Beware! How Facebook Likes can ruin your page feed AND your friends’ feeds.

Facebook Likes are a cornerstone of what Facebook is able to sell and how they make a profit. Facebook Likes are instrumental to Facebook in collecting information about you and what you do on-line that Facebook is then able to sell to its major advertisers.  In fact you do not even need to be logged into Facebook or actually even click a Like button, but more on that in a future post.  This post is just how clicking the Facebook Like buttons can change what you see in your feed and perhaps even more importantly how it changes what appears in the feeds of your Facebook friends. Not in technical terms of how it works, but in an actual real world experiment that shows the very messy results.

Recently, technology journalist Mat Honan in Wired decided to see what would happen if he liked everything that he was presented with on Facebook.  Here is part of how he describes it;

I decided to embark on a campaign of conscious liking, to see how it would affect what Facebook showed me. I know this sounds like a stunt (and it was) but it was also genuinely just an open-ended experiment. I wasn’t sure how long I’d keep it up (48 hours was all I could stand) or what I’d learn (possibly nothing.)

See, Facebook uses algorithms to decide what shows up in your feed. It isn’t just a parade of sequential updates from your friends and the things you’ve expressed an interest in. In 2014 the News Feed is a highly-curated presentation, delivered to you by a complicated formula based on the actions you take on the site, and across the web (emphasis added). I wanted to see how my Facebook experience would change if I constantly rewarded the robots making these decisions for me, if I continually said, “good job, robot, I like this.” I also decided I’d only do this on Facebook itself—trying to hit every Like button I came across on the open web would just be too daunting. But even when I kept the experiment to the site itself, the results were dramatic.

By the end of day one, I noticed that on mobile, my feed was almost completely devoid of human content (emphasis added). I was only presented with the chance to like stories from various websites, and various other ads. Yet on the desktop—while it’s still mostly branded content—I continue to see things from my friends. On that little bitty screen, where real-estate is so valuable, Facebook’s robots decided that the way to keep my attention is by hiding the people and only showing me the stuff that other machines have pumped out (emphasis added).

While I expected that what I saw might change, what I never expected was the impact my behavior would have on my friends’ feeds (emphasis added). I kept thinking Facebook would rate-limit me, but instead it grew increasingly ravenous. My feed become a cavalcade of brands and politics and as I interacted with them, Facebook dutifully reported this to all my friends and followers.

My take away from Mat Honan’s real world experiments is to beware clicking Like buttons if you want to keep your Facebook presence more about communication and networking and less about Facebook’s apparent new mission of highly monetizing you and your friends. Please visit the links above to read the full story, there is much more there including comments from Mat’s followers during his experiment.

The best Facebook strategy today is NO Facebook strategy!

As a website developer and internet marketer for over twenty years I have been on Facebook from that first day back in 2006 that Facebook opened to non-students  And since then I have personally and professionally optimized many Facebook pages and profiles for commercial purposes and help guide clients to the best way to engage potential customers.

On an almost a daily basis I am asked about Facebook regarding:

  • The best way to set up a Facebook business page,
  • How to maximize the number of Likes and Shares
  • How to integrate their website with their Facebook page and profile.
  • Add more pages/tab to their Facebook page
  • Setup a shopping cart on their business page, and more,

all which were at one time important and helpful for small businesses.

Listening to today’s social media hype marketing the best ever Facebook tools, ideas, services, books or classes etc. you would think that Facebook is indispensable and invaluable for helping small business achieve increased sales. And only a fool would ignore Facebook and not spend effort and money promoting their business on Facebook. But as Peter Drucker observed, courage can lead to business success.Business success requires courageous decisions - Peter Drucker

The reality of Facebook in mid-2014 is that for the most part and for most small businesses the days of significantly growing your business on Facebook are over.  The much hyped services and tools only create profits for the companies selling those services and tools.

So after 8 years on Facebook I think it now may be that the best small business strategy for Facebook is to have no strategy.  Why invest your money and follow-up with considerable attention when there is no return? Plus many of the costly integrations I have set up in the past for small businesses on Facebook need to be re-done after weeks or moths as Facebook would again make system changes.

Let me share some resources so you may come to your own conclusion regarding a profitable Facebook strategy for your businesses.  And then I will share my idea of a low-cost Facebook tactic that has in the past and will in the future help your business on Facebook.

Now for the resources, facts and thoughts from independent experts:

  • Since 2011 Facebook users in the prime demographic ages of 13-24 are leaving! Facebook has fewer members in that age group today that it did in 2010. This is the leading edge of the prime target market for many businesses.  And the demographic that made Facebook so appealing back in 2006.
    3 Million Teens Leave Facebook In 3 Years: The 2014 Facebook Demographic Report
  • Hardly anyone actually visits Facebook business pages.  As the author of the article linked below points out he is one of the 80 million fans of Coke’s corporate page … which he has never visited!  When was the last time you re-visited a Facebook business page? Yea.
    Why nobody cares about your Facebook page (and why you shouldn’t either)
  • Facebook is no longer about people sharing and connecting, Facebook is about making a lot of money (for Facebook). Facebook has hijacked peoples feed making it much less likely that anyone who tries to share your Facebook business page or even your website will actually increase your visitor traffic. In the effort to make a lot of money Facebook algorithm driven feed is reducing the opportunity for people to socialize and share important “word of mouth” suggestions. Daylan Pearce relates in his post Why I’m Quitting Facebook & Why I Think You Will Too  the following brief passage:

I think 2014 will be my last year on Facebook.

Yesterday I logged into Facebook – as is my typical morning ritual – to see what was happening in my little corner of the world.

Out of the first 25 posts in my newsfeed, here’s what I saw:

  • 5 status posts from friends
  • 6 posts of friends who have liked or commented on something (EG: Jim has liked a post from some random dude who I don’t know, Kate has commented on some nightclub’s photo etc)
  • 14 posts from pages/businesses (4 of which I do not follow and have not liked)

I have 305 friends and like 14 pages (5 of which do not actively post or interact).

That’s 20% of my newsfeed that contains updates from ~5% of my friends list. The other 80% is irrelevant or content from pages/businesses.

What the hell….

Daylan has many other insights and details regarding how Facebook works today for its users in the post linked above. Well worth the visit and read.

  • The availability of Facebook for a new or start-up business at a reasonable expense is not obtainable.  Here is a terrific analysis article by a very experienced marketing facebook no thanksconsultant and professional blogger, Shell Robshaw-Bryan, of how she recently came to that realization and sharing “Why Facebook Is Not Part of My Social Media Strategy“. Her first finding is

Why Limit Your Messaging To Just 1%-2%* of Your Followers?

When it comes to starting a community from zero, the recent news that just 1%-2% (Social and Search News that May Change Your Content Marketing) of people who like a business page, will ever see a post in their News Feed, seriously damages the value that Facebook has for businesses.

Why invest time into activities on Facebook when such a small audience will be reached? I would rather invest my time in other social networks that do not limit my reach in such a way.

  • Brian Gardner the founder of StudioPress has coined a phrase for what he calls a the new love-hate relationship emerging in users of Facebook.  He calls it the Facebook Conundrum, where “the pain of having Facebook is easier to bear than the pain of not having it.” Either way Facebook is quickly becoming a pain for its users! This is bad.

This makes Facebook a potentially treacherous place to invest, build a small business and its brand. How can one really have a strategy to optimize Facebook when so many people just do not want to be there and hardly ever visit a business page. Exactly! You can’t over come apathy with a fancy marketing strategy.

Fortunately though there is an alternative that is very low-cost and can work and replace the costly strategies still be sold.  Kurt Cobain - I would rather be hated for who i am than be loved for who I am notIt is the simple tactic of authenticity.

My 2014 Facebook advice to small businesses is just be present, if you wish. If you have a website post some of your website content to your Facebook page but don’t think that you need to spend a lot of time and money. Or create different content for Facebook. With over a billion users there are potential customers for all businesses. So just be authentic.  As Kurt Cobian said, “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.”

Be authentic it is easier, better and less expensive Facebook small business tactic. How courageous is it to just be authentic?

 

A unique and refreshing follow-up email that would adapt well for leads from bridal shows and other sources.

As small business one of the most mental tasks we have is how to follow-up on leads in way that helps us stand-out and gain more interest and business. I wrote a post with a good lead follow-up email a few years ago “Best Bridal Show or business lead follow-up cover letter ever?” But recently I came across another one the seems new, more timely … and more importantly compelling. In short – IT’S MUCH BETTER!

What serendipity guided me to it I cannot recall but I found it on Momoko Price‘s thoroughly excellent blog on writing for the web Copy/Cat .  Since finding her  post on the follow-up email I revisit the site often for ideas and improvement.  Her insights and ideas are excellent and writing is lively.

The follow-up email that Mokomo shares is one that she received from Brennan Dunn at Planscope. Here is just part of what Mokomo, a professional web writer, has to say about the automated follow-up email received from Brennan –

What really struck me about Brennan’s email was the amount of social consideration he put into it — a level of let-me-put-myself-in-your-shoes thoughtfulness that, incredibly, turned what could have been a stale, repellent sales tactic into a fresh, delightful one.

Isn’t that what makes it so hard to craft and send the lead follow-ups?  We don’t want to inflict potential clients with “stale, repellent sales tactic(s)”.

There is much more detail and understanding shared by Mokomo on why and how the letter and its layout is so good and compelling so please visit the original post she even has a screen capture of the formated email with notations.  Go take a look and if you need any further convincing on how well the letter is crafted below I reproduce it in plain text.  Even this simple it is just terrific!  And even better Mokomo will walk you through why which will help to adapt the letter for your business.

Hey there, I’m Brennan, the guy behind Planscope. I hope you’re enjoying your trial, but more importantly, that you’ve begun to see how Planscope can positively boost your consulting business!

For the next few weeks, I’m offering a one-on-one guided tour of Planscope. The fact is I’m a product owner, but I’m first a consultant. I’ve freelanced for five years now, and I wanted to build a product that would make my life easier (and hopefully make me more money.)

And it’s paid off. My latest contract is at TWICE the rate I had a year ago, and my client loves that they can login to Planscope and see exactly where their money’s being spent at any time – even though I’m not the cheapest guy on the block.

Are you interested? If so, simply reply to this message, and we’ll figure out a time where I can learn more about your business and walk you through Planscope and it’s features. I prefer Skype, but I’m open to alternatives.

Cheers, and have a great day!

Brennan Dunn at Planscope

As Mokomo writes “The main thing to note is that the goal of Brennan’s followup wasn’t to make me actually buy, commit or promote anything. The goal of the email was to open the door towards an opportunity for low-pressure-but-useful education & value-based selling.”  But she has a lot more helpful to share so please go read and see Copy/Cat.

 

 

Simple, easy shopping cart for photographers and artists, BluDomain Cart may be a winner!

A common problem for many photographers is the need to have an easy to manage, affordable method to provide clients secure online print image galleries and then accept orders and payment. Fortunately it looks like BluDomain may be offering a good solution with their new BluDomain Cart.  The BluDomain Cart is low-cost to buy and operate.  The initial cost is between $100-$200 (depending on if you host with BluDomain) and it uses PayPal for transaction processing so you do not need the ongoing expense of a dedicated IP address and SSL certificate (alone totaling about $100/yr).

Now admittedly, like the rest of BluDomain’s offerings, the SEO potential of the Cart is very weak, but that doesn’t matter for a password protected shopping cart.  You are not going to use it for search marketing, you use it to provide a better client experience and process payments! And the SEO can be covered because it can co-exist on the same host with a state-of-the-SEO/SEM-art WordPress splash page, website and/or blog, which we have installed and customized for over 5 years for many BluDomain users.

Here is how BluDomain describes the Shopping Cart

BluDomain Cart is our NEWEST product that allows you to upload your client’s photographs, set 12 image print sizes and 12 unique prices, plus a download price, create a link and then allows your clients to purchase prints and/or instant download of the images straight to their computer.BluDomain shopping cart for Photographers

BluDomain Cart is 100% HTML and has our newly improved and redesigned admin interface as well as a new mobile phone version!

The site includes 4 primary sections which can easily be enabled or disabled in the admin:

  • Text Section
  • Contact section
  • Unlimited proofing galleries
  • External link button

FEATURES:

 – stores clients favorites, so they can come back to review them at any time on any computer or mobile device

 – images can easily be purchased as prints and/or downloads individually, or by the entire gallery

 – global percent or fixed-price discounts can be set for bulk image purchases

 – global option for number of free downloads

 – discounts can be limited per client or gallery

 – you can set coupons for one-time use or recurring as well as for downloads only or all purchases

 – fully mobile compatible (except jukebox)

 – clients create profiles so you and the client can easily track their favorites and their purchases

 – integrated secure PayPal payment system

If you have any first hand experience as an owner of the BluDomain please leave a comment about it below.  Share how it works for you! And if you have any questions regarding optimizing the search marketing of a BluDomain website using WordPress please feel free to email or call.

A mobile website can actually prevent people from visiting your site.

Have you ever searched for a webpage with your mobile device, tapped on a search result only to be redirected to the home page of a mobile version of the website. And you can’t even find how to navigate to the page you wanted in the mobile only website. In fact the page may not even exist in the mobile site hell.

Google wants this to change. So they are now providing a warning before you might be stranded on a mobile site webpage different from the page listed in search results.  For webmasters who have mobile sites that behave in this manner Google is calling this a faulty redirect. Faulty even though that is the way the website owner has set it up.

I think we have all had the unsatisfying experience of visiting a website we are familiar with on a desktop or laptop with our smartphone, only to have it seem completely different with different menus, pages, limited content. As a website creator this is a disappointment to me and frustrating and I hope that the new warning to mobile search users will speed up the adoption of truly mobile responsive websites. The time is long past for having two different websites, one for desk/laptop and one for mobile. One website for all different screen sizes and device types is what is needed today and what Resultz Digital has been providing for all our clients for almost three years now.

Below is more from Google on what and why they are providing the warning and what website owners can do about to provide a better experience for site visitors. Not that many mobile users will visit a website when presented with the Google warningGoogle mobile search result redirect.

Directing mobile users to the webpage they actually wanted

Have you ever used Google Search on your smartphone and clicked on a promising-looking result, only to end up on the mobile site’s homepage, with no idea why the page you were hoping to see vanished? This is such a common annoyance that we’ve even seen comics about it. Usually this happens because the website is not properly set up to handle requests from smartphones and sends you to its smartphone homepage—we call this a “faulty redirect”.

We’d like to spare users the frustration of landing on irrelevant pages and help webmasters fix the faulty redirects. Starting today in our English search results in the US, whenever we detect that smartphone users are redirected to a homepage instead of the the page they asked for, we may note it below the result. If you still wish to proceed to the page, you can click “Try anyway”:

If you would like more information on truly mobile responsive websites, one site that meets the needs of all visitors and devices please feel free to call or email. The cost of a mobile responsive website is normally less that having separate website and it is much easier to maintain.

The New Yorker adopts WordPress for its new website platform!

The New Yorker Magazine announced this month that they are creating their new site basing it on WordPress."Original New Yorker cover" by The New Yorker magazine.. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of The New Yorker via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Original_New_Yorker_cover.png#mediaviewer/File:Original_New_Yorker_cover.png  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/business/media/the-new-yorker-alters-its-online-strategy.html

“The new site, designed to be cleaner, with new typefaces, will be based on the WordPress publishing system. It is expected to be easier to navigate for mobile users — among the fastest-growing segments of the readership. “

More and more as WordPress continues to add new features and performance, plus it’s inherent superlative SEO, WordPress is becoming the natural and first choice for websites of all size and scale.

Here are some recent global WordPress usage stats –

WordPress now runs over 22% of all the known and identifiable websites on the web.
http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cm-wordpress/all/all

Of websites using a content management system (CMS), over 64% use WordPress.
http://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/content_management/all

With recognition like that WordPress may be a good fit for you too.

If you would like to discuss how WordPress might enhance your business’s website please give me a call or send an email. I will do my best to answer your questions. We have been using WordPress to help market small business for over 8 years,

New Flash website warning from Google for mobile search users

Starting this week (July 14, 2014) Google will begin providing a warning to its mobile search users regarding Flash websites. The reason for the warning is to help provide a better search experience for users of smart-phones and tablets since when accessing such pages with Flash content, they may see nothing but a blank space or miss out a large portion of the page’s contents.

Here is more from the official Google notification; “Starting today, we will indicate to searchers when our algorithms detect pages that may not work on their devices. For example, Adobe Flash is not supported on iOS devices or on Android versions 4.1 and higher, and a page whose contents are mostly Flash may be noted like this:Google search results Flash website warning for mobile devices

So if you have a Flash based website, or a website with many Flash elements, this does not mean that mobile users will not visit your just that they are much, much less likely to visit.  And with mobile search traffic and website visits nearing 50% of the total in many cases it means a Flash website can seriously hurt your marketing efforts.

If you have questions or want to explore low-cost replacement sites and pages to optimize your internet marketing give me call.  I have been updating and replacing Flash based websites to provide better marketing results for almost 10 years.  And the cost is less than you might think.

 

How to use a WordPress website plus the new media and image galleries of WP 3.5

This post includes a good video review of what is new in WordPress 3.5, but also includes videos showing how easy it is to use the standard WordPress website content management features we have known and loved for more than a few years.

For those of us that are familiar with WordPress based websites, using our websites seems easy and natural. The easy to use built-in editors make adding a new page or posting a blog as simple as sending an email.  And with everything you need to change your site, as part of your site, means you can doi it even from a smart phone or tablet.  Also important is that you can use the tools online in a WordPress site to create and add an unlimited number of blog posts, website pages and image/media galleries as might be wanted.

Most people still use have and use non-CMS (content management system) sites. Or site that do not have the ease and flexibility of a WordPress based website.  For many people familiar with and using BluDomain, ShowIt, SmugMug, PhotoBiz, WIX, Weebley, Easy Site, GoDaddy Website Builder and myriad other simple template or Flash or even Dreamweaver type tools, WordPress seems too challenging. And with WordPress’ ultimate social media integration features, SEO potential and search marketing advantages many feel that it must be way more involved than it is.

But really WordPress is easy to use and low cost to own and have as your own website.  The foundation of a WordPress based website is really its content which is created, managed and presented using pages, posts and widgets.  Below are three very quick video tutorials (narrated by the delightful to listen to Michael Pick) which demonstrate how easy it is to use those elements. These are videos which I often refer to help people become familiar with the parts and actions that they would use most frequently when having and using a WordPress based website.

Now lets get to what is new! With WordPress 3.5 released last week it even gets better and easier to manage photos and other images or media.  One thing many people liked about BluDomain was how easy it was to create and manage a photo gallery.  Now with WordPress it is even easier that using the inflexible, low SEO, BluDomain type Flash galleries (and their versions of HTML5).

Take a look at what WordPress 3.5 aka Elvin added for us for the Holidays!

Even more importantly take a look at this longer, in depth review of the new easier than ever but still class leading image/media and gallery management tools.

If you have any questions about having a WordPress based website customized and setup for you.  Or would like to have admin rights to explore a free demo site just comment below of send an email or phone.  I would be pleased to help.