Facebook. New Year New Rule.

Tired of seeing irrelevant content on your Facebook timeline that has nothing to do with your page? Well Facebook is too, and this year they’re doing something about it. The globally known site has created a New Year’s resolution and it has to do with Engagement Baiting.

What is Engagement Baiting?

Engagement Baiting is the manipulation of Facebook’s algorithm, which purpose serves to make posts or certain pages rank higher is user’s news feeds. For example, we’ve all scrolled down our timeline and seen the post “Share this 20 times to receive a free car,” in other words Share baiting. Or maybe your more familiar with “Like, share and  tag 10 friends in this post for a chance to be entered into our monthly prize drawing” –Tag baiting. Whether you were tricked by share, tag, comment, vote or react baiting, were all guilty of being the fish who just couldn’t resist.

How are they doing this?

Facebook has decided to ditch showing content that only informs and entertains for content that inspires meaningful discussion between family, friends, and businesses. Tested over the last few months, the social media site has concluded that sparking meaningful discussions, and interactions, will help boost the Site’s traffic and cater more to what users want and need.

To demote engagement baiting, Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed at Facebook says, “We will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back- and forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to interact too.”

What does this mean for businesses and social media managers?

If your business is not producing content that stimulates reaction or inspires meaningful conversation than you may want to rethink your content strategy. According to Facebook “Posts that ask people for help, advice, or recommendations, such as circulating a missing child report, raising money for a cause or asking for travel tips will not be adversely impacted by this update”. Page admins that refuse to familiarize themselves with this update and continue to engage in spam-like posts will soon be familiar with the term demotion.

Businesses, brands and media that create wasteful content will soon come to an end as Facebook will no longer be tolerating these five types of engagement baiting- Comment Baiting, Share baiting, Vote baiting, Reaction Baiting or Tag baiting.  The site is encouraging Facebook Page Admins to read and understand the newly updated “Facebook Newsfeed Guidelines” in order to avoid demotion.

What you can do?

Don’t worry you still have time. Although the demotion process has already begun, the stricter demotion process has not yet been implemented. The delay will allow admins to update posting schedules and content that does not support the social media site’s “New Year resolution”. In order to remain successful on Facebook it is important that your company focuses on inspiring useful interactions, meaningful discussions and content that is relevant to your audience.

Here at CMG we specifically recommend referring back to our 3 E’s when posting. 1. Is this entertaining? 2. Will this cause an emotional response from the user? 3. Is this educational? If you can check yes to all three E’s, then you will not be affected by the new update.

Mark Zuckerberg states “One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” Now that you know Facebook’s next big move, ask yourself what is yours? Will your business go with the status quo or try and implement strategies to get around this new rule. Either way creatively feeding the public content that’s inspires meaningful conversation and stimulates reaction is an important factor when it comes to successful business presence on today’s social media.

Jingling All the Way to Post Engagement- How Holiday Content Can Boost Your Brand

The stockings are hung, Santa is at the mall, holiday hits are on the radio… Christmas is here! But I thought this was a blog about marketing, why are we chatting about the holidays? Because seasonal posts may be the answer you need for engaging audiences all over social media. If you are experiencing low user engagement through typical posts on your brand’s social media, fret no longer, we’ve got a solution that might just do the trick.

Here at Columbia Marketing Group we try to implement the 3 E’s when creating content for social media. These E’s are Entertaining, Emotional, and Educational, so ask yourself when you post 1) Is this entertaining? 2) Will this cause an emotional response from the user? 3) Is this educational? If you can get at least one of these E’s in your post, you are likely creating quality content that will help build your brand. Ideally, you would strive to get 2 or even 3 E’s, if possible.

So how do posts about the holidays fit into this equation? Not only do the holidays elicit an emotional response from users, typically excitement or nostalgia, but they are also entertaining, timely, this content is usually easily generated, and often gets higher engagement than a typical post. There’s something about snow on the ground, presents under the tree, and classic films on the silver screen that make you relish in anticipation for what’s to come. When fans and followers see these yuletide posts come across their news feed it allows them to feel these emotions.

This holiday season, Santa is checking his list, not once but twice, so make sure you dot your I’s, cross your T’s and incorporate the 3 E’s into your winter social media strategy. Happy Holidays from the team at Columbia Marketing Group!

 

 

5 Things You Need to Know About Facebook Advertising

One scroll through Facebook and you’ll see a plethora of posts tagged “Sponsored”. Businesses pay for these posts to get users to complete a call to action, turning users into customers or advocates with just one click.

Whether you want to start advertising on Facebook or improve your results, here are five things you need to know:

  1. Know your audience.

Facebook retains enormous quantities of information about its users, such as age, gender, location, job, hobbies, etc. A good first step in creating a successful Facebook ad would be to narrow down who you specifically want to target. While creating your Facebook ad, you can filter recipients by any of the categories mentioned and more. You can be super specific – even if you are looking for single moms, over 34, from Nebraska, who have an interest in bird watching (seriously!). 

  1.   Use the right images.

People are drawn to striking images with appealing colors, words, or objects. A good photo will get a better response from your ad, so put your eye to the test and find attractive photography with creative angles and interesting features.

  1.   Text IS important.

The image may grasp the users attention, but the text will likely be the differentiating factor in impression versus engagement (following the CTA). Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Little bits of information are going to get a better response than long winded paragraphs.

  1.  Set a realistic budget

Like any marketing strategy, you have to make a realistic budget, Facebook is no different. Knowing that you are not going to be able to reach the entire United States with just $10 per week is paramount. Set realistic parameters that all parties are comfortable with.

ProTip: Make sure you adjust the duration of the ad before publishing, it is very easy to accidentally spend $100 per day when you meant to spend that over the course of a month. Check and double check before you submit your ad, you won’t regret it!

  1.    Use a call to action

A call to action (CTA) is an instruction or directive that encourages the user to act in a particular way, achieving the primary goal of the campaign. “Download”, “Buy Now”, “Connect”, or “Like” are a few examples. For Facebook, limit the number of CTA’s to one and your Facebook ad is going to get a noticeably better response. 

 

Like anything, Facebook advertising is something that takes practice before you get it right; but once you create, analyze, and optimize your campaigns, you’ll learn what works best for your business and start seeing results.

If it still sounds too time consuming or confusing, contact CMG. We would be happy to lend a hand with your social media advertising. 

Millennials: Changing the Marketing Game One Day at a Time

Millennials – you can’t go anywhere without hearing about them, including this CMG blog! But, why? Millennials make up 23.3% of the US population right now and companies need to start marketing to this group before it’s too late! Your great aunt on Facebook may say that millennials are lazy, self-righteous, unwilling to work, and self absorbed. Now that may be true for some, but this demographic makes up a huge part of the US workforce and accounts for $65 billion in consumer spending per year. And this will only continue to grow.

Some of you may still be unsure of who actually fits in this generation, you may actually be a millennial yourself.  Millennials include anyone born between the years of 1983 and 1999. These people are highly aware of what images and advertisements they let affect them. They spend much of their day behind a screen, whether computer, phone, or other. So, businesses –  take note!

 

Want to learn more about how to appeal to this stakeholder generation? Here are a few tips:

Avoid “hype” and “fake news”

With so much content out there, advertisers are fighting for digital space, and if you’ve got it, you better make it worthwhile. Millennials aren’t going to waste their time on an ad or site that has low quality images, out of date text, misspelled words, or other errors. They want to get the information they need and get out. Use professional design tips and tricks, incorporate high quality images, and modern fonts and colors. These strategies will increase credibility and attract those hard to get clicks.

Be on the right apps

 

via GIPHY

With so many platforms out there it is easy to misstep when planning on where to advertise. Although Facebook was created to cater towards college students, millennials spend their time elsewhere. Facebook has become increasingly popular for women aged 50+. Millennials still have FB accounts to keep up with extended family or use the popular Facebook Messenger feature, but their time on the platform is scarce and decreasing as other apps become increasingly popular.

Instagram and Snapchat are the winners in the game for millennial attention. These platforms create small bits of information and allow for more creativity and customization for the user. You can check in multiple times throughout the day, you’ll likely never see duplicate or recurring posts, and you are able to keep up with friends 10 seconds at a time. On the other hand, 32% of millennials use Twitter, this is down from years past but this platform is still holding strong for many users. Social media is exceedingly popular not just for millennials but for many age groups. Being present on these outlets is essential for any company striving to have a strong online presence.

 

Cohesive branding is key

Millennials are less likely to follow through with brands that are not cohesive. Companies that have different messages, logos, colors, and images are confusing. Your marketing components should have a common thread that forms a connection in the minds of consumers. If the content that you release is visually related, targeted millennials will form a positive brand image in their minds and are more likely to interact with these companies in the future.

Invest in the right kind of advertising

Millennials are getting force fed information through every outlet they spend their time on. Typical ads are being overlooked all the time, so how do you avoid this? Eye-catching, trendy advertisements such as interactive video are more likely to catch the attention of millennials and others alike.

Avoid something like this!

A few great looking ads make a greater impact than a large number of ads that look “spammy” or like clickbait. Professional ads can leave a lasting impression. Low quality ads that come up and follow you everywhere can leave an even stronger impression in a bad way. Retargeting is a great way to get the attention of potential customers, but these buyers don’t want to see a cheap advertisement. A professional, attractive ad may be all it takes to turn a first (or second, or third!) impression into a lasting relationship. By investing your money in the right ways you are able to form a positive relationship that can turn into future sales.

 

Millennials have a huge amount of buying power, the time to start getting their attention and brand loyalty is now. By following these recommendations, you will start seeing a return from this influential demographic!

If you need to rethink your branding or advertising strategy, contact Columbia Marketing Group today!

State of the YAYA Takeaways

It’s no secret – if you want to successfully market your business to a specific target population, you have to understand the behavior of that target. Businesses constantly fight for the attention of consumers. If your product or service isn’t appealing to the right audience, you’re already losing.

The Youth and Young Adult market (YAYA) is one of the hardest to understand. Perhaps brands want to connect with this market the most. Nearly 31 million people in the USA are between the ages of 18-24. This market is important because these customers demonstrate high brand loyalty. Young adults also have heavy influence on global trends.

Every year, MOJO Ad, a student-staffed advertising agency at the Missouri School of Journalism, presents an in-depth report on the current lifestyles and habits of the YAYA market and how you can develop a positive relationship with them. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the 2017 presentation – applicable to your business whether you target the YAYA market or not.

The Future is Digital           

via GIPHY

Nearly 90 percent of the YAYA market owns a smartphone, and they use it for, well, just about everything. Google and YouTube provide the perfect outlets for teaching young adults new tasks, and social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are becoming primary news sources for YAYA.

MOJO Ad says it’s important to note that YAYA users have a short attention span and demonstrate “hypersensitivity” to anything considered fake or over the top. From this, marketers can take away that a digital message has to be quick, while also connecting the consumer to real emotional and physical benefits your brand can provide.

The Young Adult Market Loves Opinions

via GIPHY

Because of social media, YAYA consumers are surrounded by a world of differing opinions. Less than a third of YAYA consumers are loyal to one news source, and most prefer to get their news from social media sources where news becomes an open marketplace of ideas.

Consider leveraging the power of social media in your favor by creating brand-specific featured stories or using social media influencers like Snapchat’s “Live Story” feature.

YAYA Doesn’t Sleep

via GIPHY

The YAYA market is busy with no time to waste. Because of this, less than half of YAYA consumers say they don’t get enough sleep – a sacrifice they are willing to make if it means balancing a heavy workload.

Additionally, YAYA consumers keep their phone with them in bed so they can check their social media accounts before going to sleep and right when they wake up.

So what’s the takeaway for marketers? You can target the YAYA demographic at any time, day or night. Content posted strategically at odd hours may seem a little strange, but your target may be online at a time of day neither you nor your competitors are leveraging.

If you want more information on the 2017 State of the YAYA report, click here.

Why you can’t ignore Google Plus anymore

Google Plus is often times considered the red-headed step child of social media platforms. With only around 300 million of its 2.5 billion accounts still alive and kicking, it is a shock that the social media network made it to its fifth birthday.

The +1 on Google Plus is similar to Facebook and Twitter likes.
The +1 on Google Plus is similar to Facebook and Twitter likes.

But despite its lack of hype, the platform holds the key to one sector that all other networks lack: search engine optimization (SEO). With a parent like Google, the king of all search engines, local businesses ought to adopt Google Plus account if it means increasing organic ranking on search engine results. By increasing this ranking, your business will stand out among your competitors.

Here, we highlight five ways that Google Plus can help strengthen a local business’ online presence.

1. Google Plus has a strong influence on SEO.

Building a strong network, or “circle,” on Google Plus has a stronger impact on search engine results than your Facebook or Twitter presence. According to one metric, Google +1s (comparable to Facebook and Twitter likes) had the single highest correlation with Google search rankings compared to other social signals. In other words, it takes more Twitter and Facebook likes to have the same impact on SEO as Google Plus interactions.

Building support on Google Plus may be easier than it sounds. Although there is a limited amount of activity on the platform, there’s a pretty good chance that your loyal customers and employees already have a Google Plus account. Gmail, the most popular free email service in the world, can be easily linked to a Google Plus account without the need to fill out a separate account set-up form.

If you, a family member, friend or loyal customer already have a personal Gmail account, you can easily build a circle and start generating +1’s on your company’s content.

2. Google Plus can amplify your Google My Business account.

Want to increase the visibility of your Google My Business account? Utilize Google Plus, an already built-in tool that allows you to post updates in the same way as a Facebook status or tweet.

If you create an individual account for your business, Google will automatically create a default account. You want to make sure to post to the "brand" account, linked to Google My Business.
The “Brand Account” is linked to Google My Business.

As a local business trying to attract people searching for services in your area, it is important to stand out among your local competitors. One way you can amplify your Google presence is to begin building an active Google Plus presence. And there’s a good chance your competitors are not already tapping into this useful tool.

The tricky part with this is you want to make sure that you’re posting to your “brand” account rather than the default account provided by Google. The “brand” account is linked to your Google My Business account, rather than the default account provided when signing up for any Google services account.

3. Google Plus pairs well with other Google services.

Along with platforms such as Gmail and Google My Business, the Google family also includes YouTube which reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any cable network in the United States.

Your Google Plus account will strengthen your presence across all Google platforms. Already have an active Youtube presence? Strengthen your web presence by creating a Google Plus page for your channel or videos.

Another way you can utilize your Google Plus account is to provide a strong social presence. Want to respond to a positive or negative review about your business? Create accountability by interacting through your Google Plus account.

4. You can recycle content from Facebook for more visibility.

Google Plus operates a lot like a Facebook page. There are no limits on the number of characters to use and your website links will create a visual preview. To amplify your reach, posting to more than one social network will attract different users. Not to mention, Google Plus posts are more likely to show up in search engine results than Facebook posts.

If you want to maximize the number of keyword searches that drive traffic to your website, cross-posting content to Google Plus is a great way to increase the visibility of your content.

5. The more routes you create to your website, the better it is for your web performance and Google ranking.

Like mentioned before, social signals are likely to increase your Google ranking, along with organic website visits. Google Plus may not be the most popular social network out there, but it does serve as a useful tool for increasing your web presence. The service is also free if you already have a Google My Business account.

Interested in using this tool to increase your web traffic and improve your online image? Follow this quick guide for getting started. 

5 Ways to Make Pokémon GO Work for Your Business

Pokémon has taken the US by storm. Want to leverage this craze and drive traffic to your business? Here are 5 simple tips.

  1. Download Pokémon GO and find Pokémon near your business.

  2. If you find a Pokémon, take a screen shot of it and spread the news on social media!

  3.  Find Pokéstops near your business – then give people a discount who come to them.

  4. If your business is near a Pokéstop, buy lures and use them. Spread the news on social media about when and how long you plan to use these lures.

  5. Offer awards for Pokémon gym leaders.

Don’t know what any of that really means? Don’t worry, we’ve created a detailed tutorial.

Pokémon

If you’re lucky, you might have these pokemon monster inside or outside of your business! Although some Pokémon (Eevee or Magikarp) may be more popular than others (Rattata or Pidgey), it will still engage users to at least stop by and get some experience points.

Using social media has been a great way to stay relevant in all this Pokémon hype and target the users participating in the app. Take a look at what The Social Room has done.

pokemongo social room

You can easily do something similar to this with your business. Although the Pokémon is important to get into the photo; make sure that the background of the photo is relevant to your business so viewers know exactly where to find this Pokémon (and you). Here’s an example photo at Harpo’s I took that you can easily do for your own business.

Harpoes Pokemon

Using a background a user can recognize while hunting, such as the sign at Harpo’s, allows users to know where exactly to find the Pokémon and your business when walking in the nearby area.

Aside from simply posting about a Pokémon being outside your business, you can also do a promotion. For example, a $1 off a drink for catching the Pokémon could be a great advertisement to persuade Pokémon trainers to come into your business and stay a little longer.

 Pokéstops

Another great tool from Pokémon Go is the Pokéstops. Pokéstops are the blue square-shaped figures on the map that lets users pick up supplies such as Pokéballs or potions needed for their adventure. Once the user is close enough to access the Pokéstop, the square turns into a circle with a Pokéball-like figure in the middle.

The best part about Pokéstops is that trainers have to stop by these every once in a while to restock their supplies. To access the Pokéstops, users must click on the symbol and this will show:

The Pokéstop, like the one at Main Squeeze Natural Foods Café, features the main logo or building of the Pokéstop, its name, and a short excerpt. This would be another great thing to blast on your social media pages for trainers to come to your business. Once trainers use the Pokéstop though, it takes 5 minutes until they can use it again. The trick to using these Pokéstop to your advantage is to occupy users long enough during the 5-minute wait period. This can be done by providing a discount to those who ‘check in’ at your Pokéstop or a contest to see who has the best Pokéstop.

Additionally, these aren’t as prevalent as Pokéstops or as easy as lures. Pokéstops are already set up locations that are usually churches, national landmarks, and museums although Niantic will later allow businesses and locations to sign up to become a Pokéstop. Keep a look out for Pokemon GO updates.

 Lures

One of the ways to literally get people to walk into your business is by using lures. Lures attract Pokémon monsters to your location for 30 minutes, but only can be used on existing Pokéstops. Although this is a short time, Pokémon and people will come. Purchasing a lure is really simple. After setting up your character, click on the poke ball, then click shop. Scroll down and tap the purple, square-shaped lures and purchase as many as you would like.

lures

To active a lure, click on the Pokéstop, then click on the white space under the description, then tap your lure. It will activate immediately! To check if your lure is activated, you will see decorative pink leaves floating around your selected Pokéstop. Here’s an example of a lure-activated Pokéstop:

lurepokestop

Using lures is a great way to attract people in the nearby area to literally come inside your business, especially since they’re more than likely going to be there for the entire 30 minutes. Make sure to share your lure-activated Pokéstop nearby or at your business on social media for all Pokéstop GO trainers to find!

The Cost

pokecoins

A lure costs 100 Pokécoins, which is $.99. If you want to buy more than one lure, you can buy 8 lures for 680 Pokécoins. The purchases will be done through the App store’s payment system, just like any other in-app purchase.

Pokegyms

Lastly, a pokégym is where users are able to battle their Pokésmon against competing teams. If you’re located near a pokégym, you’re in luck! These are less common than pokéstops but people frequently stop by these locations daily to claim the title of a gym leader.

An easy way to attract people to your business while on their way to battle, or battling, is to possibly give out an ‘award’ to the team or user who are the pokégym leaders. You could do something like display support whatever team (red, Yellow, or Blue) has control over the gym. You can see who has control over the gym in your gym map and the color of the gym symbol, like so:

Blue                                         Yellow                                        Red

blue pokegymyellow pokegymred REDgym

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another ‘award’ you can give is for the Pokémon leaders. The number of gym leaders depends on the level of the gym. Usually, there is 1-5 leaders per gym and can be shown when you click on the gym logo on the map. It’ll show up their username and their Pokémon. These awards could be as simple as tweeting ‘congrats’ to the gym leader with a screenshot of the Pokémon trainer and it’s Pokémon or offering some sort of prize.

Redpokegym

 

 

It’s your time to become the very best

With all these instructions, go out and try it on your business! Pokemon GO has been a trending topic on social media, so be sure to participate with popular hashtags like #PokemonGO or #Pokemon. It may be intimidating, but the internet has answers for any and all questions you may have along the way. Here’re a few resources that may be helpful for you.

How to Play PokemonGO

PokemonGO Gym

Help on Lures

Pokemon GO & Your Business