social media

The New Facebook Layout and You

Facebook has changed its layout (surprise, surprise), and this time, only Pages are affected. If your business has a Facebook Page (which it hopefully does), you may want to perk your ears. Last month, when we heard about the upcoming change, we went ahead and updated our Breaking Even page to get a lay of the land.

Here are some observations we’ve made about the layout:

NewFB

  • There’s more emphasis on video and photo. On the left sidebar, there is now a prominent display of your photos and videos. If your page doesn’t have a lot of either, this may be an opportunity for you to beef up that section of your page.  Basically, the left column is dedicated to your “brand,” so before updating, take a look at your pictures (and videos, if you have them). It’s also good to remember that people love visuals anyway (“a picture is worth a thousand words”- and no one wants to be reading a thousand words on Facebook).

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.53.38 PM

  • The overall feel of the Pages are less “cluttery.”  And, this is good for a couple of reasons. First, it’s aesthetically more appealing to have a clean looking page. When there’s too much going on, regardless of the site in question, it can be overwhelming and a bit frustrating. Second, it makes navigation easier for anyone who visits your page. Posts used to be disorganized (i.e. they weren’t displayed by date, and in general there was no rhyme or reason to how they were displaying), and for me, this was annoying. Now, there’s a clear chronological path people can follow, as opposed to the previous helter skelter format.
  • Business pages now resemble individual profiles. In the grand scheme of things, this makes Facebook more coherent as a site. While Facebook still focuses most of it’s energy on people, there seems to be a move to make Pages more prominent. Profiles and Pages will always function differently, but keeping the visual appearance consistent is a smart move. Thumbs up, Zuckerburg.
  • It’s easier for administrators to navigate. Accessing the various analytics and the activity log is roughly a hundred times easier with the new layout. As someone who manages a variety of Pages, I appreciate this. Finding what’s been posted, what’s been scheduled, and keeping track of messages or notifications is WAY easier now (I may have shed a few tears of joy with this one).

NewAdminHeader

This is basically an admin's dream come true.
This is basically an admin’s dream come true.

 

  • You can customize the layout (within reason). Facebook does not want to relinquish too much control over customization, probably to avoid the potential of the horror show that was MySpace profiles. *Shudder* But, with the new Pages, you can drag  and drop the sections of your page to reorder them.  All you have to do is click the little Edit icon on any section, and boom! You’re ready to reorder your page.

Reorganize_Facebook

June 19th is the official date when everything will automatically shift. For more information on what Facebook is saying about the new layout, this is a great article. And, at the risk of sounding like a nerd, I’d also recommend taking the “Tour” Facebook offers once you update your Page (it’s free and you can really make the most of the new layout). Have fun!Tour

Keepin’ it Fresh: How to Find Stuff to Talk About

Last weekend, I travelled to Brunswick for my brother’s graduation. It was a weekend filled with speeches, well-wishing, stress, and SO many feelings (mainly from the graduates and their parents). As a passive participant in the festivities, I found myself listening critically to the speeches given by the President, honorary speakers, and students. When you break all of those speeches down, they all had the same message. And, the same message as the speeches given at my own graduation, and probably the same message given to graduates across the country this spring, and all the springs to come. Whoa.

This provoked my own fear of sounding the same as other writers, and having nothing worthwhile to say. Being redundant, or even worse, unoriginal, is a creative mind’s worst fear. How do you ensure that your thoughts and ideas maintain a level of exciting and important?

Here are some ideas I’ve collected in my quest to answer this question:

1. Know your niche. You are an expert on something. Not everyone is going to have the same knowledge and expertise on this “something,” so you may want to consider it as a topic. Ideally, your area of expertise overlaps with an area you’re passionate about. When you know and love your subject, it’ll shine through in your work, and makes the information more valuable to your audience.

In addition to knowing your niche, knowing your audience helps with generating new ideas. This article mentions a couple ways to engage your people: answer the questions they have, and give them information they need (even if they don’t know they need it).

2. It’s not necessarily what you say, it’s how you say it. In terms of graduation speeches, the theme is usually something along the lines of “go forth and prosper.” But guess what? There are millions (billions? trillions? infinite??) ways to convey this message.

Everyone has a unique voice, whether they realize it or not. Find out what your voice is, and play into that. Mindy Kaling, for instance, recently gave a speech to Harvard Law graduates that was entertaining and engaging (plus she called them all “nerds”), but still had the same underlying graduation genre message.



3. It’s okay to recycle old stuff, if it’s still relevant. In this video from Marie Forleo, she addresses the content creation dilemma. She brings up an excellent example from O Magazine, showing the same headline on three covers from different years.  I’m pretty sure Oprah isn’t exactly lacking in terms of audience, so it’s probably safe to say people still like reading something they’ve heard before. The headline in question was along the lines of “cleaning your space,” which will remain relevant as long as people have spaces and spaces need cleaning.

So, go ahead and revisit older material. If your people can still benefit from it, you’re not being unoriginal or lame.

4. And, finally, stay inspired, but don’t be too hard on yourself. In my experience, creativity grows more elusive when you try to force it. Some days, you’re just not going to feel it, and that’s normal. If, while trying to generate new material, you find your teeth grinding, eyebrows furrowing, and/or blood pressure spiking, take a step (or several) back. Doing something else for awhile is usually recommended, and you’ll have a fresh mind when you come back to it.

Butterfly_Yo

When uninspired, I like to doodle ridiculous scenes in Microsoft Paint.

It also helps to remind yourself, I’m doing this because I love it. The things we love give us high blood pressure sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on them.

In the end, no one wants to feel like they’re beating a dead horse. The good news: the internet (and the world) changes constantly, and while sometimes this freaks me out, it means there will always be more to talk about.



Why You Shouldn’t Put All Your Social Media Eggs in One Basket

When discussing social media channels, we hear a lot of people ask, “Well, why can’t I just use Facebook?” Well, there’s (at least) a few reasons why only using Facebook for marketing isn’t a great idea. And, that’s what this video is all about!

Bonus: We experimented with a new format, and had a lot of fun with this one!

As always, get in touch with us if you have any questions or ideas for new videos!

Tech Thursday: What’s the Weather?

Something to consider when engaging with your social media audience: the weather! After all, it’s hyper-local, and, let’s face it- it’s a decent conversation starter in real life AND online. Here in Maine, there’s always something weather related going on if you’re stumped for other topics.

In this video, we’ll let you in on some ways to get creative with it!

 

Is It Worth Your Time?

Sometimes, with any task in life, it’s easy to wonder (out loud or otherwise): Is this worth my time?

While I can’t answer that in every instance of your life, I can help you with the internet stuff. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you do something:

How many eyeballs are looking at this?

For example, I’ve been wanting to improve the ‘clients’ page on this website for about three months… but I had to pick between working on that page or updating my ‘events’ page. The events page gets more traffic (plus we had two workshops this month to promote) so that took precedence.

You can do the same thing in real life. Should you spend your money upgrading your lounge area or bathroom? Asking yourself how many of your customers see each might clarify where your priority should be.

Who is looking at this?

As important as the number of eyeballs to think of is who is looking at this.

For example, if you just sent out an email newsletter with a link to a page on your website you want your subscribers to see, you know that people you care about are going to be looking at that page from the moment you click ‘send’… so make it beautiful and functional before you do.

If less people are looking at something but they happen to be important people to you, it’s worth prioritizing.

What does it matter?

Now there are people who make a living dissecting words on a page. Should you be using ‘hair stylist’ or ‘beautician’? Should you put the customer quotes in the middle of the page or have them scrolling on the side or the page? Is the 14 point Helvetica really better than the 12 point Veranda font.

This is minutia, people, and you know it.

Also, all these questions can paralyze you into doing nothing.

When you have a slow news day, that’s when you can implement what you’ve learned in Copy Hackers to optimize an important page. That’s when you decide it’s time to overhaul all the slides in your slideshow. Make a list of those things you’d do if you had time and you can knock them out over the course of a few months.

What matters?

1) Up to date information (hours, menu, pricing, etc.).
2) Nothing weird/off putting (a slide that won’t load, a button that links to a social media page you haven’t updated in a year, the top of your favorite employee’s head cropped off).

If you have an hour or so to devote to this a week, spend it first on that critical stuff.

What’s gravy? The best wording possible. New photos. Trying out that font. Social icons that match your brand.

You can spend an infinite amount of time online but asking yourself ‘What’s worth it?’ will let you still do what you need to do online and run your actual business.

Tech Thursday: What’s the Deal with #Hashtags?

Hashtags are popping up all over the place lately, but what exactly do they do, anyway? This video explains why people use hashtags, what they do, and how you can benefit from them, too!

Note: Kassie didn’t know anything about hashtags pre-filming, but she did use “YOLO” quite a bit…

 

 

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