A blog by the Brick Factory The Brick Factory

What Improved Facebook Page Insights and Status Updates Mean for You

If you’re still playing catch-up from the holidays, you might have missed a few important changes that if used and understood properly have the potential to dramatically improve your Facebook outreach at no cost.

First, and most significant is that page administrators can now use Facebook tags to mention other pages in their status updates. For an excellent walkthrough of how this works, check out: "How To Post Status Updates on Other Facebook Page’s Walls.  Essentially what this means is that page admins can, and should (when appropriate) use Facebook’s @ tagging feature to have their updates appear on the public walls of other pages.

Secondly is that as of November 23rd, Facebook has now made per-post impressions counts available to all pages, rather than just those with over 10,000 members.

facebook_pages_adminAs explained by the official the Facebook Pages account, admins now have access to data on impressions in two places:

1.  Interactions portion of your Insights page

2. On the Page wall directly beneath each post

In terms of what this means for your business, non-profit, corporation or candidate; whether you’re an established presence or just getting started, these new insights make it quick and easy to tell how engaging your content is and whether or not your fans are paying attention. Some things to consider:

  • Try examining the ratio of impressions to your total fan count. If you total # of fans is 2 or more times the number of impressions your are getting, your fans may have hidden you from their newsfeeds.
  • Does the length, language or timing of your posts make a difference? Do updates with lots of facts and number do better than emotional appears? Are some messages more effective than others at certain times and days of the week?
  • Does including a link to a Facebook note, attaching a photo, video or asking a question get a better response rate? Linking to 3rd party content off Facebook generally has a lower response rate. If you can and have the time, a short excerpt with a link to the original content on your page / site is better than sending traffic away.

Finally, as reported on the blog All Facebook- If you come across an application that seems to good to be true, do not give it access to your data or let it update your status! Once again, thousands fell victim to a scam involving an app that promised the ability to tell who has viewed your personal profile, but instead used short links to send people to malware and spam sites.

Tracking the Buzz: Facebook’s Project Titan

Since first learning of Facebook’s Project Titan, otherwise rumored to be a “Gmail Killer” last Thursday, we launched a custom instance of Slurp140 to track the buzz. With the official announcement of Facebook’s Project Titan, to begin at 1:00pm EST, we present the ‘before’ results for your enjoyment: http://www.slurp140.com/titan 

With 30 minutes until launch: 8,089 total tweets by 7,533 people that referenced either the URL of the 11/11 TechCrunch article or one of the following search terms: [Project Titan” OR #projecttitan OR Gmail Killer, Facebook AND email]

A couple early points:SLURP 140  Facebook Project Titan

Although a few spammers have infiltrated the leaderboard, nobody has really sent more than 1-5 tweets about it pre-launch. Content wise, most tweets are either informative or quick reaction having to do with the competitive environment and whether or not people will actually use this new feature.

Of course, it will be interesting to see if the close ratio between the total number of tweets and the number of people tweeting holds.

From viewing the stream on and off, it appears that Facebook has definitely sparked some interest, but the jury is most definitely still out.

For a comprehensive look and analysis of the results check out our Impact Watch blog later this afternoon.

(Image is of the ‘Titan"’ 3-D home movie projector)


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"Politics Get Social" – A Social Media Club DC Event

blog_smcdc_event1This past Wednesday, we attended another excellent event organized by the Social Media Club DC (SMCDC), about the state of social media use in elections. As a topic that The Bivings Report has touched upon many times in the past several months, we were excited to hear the perspectives of political operatives, academics and non-profit consultants as to the best practices and tactics of the 2010 midterm elections. Lobbyists, PR professionals, and social media entrepreneurs were all eager to analyze the impact and results that Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare had on voter turnout and results.

Professor Lauren Feldman of American University shared her analysis of  the polling data her team obtained during the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. The rally offered special badges on Foursquare just for checking in, and Feldman shared statistics about what parentages of people used social media to learn about the event and its details. For instance, of the 232,122 people who RSVP’d on Facebook, it appears that nearly everyone showed up. Also worth noting- while 31% of survey respondents at the rally reported directly volunteering for a political cause at some point in the past year, twice as many- 64% used social media as a form of political participation.

As for the role of location based tools and during the election,  while 12 million Facebook users clicked the “I Voted” button, only 56,000 Foursquare users got the voting badge.  Also for those of you wondering why custom Foursquare badges are few and far between, one attendee with insider knowledge claimed that Foursquare asks for $100,000 and 6-month timeframe to get a custom badge created. 

The event speakers included:Katie Harbath, Chief Digital Strategist at the National Republican Senatorial CommitteeLauren Feldman, a faculty member at American University in political science and Michael Mayernick, founder of social giving startup giv.to. A few interesting highlights from the panelists included:

  • For the 2010 election cycle- Only 5% of all expenditures went towards social media. However it is worth remembering that  in 2004 when most incumbent Senators last ran for re-election, social media barley existed.
  • Social Media as a platform for brining partisans together: Both Democrats and Republican agree that candidates should do their own tweeting and that campaigns need to devote more resources to online engagement. Both staffers and supporters prefer candidates who engage in conversation over staff managed accounts that do nothing but push press releases. Many of those we talked to in attendance mentioned they would not contribute to a candidate who does not do their own tweeting.
  • National campaign committees are seeing an increasing amount of mobile traffic, with the NRSC receiving an impressive 7% of website traffic from mobile phones. They also found that iPhone push notifications were more valuable then SMS text messages.

Moving forward, the Q&A session also brought up some interesting social media policy questions, such as whether or not it is appropriate for elected officials who leave office to keep their official titles in their Twitter handles and if official accounts such as @PressSec created by Robert Gibbs belong to him or the government. The consensus was that for accounts like @GovMikeHuckabee, keeping the “Gov” title is acceptable as a matter of protocol, but that @PressSec belongs to the office of the @WhiteHouse Press Secretary, not an individual person.

Wanted: Official Representative of the Internet, on Facebook

Facebook - InternetAttn: Sir Tim Berners-Lee and / or Al Gore

If you haven’t caught it, Nick O’Neill’s 11/8 post  Facebook Now Letting Brands Claim Community Pages  details how Facebook is now letting brands claim community pages as their own, which in most cases is a good idea- especially for non-profits.  

However like most changes Facebook has made recently, this well-intentioned and long overdue good idea is ripe for abuse and / or hilarity.

So what, exactly does it take to be the “authentic representative” of the Internet on Facebook?

First  by virtue of mouse click one must  certify that “I am an official representative of Internet” As this seemed a little too easy / good to be true, I decided to proceed further. Next, you are presented with the opportunity to merge your newly claimed page with a page you administer. In this case, although merging The Bivings Group with Internet sounds like a good idea,  the next step quickly shattered my hopes of an epic bonus:

I am the Authentic Representative of this Page and Wish to Gain Admin Rights“I declare under the penalty of perjury that all information in this appeal is true and that I am the authentic representative of this entity.” 

While I am not an attorney, it seems dubious that one could be successfully prosecuted for perjury for completing an online form such as this.

Secondly and more importantly, can anyone can really take 100% sole ownership and credit for creating this wonderful medium?  

How will Facebook will handle slightly less ridiculous requests, such as if you have two organizations with similar mandates trying to claim the same thing?  (Oceans and Religion come to mind.)  

Facebook’s Help section on this topic does provide some insight, but like most new features on Facebook we will have to wait and see how they are really used and whether or not users react as expected.

Facebook as Predictor of the 2010 Elections

A few days ago Facebook released a study that showed that in most cases the candidate with the most Facebook fans won the election.  Specifically, they wrote:

“The Facebook political team’s initial snapshot of 98 House races shows that 74% of candidates with the most Facebook fans won their contests. In the Senate, our initial snapshot of 19 races shows that 81% of candidates with the most Facebook fans won their contests.”

Folks a lot smarter than I am have deftly pointed out the problems with the concept that you can predict election results based on the number of Facebook fans.  We have no idea how many of the fans actually live in the district of the politicians they are fans of.  Tea Party and colorful folks tend to attract more fans that more straightforward candidates.  Etc.  Etc.

However, I did want to add one small point to the discussion.  For politicians in lower profile races (Congress in particular), the number of Facebook hands is more an indication of how hard they have worked to recruit fans than it is of voter enthusiasm.

These fans don’t just appear out of the blue – campaigns work hard to actively build their fan base using a variety of tactics.  Do they have a prominent Facebook link on their site?  Do they include their Facebook address in email communication?  Do they post compelling content?  Do they run Facebook ads in an effort to promote their page?

Politicians with national profiles can simply put a Facebook page up and watch the numbers grow.  But your run-of-the-mill Congressional candidate has to work to grow their supporter base.  If you put in the time and spend some money you can make your numbers go up.  If you don’t, your numbers will stay pretty flat unless you are a sensation like Christine O’Donnell or Sharon Angle.