Battle Facebook Changes: Create a Face!

My recent post about the changes coming to Facebook was quite popular. I suppose not surprising, as it affects potentially billions of people. And for anyone trying to utilize that vast network for business purposes, if those changes affect your bottom line, you SHOULD take notice. Why spend money on a social media budget, if your return on investment (ROI) doesn’t merit the time or money put in?

So does that mean that people should give up on business pages on Facebook? I don’t think so. Yes, people like to interact with their friends and family on Facebook, but they also choose whether they want to follow a page or not. In choosing to like or follow a page, they have shown some kind of interest in it. The key for you as an admin on that page, is to make sure that interest remains. People click on links. They share memes and videos that make them laugh. Thoughtful pieces often elicit comments. The trick now is for you as an admin to work harder to tap into that.

I’m not saying it will be easy, but Facebook has made changes before. There have been cries that organic reach would die. And that just didn’t come to pass. Some pages might have taken a hit, but I suspect they were pages that didn’t put a real effort into their social media marketing strategies. Pages that didn’t understand Facebook’s algorithms and ever-changing rules of engagement. I have had conversations along these lines and watched people’s eyes glaze over when I talk about it. They don’t get it and honestly, don’t care to. Hence why I get hired to help people with their marketing strategies.

It isn’t all that complicated though. You have to understand the nature of people. People want to be entertained. They want content to shock, interest, or educate them. They want to see pictures of people they know, doing things that are funny, awe-inspiring, or that add depth to their understanding of who they are and what they do. Easy to read explanations help those images along. More often than not, the general public isn’t tied up in official lingo or the lexicon of an industry—they want words in layman’s terms that they can grasp simply and easily.

So what should you do? Take a picture of what you are doing. Share a story about an incident that happened that day or that week. Maybe it snowed, or you received an award, or someone put decaf in the coffee machine and people went berserk. It doesn’t really matter, but it makes you more relatable. Add that personal edge to your company, so people care about the people behind the image, versus a staid business page.

As for timing, let your budget dictate that to a point, but aim to have fresh content weekly. Some big pages post several times a day, but for smaller companies, that may not be practical or possible. Once a day is good, but several times a week is a minimum in my opinion. Any less than that and Facebook won’t show your posts to people due to a lack of engagement. Posting once a month might as well make you invisible and might even do more harm than good, as people will think your company has gone under.

If it seems overwhelming, it doesn’t hurt to bring someone on board to help with your content curation. The trick is to have that person understand what message you want to share and what face you want to put on your image. Also, you need to keep them in the loop about important events that happen for your company, and maybe shoot them images of employees at work every once in a while. Plus, encourage all members of your company to share those posts on their own personal Facebook pages, to get your presence out further. It helps!

Good luck with maneuvering Facebook’s newest changes. If all else fails, try boosting a post here and there to see if that helps with your organic reach too. And let me know what works and what doesn’t work for you. See you on the net!

I wade my way through Facebook marketing myself. Come join me there!

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(Facebook) Changes on the Wind…

Facebook marketing is about to undergo another major change. Yesterday, I saw the beginnings of a flurry of activity. Marketers are scrambling. Small businesses are scared. Big businesses are even more concerned. What is all the hype about? What Facebook is going to show its users.

Facebook has over 2 billion monthly users. Approximately 1.37 billion people use it daily.  Those numbers are staggering, hence the amount of businesses who clamour to take advantage of that. As a small business, who can afford to ignore that kind of audience? But Facebook has been criticized for what it shows in people’s news feeds and has responded with these latest changes.

So what are they exactly? As of yesterday’s announcements, Facebook plans to show its users more content from friends and family. Sounds good, right? Well, sounds familiar anyway. They have done that in the past. Many businesses were concerned with those changes, but ultimately it proved to weed out some of the pages which showed lesser quality posts. So again, why should businesses worry now?

Now the change seems to affect business pages again. You might still post quality content on your page, but if your interaction is low, Facebook will take notice. Unless that content is creating adequate user interaction and conversation between people, then no one is going to see it. Your posts will just not be seen.

crickets…

Makes sense that publishers are worried then, right. It certainly makes content curation a little harder. I get that Mark Zuckerberg is pushing the whole person to person contact. And really, if it works, then it is a good thing. The theory is to again create better quality content and have the focus be on building a conversation. How many people passively skim through their news feed feeling lonelier and more isolated from the world with every post they see? Facebook was supposed to bring people together, but social media has seemingly isolated us even more so. But how are businesses who utilize Facebook supposed to react?

I suppose time will tell. Pages that share more videos and personal stories should be alright. Those who can throw enough money at their social media strategies should be able to figure out a way to cope with the changes. The small businesses who already struggle with what to post, how often to post, and how much to share just might get left behind. Without the money or time to figure out a strategy, those little pages will just disappear. And for me who often handles small accounts who are just trying to keep a Facebook page alive with minimum content… I’m not sure my stripped down services will be of much use if organic reach drops that much more.

Is it time I did more research, planning, and strategizing? I suspect so. Here’s hoping myself and my clients survive the most recent Facebook changes. I think I’ll need to have a few more conversations with people over the next little while, but we’ll see how things go. I think it’s safe to say that boosting posts will be that much more important again though.

Brace yourself friends…

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Up for a Challenge

New year, new resolve. That thought crossed my path yesterday. And I aspire to stick with it. Hence another blog post today. Working from home throws up plenty of challenges to that though. Here are just a few that I seem to struggle with;

Challenges of Working From Home

  • Friends wanting to go for coffee/lunch on their days off
    • Yes, I am home, but no that does not mean I am available at any given point to just drop everything. I do sneak in the occasional lunch or coffee date (socializing is a challenge when you work alone), but I try to make client work a priority. If work doesn’t get done, I don’t get paid. And then there is no money for that luxury coffee!
  • Doctor appointments
    • Most doctors only make appointments during the day. Everyone has to fit them in according to the doctor’s schedule. But unlike those who work in a 9-5 office, people who work from home end up picking up the slack later—in the evening, on weekends, sometimes when you would rather just relax with a good book or in front of the TV.
  • Turning off work
    • Again, when you work from home, you are always at the office. Any time I sit at the computer, I am scanning my emails, checking to see if my client’s social media pages are in need of attention, or maybe squeezing it time to work on my own portfolio/social media presence. The net never sleeps.
  • Volunteer opportunities
    • My children are school aged. That means that I feel the pressure to be involved in their schooling. I love the fact that I can be a part of it, but I also know that every time I step into the school, I am away from my home office. Sure, I can catch up on any work projects later, but then I am back to working evenings and weekends (when I would rather shut it all off). I could put up more boundaries to protect my precious work hours, but it’s true that children’s youth is fleeting. I know that making them, and what is important in their world, a priority, will pay far more dividends in the long run than the almighty dollar.
  • Health
    • I love the little niche I have carved out for a desk in my home, but the fact is—I spend far too many hours plunked down in front of it. I sit while writing, surfing, brainstorming, and more. Then I get into the van and sit behind the wheel to pick up my children and ferry them around to various activities. All that sitting is NOT ideal for a body. So scheduling in a workout is of utmost importance. I might be exercising my brain with all the writing I do, but my heart needs the occasional cardio set too. And you might have better discipline than me, but if it isn’t scheduled into my weekly routine, it doesn’t happen!
  • Weather
    • You would think that working from home the weather would make no difference to me. And in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t. But a sunny day can be tempting for a walk (exercise! perk!). Likewise, several rainy or gray days in a row can have me feeling dull and in need of a pick-me-up (work remotely kind of day). I might not have a killer commute to worry about, but I still leave the house daily, even if only to take the kids to school. And I am Canadian after all. We love to talk about the weather.
  • Routines
    • I have a calendar on my desk. I set a schedule for what needs to be done when. I tick off projects as they happen and do my best to stick to the routine I have set. But sometimes routines fly out the window. Children get sick. Doctor appointments get scheduled. Client meetings happen. And sometimes I fudge and squeeze in those coffee dates or shopping excursions. For every blip in the schedule though, there is that ever-living fear of still getting it all done. Because ultimately, if it doesn’t get done, I don’t get paid.

Ultimately, the lifestyle I have chosen works for me and my family right now. I enjoy the freedom of being available to my children when they need me and like that I get plenty of quiet time to be creative. Fits with my ISFP personality I guess. If I need a dose of people, I make a date to get together with clients or choose a day to work offsite in a coffee shop for a few hours.

Could I be more disciplined, and free up more time? Sure, but I don’t beat myself up over it. This week I have dodged a coffee date, spent a few hours at school for my volunteer responsibilities, and fit in time for a doctor appointment. I have to leave early to pick up kids for a trip to the optometrist, but give myself a pat on the back for fitting in writing for me two days in a row. Plus, have made good headway on some new client work. All in all, a good week. And you?

What do you like about working from home? What are your biggest challenges?

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I get to watch bird TV from my office. A perk to offset the challenges of working from home

Biz Housekeeping

Housekeeping Day

Time for invoicing, which leads to finally breaking down and updating some programs on the computer. New Year, time for new resolve. So often I hedge on decisions, but not at this time of year. I purged and painted my daughter’s room, now time for a look at my office.

Next steps should be purging my desk, organizing my files (there’s some kind of organization going on? really?!!), and perhaps taking another look at my scheduling. Definitely ready for a makeover. As good a time as any to put my house in order.

What tasks do you tackle in the New Year?

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