FlasheMe 24: It’s Now Easier To Run Competitions On Facebook

Very exciting news today!  Up to now, Facebook required businesses to run competitions – known as Promotions – on (often costly) third-party apps (applications) with restrictions on how Facebook users could enter such competitions.  Now Facebook has changed its Promotions Guidelines, making it easier and more accessible for small businesses to use competitions to attract and engage more fans.

The changes are reflected in Facebook’s revised Page Terms

Here are the main points (‘you’ refers to your Business Page).

  1. You CAN have users post on the Page or comment / like a Page post in order to enter a competition
  2. You CAN have users message the Page in order to enter a competition
  3. You CAN use likes as a voting mechanism
  4. You CAN’T run promotions on personal Timelines
  5. You CAN’T tag people or ask people to tag themselves in content that they are not depicted in (e.g. images of a new product) in order to win a prize
  6. You CAN’T ask people to Share a post as part of a competition

For more information regarding the changes to Facebook’s promotions policies, click here to view their Promotion Guidelines, which include FAQs and best practices for running promotions through Facebook.

This will make it much easier and more affordable for businesses to grow their fanbase and increase engagement on Facebook.

What do you think of the changes?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


FlasheMe 23: New Facebook News Feed Highlights Visual Content

Facebook has unveiled its new News Feed design, which is cleaner, more visual and filters content more effectively than before.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg identified Facebook’s goals for the new News Feed as richer story design, choice of different feeds, and a consistent look on mobile, tablet or web.

“What we’re trying to do is give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper we can,” Zuckerberg said. “The best personalized newspaper should be intricate, rich, and engaging.”

Vibrant Visuals

Facebook is emphasizing visual content like photos and videos in the feed, which provides brands with the opportunity to get creative.  The size of images have been enlarged, making the quality of visual media more important than ever before.  Because images will be featured bigger, Facebook recommends higher-resolution images, ideally 600 x 600 pixels (or a minimum of 200 x 200).  Also, once a Facebook user has Liked your Page, the image that will appear in their News Feed is your cover photo, so ensure it tells your brand story and is eye-catching.


Because we are all in an age of information overload, filtration is key to presenting consumers with the information that’s most relevant to them.  Facebook’s redesigned News Feed includes additional feeds which facilitate better filtration and categorisation of content:

  • All Friends – a feed that shows you everything your friends are sharing
  • Photos – a feed with nothing but photos from your friends and the Pages you like
  • Music – a feed with posts about the music you listen to
  • Following – a feed with the latest news from the Pages you like and the people you follow

This could be detrimental to brands if Facebook users spend more time on Friends feed but could be beneficial if they regularly visit their Following feed, which displays content from brands they’ve opted in to see.

Video Content

As he unveiled the News Feed redesign, Zuckerberg alluded to the fact that there will be more video in the News Feed, so there’s an opportunity for brands to display video.  “So, historically, advertisers want really rich things like big pictures or videos and we haven’t provided those things historically,” he said, pointing out that news feed ads attract a higher click-through rate than sponsored ads on the right-hand side of the site.  This gives brands an increased opportunity to promote themselves effectively through video.

This video gives an insight into the thinking behind the redesigned News Feed:

The changes are being rolled out slowly and it will take some time to understand the full effect it will have on the Pages of brands and publishers, but it certainly emphasizes the need for businesses to post more high quality visual content i.e. photos and videos.

How do you think the new changes will affect your brand?

(All images courtesy of Facebook)

FlasheMe 15: 20 Dos & Don’ts of Social Media

The social media landscape is vast and complex. Here are 20 Dos and Don’ts to help you navigate it and get to your desired destination.

1. Do Know Your Audience: if you know who your target market is, you can identify how to engage them through social media tools.
2. Do Devise A Strategy for using social media – including objectives, realistic targets, action items assigned to team members and expected return on investment (ROI).
3. Do Implement The Strategy In Full: ensure that the daily / weekly / monthly actions are carried out in order to reach your targets.
4. Do Choose The Right Tools: this choice will depend on a range of factors including the profile of your target market, whether you’re B2B or B2C, driving footfall versus exporting, leveraging real-time communication, etc.
5. Do Engage: social media is a powerful CRM tool but remember that it’s a 2-way conversation. Engage, participate, listen.
6. Do Create Videos: video is the most engaging and persuasive medium, it’s very popular for sharing online and it increases your search engine optimisation (SEO).
7. Do Measure Your Results: use analytics tools to assess the effectiveness of each social media campaign that you run in addition to your overall social media strategy.
8. Do Manage Your Time Effectively: decide how much time you or your marketing team will invest daily / weekly / monthly and how that time should be spent.
9. Do Be Authentic: people want to do business with people, not companies. All things being equal, people will do business with – and refer business to – those people they know, like and trust (source: ‘Endless Referrals’ by Bob Burg).
10. Do Get Help: assess how the resources you wish to apply to social media would be best spent i.e. investing your own time learning how to devise and implement a social media campaign yourself vs investing money to hire a social media specialist to create / manage it for you.

1. Don’t Show And Tell: building a community around your brand online is much more effective than pushing content out the way it’s done on advertising platforms.
2. Don’t Mishandle Negative Feedback: social media is a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. Ensure that whoever is managing your social media profiles excels in customer service.
3. Don’t Post Irrelevant Content: many people suffer from information overload online. The more relevant your content is to your online community, the more likely they are to consume it and engage with it.
4. Don’t Underestimate Recommendations: only 14% of people trust advertisements while 78% trust peer recommendations (source: ‘Socialnomics’ by Erik Qualman). Due to the power of the internet, word of mouth has become world of mouth.
5. Don’t Overdo It: start with achievable targets. If you try to master lots of social media tools at the same time, you may end up posting content infrequently, if at all. Assess the scale of the social media campaign that you can currently handle and build up to your ideal scale over time.
6. Don’t Expect Immediate Results: social media marketing is like the ripple effect. When you drop a stone into water, the first few ripples are small but they grow exponentially.
7. Don’t Break Netiquette Rules: netiquette is short for internet etiquette. In the same way that there’s a certain code of behaviour that governs dinner parties, there’s also a code of behaviour that governs internet communications.
8. Don’t Be Passive: it’s not true that “if you build it, they will come”. Promote (in line with netiquette rules), offer giveaways, run competitions. Add value to your network.
9. Don’t Underallocate Resources: social media marketing requires time and/or money in order to generate a return on investment.
10. Don’t Think It’s About Technology: social networking is about people. The technology facilitates better communication between people.

I hope these tips are helpful to you in your use of social media. If you have any comments, please post them below.

New LinkedIn and Facebook Training Dates

Due to popular demand, FlasheForward Communications has scheduled two upcoming courses:

Social Networking: Leveraging Your LinkedIn Profile – Tuesday 5th April, 6pm – 9pm, Camden Court Hotel, Dublin

Social Networking: Facebook Marketing – Tuesday 12th April, 6pm – 9pm, Camden Court Hotel, Dublin

Fiona Ashe delivering Social Media Marketing training

Click the above links to book or to get more details plus promotional code discounts, please go to our Upcoming Training page

FlasheMe 12: Facebook Groups Get A New Identity

This is a guest blog post from Heather O Sullivan:

New Groups May Significantly Change the Way You Use Facebook

After a 60 day lockdown at the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, big changes to the social network were announced today.

As always, I will break them down as simply (and non-techy) as possible.

There are 3 Changes:

1. A new dashboard to help you better control your privacy, monitor the applications that you have given access to, as well as those sites that you have given permissions to via facebook connect (ie using the ‘like button’ on websites)

2. You can now download all of your ‘stuff’. As Mark Zuckerberg pointed out, what you post on facebook ‘is yours’, and now you can download it. This is especially powerful (in my opinion) for pictures. I frequently upload pictures via my phone, and now I can easily pull them out of facebook. (No word yet on the supported formats, etc).

3. This is ‘the BIG ONE!’

Facebook Groups have not just gotten a makeover, they have just gotten a whole new identity! Say good-by to friend lists, and to groups as we used to know them.

In order to avoid ‘overwhelm’, this post will focus on #3 as it is such a big change in the overall experience and will create a radical shift in how you use facebook (as well as probably bringing folks onboard the FB train that weren’t before).

If you are thinking “oh great, I had a group, then moved to a fan page, then it became a ‘like’ page and now I have to move back???”

Relax, and no you don’t :)

New Facebook Groups are very different from old groups, or ‘pages’.

They are more like a hybrid of friend lists + the old groups on steroids.

What New Groups are:

  • The new groups will be created by users to ‘group together’ people by whatever parameters or context they choose.
  • You can create a family group, work friends group, project group, etc.
  • You can post content to that group only instead of to everyone.
  • You can also ‘group chat’ with anyone in that group.
  • You can post documents to the group.
  • You can make the group open, private, or secret.
  • You can create an email address for the group so that members can send and receive updates via email (these will post to the groups page too).
  • Members of the group will receive notifications of posts to the group (you can turn this on/off).
  • Members must be invited to the group, but can be invited by anyone in the group.
  • If you are added to a group you don’t want to belong to, you can leave.

What is Cool about this:

  • Group chat! Now instead of doing rapid fire marathon facebook emails with my two or more friends, we can chat!
  • More Relevance, less noise. Now instead of posting something that goes out to EVERYONE, you can be much more relevant & provide much greater value to those that you are connected with.
  • This goes for events too! Instead of posting an event that goes into everyone’s newsfeed, or emailing to ensure that they see it, you can post it on your groups page.
  • Worried about posting photos? Now you can post those pics of your kids just to your family (or those of yourself at a party without your boss seeing them :)
  • Now instead of wondering if your family, or certain friends saw those pictures (or having to tag them all to be sure, or having to email them all), you can post them to the group and know that each member will be notified.
  • Mailing lists, documents ,etc. will be great for people who currently use yahoo groups, project management platforms, or traditional email to share information.
  • “Secret Groups” can be used if you don’t want anyone to see who is a member, or any posts.
  • “Open Groups” are fully public. All members and posts are public.
  • Closed Groups (which is the default setting) allow people to see who belongs to the group, but not the posts.

One of the big questions that I hear people asking already is:

How does this affect Business/fan pages?

I’m not sure that it really does. Keeping in mind that people cannot join any group without an invitation, or by requesting one and ‘being accepted’,  I don’t see this as a setup that businesses would want to use in place of a ‘business page’ (formerly known as Fan Pages). BUT, I will hold off on judgment onthat until I have seen more, and am more certain about some of the functionality.

This could be very useful however for business owners to group clients, customers, employees, etc. When I do seminars, I often have people with concerns that ‘their competition’ will see their brilliant content. My personal feeling has always been “share value”. Focus on providing good for others versus holding back out of fear. That is still my belief, but this does give another option for those who worry about this.

This is all new, so I am certain that I will notice new nuances, details, etc., and new questions will arise. I will update as we go. I’m still testing whether someone can join (or how they would find) open groups, and how updates appear (currently I am getting notifications, but nothing in my ‘newsfeed’).

For now, rejoice that this offers you more options in

  • what you post, and
  • what you ‘hear’ on facebook,
  • great new tools to share with your friends, and others, and
  • a whole new level of privacy!

FlasheMe 9: Why Companies Watch Your Every Social Media Move

Once upon a time companies could afford to be rude. Unhappy customers would grumble to a few friends, withdraw their custom, but there was little else they could do.

Today, they still tell their friends, but they do it online, using social media websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Canadian singer, Dave Carroll, made a YouTube video about United Airlines breaking his guitar which got 9 million views

So what does this mean for your company?

To find out, read the whole article by BBC News Business Editor, Tim Weber:

BBC News: Why Companies Watch Your Every Facebook, YouTube, Twitter Move

FlasheMe 8: How & Why Facebook Users Interact With Brands

More and more companies are getting to grips with how to use Facebook to build their brand.

Here’s an excellent article from the terrific Mashable site:

Understanding How and Why Facebook Users Interact with Brands.

FlasheMe 3: Face Down Your Competition With Facebook

There’s a growing trend for companies to building a community around their brand on Facebook.  But once you get people to “Like” your Facebook page, what then?  How does that lead to more sales?

Take a look at what IKEA did in Sweden.  Not only did it create a viral video sensation but it also enticed its customers to be its best sales people!