Social Media Strategy

Engagement Baiting Crackdown

As part of Facebook’s on-going effort to curb spam and spark meaningful conversations, the platform has revised a policy that discourages certain posting tactics.

Posts that engagement bait (an activity Facebook defines as one that seeks to take advantage of the “News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach”) began receiving limited distribution in December of 2017. Since then, the company has outlined additional examples of prohibited behavior, the full list of which is below.

Reaction Baiting: Explicitly asking followers to like, love, or react to a page post. (Ex: LIKE this if you’re an Aries!) 

Vote Baiting: Using Facebook reactions to conduct a poll. (Ex: Vote for your favorite pet!)

Share Baiting: Telling users to a share a post for any reason. (Ex: Share with 5 friends for your chance to win!)

Tag Baiting: Explicitly directing people to tag their Facebook friends in post comments. (Ex: Tag a friend who would do this!)

Comment Baiting: Encouraging users to reply to a post with specific wording. (Ex: If you’re excited for the weekend, comment “TGIF”!)

Comments that Engagement Bait: Applying any of the practices listed above in a post comment, as opposed to within the post caption itself.

Videos that Audibly Engagement Bait: Asking users to partake in any of the above practices verbally with a video posted to Facebook.

How To Write Powerful Ad Copy

Whether you’re working with photos or videos, trying to earn more followers or make a sale, social media ads that produce conversions are all dependent on persuasive accompanying text.

When faced with creative roadblocks, marketers often turn to tried-and-true methods of stomping out writer’s block. One classic and commonly trusted technique urges copywriters to build text that answers five basic questions: who, what, when, where, and why?

Communicating these details to your audience equips them with all of the information needed to take action with an ad, but focusing on a different set of questions (recommended by Colin Theriot of Cult of Copy) may give viewers the extra push to respond to your call-to-action.

The next time you’re composing ad text, put yourself in the positon of the ad recipient and try answering:

  1. Why me? – Your ad recipient should immediately be able to understand why they’ve been included in your target audience. Don’t be afraid to speak to their behaviors or interests that you’re already aware of. Explain why this ad is of specific interest to them. 

  2. Why you? – Although your page name will appear next to your advertisement, that could mean very little to a recipient who isn’t already familiar with your brand. Include a concise description or a significant fact about your company to let audiences know why your brand is the best one to deliver this message.

  3. Why this? – Given what you know about your ad recipient’s set of circumstances (i.e. the reason you’ve included them in your target audience), make sure the offer you’re promoting is one they will find relevant, interesting, and helpful. 

  4. Why now? – Audiences need a reason to stop scrolling and pay attention to your ad. Use deadlines or time-sensitive calls-to-action to motivate viewers to act as soon as they see your offer. No matter how well-intended, social ads can be notoriously hard to track down once a user has passed on them.

Example:

 Thinking of selling your home? We’re Pleasantville’s leading real estate experts, helping sellers get top $$$ since 1975. Get a FREE home evaluation report within the next 30 days when you sign up for our mailing list today. Unsubscribe anytime, but this offer ends at midnight.

Staring at a computer screen for hours on end is no fun. Take a break, head outside and let Deph Digital create compelling ad copy on your behalf. What are you waiting for? Contact us.

Don’t Break the Internet: How Content Creators Can Fix It Instead

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2018 was a tumultuous year for social media. The Facebook algorithm shook up publishing habits for brand pages; Mark Zuckerburg, Jack Dorsey, and other social network executives faced congressional hearings; Twitter cracked down on millions of fake accounts; GDPR compliance rolled out across Europe; and we were all left wondering how to survive yet another breach of privacy or personal data hack.

The tech world is in a tailspin trying to figure out how global social media platforms can operate on a singular set of rules that will protect users, stop the spread of misinformation, and, you know, safeguard the legitimacy of democratic elections.

As new practices and policies pop up, the results rarely favor brands or businesses from a marketing perspective. Social publishers have noted significant decreases in organic reach, lower financial returns on their ad investments, and stagnated follower growth.

Many marketing agencies (Deph Digital Media included) are offering practical solutions: Focus on engagement! Increase your niche audience ad spend! Collaborate with influencers! But if we’re being totally transparent, these are temporary fixes to a much bigger problem.

In a recent episode of the podcast Recode Decode with Kara Swisher, Nicole Wong, who is a former legal director of products at Twitter and former senior compliance officer at Google, made an interesting observation about the shift in our online values. When Google began assembling the structure of the Internet as we know it today, they had three pillars of search:

Comprehensiveness – Users should have access to all of the information they could possibly want.

Relevance – When looking for specific information, or answers to questions, users should be delivered a pertinent response.

Speed – Responses should be generated quickly.

In the years since, Wong claims that social media has changed the way digital companies interact with their users. Their new principles consist of:

Personalization – As opposed to showing all available content, social algorithms provide users with information they believe the user wants to see, based off their interests and activity history.

Engagement – Rather than giving direct responses to queries or providing baseline data, social networks deliver content that is meant to keep users on their platform for longer periods of time.

Speed – Users still expect content and information to be delivered quickly.

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s what happens when social platforms are committed to these values. The consequences include woefully uninformed users, manipulative digital activities, and disastrous user experiences.

Somewhat naïvely, marketers have aided tech giants in building the crisis situation by not holding their content to higher standards.

Advertisers have, through overly broad interest-targeting, pushed promotional messaging under the guise of personalization. However, it is to the extent where users can’t pinpoint why they’re being shown certain ads, making the blind consumption of such media vulnerable to manipulation.

In order to expand their reach, publishers have flooded timelines with content that’s focused on virality with hopes of being re-shared and increasing engagements. Often, we’ve been guilty of trying to satisfy user cravings for instant communication by jumping into social conversations before having complete and accurate information, thus amplifying partial or inaccurate news.

Taking cues from Wong’s brainstorming session during the Recode podcast, here are three social content pillars that publishers should consider for 2019:

Accuracy – Content or information should be truthful, cited, and appropriate for the page’s audience.

Authenticity – Publishers should place quality over quantity and create content that users will resonate with, not simply react to.

Context – Due to the non-chronological nature of social, delivered content should be comprehensive and complete at all times.

Applying these values would not only impact a brand’s social output, but completely transformation typical marketing objectives. Companies would have to create super specific target audiences with the intention of building community, as opposed to increasing ROI. Link clicks would have to be earned by distributing wide-ranging and thought-provoking articles instead of late-breaking headlines that trickle out information in waves.

That may not sound like something content curators would want to get behind but, although monthly marketing reports may take a hit, studies show that 91% of customers value authentic social activity from brands they follow, with 63% of those customers likely to make purchases. If speed and virality has to take a backseat in order to reach those numbers, publishers are bound to concede.

Until that happens, or until social network executives take meaningful actions to fix their platforms, it’s up to the users and publishers. If all of the content online adhered to these standards, then perhaps fake news wouldn’t be an issue.

Optimizing Instagram Stories

This week, Instagram unveiled a new Countdown Sticker for stories that displays a customized timer for events. The feature is an exciting addition for brands, so this seems like the perfect time to review other innovative ways you can implement story features to optimize your business profile.

Increase Participation 

The Countdown Sticker includes a Remind Me option that will alert followers once your custom countdown ends. You can take advantage of this alert by offering your following notices about upcoming sales, physical events, or even as a reminder of when you’re going to broadcast live.

Increase Your Discoverability 

The Location and Hashtag Stickers have a purpose far beyond letting your followers know where you are. Both features have the ability to expand your Instagram reach outside of your own following. When used, your content will appear in a location-based story of the destination you’ve entered, or within a hashtag story that’s visible within search. If your particular story gets enough engagement, it might earn you a spot on the coveted Explore page.

Increase Your Mailing List

The Questions Sticker is most commonly used to hold Q&A sessions via stories. An alternative use is to ask viewers to opt in to your mailing list by submitting their email address in the question field.

Similarly, you can ask Poll questions like: “Can we add you to our newsletter list?” Once the poll has concluded, view the results for those who answered Yes and send them a direct message asking for their email.

Increase Your Web Traffic

Surpassing 10,000 followers on Instagram unlocks the powerful ability for accounts to include links with their story posts. Since clickable links aren’t supported on ordinary grid posts, the feature in which users can swipe up to visit your landing page or blog is more than valuable.

Increase Engagement

Interactive story capabilities though Polls and Emoji Sliders provide businesses a unique and easy way to communicate with their Instagram audience. Consider using these features to crowdsource ideas or collect feedback on your products.

Increase Your Following

When partnering with other Instagram users or influencers, include a requirement that, for the duration of your collaboration, each user should tag the other’s profile in their stories by applying the Mention Sticker. This is an easy way to have someone recommend your profile to their following.

Increase Your Streams

If you’re in the music industry, apply the Music Sticker to your story and search for your own track to encourage streams from your viewers.

Keeping Social Media Trolls Under The Bridge: A Six-Step Approach

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Everyone has an opinion. One of the unflattering aspects of social media is that those opinions, no matter how crude or baseless, can be amplified to the masses. Sometimes they’re valid, other times… not so much. Social managers should consider this six step process to avoid troll encounters and to handle uncomfortable situations when navigating the darkness under the bridge.

1. Monitor Your Social

Regularly monitoring the conversations occurring around your brand gives you the opportunity to stay in control of the dialogue. Take a look at your mentions on a daily basis to identify and respond to negative feedback that requires attention. The longer a brand ignores threatening posts or unsatisfied customers, the more their anger festers into something larger. Remember, the internet doesn’t take weekends off.

 

2. Stay On Task

Your time is precious. Don’t get trapped into arguing with every troll who wants your attention. Focus on responding to customers who voice real concerns and do so without using foul or hateful language. Block, delete and report anyone who jeopardizes the safety and inclusiveness of your online community.

 

3. Ask For Clarity

Sometimes the line between a sarcastic aside and a valid grievance gets blurred, especially within the confines of character limits. Give your audience the benefit of the doubt and kindly ask them to clarity their comments if you’re not sure of their intent.

 

4. Consider The Timing

During a crisis, you can never be too careful in your approach to formulating a response. After a national disaster or tragedy, delay any scheduled social posts or e-blasts and wait to respond to online messages. It’s impossible to know everyone in the audience you’re reaching and how they might be impacted by imminent news stories. Carrying on with business as usual can be tone-deaf and might subject your brand to further negativity.

 

5. Respond With Care

Trolls love emotional reactions. Use reason instead. If the intent of a comment was to bait you into an uncomfortable situation, de-escalating the conversation in a non-hostel tone will usually curb additional responses. If the comment was from a true customer, they’ll appreciate the professional nature of your reply. A cool, level head will always prevail.

 

6. Fix Your Mistakes

Everyone slips up occasionally. When a mistake is brought to your attention own up to it, provide a transparent explanation, and make a genuine apology. People are usually quick to forgive when a brand is honest about their blunders – especially if there’s a discount or other perk attached to that apology.

 

If you’re looking to establish a set of policies for handling social feedback, let Deph Digital guide you in the right direction.