The king of professional social networking reached a major milestone recently when they broke the 250 million user mark.
Since going public in March, 2011, LinkedIn has had an up and down road. This can be expected from any social media site that goes public (just ask Facebook) but LinkedIn has been relatively stable. They’ve had some missteps. They’ve faced challenges. They seem to come out on top the majority of the time.
Here’s what Mashable had to say about the milestone:
LinkedIn now has 259 million monthly active users, up from 238 million in the previous quarter and 187 million a year earlier.
The latest number, which came as part of LinkedIn’s third quarter earnings results, puts the professional social network firmly ahead of Twitter, which had 230 million active users last quarter according to its updated S-1. However, LinkedIn is still well behind Google+ (currently at 300 million) and Facebook (1.15 billion as of the June quarter).
Understanding success or failure of marketing on Facebook can be broken down to the basic element: the post. Judging the effectiveness of your posts is clear and easy with Facebook Insights.
While the platform (finally) has a robust dashboard that allows users to dive deep into the effectiveness of their page, there are three numbers to monitor for each individual post that can help you know if you’re truly finding success.
This is the easy one, but it’s also the one that needs a clear understanding. “Clicks” on a post are different depending on what type of post it is. Any link associated with the post counts as a click, so whether they click the name of the page, the date, the link if it’s a link post, the play button on a video, the image itself on an image post, or the “more” button to expose more of a status update, it counts.
This number has to be viewed in relation to other posts of its kind. For example, getting 50 clicks on a link to your website is more impressive than getting 60 clicks to an image because images get clicked a lot more often than links. Comparing how links perform relative to other links is the right way to look at these numbers.
Likes, Comments, and Shares
This is a no-brainer. Did they engage? Did they find enough entertainment or informative value in your post to do something publicly with it?
If you make statements, you should get likes from those who agree. If you ask questions, you should get comments from people replying. If it’s an image, are people sharing it? These are the pieces of information that you’ll want to track and improve upon when viewing this number.
This is the all-important number of the group. Regardless of how many people are interacting with your content or clicking through to your posts or links, are enough people seeing it? The previous two numbers have an influence on reach, but they are usually superseded by the advertising dollars spent.
If you’re advertising, the previous two numbers are still extremely important. Throwing money at bad posts will get you a short-term gain, but it isn’t sustainable. If your advertised posts are not able to get the positive algorithmic benefits of engagement and clicks, your dollars are going to start yielding less. Thankfully, the opposite is true as well.
There’s a real beauty to Facebook for adults. It allows us to keep track of things that are happening in the lives of those important to us such as friends, coworkers, family, and those who are distant from us. It’s for this reason that the hoopla about Facebook losing too many teens is being misunderstood by many, including Facebook itself.
Here’s the thing. Facebook isn’t cool. It hasn’t been cool for a couple of years. It was cool before more adults started getting on it. Now it’s a drag, at least from a teen perspective. They see their parents spending as much if not more time on it than they were and they simply don’t want to be using the same social network as them. It’s pretty natural. Few teens want to be hanging out in the same places that their grandparents hang.
More importantly, they don’t have to. The people that they want to interact with are the people that they see for several hours five days per week. For the most part, their world is isolated to their friends from school. Facebook brings no additional value to fulfill their lives the way it does with adults. As some flock to Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks, it’s natural to see this sort of exodus.
They’ll be back.
When they graduate and they really want to know more about people than what they can see in 140-characters or less or what they can discover from a 15-second video, they’ll turn to the same place they abandoned. When their friends go off to different colleges, take on different jobs, and move to different states or countries, they’ll want to keep tabs on them in ways that only Facebook can deliver.
This isn’t the end of Facebook. Kids might be the driving force that makes networks popular, but Facebook has reach a self-sustainability point. They are flocking away from it now, but they will flock right back to it in the future. They’ll have to when they can no longer see their ex-boyfriend and who he’s talking to in the lunch line. Businesses must understand this in order to make appropriate decisions about whether or not to invest in Facebook as an advertising venue. As Zach Billings mentioned in a blog post the other day, “If your target audience is an older crowd, then Facebook is still the social network of choice.”
If your future target audience is the teens that will some day be adults, then you should still stick with Facebook.
There is a revenue stream that Facebook has been dying to tap into for some time now. It’s one that many advertisers cannot wait to get their hands on and it’s the type of advertising that Facebook users are going to absolutely hate. Facebook autoplay ads are coming. They’re just not coming as quickly as expected.
Facebook started playing with autoplay video ads last year and were expected to roll them out by the middle of 2013. Then, we were told that they would likely come out in November. Now, word on the street is that they won’t be available until 2014. The reason is simple. Users are going to despise them. Some will leave Facebook as a result of them – that’s how obnoxious they will be. They will destroy some of the trust that Facebook has built up around its user experience and they aren’t ready to take that chance just yet.
The good news for users – you won’t hear them unless you click on them. The bad news – they’ll play whether you want them to or not. This will be a huge play for Facebook’s profits, but will it do more damage than good in the long run? That’s the question that they apparently haven’t answered yet, thus the delay.
Sources tell AllThingsD that Facebook has been advising some advertiser clients not to expect a rollout of the much-awaited auto-play video ad product before 2014. The ad format was originally supposed to make its debut in the first half of this year, but that never happened, and its launch has been pushed back several times since then.
Since the beginning, Facebook has been a place where people share what they’re doing. They post pictures, videos, and status updates that let their friends and family know what’s going on in their lives at that very moment. Some use it to post thoughts on things that are happening at that moment. Others simply share the latest joke they heard. For the most part, Facebook has not been successful at driving traffic to websites relative to its size.
That has changed in the last year. People are more open and willing to open links from Facebook. They are willing to use it to see interesting posts on blogs and news websites. This can be most easily seen from sites like Buzzfeed that saw a 855% increase in traffic year over year compared to a “mere” 208% for news site TIME.
The one thing they haven’t mastered is in real-time news. That’s Twitter’s wheelhouse. Despite the shared real-time nature that the sites share, the simplicity and chronological order of posts on Twitter make it a faster way to see the current links of immediate stories. Publications can post much more often to Twitter without losing followers than they can on Facebook where over-publishing can force them to lose fans. Facebook’s new publishing tool hopes to change that.
With the new tool, publishers will be able to see what stories they have on their website that have not been published to Facebook. They’ll also be able to see which ones they should post to Facebook based upon its success in being posted by other users. The immediate goal for Facebook is to encourage publishers to post more often. The end goal is to get them to spend money promoting their posts because of the attention that they’re able to get.
Facebook is already the highest traffic-sending social media site out there, but those numbers are misleading. Relative to their size, they’re actually not sending nearly as much traffic as they could. If they could get more publishers to share more content (something they’ve tried and failed at in the past) then their chances of turning that into additional ad revenue increases.
This is a problem for Twitter. They are banking on major media outlets to pay them for more exposure. Facebook is already making tremendous strides in the business world through their advertising program. If they can take dollars from publishers, television, and other media outlets, it could hurt Twitter in their bread and butter business. Twitter needs publishers to want to promote their posts because they are more effective at the news than at direct business engagement.
Facebook owns business marketing. If they can take over media promotions as well, Twitter might be left with a big chunk of their advertising dollars (as well as their hopes for the future) heading to their nemesis.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s an extremely complex and effective methodology behind utilizing Facebook as a true marketing and advertising tool that requires some specialized training, a strong sense of creativity, a willingness to experiment, and an unrelenting focus on keeping up with the latest and greatest from experts and Facebook itself.
Then again, there’s a simple way as well. As much as I would love to turn this into a lengthy blog post, I would only be adding fluff. It’s too easy.
Here are the steps:
Post really amazing content on a regular basis
Do NOT post anything that isn’t absolutely amazing just for the sake of getting a post up
Support all of it with Facebook ads
Reply to everything that people post in reply or on your wall
That’s it. Sorry to disappoint those who specialize in social media as a career (I’m one of them) but those are the steps required to make Facebook sing for your business. If you do those steps, you’ll be doing better than literally 99% of your competitors.
With that said, there’s a caveat. This will get you to the top. It won’t keep you there. The truth about Facebook marketing is spreading and more people are starting to get it. This is why there’s hope for people like me. The next 17 steps in the process are much more complicated and result in a stronger Facebook presence designed to drive business. Thankfully, these are the steps to make clients stay ahead of the 99% now as well as next year when 10%-20% start to “get it” with Facebook.
Today, the best way to do it is to hire a professional or to diligently perform the 4 easy steps above.
One of the best ways of connecting with people and building a brand is via social media. The reason that many people do not effectively connect is because they cannot be easily found or recognized on social media.
The majority of businesses on Facebook fall into one of two mindsets. They either use their Facebook feed for sales and marketing only and wonder why they aren’t getting any engagement or they believe that Facebook is strictly a branding tool and there’s no need to try to sell anything or drive traffic to their website. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to prove that both concepts are incorrect.
I was hesitant to write this story when the concept first came to my attention as I did not want to give people any ideas. I was hopeful that Facebook would make adjustments to this without anyone have to blow the whistle, but it’s been live for a little while now and there are no changes in sight.