Facebook Users Lose the Privacy Vote

Facebook Privacy Changes

Facebook Privacy Changes

Last week, Facebook offered its users the chance to vote on a new privacy and data use proposal which would determine  how much control members will retain over their privacy settings. The proposed changes to Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SSR) and Data Use Policy include:

  • Ending user voting on changes. Instead, Facebook will only allow feedback after changes have been made, along with webcasts to answer questions and comments made to Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer.
  • User data will be able to be shared by Facebook with its affiliates, such as Instagram.
  • New filters will be set to manage incoming messages to user inboxes.
  • Changes will be made to how Facebook refers to certain products.
  • Clarification will be made regarding who can see what on user timelines.

Voting was open between the 3rd of December and midnight on the 10th of December, and although the majority of voters chose to keep the existing policies, the number of voters was not large enough to make these votes binding. At least 30% of Facebook users were required in order to make their votes count, and as a result, it is likely that Facebook will be implementing the policy changes.

So what does this mean for Facebookers? Well, the main point is that Facebook will no longer ask for your vote on proposed changes, although judging by the poor turnout on this particular voting opportunity, it’s almost a moot point. Instead, users will have to direct their opinions to Facebook’s privacy officers via feedback forms. On a profile level, the social giant will now be able to more easily share your data with affiliates, and advertisers will be able to show political and religious content on your sidebar. ‘Filters’ will be introduced to manage your messages and your profile will be easier to find through Facebook search.

In the run up to the vote, a viral (and false) message in legalese made the rounds on Facebook where users attempted to stake their claim on their Facebook data, so why, when so many people have been up in arms about the changes, did so few vote? Some claim that Facebook could have done more to publicise the voting details, although the social network ensured details appeared in news feeds and inboxes and made clear the comparison between the existing and proposed policies. But approximately 600,000 users voted of the 3oo million Facebook members worldwide, making their votes ‘advisory’ rather than binding.

Did you vote? Are you unhappy with the new policies? Will you stick with Facebook regardless, or will you be looking elsewhere, like Google+ or Twitter, for your social media fix? Let us know.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

What’s the Deal with Facebook Promoted Posts?

Facebook Promoted Posts

Run for the hills! Facebook have changed something! Arrghhh!

Ahem.

If this sounds like your reaction to the roll-out of Promoted Posts, then get yourself a cuppa, sit down, and read this post.

First: Stop freaking out.

Second: Have a biscuit.

Third: Your Facebook page has not suddenly lost ranking or visibility, so let’s calm down and see what’s going on here.

Facebook Promoted Posts

When Facebook made its new Promoted Posts feature public, it also added information to the bottom of every post you create, telling you how many people you reached (both organically and virally) and what percentage of your fans this makes up. What Promoted Posts aims to do is make sure that a greater number of your ‘likers’ sees your posts in their timeline when it might not ordinarily do so. The introduction of Promoted Posts has not decreased your visibility, it’s just offering you more. At a price, of course.

Facebook are now in effect monetising posts by offering page owners the option of paying to increase the visibility of their status updates. This means when you write a status update, you’ll see a little drop-down option asking if you want to “promote this post”. You’ll then get the option to decide how much you want to spend according to the potential audience reached. I italicise that because there’s no guarantee that your spend will equate to the actual numbers quoted.  For many bog-standard posts, expect about half that total. However, write an engaging and interesting status that provokes lots of interaction and you might be looking at a higher number.

But isn’t that the same without promoted posts?

Well, yeah. And it’s what you should be doing anyway if you want to reach more than the average 9%-16% of fans that most pages actually are visible to. Yep, we know, it’s a measly little percentage, but that’s the way it is, and it’s nothing new. But rather than bitch and moan about it, let’s look at the numbers on each post and try to make them BIGGER.

So, let’s say you write a neat little status on your page. Out of 1000 fans, you may have only reached 16% (ie 160 people), but the total number of Facebook users who saw your post is generally higher than that (something like 210 people, perhaps). As your fans click, like, share and comment on your status, it spreads into their timelines and becomes visible to their friends, too. Nothing new here, but to boost those numbers, you have to entice your fans into taking action and interacting with your posts.

A lot of page owners have been freaking out thinking that the introduction of Promoted Posts had somehow minimised their visibility – in effect, blackmailing them into paying to having their statuses appear in their fans’ timelines. The thing is, the Facebook algorithm hasn’t changed – you were only reaching that number before Promoted Posts arrived – the only change is that now you know about it.

So what ya gonna do?

The short answer is: be more interesting.

The long answer goes something like this:

The average Facebook business page reaches less than 20% of their fans with each post they write. Not great, but then, we only see a very small percentage of our friends’ statuses in our newsfeed. If we saw everything that everyone posted, all the time, we’d be wading through thousands of baby pictures and meal descriptions and spam and check-ins every time we logged on.

Facebook’s algorithm takes it upon itself to decide which of your friends’ statuses and which posts from pages you’ve ‘liked’ are important enough to appear in your timeline. That depends on several things. Firstly, their posts must be relevant to the kinds of things you’re interested in and post about yourself. It also depends heavily on the amount of interaction you have with that particular person or page – the more likes, shares and comments a post has, the more visible it becomes. Finally, there’s a time issue – the older the post, the less weight it carries – hence Promoted Posts only being available to recent posts and only over a period of three days.

Fairly standard stuff, right? So why are people surprised when their uninspiring sales pitch posts are only hitting the 7% mark? And at this point, should you be diving right in to promoting posts or writing ads that STILL aren’t going to reach as many fans as you’d like, because they’re just not engaging enough?

Facebook Promoted Posts

By all means, play about with Promoted Posts, see what you find (here’s an example of a basic test that compares Promoted Posts to Facebook Advertising, to give you an idea of what to expect), but really it comes down to this: if the new insights have made you aware that your page isn’t doing as well as you though it was, CHANGE SOMETHING.

And by something, I mean everything: what you’re posting, why you’re posting it, how you’re phrasing your statuses, who you’re connecting with and even what time of day you’re posting. Research shows that most users respond more readily to images and videos than links and plain text. Open questions are going to provoke more of a conversation than closed (yes/no) questions. Self-promotion turns into spam when there’s no dialogue with your audience…

We’re going to go into this in more depth in another post, but for now, consider this (ridiculous) example (sorry, it’s Friday):

Type of status that receives 7% (or less) visibility: “Click here for something about rhinos.”

Type of status that organically receives more like 25-30% visibility: “I did a double backflip over a rhino today. It was pretty awesome – take a look: <link> What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever backflipped over?”

I know which one I’m more likely to ‘like’, comment on or share. And then try to replicate at the zoo and get arrested.

In short – before you start stressing about whether or not you should be using Promoted Posts, see how much extra visibility you can get by improving the interaction of your statuses and posts.

And if you’re still flummoxed, please feel free to get in touch with our social media department at Ikroh, and we’ll do our best to help.

[Oh, and one final note: Promoted Posts are not the same thing as Sponsored Stories (damn all this alliteration!) – we’ll be explaining that one shortly, too.]

 

 

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

The Future of Larry Page’s Google

Larry Page

Larry Page

It’s been just over a year since Larry Page took over as CEO of Google. The obvious landmark since his new position is Google +, and though the jury still seems to be out about the new(ish) social platform, the numbers show that it has the capability to stand against the big G’s arch nemesis, Facebook. (Did anyone else just visualise Zuckerburg slowly turning around in a leather swivel chair, stroking a big F sign? Just me? Ok.)

Google is the king of search, it leads the way in online advertising, it has made YouTube the most important multimedia platform on the internet, and then along comes G+, a social network that Page is determined to see come to fruition for the company. You can’t deny the fact that Page has moved Google in a new direction since April 2011, bringing focus and consolidation to a company in danger of succumbing to its own bureaucracy, but behind the pluses, is there a minus sign?

The shift from the ‘holy trinity’ of Eric Schmidt and founding partners Larry Page and Sergey Brin to just one man, Page, marked a tangible change in ethos that had possibly happened a long time ago. In Google’s teenage years, it was a company for the people, an innovation factory, a sort of coded up Willy Wonka if you will. Now, it has the kind of power that makes governments nervous. But it can be argued that a single front man is what the company needed to avoid a gradual implosion, and Page seems to be paving the way with confidence and determination, as a figurehead who knows what he wants, and is prepared to shake things up to get it.

In his years at Google, Page has already shown a knack for canny development – he was behind the Android acquisition in 2004, and seemingly as a response to litigation from Apple and other competitors, led Google to purchase Motorola Mobility. What he plans on doing with the mobile company and its 200,000 employees is yet to be revealed, but you can bet the decision was not made on a whim. The co-founder has a particular vision, and if this year has shown anything, it is that he isn’t prepared to wait for things to just happen.

Upon his takeover, Page believed Google was its own enemy, in danger of stagnating, or becoming complacent – it’s lonely up there at the top, after all. There was (is) also the very real threat of Facebook’s social dominance. Just this week Sergey Brin was quoted criticising Zuckerburg’s baby by comparing it to government censorship. It’s fairly transparent, however, that the real issue lies with the amount of Facebook data still not made available to Google spiders – a substantial stumbling block for ultimate Google supremacy: “There’s a lot to be lost,” Brin complains, “For example, all the information in apps – that data is not crawlable by web crawlers. You can’t search it.”

Google might have a big chunk of the internet’s data, but Facebook has the people. Social media is the last bastion, and time and time again, the search giant has been turned away at the door. So it’s no surprise that focus for this year has been firmly on Google +. Page moved his office to the social department, and employees were informed their bonuses depended on the success of the platform – Larry didn’t just want a competitor to Facebook, he wanted to implement social into the very DNA of Google.

So far, G+ has a 500 million-strong membership, and is the most successful social product for the company to date. It also feels as if it’s still very much in the development stage – the first step of a social transformation that Page has planned. But it still remains a little indefinable: Is it different to Facebook? Kinda. Is it better? Well, it’s … kinda … different. Oh, oh, it has “circles”, that’s new, right?

Steven Levy at Wired.co.uk sums it up nicely:

“The concept is that when all the pieces of Google — Search, Gmail, Docs, Maps and so on — make use of what the company knows about you, it can serve you a lot better. This makes a lot of sense, but it’s a tricky thing to execute. People are accustomed using Google products individually. Suddenly being forced to take in the Google experience in one big chunk can be jarring — and scary.”

G+’s selling points were predominantly based around privacy, personalisation and flexibility, playing on the recent (and recurrent) distrust of Facebook’s covert privacy adjustments. And yet, whatever misgivings Facebook users have over how their data is collected and used, they’re not going anywhere fast. In contrast, Page had to weather the storm through the roll out of social search, and the changes to Google’s privacy policies in May last year, which were far wider criticised than, for example, the switch to Timeline. Perhaps the problem lies with the sheer omniscience of Google, and how it uses its data attribution – the ads on your Gmail sidebars echo your personal correspondence, your search results and maps know exactly where you are…  All these things are making it easier for users, sure, but you have to admit it’s a little bit creepy at the same time.

Just last month James Whittaker, previous Google employee, blogged about why he left the company for Microsoft. His reasons were based around how the company has changed over the years, and a big part of that has been the quest for social domination. Whittaker explains:

Officially, Google declared that “sharing is broken on the web” and nothing but the full force of our collective minds around Google+ could fix it.

As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.”

What do you think? Is Whittaker right? Or will Page succeed in pushing Google into a new era and transform the company from search to social? If the last year is anything to go by, Google hasn’t lost its passion, but has it lost its soul?

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Ferrari Crowned the King of Social Media

Ferrari #1 social media

Ferrari #1 social media

 

Pass Ferrari the social media crown – last week they hit the 8 million figure on Facebook with enough fans to populate the whole of London, or the entire country of Austria. They also topped the G+ race with over 500,000 fans on Google’s social media platform, making them not only a leader in the motoring world, but also social marketing in general.

As a thank you, Ferrari created the following video of the f458 Italia writing the number 8,000,000 on the Fiorano race track:

 

 

Love it. I’ve been informed by the boss that when Ikroh hit a similar figure, we’ll be drawing the number in … um … coffee cups? Yeah.

But back to Ferrari… Their numbers on Google + are a real signifier that the search giant’s social media platform is worth investing in, and certainly still one to watch. The guys at the Prancing Horse have increased their fanbase at G+ tenfold since the beginning of 2012, with fans not only from America, the UK and Italy, but as far flung as Libya, Samoa and Iran. In China, the Ferrari brand has quickly become the most popular in its segment on the top Chinese social network, Weibo.

Ferrari G+ success

So what are Ferrari doing right, besides being a recognisable, trustworthy, glamorous worldwide icon? Well, they have dedicated twitter accounts for various departments and events,  they are extremely active on Facebook and G+, posting news, images, videos, interviews, realtime updates on racing days, and providing opportunities for fans to participate online and share their own content (for example their current event Passion Day at Mugello with the Scuderia Ferrari Community).

But even if you’re not a multi-billion global company (you know, some of us aren’t, and that’s ok), you can still kick some social media butt by making your content and your social presence VALUABLE, INTERESTING, and SHAREABLE. And if you need a hand, Ikroh can help.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Facebook’s Creator Is Now A Multi-Billionnaire

Mark Zuckerberg’s story so far is truly incredible; it demonstrates the true power of the Internet and social media. Facebook has only been in existence for eight years and is already a huge success story. Launched in February 2004 with a plan of connecting Harvard students together it soon took off and was used to connect other colleges. The expansion since then has been dramatic – by February this year Facebook had increased its user network to in excess of 845 million people! Half of the people in the UK are already signed up to Facebook. There has already been a film based on Mark’s life and the creation of Facebook, as well as several documentaries. Mark is now 35th richest person on the plant with a staggering 17.5 billion estimated wealth according to the Forbes magazine. At 27 years old he is also the youngest person in the top 200 on the Forbes list. Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates is the second richest person on the planet with an estimated personal wealth of 61 Billion. If Facebook enjoys the same success that it currently enjoys then we could see Mark move towards the top of the list in no time at all!

Facebook is also preparing to float on the stock exchange, it is widely expected to back the 100 billion Dollar value. This will certainly raise Mark’s personal wealth to a new level. Facebook is always evolving and I believe that this will keep enhancing the success of the brand. If Facebook stayed still and did not introduce new ideas then it would soon disappear to its competition. The world of social networks is certainly a delicate one as users can easly advertise the next new social website on their Facebook page! Most other Social Media sites have had to embrace their competition and add Facebook into their site so the feeds and updates are automatically posted to Facebook.

So why is Facebook so valuable? The advertising capability is amazing – where else does an advertiser get to target the complete demographic of their audience? With Facebook advertising you can target the age, sex, location and interests of the user. Another powerful revenue source for Facebook is the gaming. There are lots of very addictive games that are really great fun to play. The idea is that you will share your progress with your friends on your news feed. Some of the games require you to earn money or coins. You can earn this during the course of the game, however you can effectively cheat and buy coins to help you get ahead of your friends and this is where the money is!*

*Obviously, no one at Ikroh needs to do this as we are far too good at playing the games!**

**Although not during work hours, of course 😉