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Posts tagged with Facebook

No, Facebook Isn’t Hiding Your Posts

Facebook's newly launched Promoted Posts for Pages has been causing quite the stir around the web this week. Many small business owners and bloggers took to Facebook to publicly decry the feature, type out a few choice words aimed at Zuck and to ask fans to quickly perform some steps to insure that their posts aren't maliciously hidden from their loyal fans.

To that we say: Whoa, guys. I think we missed an important part of how the Facebook news feed works.

Remember all that talk about EdgeRank and Graph Rank not so long ago? If you do, bravo! However, I think a large group missed it because if they'd seen it, we wouldn't have seen the backlash that we did.

Based on the many, many factors that figure in to EdgeRank and Graph Rank, as well as other factors (such as how cluttered your followers' news feeds are and how often they log in), not all of the followers of your page see all of your updates. Facebook reported in February that only an average of 16% of your fans see each update you post.

Yep. You read that correctly. Only 16%.

So, it's potentially only a small window of followers that are seeing what you post. What Promoted Posts do is expand that average percentage to a higher level and get your post seen by more of the people who already like your page (or to the friends of the people who like your page) by placing your update in the news feed as a sponsored post so that more people (who already like your page) see it. It bases impressions on the dollar amount you spend for each post. Spend $5, get a little boost. Spend $20, get a bigger boost.

You with me?

Essentially, Facebook's Promoted Posts is a way for you to extend your message and get it seen by more eyeballs online. It's not a way for Facebook to force you to pay to use the service and it's not "hiding your posts" unless you cough up the dough. It's just giving you another way to increase the likelihood that your followers see the messages you send out.

If you still have questions, I'd be happy to address them in the comments or tweet them over to me at @WorldCoSocial.

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And the IPO fell flat

Facebook's much anticipated IPO fell flat today on its opening day. With a mere $0.23 jump in share price, it did not make the waves that were anticipated to flood Wall Street.

Industry analysts are speculating numerous causes as to why the IPO was less than eventful. We have some ideas of our own.

  1. Buzz overkill. How long have we been hearing about this? This highly publicized IPO filing was talked about on so many different media outlets that even non-Wall Street followers were in the know about almost every hiccup that Zuck made in this process.

  2. GM's bomb. Losing a major advertiser within the week of your opening day on the NASDAQ, can't help. This well-publicized development probably only added more doubt to potential investors.

  3. NASDAQ stalled. Some (Kevin Pleines, equity market analyst with Birinyi Associates) say that the confusion created by the 30 minute delay didn't offer the stock any favors. NASDAQ offered the stock at 11:30am EST instead of the initial 11am scheduled time.

This list could potentially go on and on, but we want to hear from you. What factors do you think contributed to Facebook's anticlimactic? Do you think things are just slowly warming up? Or was this just a lot of hype?

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InstaFacebookGram: Storified

As you probably saw last week, Facebook opened up its ginormous wallet and bought the immensely popular mobile-based app Instagram for $1 billion.

And the collective social media sphere let out an “Oh, great.”

It was pretty split on whether that remark was uttered with some shred of optimism or if it was said just before a smartphone was hurled into a wall.

Jokes were aplenty, fears that the app would suffer gained notice, and speculation swirled as to what was to come of the app that had just garnered 5 million downloads for Android in just six days.

We’re still on the fence on this one and are anxiously waiting to see how this plays out. Until then, we’ve compiled some of the chatter we saw on social media as this story unfolded last week on Storify.

Check it out here: http://storify.com/MeganSpreer/instafacebookgram

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The Timeline Deadline is Here

Is your Facebook business page timeline ready?

Well, ready or not, it's rolling over to the new format tomorrow.

If you haven't already acquainted yourself with the upcoming changes, you're in for some big surprises. Whether they're ideal still has yet to be decided, but they will require you to rework your previous strategies if you were a fan of the page wall and landing tabs in the prior version.

Some of the key changes include:

  • Cover photos that span the top section of the page
  • An admin panel that's mounted to top of the page
  • Posts that are organized in chronological order and easily navigable by year
  • Admins can now post business milestones
  • Posts can be pinned to the top or highlighted on a timeline

The biggest and perhaps, most criticized change is the deletion of a Page's ability to send traffic to a custom tab. In the new Timeline format, your custom tabs still exist, but all traffic must be directed to the timeline. There is no wall anymore, either. It's all on the timeline.

This has the potential to be a great asset to businesses. The new Timeline format has the ability to create an interactive "About" page for your company. You can add the date the company was founded, input old photos of the founders and post stories about past successful product launches. Facebook will allow you to input all of this in chronological order so that your viewers can learn even more about your company and they also can share their own memories within the posts. Early studies on Timeline have shown that it drives more engagement with followers of brands, especially with photos and videos, which are larger in the new format. So if it's used well, your Facebook Timeline page could serve to be one of your company's best assets.

To learn more about Timeline for Pages, Facebook has released a comprehensive guide on the new format.

What do you think of the new Timeline? Love it or hate it?

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Google+ … impressed or nonplussed?

OK, then! Two weeks of Google+ under our collective belt. Who's got it all figured out?

Anybody?

Didn't think so. We all know that Google's brand new, mysterious-around-the-edges social network (is it really a social network?) may well be the Next Big Thing. Many of us have clamored madly for an invitation and then, once we got in to Google+, stayed up really, really late trying to figure out what to do with it. A lot of us - even though Google says it's cracking down on these - have started up business pages. (LJWorld.com has one; check it out.) And some of us, like Computerworld's Mike Elgan, have decided to swear off all other modes of e-communication.

But when it comes down to it, what are we actually supposed to do with Google+ that we can't do with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, StumbleUpon or any one of innumerable other social networks? Vincent Wong has a fantastic (so much so that you've probably seen it already) photo deck on "What G+ is really about" - and no, it's not social media. Wong's premise is simple: Google+ is about moving everything possible into the cloud, and the ramifications that come with that. That little gray bar that's at the top of all your Google windows now? It includes links to Google-ized substitutes for all the applications most of us use on our earthbound computers, and Wong suggests that our eventual uptake on those apps is part of a "blue ocean" strategy by Google. In other words, while you can still use Google+ to share, +1, comment or tell everyone what you had for dinner - just like the existing social paradigm that Facebook does so well - Google's integration of those "social" goodies with true app-based collaboration opportunity (apportunity?) is the real game changer, what's trading the "red ocean" of cut-throat social media platform competition with a brand new market no one's conquered yet. (Oh, and the link above is to a G+ photo gallery; if you're still not on the service, you can view it on Posterous too.)

The thing is, Google+ just isn't there yet. To be fair, two weeks into the game, we shouldn't expect it to be. Anyone who remembers hanging out on Facebook during its early days (I got on in 2006, which was already coming in pretty late in the day) can remember how much it often felt like, well, a sandbox. Google+ is the same way - which, if you're trying to figure out where your business plan fits into this whole mess, can be really frustrating - but at the same time, it's tremendously exciting. And, unlike Facebook in its formative years, the development of Google+ is remarkably transparent. As you'd expect, there are a ton of Google developers already living their lives on G+, and they're asking for feature suggestions and talking about cool stuff that's coming up next. (Regardless of how bumpy of a ride that may end up being, it's certainly refreshing to be able to take part in a two-way exchange of information after being stonewalled by Facebook for years!)

So what do we do with Google+ right now? Play with it, primarily. Until business profiles are officially sanctioned, folks who are interested in G+ for their businesses are pretty much limited to signing on as individuals and getting used to the interface and functionality. And this may be a good thing: At present, Google+ is about individual people and how they relate, how the social circles we form in real life might be best replicated by Google's Circles features. It's not yet to this point, of course, but the collaboration opportunity that Wong mentions in his slideshow is already changing the shape of Google+. The Wong slide deck is an example of this in itself; the extent to which it's made the rounds will almost certainly have an effect on some of the next G+ features released. And if you think about that, it's really pretty revolutionary. Facebook and other first-generation social networks gave birth to a concept of crowdsourcing; now, we're able to use that crowdsourced power to help build the social network we really want. A developer friend of mine who's been exploring those concepts in a series of very lucid posts on the dynamics of online communities puts it perfectly:

As a software developer this sort of thing really gets my attention, in the same way badly designed software does. It reveals that no one is thinking about it. We are adapting to what we have, instead of adapting what we have to what we need.

It is an interesting and valuable project to architect software that works seamlessly with how people think and how they actually interact with real world communities, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, especially when I see the inadequacies every day and I know it could be better.

So he thinks, writes, posts, and shares with the world - including the people who are building the network. We couldn't have visualized anything like this in Facebook's early days.

What do you want in your ideal social network? How would it behave like the communities you engage with in real life? Share in the comments below.

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Facebook Questions: a Quora killer?

This morning, Facebook finally rolled out its much-anticipated Questions feature, enabling individuals and pages to post publicly searchable and answerable questions among the Facebook community.

The service has been in beta since last summer, but as of now is available to anyone who asks for it. Want in? Here's what you do: Go to the Facebook Questions intro page at facebook.com/questions and click on the big green "Get Questions Now" button.

Then, have a look at questions your friends have already asked on the next screen - you can get back to this overview page later by clicking on the "Questions" icon that now appears in the left rail on the main screen of Facebook (a.k.a. your News Feed). Thing is, you'll probably only see a few questions unless you're friends with a bunch of early adopters - this was on the top of my own list when I first accessed Questions this morning:

And this brings up a few important questions about Facebook Questions - particularly since everyone's wondering if Facebook's newest feature is the end of the game for social questions service Quora, once the darling of social media trendspotters but now collapsing a bit under its own weight after opening its doors to more than just Internet glitterati. First, how long will it be before the service gains enough traction among our individual micro-networks that it's useful for more than just meeting new people? (In the few hours since posting a couple of questions this morning, I haven't received any useful answers from folks I know, but have been sufficiently piqued by friends' friends' answers to click through to profiles and think about making some new friend requests.) If Facebook Questions is really going to be an up-close-and-personal alternative to Quora's weighty but distant sense of authority, those close personal friends will need to opt in to the service - fast. (Which they undoubtedly will, but it's worth mentioning.)

The second question is perhaps more important in light of whether Questions will be a serious challenger to Quora: Is every query on this thing going to be answered with "your mom"? Democratizing this sort of question-and-answer service, particularly without including the sort of "vote up-vote down" functionality Quora uses for self-policing, may lead to the sort of Wild West scenario that seems to happen frequently with new additions to Facebook: Turn the feature loose, see where it breaks in terms of usefulness, privacy or user experience, then rein it in accordingly.

In the meantime, it's certainly fun to play with. A few more notes before you embark on your own Facebook Questions adventure:

  • Your personal questions, as well as your answers to others' questions, default to appearing on your Wall.
  • Once you've asked a question, you can't edit it.
  • You can ask an open-ended question, in which anyone can add an answer, or a poll, where you specify a fixed number of choices. Or you can create a poll with a few choices as a starting point, and let others add their own options too.
  • All questions and answers are public access, even if your own profile and Wall are set to private.
  • Want to see how a question evolves over time? You can follow it and receive a notification each time someone adds a new answer.
  • You can comment on a question, as long as whoever posted it has their privacy set up accordingly: If they don't let you write on their Wall, you probably can't comment on that question.

Have you used Facebook Questions yet? What do you think so far? Let us know in the comments.

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