website to shop/learn/take action in the meantime.
We can’t control how people choose to reach out to us. But with this new functionality, we have yet another tool in our toolkit to ensure happy customers and seamless customer service.
Not sure what to put in your Instant Reply? Drop me a line and let's figure it out together!
While many businesses and organizations see social media as a burden—just one more to thing to deal with—a smart digital strategy can help a brand not just tell its story to new supporters (customers, clients, donors, fans...) it can build relationships and create advocates from within its supporter base.
At its best, social media can be utilized to build a movement by:
From simple best practices to detailed strategic concepts, this presentation lays out a path to empower your supporters and strengthen your brand’s reach and engagement through social media.
I will be giving this presentation at Social Media Breakfast Madison's upcoming event on February 17th. Learn more about this volunteer-run non-profit organization with a focus on social media and reserve your free tickets today.
I gave this presentation at Madison Nonprofit Day. Here is what the Alnisa Allgood, the events creator, had to say:
"Josh is an engaging and dynamic speaker / trainer. He presented a workshop for our annual nonprofit / social good conference— the Madison Nonprofit Day Conference. His workshop, "Using Social Media to Build a Movement" was very well received. The audience loved him. He received top scores in both presentation style and workshop structure.
While this search method still works to find your friends in a city (as well as to search Facebook in many other powerful ways), Facebook has also replaced the ability to search through your friends by "current city."
I love Facebook. I use it for all kinds of things. But for a long time, my two favorite components of Facebook were:
1) Mutual friends and
2) Searching friends by current city.
The first one was great -- any time you meet a new person, you can head over to Facebook and figure out which friends you already have in common. It made life so interesting.
The second one was a must for traveling. If I was heading from Madison to Milwaukee or Chicago for the weekend, the first thing I would do was head over to Facebook and see which of my friends were living in my destination city.
Then Facebook removed the option. Then they added another way to do it through the My Friends tab. Then they took that one away. Then you could do it by searching for the city and choosing “friends.” Then that one went. [sigh]
I gave up. Facebook clearly didn’t want me to know which of my friends were in Madison and which were in Green Bay. So I went back to mass texts and word-of-mouth, not understanding why this had to be so difficult.
But good news: there’s a new way to search for friends by city on Facebook and it is extremely easy!
When you login to Facebook, at the very top of the page, you will see a search bar.
It’s where you search for friends, pages you like, cities, apps and anything else you want to find within Facebook.
The thing most people don’t realize though is that this search bar functions more like a real search tool than they realize. If you type in a person, a city or a page, it will show you that person, that city or that page. But you actually can make your searches significantly more detailed.
If you type in “my friends in Madison” [insert the name of any city], it will simply give you a list of your friends in Madison, WI.
If you type in “ice cream places in Madison” it will list all of the ice cream shops in Madison.
And so on.
It’s worth noting that once you have entered in your search, Facebook will show you results based on what they consider to be “top” finds for you. So that might mean they will only show you ice cream shops in Madison whose page you like on Facebook. Or they might show you posts from your friends who have written about ice cream shops in Madison. (Bear in mind this will not change existing privacy filters. You still won’t see any content from people who haven’t made their content available to you.)
But look at the tool bar at top and you will notice that you have numerous options for how to search.
Poke around in there and see what else you find. If you just want a list of pages for ice cream shops in Madison, click on “Pages.” If you want to see the most recent posts, click on “Latest.” “People” probably won’t get you far for this search, but when you are looking for which of your friends live in a particular city, this will be the tab for you.
Hope this was helpful. Have any other questions about social media you’d like to have explained? Leave a comment or write to me on Facebook or Twitter. I’ll do my best to answer your pressing social media questions.
Looking for more social media tips, tricks, strategies and hacks?
Check out my podcast Step Up Your Social. All episodes are short (~10 minutes or so) and provide quick, actionable tips to help you step up your digital marketing.
Tune in today.
Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about the fact that I’m nearing 1000 followers on Twitter (!!!). After writing the post, I started sharing it through social media. While posting it to Facebook, I chose to run it with three pictures. The first was the graphic I had made, proclaiming this exciting achievement. The second was a Twitter logo. The third was my own logo.
I linked the graphic (the first pic) and my logo directly to my blog post, outlining both the announcement and the free audits I was giving out to celebrate. But I also wanted a way to drive traffic straight to my Twitter page. That’s where the second pic comes in.
Let’s walk through this.
When you input a link into a Facebook post, Facebook will automatically go and scrape any pictures it can find on the page you are sharing and auto-populate them in your post. You can then run your post with all of them, some of them, or none of them. Generally speaking, you always want to leave one (or more) of these pics in place, or replace them correctly (more on this in a minute). By doing so, you ensure that a click on the picture will lead—not to an enlarged version of the picture, but—directly to the site you are linking. If your goal is link clicks, ensure that as many actions as possible deliver that result.
So let’s start at the top. Copy the link you want to share and paste it into your Facebook page. If possible, Facebook will populate one or more graphics to accompany your post.
Notice underneath the post, there will be several thumbnails, with small numbers in blue boxes in the top right corner.
By clicking the blue boxes, you can turn on and off these different pictures. Any picture with a number will show up in your post. You can also rearrange the order in which they are shown by simply dragging them into the order you prefer.
Notice the right-most box with the plus (+) in it? THAT is how you should add additional or replacement pictures to your post. Adding them in any other (and there are several) will sever the relationship between your picture and your link. Which is bad, unless that is your goal. (But if it is, why are you using a link in the post in the first place?!)
You can post up to five pictures with your post. These can be things Facebook pulls from the link, pictures you add in, or some combination therein. Unless you specify otherwise, all of those pictures, when clicked on, will lead to your original link.
But if you want each picture to lead to a different landing page, you can do that as well. And setting that up is easy.
First, choose which pics you want to be associated with the post. Then scroll over the picture (not the thumbnail) and you will notice a link icon appears.
When you click that link button, you will get a popup box:
From there, you can input any link you want. You can do that for each picture associated with your post. They each stand alone.
So check out the post I shared yesterday and try clicking around. You’ll notice that the first and third images take you to my blog post and the second image (the Twitter icon) will take you straight to my Twitter page.
Let me know if you need any help. Or share your own success stories using multiple links in a Facebook post.
Looking for more social media tips, tricks, strategies and hacks?
Check out my podcast Step Up Your Social. All episodes are short (~10 minutes or so) and provide quick, actionable tips to help you step up your digital marketing.
Tune in today.
Facebook runs using an amazing algorithm. It analyzes all of the information is how about you (where you live, what kinds of posts you like, where you check in and literally thousands of other pieces of information) and then it works hard to show you content that it thinks you will like.
Even when it comes to paid content, Facebook is working hard to show you things it thinks you'll like.
Before you call BS on this, think about. It makes sense for two reasons. The first is that if you are constantly seeing spam on your page, you are going to spend less time on the platform. That's bad for Facebook. The second is that Facebook genuinely wants businesses and brands using their ads to be successful. If they are successful, they’ll spend more money on Facebook ads. So Facebook will be more successful. Pretty simple formula.
But how does Facebook decide what kind of content (especially ads!) it is going to show you?
Interesting, Facebook will actually share the list of keywords they have associated with you, for the purpose of ad targeting.
Want to see your list? Click here.
Warning: some of these might seem spot on. Others might seem ridiculous. No joke, here are just a few of the words associated with my account: Tattoos (I have none), Beauty Salons (never been to one), Cosmetics (never use them), Golf (never played), Gardening (maybe one day, but not yet!). And so on.
Buzzfeed reporters, who did quite a bit of digging into this, had some particularly interesting topics emerge:
Toilet!?!? Maybe that's some poo reporter covering the plumbing beat. But I doubt it.
If you want to clean yours up, you can click the X next to any item you would rather not be targeted for. (Professional wrestling holds anyone?)
Quick note: you can delete all. But Facebook will just repopulate them. So you're probably better off just editing and cultivating your list so that at least when you see ads, they will be somewhat relevant to you.
Want an easy way to shut down all ads on Facebook? It's simple: Delete your account. ;)
Right, didn’t think so. In the meantime, sit back, relax and let those toilet ads come rolling in!
Share any of your absurd targeted keywords in the comments on online using the hashtag #NotMyKeywords. Be sure to tag Reverbal Communications on Facebook or Twitter. Can't wait to see what Facebook thinks you are into!
There’s so much more to Facebook than knowing how to post a picture or respond to a comment. Here are just a few of the (FREE!) things that you can do with your Facebook page:
I can teach you and your team to use all these tools and many more.
I can train you on the Facebook front end, analytics, Stories, Groups, Events, Live and Facebook Ads.
I’ve worked with local, statewide and national political campaigns, nonprofits, small businesses, bands, artists, authors, journalists and many others who were ready to become Facebook Ninjas.
I also train people to become Super Twitterers, Instagram Champions and more.
Learn more about how we might work together.
What People Have Said About Working With Me
"Josh is a social media maven who wants to help others improve. I have benefited from Josh’s expertise firsthand, and as a result feel more confident using social media to empower more good in the community. Josh is an effective and patient teacher, responsive, thoughtful and practical."
-Renee Moe, President & CEO, United Way of Dane County
"Josh is a wizard. We just had a three hour Facebook Ninja training with him and feel like we have more than a clue how to promote our band and stay in touch with music lovers everywhere."
-Sims Delaney-Potthoff, Mandolinist and Bandleader, Harmonious Wail
Received a few hours of Facebook consulting from [Josh] today. Best money I've spent in a long, long time.
-Philip Crawford, Manifestly and Political Strategist
"Bingo! If Facebook isn't paying josh for this they should start NOW!!!"
-Robin, Wacky Art
"Josh was extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful in learning more about how to properly use all the valuable tools FB offers for businesses"
-Kyle, small business owner
"My staff and I attended your training today on how to become a "Facebook Ninja" and were absolutely blown away by the presentation and quality of content. To say we took away a ton is a vast understatement! I don't think I've ever been in a training more engaging and insightful, PLUS my team is beaming with motivation and excitement to hit the ground running!
Massive THANK YOU, Josh, for your wisdom and expert advice on how to use social media to grow Jenerate Wellness. You're top-notch!"
-Jen Rudis, Jenerate Wellness
A little while back, Facebook added a new feature for brand pages: the call-to-action. It is a simple button, next to “Like” on your cover photo.
Setup is extremely simple. Go to any brand page for which you are an admin. If you have not yet set one up, you will see this:
When you click the button, you will get this pop-up:
Click where it says to “Choose a Button" and you will see this dropdown box:
These are your options. Facebook does not allow you to create your own, one of these will have to do. If you aren’t sure what to select, I’d recommend using "Contact Us" (as do they—it’s the default). You can add in a url and then when people click the call-to-action, they will be taken directly to your page.
Rather than sending people to your contact page though, I’d send them to a page that does a better job of introducing yourself. They are only one click away from your contact page (or at least they should be!) and in the meantime you are better off introducing them to your brand via your homepage (or your blog/about us/services page...) then sending them to a contact us page that puts all of the onus on them.
Once the call-to-action is setup, it is extremely easy to edit. If you are an admin and you go to the page, you will see the call-to-action button. Click on it, and rather than it taking you somewhere, it will offer you this dropdown menu:
You can edit, test or delete it, view insights or promote it (pay to let people know it exists). You can see insights for it just to the right of your cover photo.
Don’t expect to see much traffic from it. It won’t be a driver, but it will give people an option to quickly and easily from your Facebook page to your site.
Just as important, to the (even remotely) trained eye, not having it will stand out as a red flag (why isn’t this brand page using all of the resources at their disposal?).
Click “Contact Us” (or whichever option you selected) and Facebook will offer up some very basic analytics.
The whole process should take less than two minutes. So heed this call-to-action and set one up today!
UPDATE: Since writing this post, Facebook has deleted their spam folder. So worry not about missing those important (and possibly not-so-important) emails in the future!
Ever bump into an old friend and have them admonish you for not returning their Facebook message?
Maybe you were busy and forgot to respond. Maybe you were busy and willfully didn’t respond. Or maybe, Facebook sent their message to your spam folder and you never saw it in the first place!
Facebook has a spam folder. If you don’t know about it, you might be missing some important mail. That, and a lot of invites to events you were probably going to skip anyway.
If you get mail from a friend, or a friend-of-a-friend, it will go to your inbox. Everything else will wind up in your “other” folder.
The good news is that checking this folder is easy. After clicking “messages” in the top left of your Facebook homepage, look at the very top left of the new screen. “Inbox” will be highlighted. Right next to that is a tab titled “other.” Click it and you will see messages you never realized you got, dating all the way back to 2010.
Most of these messages will in fact be junk. But if you have been fuming for years that one of your college friends invited everyone but you to a holiday party back in 2011, you might very well wind up owing that person a mental apology for all those mean thoughts.
See anyone in your “other” folder who doesn’t belong there? Move their message to your inbox and Facebook promises that their mail will no longer be siphoned off, into the abyss of a folder you didn’t even realize existed.
Any truly great surprises awaiting you in your “other” folder? Share them in the comments or tweet them with the hashtag #SurprisesInMyOtherFolder
Say it ten times: "if it didn't happen on social media, it didn't happen."
Then say it a few more times, just for good measure. Make sure it's fully ingrained.
Then incorporate this simple lesson into your digital strategy.
If it didn't happen on social media, it didn't happen.
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