How to Improve Engagement on Facebook

There’s no need to convince you that Facebook is one of the best places for reaching a massive audience. No matter what type of business you have, you can be sure that many of your existing and potential customers are on Facebook. Yet, the very size and scale of Facebook also creates certain challenges.

Saying people are on Facebook today is almost like saying they’re on the internet. It’s true, but this doesn’t tell you how to target specific niches. Facebook, of course, does provide some useful targeting tools. However, it’s gotten so competitive that you really need to hone in on some clever strategies to get the most out of your efforts. One thing that’s imperative, no matter what your social media strategy, is to use effective analytics every step of the way. This is the only way to determine if you’re reaching the right audience and getting the results you want.

Understand Impressions, Reach and Engagement

When you buy ads or sponsored posts, it’s important to understand the difference between impressions, reach and engagement. These are not always defined in exactly the same way. For our purposes, we’re going to focus on how these terms are used on Facebook.

Impressions refer to the number of times something is displayed on someone’s feed. This doesn’t mean that the person actually paid attention to the post or ad, only that it appeared on his or her feed. One thing to know about impressions is that they aren’t necessarily unique. One user seeing the same content 10 times counts as 10 impressions. Reach refers to the number of unique people who see your content. For this reason, reach is more meaningful than impressions.

Engagement refers to people interacting with your content. This includes liking, sharing and commenting on your posts or ads. While you should track all of your Facebook analytics, engagement is what matters most. You can waste quite a bit of time and money seeking a large audience on Facebook. If people aren’t responding in some way, however, there’s no benefit.

Why Engagement is Vital on Facebook

Facebook differentiates between organic and paid reach. Organic reach refers to people who see your free content. Paid reach refers to people who see your ads or sponsored content. Facebook also recognizes viral reach, which occurs when someone shares your content. One reason you need to pay attention to engagement is that Facebook’s algorithm favors pages with high engagement.

When people engage with your content, they’re more likely to see it in the future. The reverse is also true. If your engagement is low, fewer people will see your content. This means that your organic content can easily get drawn into either an upward or downward spiral. When you’re doing well, Facebook makes it easy to do even better. When your content is performing poorly, it risks sinking into oblivion as Facebook shows it to fewer people.

Some businesses rely on paid advertising on Facebook, which is a fast way to increase engagement. However, it’s also good to focus on organic engagement. This is often a good test to see how people are reacting to your content. If you only use paid advertising, you risk spending money on ineffective campaigns. As we’ll see in the next section, it’s often most effective to balance a paid and organic approach.

Tips to Improve Engagement

There are a number of ways to boost engagement on Facebook.

  • Engage with your audience. Engagement is a two-way process. If you want people to engage with you, it helps if you return the favor. When people comment on your posts, always reply, even if it’s just to say “thanks.” If you notice certain people consistently supporting your pages, check out their pages as well.
  • Identify the best times to post. In general, social media engagement is best at night. However, it’s best to test your metrics and identify when your audience is online and engaging. For example, an audience of college students and young adults is likely to be up later than one made of seniors.
  • Add calls to action. Just as a call to action is essential on a sales page or blog post, it’s something you can use to increase engagement on Facebook. This may be a request to click on a link or share your post. It can also be as simple as inviting people to reply. Asking questions is a good way to encourage engagement.
  • Learn what works best. If you pay attention to what kind of content your audience responds to best, you can improve your engagement rates over time. They may favor certain topics and tones, such as businesslike or humorous.
  • Post quality photos. Images and other visual content are more popular than ever. This also means that everyone is now posting photos, memes, videos and other visual content. To stand apart, create professional and appealing images, such as quality photos and creative illustrations. Don’t rely on low-quality stock images. Photos are especially good for personalizing your content. These can be of yourself, your colleagues, your business or your region.
  • Get on board with Facebook videos. Facebook video is one of the best ways to engage your audience. Because If your current video strategy is to post videos from YouTube, consider making a change. Facebook is really focusing on video right now, so it’s only natural that their algorithm will favor their own videos. Don’t overlook the possibilities of Facebook Live, as streaming video gives you a powerful way to engage with people.

These are some of the best ways to improve engagement on Facebook. Remember that the rules are always changing as Facebook introduces new features and alters its algorithm. That’s why it’s important to keep up with the latest news and trends. It’s equally crucial to do your own testing and experimenting, as the same rules don’t always apply to every audience.

Social Media Recap: April 2017

For social media and PR this month, it’s all about visual media. Companies from Apple to Snap are doubling down on images and video, and PR pros should be ready to do the same. We highly recommend that you enhance your video storytelling skills to bring the most impact for your clients. For PR pros with larger clients, it might be time to think about borrowing an idea from the film festival world and adding a “street team” to your strategy. Adding this team would allow you to have a roving band of mobile videographers as needed, especially useful for live events. That frees your time to navigate the parallel world of influencer marketing and social media partnerships, increasing the impact for your clients.

First up in This Month’s Social Media Recap: Apple

Apple hasn’t had much in the way of a social media strategy until recently (they weren’t even using social media for their brand until the last year or so). Apple Clips is intended to change that. Apple Clips is an iOS app that puts the power of viral video creation into the hands of every iPhone user. Not only will Clips have the usual array of editing tools for the video itself, but it will also have “live titles” that change according to the content of the video and a music library for users to access. That’s a bold move since music rights are often a stumbling block for the amateur videographer. PR pros will want to keep an eye on this new tool, as it could have an impact on both live events and user-generated content.

Facebook Video

Facebook Video is back in the news in the wake of a new report released that states 90% of brands are using native video on Facebook as opposed to linking in from Vimeo or YouTube. Some who use Facebook in a browser and not through their apps find this a challenging user experience as it makes it difficult to share the video out from Facebook, however; if your PR strategy is Facebook-focused, your clients’ audiences should welcome the streamlined experience. Some social media influencers are calling Facebook Video the best place to spend your money right now, but your mileage may vary. We recommend testing different Facebook video formats with your audience and measuring their reaction, as every brand’s base embraces different technologies.

Instagram’s Impact

Last, but not least, Instagram makes our list twice this month. In a surprising twist, Instagram ads are proving to have more impact on older users than younger users. This new report specifically calls out the 44-54 and 65-74 age ranges as being more likely to seek out a product after seeing it on Instagram. People make an assumption that both Instagram and Snapchat are for the younger set, but in this case, the data proves otherwise. This reality is an intriguing twist for brands that need to reach and older demographic and may not be seeing results on Facebook or Twitter. Plus, Instagram Stories blew past Snapchat’s Stories with 200 million active users. Facebook owns Instagram, and it has had Snap in its sights in recent months, taking the small company on feature-by-feature and dominating each space quickly.

And now Instagram is emboldened and taking on Pinterest with collections. Pinterest is a platform that hasn’t had many direct competitors in its last five years of growth. This has allowed Pinterest to expand and experiment with its platform, unhindered. But now Instagram is moving into their territory. This new Instagram functionality enables common user behavior, bookmarking images for inspiration and future reference. For now, the collections functionality is private, but it most likely will have a public option once adoption rates increase.

These strategic moves prove that PR pros should keep an eye on Instagram and their parent company, Facebook; moving their efforts into the spaces Facebook chooses to occupy.

PR Takeaways

So what does all of this doubling down on video mean for the savvy PR pro? Invest heavily in the analytics behind video content and incorporating A/B testing of formats, length, content, and platform to find what resonates with each audience for your clients. Keep in mind while you experiment that your brands may have several different audiences on several different platforms. Visual content is definitely where a “one size fits all” approach to content likely won’t work, and good analytics will help you spend your time and money wisely.

And remember, a PR pro should fall back on creating relevant content around your brand and the critical insights of your company and campaigns.

Customer Case Studies: 5 Tips for Staying on Track

When you’re working on case studies, getting the customer interview exactly right is the hardest (and most important) part of creating great customer case studies. If the interview is good, your case study will write itself. But the interview isn’t your only challenge. Here are additional pitfalls you’ll encounter, plus five ways to get around them:

Customer Case Studies: Tip #1

Give Your Customers Plenty of Props

Even though you’ll probably have to nudge your way into the spotlight and make the case study more about you, don’t forget to give your customers some love. Call out your their achievements in the market, highlight their growth, and point out their unique strengths.

Customer Case Studies: Tip #2

Use a Transcription Service

Having to pause and rewind an audio file is no fun. Don’t waste your writer’s or video editor’s valuable (and expensive) time on transcribing an interview. Hire a service to do this for you.

Customer Case Studies: Tip #3

Don’t Disappoint

If your customer has taken them time out of their schedule to be interviewed, don’t slack on finishing the video edits or writing the story and getting it up on your site and into the world. They will eventually ask you about it, and you don’t want to have to answer that there isn’t one.

Customer Case Studies: Tip #4

Get the Word Out

Ask your customer to help you promote your case study on their social channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook). In return, use your own social channels to thank them for it. If your case study is in the form of a video, try to provide them with short teasers, so people will have to come through your site to view the full case study. 

Customer Case Studies: Tip #5

Don’t Jump the Gun

Your company has landed a new customer and you couldn’t be more excited. But be patient. Wait until they are fully onboard and using your product for a minimum of six months before approaching them for an interview.

One More Thing to Think About

What If Your Customer Mentions a Competitor?

You’d be thrilled to hear your customer say that they chose (and love) you after having been disappointed by a rival company. But do you bring it up in the case study? They may mention having researched competitors and found them lacking. This is great to know, but should you use it? The first question you’ll need to answer is: does your customer mind you mentioning these other companies by name? They may have perfectly valid reasons for not wanting to burn any bridges. Your next questions are: What is your own policy on discussing competitors? Do you freely bash them? Do you mention but never badmouth them? Or do you avoid referencing them by name altogether? Depending on your brand voice and go-to-market strategy, any of these could be the right approach for you. As you plan your customer case study program, this is an important policy to set and stick to. On a final note, finding good candidates for your customer case studies is a challenge in and of itself. Here are some pointers on choosing the right participants.

We recently filmed a series of video case studies employing some of these tips. Take a look at our University of Michigan case study, the University uses Executive Alerts to keep a pulse on student conversations.

 

This post was originally published on this site in April 2015. It’s been edited and reposted with new links for readers who may have missed it the first time around.

Lessons for PR from a Winning Sales Team: How to Pitch Media with Persistence and Persuasion

Sales teams and PR professionals have more in common than most people might think.

We all pitch stories. Sales teams pitch products or services and try to close deals. In PR, we pitch media to secure coverage.

Take a high-level overview of the sales process. It’s easy to pinpoint the similarities:

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The media pitch process doesn’t look much different from what a good salesperson does. The PR professional will identify the proper influencers and publications to reach out to. They will tailor their media pitches to create value, not only for themselves but the journalist or influencer they are working with. Some will use the story and some won’t.

Thinking through it along these lines, it’s not much of a stretch to say that PR is a sales job. We’re in the business of selling ideas to publications and building relationships with influencers. Once we think of PR this way, it can change how we approach our work. 

What makes a winning sales team successful? It’s much more than just having the confidence to make a cold call.

How to Sell Your Media Pitch

Leverage Your Relationships 

Network as much as possible. Attend conferences, attend workshops, attend industry events. Don’t be afraid to ask a journalist to grab a coffee! Take advantage of the relationships you establish early on in your career by maintaining contact. Do your best to meet with journalists face-to-face. A phone call should be second and an email third.

Know Who You’re Speaking To

Research. Research. Research. Who are you speaking to and why? Thoroughly learn everything you can about their interests, their needs, and their audience. Read past stories they’ve written and follow their social accounts. This allows you to craft an effective pitch that will resonate with the person you’re speaking to.

 pitch media

Only Meltwater offers a media contacts database that allows you to search for journalists by recent coverage. This will help you tailor a media pitch to their most recent interests. Along with phone and social media contact info, you’ll also be able to send email straight from the tool and keep track of your open rates.

Pick Up the Phone

Many journalists don’t have time to respond, let alone open an email. To make the most of their time and to increase your chances of a response, pick up the phone. Formulate a thoughtful introduction and follow with your pitch. You probably have about 15 seconds to grab the person’s attention. Personalize your pitch and make it unique. Journalists love this approach—they don’t have time to filter through all the irrelevant content filling up their inboxes. It’s easier for a journalist to say “no” over email than over the phone.

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Follow-Up

ALWAYS follow-up after your pitch. By now, you should know journalists have a ton of pitches to filter through. Stay persistent and persuasive and explain the benefits of picking up your story. Give them concrete reasons why your story is better than anyone else’s. There is also a fine line between being persistent and being annoying. Give the journalist a few days to process your pitch. If they sound busy, don’t take up too much of their time, and if the journalist says no, ask them why. As with sales, rejection is par for the course in PR. Turn it into a learning experience by using the opportunity to ask what future topics they would be interested in.

Take Advantage of Your Opportunities

If you get the chance to speak with a journalist on the phone or meet face-to-face, take respectful advantage of their time. The key is not to be a great speaker, but to be a great listener. Ask good questions and take notes. They’re going out of their way to speak with you. There’s only one chance to make a first impression, so be mindful of their time, takes notes throughout the discussion, arrive prepared, and focus on their interests and needs, more than your own.

Be Patient

Results don’t happen overnight. It’s inevitable that you will face rejection. Remain patient and develop thick skin. Turn every failed attempt into a learning experience and come back stronger.

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You’re ultimately selling a story. Your pitch is your product. The journalists are your prospects. Be persistent, persuasive, and stay confident. Be the best salesperson you can be! If you’re interested in putting this advice into practice, speak to one of our ace salespeople and receive a demo of our media contacts database.

Social Sidekick 5.14-5.20: Social Holidays, Themes, and Noteworthy Events

Oh, Mommy Dearest! Mother’s Day will dominate social media this weekend—just like she did your childhood (or maybe that was just us?). But between Chocolate Chip Day, Miss USA, and Preakness, there’s plenty more social holidays and topical content to Tweet about—and like infamous maternal figure Betty Draper said (more or less), only boring brands are boring on social media. Sign up to get Social Sidekick sent straight to your inbox so Mom won’t catch you checking Facebook at brunch. 

CELEBRATE MAY

//HEALTH//
Lyme Disease Awareness Month, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month

//FOOD//
Hamburger Month, Barbeque Month, Asparagus Month, Mediterranean Diet Month, Salad Month, Salsa Month, Strawberry Month, Vinegar Month, Gazpacho Month, Egg Month

//FUN//
Golf Month, Get Caught Reading Month, Bike Month, Photography Month

Sunday, May 14

//HOLIDAYS//
Mother’s Day, Buttermilk Biscuit Day, Chicken Dance Day

//HASHTAGS//
#SundayFunday, #SelfieSunday, #Sinday

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Miranda Cosgrove, Rob Gronkowski, Mark Zuckerberg, George Lucas, Cate Blanchett, Clay Matthews, Jill Stein, Amber Tamblyn

//TV EVENTS//
2017 Miss USA (Fox, 7 PM)

//TV PREMIERES//
My Super Sweet 16 (MTV, 7 PM), Invite Only Cabo (Bravo, 9 PM), King Charles III (PBS 9 PM), What Happens at the Abbey (E!, 10 PM), Mike Tyson Mysteries (Adult Swim, 11:30 PM) 

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Monday, May 15

//HOLIDAYS//
Peace Officers Memorial Day, Chocolate Chip Day, Straw Hat Day, Nylon Stockings Day

//HASHTAGS//
#ManCrushMonday or #MCM, #MondayBlues, #MotivationMonday, #MarketingMonday, #MeatlessMonday

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Ray Lewis, Andy Murray, Birdy, Emmitt Smith, Zara Phillips, Jamie-Lynn Sigler

//TV PREMIERES//
Mommy Dead and Dearest (HBO, 10 PM)

Tuesday, May 16

//HOLIDAYS//
Virtual Assistants Day, Drawing Day, Biographers Day, Sea Monkey Day

//HASHTAGS//
#TransformationTuesday or #TT, #TravelTuesday, #TongueOutTuesday, #Tunesday

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Megan Fox, Pierce Brosnan, Janet Jackson, David Boreanaz, Danny Trejo, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Behati Prinsloo

//TV PREMIERES//
Born This Way (A&E, 9 PM), Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive (Netflix)

Wednesday, May 17

//HOLIDAYS//
Hypertension Day, Baking Day, Telecommunications Day, Pack Rat Day, Cherry Cobbler Day

//HASHTAGS//
#WomanCrushWednesday or #WCW, #WayBackWednesday or #WBW, #WineWednesday, #WellnessWednesday, #HumpDay, #WisdomWednesday

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Bob Saget, Derek Hough, Nikki Reed, Bill Paxton, Enya, Sugar Ray Leonard, Trent Reznor, Craig Ferguson

//TV PREMIERES//
Downward Dog (ABC 9:30 PM), Hollywood Medium (E!, 8 PM), I Am Heath Ledger (Spike, 10 PM)

Thursday, May 18

//HOLIDAYS//
Visit Your Relatives Day, Notebook Day, Museum Day, No Dirty Dishes Day, Cheese Souffle Day

//HASHTAGS//
#TBT or #ThrowbackThursday, #Thursdate, #ThoughtfulThursday, #ThirstyThursday, #ThankfulThursday

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Tina Fey, Jack Johnson, George Straight, Reggie Jackson, Perry Como

//TV PREMIERES//
First in Human: The Trials of Building 10 (Discovery, 9 PM)

Friday, May 19

//HOLIDAYS//
National Defense Transportation Day, World Baking Day, Devil’s Food Cake Day, Bike to Work Day, Endangered Species Day, Pizza Party Day

//HASHTAGS//
#FollowFriday or #FF, #FlashbackFriday or #FBF, #FridayFeeling, #FriYay, #FridayReads

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Malcom X, Sam Smith, Kevin Garnett, Pete Townshend, Andre the Giant, Lily Cole, Yo Gotti, Andrea Pirlo, Ferdinand Magellan

//ALBUM RELEASES//
!!! [Chik Chik Chik], “Shake the Shudder”; (Sandy) Alex G., “Rocket”;  Aldous Harding, “Party”; Biters, “The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”; Chris Bathgate, “Dizzy Seas”; Christopher Willits, “Horizon”; Daniel Romano, “Modern Pressure”; DragonForce, “Reaching Into Infinity”; Erasure World, “Be Gone”; Faith Evans and The Notorious B.I.G., “The King & I”; Jane Weaver, “Modern Kosmology”; Land of Talk, “Life After Youth”; Linkin Park, “One More Light”; Nick Hakim, “Green Twins”; Papa Roach, “Crooked Teeth”; Pokey LaFarge, “Manic Revelations”; Rascal Flatts, “Back to Us”; Snoop Dogg, “Neva Left”; The Mountain Goats, “Goths”; Wavves, “You’re Welcome”

//MOVIE PREMIERES//
Everything, Everything; Alien: Covenant; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

//TV PREMIERES//
12 Monkeys (Syfy, 8 PM), Josh Gates’ Destination Truth (Travel, 9 PM), Blame! (Netflix), The Keepers (Netflix), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Saturday, May 20

//HOLIDAYS//
Armed Forces Day, World Whiskey Day, Quiche Lorraine Day, Learn to Swim Day, Be a Millionaire Day, Weights and Measures Day, Pick Strawberries Day

//HASHTAGS//
#Caturday, #SexySaturday

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Cher, Busta Rhymes, James Stewart, Matt Czuchry, Tony Goldwyn, Timothy Olyphant, Rachel Platten

//TV PREMIERES//
The Wizard of Lies (HBO 8 PM), Becoming Bond (Documentary, Hulu)

//SPORTS EVENTS//
Preakness (Maryland)