• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 18, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • Stories—and storytelling—are powerful. They help charities secure more donations, persuade juries in trials and sway opinions in politics and the boardroom. Every small, personal story has something of the universal in it, and when the story is well told, it can spread rapidly and change lives in surprising and unexpected ways.

    Stories—and storytelling—are powerful.

    They help charities secure more donations, persuade juries in trials and sway opinions in politics and the boardroom.

    Every small, personal story has something of the universal in it, and when the story is well told, it can spread rapidly and change lives in surprising and unexpected ways.

    Let me tell you about one such story. In 2011, Caine Monroy was a 9-year-old boy much like any other kid his age—except that he had built an arcade in his father’s auto parts store in East Los Angeles.

    Caine built the arcade entirely from cardboard boxes found in the store, along with other everyday objects and old toys.

    Once he finished it, Caine waited patiently for his first customer. Sadly, he waited quite a while since his dad’s store is located in an industrial mall and receives little foot traffic.

    Finally, a customer arrived. Nirvan Mullick showed up looking for a door handle for his 1996 Toyota Corolla. He met Caine and bought a Fun Pass for $2 that gave him 500 plays in the arcade.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

    Mullick is a partner at an L.A. creative agency. Struck by Caine’s inventiveness, he decided to make a video about the arcade. And to make the story even more interesting, he organized a flash mob encouraging everyone in L.A. to visit and play in Caine’s Arcade.

    He posted the event information on Facebook, and it eventually made its way to the front page of Reddit. On the designated date, Mullick organized the surprise party while George, Caine’s dad, distracted the youngster with a visit to their local pizza joint.

    Given his previous track record at attracting customers, imagine Caine’s surprise when his dad brought him back to the store and he saw a crowd of more than 100 people lined up to play his arcade.

    In April 2012, Mullick released Caines’s Arcade, an 11-minute video telling the story of Caine, his cardboard arcade and the flash mob.

    The video quickly went viral, racking up over 1 million views the first day alone. And the impact on Caine was nothing short of astounding.

    According to George, “Caine has really come out of his shell. He talks to everybody freely now and he doesn’t stutter any more. And he’s doing way doing better in school.”

    After the documentary was released, Caine became the youngest entrepreneur to speak at the USC Marshall School of Business.

    He also addressed the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. MIT invited him to participate in a summer program and UC Los Angeles offered to design a course curriculum for Caine when he’s old enough to attend college.

    Forbes and Fast Company both wrote about Caine’s determination and creativity.

    The Exploratorium in San Francisco displayed his arcade. Caine led a workshop at Maker Faire teaching kids how to make their own cardboard creations.

    Mullick started a college fund for Caine, encouraging those who viewed the video to contribute. The original goal was $25,000. Two years later, the fund has grown to over $239,000 with a revised target of $250,000.

    Three days after releasing the video, Mullick began sketching out an idea for a non-profit organization inspired by Caine’s Arcade. Later that year he launched The Imagination Foundation with a mission to find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids.

    “The idea is to give kids not only the tools to build the things that they can imagine, but to also imagine the world that they can build,” says Mullick.

    Its signature event is the Global Cardboard Challenge, held in 2013 and 2014 on the Saturday closest to the anniversary of the 2012 flash mob. This year’s event was Saturday, October 11th. The event encourages creativity with cardboard and to date 100,000 kids from 50 countries have participated in 270 events.

    Today, Caine is retired from running the arcade. He’s moved onto his next venture—a bicycle shop that repairs and remakes existing bikes.

    Find your story

    We can’t all be filmmakers like Mullick. And not many of us have a story as powerful as Caine’s Arcade.

    But for your next presentation, whether it’s for your board, potential investors or the sales team, avoid the typical canned corporate talk that sticks to the facts.

    Instead, appeal to your listeners’ love of stories. Find a hero to whom they can relate. Introduce conflict. Show pictures and video of real people. Strike a chord that triggers empathy. Encourage people to laugh. Give credit to others in the company. Dig deep and begin your presentation by telling a story.

    Who knows? You may just find a story that helps change the world for the better.

    Photo Credit: Storytelling/shutterstock

    While there has been much talk about the role engagement plays in Facebook business page success, the reality is that few businesses achieve much more than a very small percentage of obvious fan engagement - likes, shares, comments - for the content they post. But no matter how you look at the numbers, engagement won't happen at all unless the content you share makes it into the newsfeed of your Facebook fans and beyond, at least occasionally. And that's not all!

    Why Engagement Is Important

    Engagement is important as an indicator of how interesting your content is to those who see what you share in their newsfeed.

    While having a large percentage of those who view your content and engage with it would be nice, on average, only a small percentage of those who see your posts -  less than 1% according to SocialBakers - will take some sort of direct action by liking, sharing or commenting.

    Of course, some Facebook pages achieve higher engagement rates than others and some of your Facebook posts achiever higher levels of engagement than others.

    If Engagement Is Low For Most Facebook Pages, Why Bother?

    While engagement, in terms of 'liking', 'sharing' or 'commenting', is statistically low, it doesn't mean people aren't seeing and reading your content in their Facebook newsfeed, or even clicking on links that lead back to your website. It may mean this but it doesn't necessarily. Many of us browse through our Facebook newsfeed never taking direct action. Others frequently do so.

    Facebook offers huge opportunities  for you to build brand name recognition in your local area, and beyond, if you're willing to invest the time, energy and capital in doing so. And brand name recognition is a big deal when people are looking to make a decision on where they will go for a particular product or service.

    The Challenge of Engagement 

    The percentage of fans who engage with your content, on average, will be low. But as already mentioned, engagement is an indicator of interest and the value of what you share. Some content will produce higher engagement than others.

    But here's the challenge: if Facebook is a place where your fans and target audience are on social media, to have a hope of improving your engagement numbers you need to get into their newsfeed. To get into the newsfeed, chances are high you'll have to pay!

    Should You Pay To Promote Every Post On Facebook?

    That doesn't mean you should pay to promote every post you share on Facebook.

    But should you pay to promote some of your posts? Absolutely!

    Pay to promote your best content, and target it to reach Facebook users in your geographic area, by gender, by age group and by interests, as appropriate.

    Many small business owners are still in the "I'm ticked off that Facebook suckered me into growing my fan base and now I can't reach them unless I pay" mode. This mindset is equivalent to "cutting off your nose to spite your face." You're not hurting Facebook, but chances are you are hurting your business!

    Are You An Early Adopter, Majority Adopter, Late Adopter or Laggard?

    Early adopters recognized Facebook Promoted Posts as an opportunity early on, likely not long after Facebook introduced them in early 2012.

    The early adopters set aside their frustration with Facebook and took advantage of a playing field - the newsfeed - that was almost devoid of competition (of those paying to get into the newsfeed). They benefitted from lower costs to reach larger groups of people and they tested and learned what worked best, while the rest of us stewed in frustration.

    As time goes by the next wave of adopters, majority adopters, are getting over their frustration and recognizing, or at least beginning to wonder, whether they're missing out on something (and they are!) by ignoring Facebook promoted posts. Some of these (I'm hopeful) are beginning to see the opportunity and take advantage of it.

    Majority adopters have missed out on a few years of getting their business in front of their fans and target audience on Facebook.You'll pay more now than you would have a year ago for the privilege. But, for many - if not most, it's still worth it! And a year from now the playing field will be more crowded and the prices will be higher. Don't wait for everyone else to get on the bandwagon before you do!!

    Remember This When You Promote Your Posts!

    If/when you decide to invest some cash in promoting posts to your fans and beyond on Facebook, keep these factors in mind:

    1. Focus on what those you hope to reach will find interesting, valuable, inspirational, helpful. While there is a place for advertising on Facebook, if you're wanting to build a base of fans who will see you as a resource, as interesting, worth paying attention to, helpful and/or valuable; then focus your efforts on creating content that will produce this result. It's not all about you, it's all about them ... your customers!
    2. Make sure your profile is branded, complete and represents your business professionally. This means high quality images, a customized URL and be sure to include your contact information and details about your business and what you do. When people visit your Page you want it to make a favourable first impression, one that makes them want to follow you.
    3. Make sure your website represents your business as well as your Facebook Page, if not better.  Responsive design or mobile friendly, up-to-date not dated, content that gives people a reason to check back periodically, branding consistent with all your marketing materials and social networks, for starters.
    4. Make sure your business lives up to what you're promoting. If you're sharing great stuff online but the experience of customers is poor, it will hurt your business. You know this already but it is an important reminder that in today's online world saying one thing and doing something else creates an advertising buzz that can destroy your business. Keep your promises and when you don't own up to it and address the problem. Customer service has never played a more important role in a successful business than it does today!
    5. Pay to promote your best content to your fans and beyond! A great Facebook page with great content that no one sees is pointless. If you're not prepared to pay to promote at least some of your content on Facebook, you should reconsider whether it is the place for your business to be. A day is coming where, in order to have any reach on Facebook, you'll have to pay.

    Chances are, even if you make it into the newsfeed of fans and potential fans, your engagement percentage will still be low. But high engagement numbers while nice to have, aren't everything. Promoting content that works for your fans won't always generate rave reviews in the form of high engagement numbers. It might but often it won't.

    But what it will do, assuming you are paying to promote content that appeals to your audience, is build name recognition for your brand and a reputation for being customer focused. And, in our online world, that's a big deal!

    * Information on how to calculate your engagement rate is available on the SocialBakers website.

    "Dear Socially Stephanie, I just read an article that says Facebook and Twitter are worthless. Is this true? And if so, where should I focus my energy?"



    Dear Socially Stephanie,
    I just read an article that says Facebook and Twitter are worthless. Is this true? And if so, where should I focus my energy?

    Confused in Chico


    Dear Confused in Chico,
    It's good to hear your keeping up on the trends. I too saw that article going around the Facebook and Twitter. Ironic, right?

    Like anything with social media, there are a few different sides to the story. The article you are referencing actually talks about how Facebook and Twitter are not as great at building relationships with your customers as other networks might be. But it doesn't say to completely "X" them off of your list.

    And while I agree that Facebook is a network that is quickly losing steam, I don't think you should neglect it just yet. I do strongly think Twitter has a lot of potential to engage your customers and build a really strong and loyal fanbase. But, like anything you do for your business, you gotta do it right.

    Twitter is great as a customer service tool. If you have good customer service, you have the ability to build a relationship. So in that sense, Twitter is absolutely alive and well. Ignore your customers on Twitter and say goodbye to any type of relationship you had hoped to build.

    Another way to build your relationships on Twitter is to LISTEN. Okay, okay, I know you've heard it before, but it is true. Yes, you'll get the mentions as notifications, but what about those who aren't actually replying to you or tagging you. You still need to respond. Search for your business name, your business products and your URL. The URL is something everyone seems to forget. If you can respond to people who don't even realize you are on Twitter you are one step closer to BFF status.

    Beyond the usual suspects, AKA Twitter & Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and YouTube are also extremely good at building relationships with your buyers and potential customers. The reason I likes these networks so much these days is that they aren't over saturated with ads. People still see your content and when you post consistently and on-brand you'll see your following and conversions grow.

    Beyond the posts you put out yourself, these networks are a really great place to engage with Influencers who can really move the needle for you. In fact

    If you want to have the best engagement, branded communities are coming next. This means you own the data, you own the network, you own it all. And in many cases the community will actually engage with you and your other fans on your own site. This is really what you should aim for. It's like buying real estate vs leasing. Got it?

    Well, I hope that got your wheels turning. Good luck!


    Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?

    Please email SociallyStephanie@socialmediatoday.com and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)

    The biggest and most interesting news stories this week, as told by Brandwatch social data. The news cycle started slow, but that only lasted halfway through Monday. We looked at online conversations of #Snovember, People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive announcement, Movember of course, and much more.

    It’s not officially winter yet, but tell that to Buffalo and the rest of Western New York State which got literally blasted with #Snovember.


    Meanwhile, social conversations were heated after Jimmy Kimmel announced People Magazine’s 2014 selection for Sexiest Man of the Year. Jury’s still out on whether Chris Hemsworth deserved it or not, but the social data around this conversation gives us a glimpse into what people are saying (and the other Chris’ that were “robbed”). 

    (This cover is just... interesting.)

    What else have you maybe missed? Well, Snapchat introduced Snapcash (don’t worry, it’s not marketed as exchanging cash for “pics”), Dave & Buster’s posted a Taco Tuesday Tweet that backfired ala DiGiorno’s misuse of an activism hashtag a few months ago, and of course we’ve got your Movember update.

    Get ready to dive into the social data!


    Western New York is getting whitewashed and been hit with “a year’s worth of snow.” We have seen more than 4,700 mentions of #Snovember and #Snowvember on Twitter relating to the winter weather emergency in that region.

    The most popular hashtags include #snovember (2,800+ mentions), #snowvember (600+ mentions), and #buffalo (200+ mentions).

    One of the most popular tweets has come from the Buffalo Bills in their response to the NFL’s mention of the snow storm.


    People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive

    People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” news was announced on Jimmy Kimmel this week and the winner was…. Chris Hemsworth aka Thor aka Liam Hemsworth’s older brother. When we looked at the large amount of online conversation for and against the magazine’s bestowing the honor on this particular Aussie actor, we found some intriguing insights.

    What we really found interesting was the type of brands and people that capitalized on the news - from Mr. Clean to Piers Morgan.

    People Magazine itself is a news outlet but they make themselves a newsmaker when they announce their choice for “Sexiest Man Alive” as numerous business and entertainment media outlets cover the “story” from the WSJ’s Speakeasy blog to the reveal on Jimmy Kimme to the Huffington Post.

    The conversation online had reached nearly 50,000 mentions, with more than 47,000 mentions on Twitter. All within about half a day. People Magazine’s announcement was the most popular Tweet in that timeframe, with more than 5,500 RTs. Marvel Entertainment also got in on the action and received more than 900 RTs.

    To no one’s surprise, women have held a larger share of voice in the conversation (71%) compared to men (29%).

    Conversations mentioning Marvel, Thor, or God of Thunder have also been very popular in conversations around the announcement.

    We also took a look at who was upset over the news. We’ve seen nearly 400 mentions of users expressing the following key terms: disappointed, annoyed, annoying, worst, robbed, bs, bullshit, terrible, displeased, or upset.



    The official #sexiestmanalive and #chrishemsworth are the top two hashtags used in conversation. #Marvel, #abs, #Kimmel, @sma2014, and #thor also made it into the top hashtags.


    Real Mr. Clean has squeaked his way into the conversation with one of the top hashtags #Cuddles.

    Not surprisingly, People Magazine is the most mentioned Tweeter, along with E! News, and E! Online.  Jimmy Kimmel also received a fair amount of mentions as the news was announced on his show.

    Piers Morgan also Tweeted that he missed his name on the list. He has received less than 200 mentions but impressions may be hire based on his actual tweet’s RTs etc.



    When people magazine tweeted to ask Twitter users WHO SHOULD be the 2014 sexiest man alive yesterday, people started suggesting Adam Lambert in their responses. The same thing happened when Jimmy Kimmel tweeted to his followers to ask them to guess who it was before he unveiled the results last night on his show. As a result, Adam Lambert was one of the other celebrities who made it into the top conversations. Chris Pratt was also one of the most popular suggestions.

    Overall, Chris Hemsworth, People Magazine, and Marvel led the conversations.





    Will Snap for cash?

    Snapchat announced a partnership with Square this week to introduce Snapcash, a payments feature that lets users transfer money in the Snapchat app. But wait a minute, don’t teens (and adults alike) use Snapchat for ahem, “private” pictures? They sure do.

    The Snapcash news has garnered over 83,000 mentions on Twitter. We saw the highest spike in conversation on November 18 (with 53,000 mentions), not long after Snapchat published its blog post.

    Overall, much of the conversation seems to be excitement, however some users have expressed concerns on privacy, especially due to recent reports of security breaches. We have also seen more than 2,000 combined mentions of “charging for nudes” and “send nudes,” which seems to have made some consumers a bit hesitant of the new feature and the direction of the app.




    Dave and Buster’s #TacoTuesday tweet and delete

    To promote its Taco Tuesday, Dave & Buster’s made a pun that did not receive the laughs it hoped for. “I hate tacos, said no Juan ever,” the tweet read briefly, before it was quickly deleted followed by an apology about an hour later.

    This obviously isn’t the first time a brand has tweeted before thinking of the potential consequences or backlash.

    In September, DiGiorno pizza had a similar social media blunder when it blindly tweeted a response to the domestic abuse hashtag #whyistayed. In the first 48 hours after that tweet, #whyistayed was mentioned in conjunction to DiGiorno in more than 700 tweets and received nearly 18.5 million impressions.

    However, Dave & Buster’s #TacoTuesday gaffe has not received the same amount of social media attention. In the first 24 hours since the tweet, #tacotuesday in conversations specifically related to Dave and Buster’s received more than 130 tweets and received nearly 3.5 million impressions.

    Here at Brandwatch, we were interested in comparing the two tweets and were surprised to see that Dave & Buster’s did not receive as many impressions or mentions as DiGiorno.

    Mo’ Mo’ Movember

    Last week, we took a look at the “verified” Twitter mentions and saw that brands like Gillette UK, The Vitamin Shop, and Adidas Baseball  had some of the most popular “brand” Tweets for Movember. Those brands have continued to have a presence during the third week of the men’s health campaign.  

    This week, we have also seen increased brand engagement for Movember from Barbasol and Cheetos:

    - Barbasol shaving cream thanked the #MoBros and #MoSistas who are participating in Movember

    - Chester Cheetah also posted a picture which announced he was participating in Movember this year

    YouTuber Alfie Deyes (@PointlessBlog) is taking part in Movember, and his influence and audience reach has helped to drive engagement. This week, we saw a mention from Star Wars UK who retweeted actor Peter Mayhew, TheWookieRoars.

    For No-Shave November, brands like Snickers, Ruffles, and Dairy Queen (a Movember sponsor) participated in the online conversations, however, they have not seen the most engagement.

    Here’s a look at the updated social data:

    Movember vs. No-Shave November

    Both have a presence on social media, but Movember mentions have had a larger share of voice on Twitter for the month so far:

               - Movember: more than 485,000 mentions

               - No-Shave November: more than 286,500 mentions

    Of note, this data is based on a 10% sampling of Twitter mentions found using the Brandwatch Analytics platform. The data numbers have been multiplied to represent the full volume.




    Both campaigns included mentions of each other in the top hashtags.

    Movember Top Hashtags

    Last week, Gillette UK made it into the top hashtags (#bestamancanget) with their give away of Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart’s signed gloves, however the competition was not one of the most mentioned hashtags this week. #win, in relation to other competitions.


    No-Shave November Top Hashtags

    The second most used hashtag in relation to No-Shave November is #Movember. Terms like beard, beards, beard gang, no shave, mustache, and let it grow are also popular hashtags when discussing the month.


    Between the two campaigns, Movember continues to have a larger conversation with tweets including mentions of men’s health (47,000+ mentions), face of men’s health (29,000 + mentions), and changing the face of men (21,000+ mentions).

    No-Shave November topics included facial hair, grow a beard, and raise awareness.


    Where’d November go?

    Thanksgiving is in less than a week, along with it will come Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Before we know it, we’re looking 2015 dead in the eye.

    For the last week of November we’ll be providing updated stats on the Movember and No-Shave November campaigns. Not to mention keeping a close eye on viral campaigns (check out our #AlexfromTarget social data in Adweek) and of course the upcoming holiday and shopping seasons.

    If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about Brandwatch or social data, leave a comment!

    With Facebook and Twitter’s new "buy" buttons integrated into user newsfeeds and optimized for mobile, brands have a direct avenue to drive sales through social media. MarketWatch commented that “a strong mobile strategy will be the determining factor between this year's retail winners and losers."

    With consumers now using smartphones to price-check items both online and in-store before they commit to purchase, retailers have  responded to this growing trend by integrating mobile into their marketing strategies. An article in Forbes noted “nearly 50% of consumers believe their personal mobile devices are more efficient than store associates in helping them make buying decisions.”

    According to Google’s 2014 Holiday Shopper Intentions research report, “more than half of consumers surveyed said they’ll start their research before Thanksgiving, with 26% of shoppers starting before Halloween.” Wall Street Journal commented on Wal-Mart's decision to spread  ‘Black Friday’ Over Five Days, as “consumers accustomed to online convenience lose interest in lining up at night.”

    Notably, Target has attempted to address the issue with their introduction of a new mobile app designed to link products with store maps, where the “user builds a shopping list or uses a search bar to find products, then the aisle where a product is located is revealed.” According to AdWeek, the app represents Target’s attempt to ‘blur the line between online and physical stores’.

     With the increased focus on mobile, this also gives retailers the opportunity to integrate social media ads optimised for mobile e-commerce. According to research from advertising technology company Spongecell, “75% of U.S. social media users who would interact with ads were most likely to do so with mobile ads on Facebook, compared with just 8 percent for Twitter and 6 percent for Pinterest” (via allfacebook.com). The research found only 10% of consumers find mobile ads personalized this holiday season.

    With Facebook and Twitter’s new ‘buy’ buttons integrated into user newsfeeds and optimized for mobile, brands have a direct avenue to drive sales through social media. MarketWatch commented that “a strong mobile strategy will be the determining factor between this year's retail winners and losers." Retailers need to focus on a more comprehensive mobile strategy that goes beyond simply providing basic integrated checkout processes. This will require retailers to “meet their customers at all shopping channels, especially mobile, if they want to be competitive this season."