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Steel City Hub

The Hub is about marketing and business; helping you communicate effectively so that you and your business can grow into something wonderful.

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May 2017

3 Important Changes Affecting Your Use Of Facebook & Instagram For Business

It’s no surprise that along with rapid advances in technology and apps, social media giant Facebook (who also owns Instagram) is making big changes too. These changes directly affect how you use social media to promote your business.

There are around 1.28 billion daily active users on Facebook (source: Facebook 31/3/17). That’s a lot of people to keep happy every day. It’s also huge potential for any-sized business around the world and while many businesses pay Facebook on monthly basis to boost posts in order to maximize reach, create targeted advertisements and sell products or services directly, many of us simply rely on Facebook to get our messages out there.

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These changes affect how your messages reach your target market, if they reach anyone at all, so it’s vital that you take note and read on. The changes, some that have already been made, are a direct result of Facebook polling its users to see what we want, how we want it and what we definitely don’t want to see.

Here’s what these changes mean for your business:

 

  1. Overly promotional posts are now a BIG No No…

We’ve all done it, at some point: “Click Like and Share this post if you want to win a brand new…” You may have seen a massive drop in these kind of posts recently? That’s because Facebook has decided enough is enough. It’s users don’t like it. Your post reach and your future post reaches will be hugely reduced if you keep up these overly promotional tricks.

That’s not the only type of post that Facebook is clamping down on either. Calls to action are also a bad now i.e. asking people to do other things: “Call us today,” “Comment below if you want…” etc. Our list of attempts to entice our potential customers goes on. Well, no more. If you regularly post call’s to action such as this, you’ll gradually see your posts reaches reduce to zero. That means no one, among the 1.28 billion people around the world, will read anything from you. That’s a pretty massive thing to miss out on!

Overly promotional posts relate to Instagram too – as Facebook owns Instagram, you can assume that all changes are being rolled out across the board.

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2. Links to your website and other sites…

While it looks good when Facebook pulls up and image from your website or blog with a short excerpt, saving you doing too much post writing, Facebook has started down-grading any posts that divert away from the platform itself. It makes sense really, why would Facebook want it’s users being taken away to another website when they’re happily totting up some massive active user scores?

The best way to provide a relevant link to your website i.e. if you’re talking about a new blog post that you’ve written or your latest portfolio images is to directly upload (without copying the wording from your website) any images onto your Facebook page as a secondary portfolio. It’ll make sure that customers can see your work quickly and without the inconvenience of opening up another tab or being diverted unexpectedly. The same applies to content on other websites such as YouTube, Flickr and Twitter.

TOP TIP: If you want to provide a link, add it to your comments as Facebook won’t downgrade your post.

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3. Relevance scores

If you’ve heard of the term, it’s something that Facebook has focused on for a while but only recently has become more strict with. Basically, your posts on your business page are far more likely to see higher reach values if you post topics that are organic, relevant to your target audience and provide useful, non-sales information.

For example, if you sell pet products, a clever way to use your Facebook page would be to take photos of a ‘happy customer’ i.e. a puppy with a new harness. Images or video content directly uploaded to Facebook are really good for audience reach and especially ones that customers can empathise or relate to. For this example, your potential customers may think, “aww, that’s so cute. My little puppy would look amazing in one of those.” There you have it. A sale. However, had you written, “new puppy harness for £9.99,” with a link to the product on your own website, the effect would’ve been less dramatic and your post would’ve been downgraded, despite it being relevant. Anything completely irrelevant, despite good intentions, will reach virtually no-one.

 

There you have it. Three ways to avoid catastrophe with your Facebook business page. There are also changes that have affected the Facebook advertising rules but we can’t sit here writing all day. There’s work to be done! If you’d like more information or want to speak to us about social media for your business, GET IN TOUCH.

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4 Important Lessons That We Can All Learn From Goths

It might seem completely off tangent for me to talk about Goths in a blog post. Don’t worry, I’ve not gone mad. Do read on.

There are actually 4 points about the gothic subculture in the U.K. (I have to specify my own country as I don’t know if the same applies beyond our rhelm), that I’m finding myself increasingly interested in as a way of aiding self-development and understanding social relations in general.

This blog follows 24 hours I spent in Whitby (on our beautiful east coast) over the last weekend of the school Easter holidays. Having just gotten back to sunny Sheffield after a 100+ miles drive, I was struck with a sense of satisfaction having been surrounded by some of the most grounded, integrity-riddled and interesting people I’ve ever met.

A hundred or so Goths and non-Goths had descended on the small seaside town of Whitby for the bi-annual Whitby Goth Weekend, held in April and October. I normally wouldn’t travel to Whitby just for the Goth weekend but I’ve been before and been wowed by some of the wonderful costume creations and absolute dedication of the Goths to make the weekends successfully attract thousands of sight-seers and supporters. I’d never really stuck around to chat to the Goths or see how they achieved this embracing subculture.

We attended on this occasion however, for a football match…yes, I’m not making this up. Twice a year, the Whitby Gothic FC play a local bunch of blokes, Stokomotive FC at Whitby Town Football Club’s ground, all for a charitable cause.


Stokomotive FC. Picture by: Ceri Oakes, Whitby Gazette photographer.

Neither team are professional (despite having some surprising good players), nor do either team play together more than twice a year for the Whitby Goth Weekends. The Goths play in black, obviously. Stokomotive FC play in white and red. All funds raised for the game and in the auction and raffle go towards the chosen charity. I thought it was a pretty good reason to travel up t’north.

Now you’ve got a bit of a background about the event and Whitby, here’s the 4 lessons that we can all learn from this non-conformist group of individuals who wow us all with their costumes, their stories and their attitudes to life:

1. Embrace your creative side

It’s easier said than done. Allowing your creativeness to be expressed through what you wear is something that the Goths have been well-known for. Only at WGW could you see a man in a predator mask and full predator dreadlocks called John with a day job in insurance.

The dullness of the daily routine can have a detrimental impact on our emotional and mental wellbeing. Getting creative can spark inspirational thoughts, feelings and can develop motivation for new ventures in even the most conformed mind. Creativeness is great for business. If you’re a creative business owner with lots of new ideas for marketing and development, it keeps customers interested and your staff inspired.

2. Don’t take life too seriously

Slightly linked to the first point but an important one nevertheless. All too often in business, we meet serious professionals who perhaps are successful but are not so relaxing to be around. It appeared to me that despite their efforts in dressing for the occasion, the Goths could laugh at themselves and enjoy the smiles and friendly remarks of other visitors to Whitby. The important factor here is humility – not taking yourself too seriously and thus, creating an atmosphere that is welcoming and encouraging to be involved in.

3. Don’t judge people based on how they look

It’s a flaw for many of us. Some of the wealthiest, most successful people across the U.K. and beyond have their chill days. For some, those chill days or those days of pure enjoyment come when they can dress differently, no one knows who they are and they are enjoying a very different attention. Some of the Goths I met had well-paid, highly respectable jobs or were business owners with possibly success beyond what many of us could dream of. Would we walk down the street and assume that if we saw a Goth? No.

Some of the most interesting people in business and outside of it are the slightly alternative ones. Richard Branson never got anywhere by following the norm.

4. There is more than one side to everyone you meet

We take people, generally, as mentioned above, at face value. If our first impression is to dislike someone because of the way they dress, the way they behave, the way they sound, what are we missing? That Goth with the black eyeliner and the tattoos could be the answer to your business worries; the great artist that you’ve been looking for, the outstanding social worker, the scientist who’s developing a cure for cancer. We just never know. Everyone has more than one side, unless they try so hard to conform to what they think others want that they’re scared to allow any individualism.

Business is best practiced when we look for strengths in our employees, colleagues or associates, not weaknesses. Everyone has another side, other abilities, other skills and knowledge that they may be afraid to share or develop because of the pressure to conform.

Life would be boring if we didn’t have people who were willing to push boundaries, to take chances, to not conform. The same goes for business and for marketing. Differences, creativeness and enjoying life should be embraced by anyone entering into business.

The least successful people are those who fail to open their eyes to the possibilities and creativeness around them. 

In Goths we trust and are United. 

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