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How Bloggers Can Run Successful Facebook Contests

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facebook like button Running a contest on Facebook just got easier! They’ve been making a ton of changes recently, and this is one I really like. Facebook recently decided to allow business pages to run contests without using an app, so now you can ask users to like a status, comment, send messages, and more in order to enter your contest. You can also use likes as a voting mechanism for a contest.

The biggest rules still in place for running Facebook contests are:

  • You can’t ask people to tag themselves in a photo as an entry to win. (Makes sense, since Facebook doesn’t want people tagging themselves in pictures where they aren’t actually found.)
  • You can’t ask people to share on their personal profile as a contest entry. (Contests are still not allowed on personal pages, only business pages.)

Facebook contest rules were so strict in the past that many bloggers just didn’t bother, other than perhaps running the occasional Rafflecopter-based contest. Now that the rules are a lot less strict, are Facebook contests something you should consider?

  • Think about what has the most benefit to you. Asking someone to like your page as an entry means that you’ll gain more followers. However, those followers might never see your updates again. Asking someone to like or comment on a status means they are engaging with your page, so they’ll be more likely to see your updates in the future.
  • Determine if an app still makes more sense. The benefit to an app like Rafflecopter, Shortstack, Heyo, etc. is that administering the promotion and choosing a winner is easier. You can also often more easily customize the look and feel of a tab for running your contest by using a third party app.
  • Check out other contest options. Facebook just might not be the best place for your specific contest. It really depends on your goals and where your community hangs out. It might make more sense to run your contest on your blog itself instead and just use Facebook to promote it.

If Facebook is a good contest option for you, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Facebook isn’t completely pay to play…but…you’re going to get a LOT more entries if you pay to promote the contest on Facebook. If you have a small fan page (less than 1000 people), it’s going to be pretty hard to gain traction for your contest unless you pay for promotion. The good news is that you can see pretty good results, even for just $50, especially if you’re giving away a good prize.
  • A compelling image will entice people to enter. Check out your own timeline. It is FILLED with updates from your friends. If you want to stand out, create a compelling image that includes text like “Win It!” to grab people’s attention. Of course, if you plan to promote, make sure that the image you use don’t have so much text that Facebook refuses the ad.
  • Bigger prizes don’t always mean more engagement. You’d think that the bigger the prize, the more people you’ll have excited about your contest, right? Wrong. What people want and need means more than the value of the product. For example, you might give away an hour of consulting with yourself, which you’d normally charge $300 to do. But if your Facebook fans aren’t super interested in having consulting with you, they might be more inclined to take action on a $50 Amazon gift card.

So now that Facebook has made it easier to run a contest on Facebook, will you take advantage of these changes and use this platform for a giveaway in conjunction with your blog?

An End to EdgeRank: What Does Facebook’s New Feed Algorithm Mean for Your Page?

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facebook like button Facebook EdgeRank has officially been retired, but that still doesn’t mean every single user will see every single post you write. Facebook has a new feed algorithm, and if you’re managing a page on this platform for your business, blog, podcast, or web series, it’s important to understand how Facebook’s changes are going to effect you.

Storybumping: It’s Good News

The feature everyone is talking about right now is called storybumping. In the past, Facebook annoyingly decided which posts users would and would not see based on a calculated value. A post that got a lot of attention quickly could go viral, but if you didn’t post at exactly the right time, it didn’t matter what your update was about: people wouldn’t see it. In a few hours, that post would be buried by newer posts.

Now, Facebook is “bumping” stories that you haven’t seen yet, instead of just looking at the publish time. That means Facebook users still have a chance of seeing your posts, even if they’re older. Post timing isn’t as important as it was before.

The results are extremely positive for those of us wanting our page updates to be seen. In initial tests, TechCrunch reports that these changes mean an “8% boost in interactions for stories from Pages and public figures” and that people are seeing about 70% of all possible updates in their stream, as compared to just 57% in the past.

As a user, this means that Facebook will be more interesting for you, since you’ll see new updates whenever you log in, even if the posts are a bit older, instead of just seeing recent stories that you’ve already read.

Last Actor: It’s Even Better News

Even more interesting that storybumping is the “last actor” concept. This way of showing posts to users runs on the theory that the people/pages you’re interacting with most (by looking at their profiles/pages, liking, commenting, browsing their photos, etc.) are the updates you want to see.

This is good news for anyone actively engaging with users on Facebook. If people are interacting with your page, that means they’ll be more likely to see updates from you in the future. It keeps your most rabid fans involved with what’s going on with your page.

So What Does This Mean for Your Page?

It’s all pretty good news, in my opinion, for people who are consistently sharing awesome content and actually engaging with fans on Facebook. It’s bad news for people who just “check in” occasionally, even if your posts do tend to be interesting.

But more importantly, what it means in a broader sense is that if you market a business online or create content online, you have to be flexible. The rules for any platform are fluid, so being stuck in your ways of doing things will bite you in the behind in the the end. Always be experimenting, learning and evolving, on Facebook and otherwise, so you can continue to tweak the way your share and create content. If you stop, you’re really just going backward.

25 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Facebook Ads

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Brilliant Bloggers is a bi-weekly series here at NMX where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every other week, we’ll feature a brilliant blogger, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Facebooks Ads

Facebook ads is a way to “buy fans/likes” in a very targeted way. You can advertise on the Facebook sidebar, or you can promote one of your updates so more people see it. Either way, Facebook ads are a great way to build your brand if you have a little money in the budget. I wrote about my Facebook ad buying experiences here.

At NMX 2013, Amy Porterfield presented the session “How to Get Started with Facebook Ads: 3 Easy Ad Strategies to Attract Quality Traffic, Grow Your Leads & Increase Profits.” Today, I wanted to dig even deeper into this topic to see what others are saying about buying Facebook ads. If you’re interested in purchasing ads for your content or business, take a gander at their advice first.

Brilliant Blogger of the Week

jennifer beese Every Type of Facebook Advertising and How to Use Them by Jennifer Beese

If you’re a newbie in the world of Facebook advertising, this post from Jennifer at Sprout Insights is the place to start. In the post, she goes over the six main types of ads you can consider buying on Facebook and whether or not each option is the best one for your needs. When you’re new to Facebook ads, the terminology can mix you up a bit, but Jennifer included pictures of each type of ad so you know exactly what she’s talking about.

Check out the full post, and be sure to check out her personal blog and follow Jennifer on Twitter at @bottlethecrazy.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

  1. 3 Tips to Make Your Facebook Ads Stand Out From the Herd by Noran El-Shinnawy (@noranshinnawy)
  2. 5 Facebook Ad Tips to Maximize Your Facebook Campaigns by Andrea Vahl (@andreavahl)
  3. 5 Tips for Facebook Advertising by Gillian Singletary
  4. 6 Tips You Never Know about Facebook Ads by Sam Scholfield (@StuffedWeb)
  5. 7 Tips for Better Facebook Ad Performance [Report] by Miranda Miller (@MirandaM_EComm)
  6. 7 Tips to Create Facebook Ads That Convert by Amy Porterfield (@amyporterfield)
  7. 8 Tips for Effective Facebook Advertising by Jennifer Fong (@jenfongspeaks)
  8. 9 Tips for Choosing An Effective Facebook Ad Image by Chelsea (@shortstacklab)
  9. 10 Facebook Advertising Tips For Brilliant Marketers by Nick O’Neill
  10. 10 Quick Steps to Creating a Facebook Ad Campaign by Jonathan Blum and Alex Dalenberg
  11. 11 Tips for a Better Facebook Ad Campaign by Shaad Hamid (@shaadhamid)
  12. 15 Tips For A Successful Facebook Ads Program by Adam Riff (@MediaWhizInc)
  13. A Deep Dive into Facebooks Advertising by Fred Perrotta (@FredPerrotta)
  14. Facebook Ads Conversion Tracking: How to Create an Offsite Pixel by Jon Loomer (@jonloomer)
  15. Facebook Ads: How to Get 1 Cent CPC (and why you might not want to) by Moment Garden
  16. Facebook Ads, You’re Holding It Wrong by Jason Keath (@JasonKeath)
  17. Facebook Advertising for Dummies Cheat Sheet by Paul Dunay, Richard Krueger, and Joel Elad
  18. How I Optimize Facebook Ad Campaigns In 15 Minutes Per Day by Dennis Yu (@dennisyu)
  19. How To Cheat Your Way To Eyecatching Facebook Ads by Stephen Croome (@firstconversion)
  20. How to Use Facebook Ads: An Introduction by Ben Pickering (@bpicks)
  21. Six Things Nonprofits Should Know About Facebook Ads by Taryn Degnan (@tarynidana)
  22. Three Expert Tips for Better Facebook Advertising by Rich Brooks (@therichbrooks)
  23. Want to create better Facebook ads? Start here by Brad McCarty (@bradmccarty)
  24. Why Facebook Ads are Undervalued & How Advertisers Can Take Advantage by Will Lin (@PPCAssociates)

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about Facebook ads? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link.

Next Brilliant Blogger Topic: Keyword Research

I’d love to include a link to your post in our next installment– and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Does Your Business Facebook Page Really Matter?

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facebook page Online marketers often put a lot of emphasis on Facebook pages for small businesses. More and more often, I see restaurants, bars, retailers, and other businesses posting signs alerting customers of their Facebook page. And some of these Facebook pages are really good; they’re filled with interesting updates, announcements, pictures, coupons, and more.

So what?

You can’t take your Facebook likes to the bank. So, I have to wonder: Do business Facebook pages really matter? Or are they just taking up time that could be spent on actually building your business?

Like Conversion

I see people boasting about how much engagement they get on their Facebook pages. Engagement is great, because it means that your customers are interested in what you’re saying and they enjoy your brand. But if those likes are directly correlating to sales, does it really matter?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How many people found out about my product/service because Facebook?
  • How many of my fans are actually buying from me?
  • How many of my fans are repeat customers?

More importantly, you should ask yourself: How many of my customers are ONLY customers because of your actions on Facebook? If people would have purchased from you anyway, Facebook doesn’t really matter, even if they are engaged with what you’re posting.

Determining this is the tricky part, since often Facebook fans are people who were already customers or thinking about becoming customers. Here are a few ideas:

  • Poll your customers. One restaurant in my community, Dishes of India, includes a short survey card with every single bill so they can learn about their customers and find out how much you enjoyed your meal (they also ask you to give your email address for their mailing list, which is really smart). You could easily ask “How did you hear about us” on this kind of survey card.
  • Do a promotion with a coupon that you distribute across all your channels (email, print flyers, social media) including Facebook. Later, do a similar promotion where you don’t offer the coupon Facebook, but still distribute across your other channels. Of course, there are other variables here as well, but this can at least give you an idea of how much Facebook helps you make sales.
  • If you’re a local business (i.e. people buy in person, not online), measure your local fans. Are people liking you because they like your products or service? Or are they liking you because you post funny pictures and interesting quotes? If you’re a restaurant owner in Idaho, it doesn’t do you a lot of good if half of your fan base live outside of the United States.

Brand Advocacy

Understanding the benefits of Facebook for your business is tricky, because sometimes it isn’t just about sales. It’s also about letting your fans work for you as a “street team” of sorts.

Street teams began as a way for record labels to promote music in a really inexpensive way. Often in return for little more than a t-shirt and tickets to the next show, street teams distribute flyers and serve as brand advocates for the band in question, doing all they can to promote their music. They do this not for the money, but because they love the music.

On Facebook, that fan who never makes a single purchase can still be extremely valuable if they introduce your brand to 50 people who do make purchases. Or, depending on what you’re selling, even if they introduce your brand to one person, a single purchase could mean a lot of money in your pocket.

The benefits of brand advocacy are really hard to measure. Again, polling can help you determine how people found out about you, but it isn’t an exact science.

Updates that Matter

If you’re going to be on Facebook, the key is to post updates that really matter. That way, you know that likes and shares from your audience are really benefiting your brand. What kind of updates matter?

  • Announcements about Your Company
  • Event information
  • Success stories
  • Pictures Showcasing Your Products and Services
  • Testimonials
  • Blog Posts
  • Fan Photos
  • Coupons and Sales Information

Essentially, the type of updates that matter are about your company. Funny pictures, cartoons, quotes, etc. don’t matter as much because they don’t really relate to your business.

That doesn’t mean that you should never share that hilarious meme photo you came across. It just means that you shouldn’t measure your success by how many people share or like this image. When people share a coupon or a picture from your latest event, it matters a lot more.

So Does Your Business Really Need Facebook?

Yes. Probably.

It really depends on your business. Sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense. But if your target audience uses Facebook, you should at least give it a try. Measure your results and remember that raw like and share numbers don’t matter as much as conversion matters.

At the very least, be there so you can listen. If someone talks about your business online, you want to be there to answer them, whether that means responding to a complaint or thanking them for praises. Sometimes, social media is less about finding new customers and more about taking care of the ones you already have.

Do you think Facebook really matters for small businesses? Should all businesses be active there? Leave a comment below!

Measuring the Performance of Your Facebook Page

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You have invested the time, effort and money into making a Facebook page for your business. Is your business reaping the rewards from this?  I love Facebook and write about Facebook Ads and engagement all the time.  It is easy to tell with one look if you have a lot of activity on your business’s Facebook page, but is that activity actually doing anything good for your company or is it actually harming business?

Today we will show you how to analyze your Facebook page’s performance and find the answers to these questions, so you can find out what is working and what isn’t.

Social Media Engagement

Measuring the social media engagement on your Facebook page is a good starting point to determine your page’s performance. However, it can only tell you so much. Measuring the number of fans, page views, comments, tab views and etc. that your page has by using tools such as Facebook Insights will tell you how many people are looking at your business, but it does not tell you how many people are actually purchasing your services or products.

That being said, it is still a good source of information to see if your social media efforts are being seen. You probably will notice peaks of activity in these stats. Some peaks will be due to holiday seasons, but some peaks may be due to promotions you have been running. By looking at these peaks, you can tell which social media efforts have been most effective.

Social Influence

Having activity on your Facebook page is one thing, but is it all good PR? It’s important to measure the type of activity you are getting. The saying “there is no such thing as bad press” does not apply to your Facebook page. Negative comments on your page or about your business elsewhere on the web can have a detrimental impact on your business.

On the other hand, positive comments can increase your customer base. Use tools such as Klout, PeerIndex, and Kred to measure your social influence. The statistics these sites can give you will enable you to determine if you need to make adjustments to your Facebook page and/or business practices.

Performance

Now that you know how much activity your Facebook page has and whether it is positive or negative, you need to determine how that data is actually affecting your bottom line. A good social media presence is great, but if it does not actually translate into increased revenue for your business, then your social media impact is little more than an ego boost. Measure the performance of specific links to see if your social media posts are resulting in sales.

Google Analytics can be a great tool to do this with. It can tell you how many hits on your website are actually coming from your Facebook page, and which links they are coming from. Using this data, you can determine which Facebook posts have been most effective.

Free Tools

It may be true that you have to spend money to make money, but not when it comes to measuring the performance of your Facebook page. There are professional services that can help you, but there is still a lot that you can do by yourself. To do this, take advantage of one or more of the free tools out there, which we have listed below:

  • Hootsuite measures and monitors your social media engagement
  • Bit.ly measures the click-throughs on your links
  • Social Mention tracks mention of your business and its competitors on the web
  • Serps Rank checker – This is only a 30 day free trial but will help you to get everything you need!

So now you know the performance of your Facebook page and what efforts have been fruitful. Hopefully, you are getting the results you want. If not, it is never too late to make changes.

Breaking Through the Noise: Focusing on Relationships

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Twitter users publish more than half a billion tweets per day and Facebook is now integrated with more than 9 million apps and websites. With all of this online volume, it may seem like competing for your consumer’s attention is foolish. However, how much of that volume is from brands and people simply pushing out information without listening? Even though we are communicating with our consumers via a platform that takes away face-to-face communication, we need to be able to engage with them in a meaningful way.

That is exactly what Ford did with the second phase of its Random Acts of Fusion Campaign (or #backatyou).

Simple is better.

Through consumer feedback and program performance, we learned that our first phase of the Random Acts of Fusion program was too complex. With Ryan Seacrest, Joel McHale and Kate Micucci, we set out to surprise and delight fans with opportunities big and small. It included charitable aspects, vehicle giveaways and more, and we created a documentary around it.

However, most people did not discover this program until its completion. There was just too much noise online for us to make a different. In order to cut through all the noise online our message had to be concise and clear. We had to focus on relationships in addition to paid media and content.

People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Ford’s #backatyou campaign is taking consumer interaction to the next level. Instead of only rewarding select influencers, we are listening when people talk about Fusion and Ford Motor Company and engaging with our consumers directly instead of via a powerful gang of influencers and celebrities. When someone tweets a compliment, we tweet them back, offering a reward for their nice words.

What kind of reward? We’ve setup a multitude:  gift cards, lunch dates with Ford engineers via online hangouts, date nights in a Ford Fusion, and we even hired Reggie Watts to remix certain comments about the Fusion.

We are using #backatyou to celebrate our fans and take the time to say “thank you” to the people who are taking the time to pay attention to us. Ford believes that because they’re taking the time to speak on our behalf they deserve to be rewarded. They are helping us break through the noise, and we are ever so grateful.

Disclosure: This post is from NMX sponsor Ford.

How One Small Gelato Company is Rocking Social Media [Case Study]

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I first learned about Talenti Gelato a few years ago from a blogger friend who just happened to mention it on her blog. At this point, a few grocery stores were carrying three or four flavors, and when I noticed it at my local Giant, I decided to try a pint.

I became an instant fan, so I decided to follow the company on Twitter and Facebook. Their social media presence has made me even more of a fan of their product, and it’s a staple in my shopping cart, despite the fact that it’s more expensive that most other frozen treats.

Let’s take a look at how Talenti is absolutely rocking social media, and their efforts are resulting in more sales for their company.

Social Media Monitoring

I don’t know what system Talenti is using to monitor their social media efforts, but they rock at it. They aren’t just replying to messages they receive directly (a must for any company). They’re also going above and beyond and seeking out people who are talking about them, even if they are linking to the Talenti Facebook page or @ replying to them on Twitter. Check out this screenshot I recently took of their Twitter account:

Not only are most of their messages @ replies and RTs instead of just broadcasts, but they’re talking to everyone and anyone mentioning their brand. To test my theory, I randomly tweeted about Talenti Gelato without using their hashtag or @ replying to them directly. Within a few hours, they had retweeted my message:

As a fan, it makes me feel special that the company noticed me. Most companies don’t.

A Video Presence

I don’t know why more companies aren’t using video to talk about their products. This is the video Talenti is featuring on their homepage:

Now, I’m not knocking the amount of time that certainly went into this video, but it’s nothing amazingly special that other companies couldn’t do as well. Having your founder get on camera for a quick video like this makes me feel much more connected to the company.

They didn’t stop there, though. If you visit the video page on Talenti’s site, you’ll find lots of other videos that highlight specific products, and on their YouTube channel, they’ve even started to post videos about what to do with old Talenti containers, which definitely fits into their eco-friendly company image.

My favorite video of theirs has to be this creative promo where people use Talenti containers to make music. It’s like a real commercial you would see on TV – but on YouTube!

Fun Interaction with Fans (but always with a goal in mind)

Talenti isn’t some stuffy, stuck-up company, despite selling an artisanal food product. They’re fun and they talk to fans like people, which helps to break down that divide between business and consumer. After all, we’re all more likely to buy from people we think of as friends. Here’s a great examples of one of their Facebook status updates:

More importantly than just pointing out their fun communication style, however, is recognizing that Talenti has a goal with their messages. They rarely go off on tangents or talk about topics unrelated to their product. You do want people to feel connected to the culture of your company, but you should also have a goal behind your communications. Talenti definitely does, even if fans may not be conscious of that push to buy more gelato.

EdgeRank Domination

On Facebook, EdgeRank is king, and Talenti is killing it. Their posts are all about interaction to help get readers as involved as possible. For example:

Check out not only the number of people who commented with captions, but also the huge number of likes and shares they got, simply because the image they used was irresistible. Talenti uses images pretty often, actually, which is important for EdgeRank. They also ask questions, run contests, remind users to hit the like button, and more.

Without interaction from readers, it doesn’t matter what you say or how often you update Facebook; no one will see it. EdgeRank is important, and if your company isn’t writing status updates with it in mind, it’s hard to be successful on Facebook.

All About the Product

What Talenti does best, in my opinion, is produce a quality product. If you go to their Facebook page or search for reviews of their product on blogs and other social media sites, it’s hard to find bad comments. People (myself included) just love what they do.

Your social media efforts are only as good as whatever you’re selling. So before you throw money into your online effects or devote any time to social media, fine-tune the product or service you’re offering. That way, your time online won’t be wasted replying to complaints and dealing with bad press.

Want to learn how to use social media better for your business? Join us at BusinessNext Social in Las Vegas this January – it’s going to be an amazing conference!

Confession: I Bought Facebook Fans (And I Don’t Regret It)

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I have a confession to make. Last month, for the first time ever, I pulled out my credit card and bought Facebook fans. Yes, I actually paid money for bigger social media numbers. I just started a new food blog, and I wanted to quickly grow my presence on this network.

But perhaps the more shocking part of my confession is this: I do not regret my decision. In fact, I recommend that you consider buying Facebook fans too.

How to Buy Fans the Right Way

I don’t recommend that you pay a social media company to boost your numbers. They might say they can get you “real fans,” but in actuality, what they do is pad your page’s numbers with dummy accounts and foreign users who are paid to like pages. They aren’t really fans. These fans are never going to buy your products, share your posts, or click though to your website. They don’t give a hoot about you or your business. You’re throwing money away if you buy fans this way.

But there’s another way to buy Facebook fans. If you’re brand new, building a Facebook presence can be done, but it certainly takes time to gain momentum. A way to more quickly build a following is to purchase fans – through the use of Facebook ads. Facebook ads help in a few ways:

  • More fans means more people sharing your updates, and with every share, you’ll be reaching new potential fans. So, one you have that base of fans, you can start growing exponentially if you update your page well.
  • If your page is empty, it can scare off people who come to it. With more fans, there will be more interaction on your page.

When you pay for ads on Facebook, you are buying fans – but you’re only buying fans who are actually interested in your page. I bought fans this way and I don’t regret it at all. I think every business can benefit from running Facebook ads.

Facebook Advertisement Choices

Facebook gives users two ad choices: CPC and CPM. With a CPC ad, you’ll pay for every person who clicks on your ad. With a CPM ad, you’ll pay for every person who sees your ad.

In both cases, you aren’t paying for a like – you’re paying for the potential of a like. If you choose to go with a CPC model, make your ad as clear as possible, since you want people to only click if they are actually going to like the page. If you choose to go with a CPM model, make your ad as enticing as possible so it grabs people’s attention when they view it and they click through to your page.

I recommend trying both CPC and CPM ads to see which you like best. Set a dollar amount and run your ad with each model to see which performs better. For me, the CPC ad was more effective, but that may not be the case for you. So do some A/B testing first before committing tons of money to one type of ad.

Creating Targeted Facebook Ads

Remember, with Facebook ads, you can also set parameters so only certain users see your ads. I especially recommend doing this if you go with CPM ads, since you don’t want to pay for your ad to be viewed by people who won’t be interested in your page. If you run a car detailing business, for example, a Facebook ad that isn’t targeted is going to be seen by a lot of people who don’t like cars – and even people who are too young to own cars.

Using targeting functions can also help you reach people who aren’t currently part of your fan base. For example, let’s say you run a fashion blog and most of your readers are female, even though you talk about male fashion too. A targeted Facebook ad that you set to only be seen by males who list fashion as an interest. This will help you reach people who will likely enjoy your content, but who have previously not found your page.

Reading More About Buying Facebook Fans

Here on the NMX/BlogWorld blog, we often write about Facebook , and we’ve also compiled a list of people in our community talking about Facebook likes in a past edition of Brilliant Bloggers. For specific advice about how to get more Facebook fans, check out these posts:

For me, Facebook fans were extremely effective for my needs: a short burst when my newest blog launched. If you already have a fan base, an ad may or may not work well for you. Have you tried running a Facebook ad to increase your fans? What were the results?

New Media News Break: Google’s Knowledge Base, Student Hoaxes, and More

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Every week, we post a New Media News Break to help catch you up with what’s going on in the world of new media and get you through the work week. Here are this week’s top stories:

Google Begins Rolling Out Major Search Changes

This week, Google began rolling out “Knowledge Base,” which will drastically change the way we search and use other Google tools. If you search for an ambiguous term, Google will now ask you which term you really meant. The hope is that people searching for cats the animal will no longer see results for Cats the musical. Basically, it’s a way to filter your results. Google will also show you related results (if you like Cats you might also like Fiddler on the Roof). They’re also incorporating an error reporting system, in part because this new web of knowledge will draw from sources like Wikipedia, which are user-generated and often include subjective opinions or misinformation. Check out this video to learn more about Google’s Knowledge Base will work.

46% of Americans Believe Facebook is a “Passing Fad”

For those of us working in the new media industry, Facebook is a part of our daily lives, almost second nature. But not all Americans like this site – and a new study has revealed that nearly half of them believe Facebook is a passing fad. About half also believe that the company’s stock market value is overvalued and only 18% said they were “extremely confident” in the ability of Mark Zuckerberg as CEO. You can read the entire study from Associated Press and CNBC here (PDF). It’s eye-opening, especially if you’re in a niche other than social media/blogging. It’s not that Facebook isn’t important, but remember that it might not be the best place to connect with your target market.

Twitter Introduces Top Stories Emails

Twitter announced this week that users will soon have the option to receive a weekly email with a digest of top stories. This digest will include the “most engaging” tweets from your friends, tweets you’ve liked or retweeted, links that are important based on what your followers are sharing, and more. These emails aren’t yet available for everyone, but will be rolling out over the next several weeks. For content creators, this can be a great tool to see how your tweets are performing, what kind of content your followers want, and how you can make changes in your tweeting activity to better connect with others.

Verizon Kills Unlimited Data Plans, Even for Older Customers

Verizon customers used to enjoy unlimited data, but recently the company has moved away from this model. Still, users who had previously purchased this unlimited plan were not made to change, so many (myself included) have been clinging to their old contract. Verizon, however, has put their foot down and will be killing the unlimited plan altogether in the coming months, forcing data users to change to a limited plan. Why should you care? Well, as a content creator, it is important to ensure that you’re taking these limitations into consideration. If users have to “spend” a lot of data to view your content, they likely won’t come back, at least on this mobile devices. It’s important to at least have a mobile version of your site, keeping in mind that you been to be optimized for these users.

Reddit Catches Student Hoax

A few years ago, Professor T. Mills Kelly and one of his classes pulled the wool over the Internet’s eyes by planning an elaborate hoax complete with fake Wikipedia pages, videos, and expert interviews. He’s at it again, teaching a class where he encourages students to form groups and attempt to fool the Internet. It’s a social experiment of sorts, and one that many, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, detest. This year, though, Reddit users shut down the hoax in a matter of minutes. That should be a lesson to anyone even thinking about lying online. People will find out, so it’s better to always be 100% honest from the start.

In Case You Missed It

Here’s what you might have missed on the BlogWorld blog in the past week:

Awesome from the Archives

There are some golden posts in the post hidden in the BlogWorld archives. Here are three of my favorites that I think you should check out:

Check back every Wednesday for a New Media News Break just when you need it!

New Media News Break: SlideShare Purchase, Space Tweets, LOLcats, and More

Author:

Every week, we post a New Media News Break to help catch you up with what’s going on in the world of new media and get you through the work week. Here are this week’s top stories:

LinkedIn to Buy SlideShare

When talking about social media, we usually mention Facebook, Twitter, and even Google+ and Pinterest, but let’s not forget about LinkedIn. This company is doing exceedingly well. This week the business and professional networking platform issued an earnings report and announced plans to purchase SlideShare in an $118.8 million deal. “Presentations are one of the main ways in which professionals capture and share their experiences and knowledge, which in turn helps shape their professional identity,” said LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner in a statement. I think he’s right on the money. This is a great way for LinkedIn to expand, as well as a great way to get more businesses to start using SlideShare to connect with others online.

Tweets in Space

This September, your tweets won’t just reach a global audience – they’re going to space! At least, that’s the plan if Scott Keldall and Nathaniel Stern, the duo beyond collaborative projects such as Wikipedia Art, have anything to do with it. Their team plans to send tweets with the hashtag #tweetsinspace to a planet that’s approximately 22 lightyears away. Known as GJ667Cc, this planet has the potential to support life, and the project is meant to give aliens that might inhabit this plant a look at our planet’s culture and daily life. Tweets will also be archived on their website. Here’s to hoping we send messages that are important, not just what we had for lunch and links to our latest blog post.

LOLcats in College

Believe it or not, LOLcats may actually be making us smarter or at least it can lead to some really smart discussions. Kate Miltner, who earned a Master’s degree after presenting dissertation on the appeal of LOLCats (pdf), is asking the hard questions about LOLcats and other memes: Why? Kate spoke on a panel at ROFLCon at MIT this past weekend called “Adventures in Aca-meme-ia” where panelists talked about what we can learn from studying the type of people who share memes. It’s an interesting discussion, and learning about the psychology of why people share or join a community can help you build your community, not just understand memes like LOLcats.

Judge Rules that Facebook Likes are Not Protected by Free Speech Laws

A Virginia judge ruled this week that Facebook likes are not protected by the Constitution and therefore, employees can be fired over them. This ruling came about after workers were allegedly fired for ling liking the Facebook page of a their boss’s political opponent. In Virginia, political statements are protected for public employees, but is clicking a button a statement? In the past, court cases have determined that actual statements on Facebook are protected by the Constitution, but this is the first time the like button is entering the court room. Although the judge ruled no, this decision is expected to be appealed, and the case could eventually go all way to the Supreme Court. I have to ask, if liking an opponent is not a political statement, then why was anyone fired over it? Hm?

In Case You Missed It

Here’s what you might have missed on the BlogWorld blog in the past week:

Awesome from the Archives

There are some golden posts in the post hidden in the BlogWorld archives. Here are three of my favorites that I think you should check out:

Check back every Wednesday for a New Media News Break just when you need it!

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