Saturday, September 20, 2014

Increasing Facebook Engagement on your Page

The SITS Girls Facebook Group had a question regarding Facebook engagement, and here are some awesome tips from one of the comments by Liza Hawkins. I actually found these to be so great of an idea that I wanted to post it as a blog post just so I can find it again.

1. Multiple posts per day (but only 10-20% of them should be about you/your blog) about things the people that like your page want to read. It takes a little time to figure that out, but one example is asking the right kind of questions:

I used to pose a question like: "What's your favorite ice cream?" No one would answer. Post reach would be low.

Then I tweaked my question: "Ice cream: CHOCOLATE {or} VANILLA?" And suddenly everyone wanted to comment with their opinion! Giving people a choice, versus asking an open ended question, makes a difference and get people interacting.

2. I also focus heavily on my "People Talking About This" number, and try to keep it above 10% at all times (although I have a goal of 50% I'd like to reach!). You can see your (or any other page's) Talking About This number by clicking on the "Likes" link.

3. Also, I've noticed that not only does it matter what kind of content you're sharing, it matters where the content comes from. Facebook's algorithm likes popular news sources, so when I share a link via HuffPo, BuzzFeed, Bon Apetit Magazine, etc., it reaches a lot larger group of people than if I share a less popular or unknown link source.

4. Similarly for tagging. If I tag another page in my comments, I get a lot more reach if that tagged page has a large "Talking About This" number. Facebook wants your posts to go viral as much as you do, so it gives weight to those posts that include potentially viral things.

5. If you schedule Facebook posts in advance (which is what I do since I work all day), make sure to only schedule them directly in Facebook. Don't use a 3rd party app for that.

Hope this helps! Liza / (a)Musing Foodie


Helpful Links:




Saturday, August 30, 2014

How to Get Viral and Spread like an STD

If only the secret of virality on the internet was known, we'd all be internet famous. But it is a phenomenon that interests me, not only from the perspective of a blogger who is trying to be known, but also from my inherent desire to understand human behavior. I totally believe we have a lot of instincts that come into play, from our savage animal side, that is lurking deep within our psyche, and all that goes away on the internet (or changes). This is why people have "computer courage," to state their opinion and verbally attack others that they would NEVER do offline. Think about your friends you know online and offline, and how different are their behaviors on the computer and off the computer?

The act of many people obsessively sharing, liking and talking about a certain meme, whether it's a video, the act of planking, or a funny some ecard, is something of a conundrum. 

Some of the most famous meme encounters include:

  • Planking where you have someone take a picture of you laying flat on your stomach in some strange place
  • The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge where you dump ice and water on your head for charity
  • Some Ecards (it can say ANYTHING and people will like and share)
  • Cereal Guy, a sarcastic stick figure eating cereal 
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex not being able to use his hands, whether for pushups or clapping
  • Willy Wonka questioning your hypocrisy 
  • Gangnam Style (a video of a song nobody knows what it means with a crazy dance and humorous satire of a common popular music video)


I mean look at these descriptions. They are odd. Random. And how, HOW could one know this would get famous? 



So I researched a bit about virality of a meme. It seems, according to empirical evidence, that virality first happens on the level of the community. For instance, the military niche shares a lot about the military not many civilians are interested in. While a meme that says, "What do I feel after shooting terrorists? Recoil," is virally famous among military members, it's not so famous in the community of mom bloggers. Some bits of content then continues to flow outside of the community into other communities. This is where you can achieve true internet fame if you are the meme. 

Some things I've noted in my research:

  1. Viral Memes are often adopted as awesome the more people see them. They may not like it the first time they see it, but after the 5th time, they start to accept it and embrace it. This is why your newsfeed and radio station overplays the same thing over and over again. 
  1. Viral Memes are cultural. They speak of the culture they pertain to. What is famous in America isn't often famous in China, and vice versa. 
  2. Memes are timed when things relative to it happens, like Batman memes being out there right after a Batman movie is released.
  1. They should be relatable. That gets more likes and shares. This is why there are a lot of memes that say things like, "That moment when..." The only reason people like those are because it relates to them. 

Top places to share your memes you create include

  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

My theory basically takes out all the differences between online instinct and offline instinct, and looks at the psychological instincts that hold true in both places. 

The first one is that the herding instinct takes on a new form online. The Tribal mentality often takes over and people do what they see other people doing, just because other people are doing it. This is something we do naturally offline because you want to appear normal. Things that stand out from normal are often spotted easily by a predator in cases like sheep, and the same holds true for humans. A person who parents very differently than the norm is more apt to have CPS called on them than someone who conforms to the norm, such as whatever the norm is for discipline and housekeeping. 

Take the tribal phenomenon of where you see someone post, "I have a troll on my page." Most people's reaction is to go find that page, even if you have to search it, and then read through 50 different posts to find the post that has a troll, and then jump in on the shaming of the troll. The threat against the tribe is what fuels this type of behavior. Now if someone they don't know is being attacked by a troll, their mentality is more, "I don't know why you guys are behaving this way! Let's just be at peace with each other!" This is why trolls often bring traffic to a post. They force people into taking a stance. 

Another phenomenon where this is a big deal, I noticed, is in the heat of an argument. I can simply say, in a comment arguing with someone who is NOT a bully, "You are a bully. I won't put up with it anymore. I will no longer be a victim of your cruelty..." While all the comments do not show the other person is being a bully, I bet you most of the people who read my comment will decide the person I'm speaking to is a bully just because I called him one. They don't want to read all the comments and formulate their own opinion. They take my word for it. I've seen this time and again. Sometimes it's name calling. Other times, it's the argument. I can be typing an argument about gun control, and the person arguing with me will argue me as if I was promoting gun use. Other people will jump in and argue against gun use, to me, even though nothing I said promoted gun use. It's mind boggling when that happens to you, but it's part of the herd mentality. Herding trumps logic in most cases with humans. 

Online, when we see one person do something, we form an opinion about it, one that is our own opinion. When we see 50 of our friends doing the same thing, then we want to jump in and do it just for the inclusiveness alone. There will always be a handful of outcast misfits who wish not to partake in a shenanigan just because it's mainstream. 

So for something to be viral, it has to already be viral for most of your audience. This is why people are most apt to comment on a blog post if there are already comments on your blog post. According to Psyc Central, "Researchers discovered that it takes a minority of just five per cent to influence a crowd’s direction – and that the other 95 per cent follow without realizing it."

The way around this is to create a tribal feeling to your meme, where inclusiveness is inviting, and all the cool people are doing it. If you can get two or three leaders of mutual packs to do your thing, you will go viral in that community. You also want to Position yourself (see link below) as something the cool people are doing. 

Another important aspect I've noticed in virality is the emotional appeal. In marketing, they tell you that logic can be argued, but emotions cannot. Nike did it best with Just Do It. It has a strong emotional appeal that inspires their target market well, a theme song for their target market of athletes, but it also appeals to non-athletes. You can't argue it. Even better than being against it, you want to be it. You want to be the winner of the race all of the sudden because Just Do It. 

Fear is a huge emotion that triggers our behavior; for instance, Vaccination and School Shootings are trending topics. Where you stand on any debate is often dictated by our tribes, but the debate itself is usually dictated by emotion. Politicians play this card frequently, as well as insurance companies. I don't think fear should be manipulated in order to achieve fame for moral reasons, but it does work, and there are probably posts you have made that you can spot that was fear-driven. 

Belonging is an emotional trigger that ties in with the herding instinct. "The neurochemical oxytocin triggers a “bliss response” in the brain whenever we are engaging in social behavior," according to ASTD. Everyone wants to belong to a Tribe, and they tend to choose tribes they most relate to, that feel right. In my case, I jumped head first without a parachute into the mom blogger tribes because those were definitely my people. But your memes and advertising can relate to this with things like, "Join us," and "Solidarity!"  

In addition to belonging, trend setting is an emotion you can position with your product/meme/concept. "Be Like Mike" is a perfect example of trend setting. People don't just want to belong to a group, but they also want to belong to a "Cool" group, whether it's a group of cheerleaders freaking out about a lipstick shade, or a group of nerds talking about Star Wars like it's cool. You don't have to be cool. You just have to make whatever it is you are selling sound cool. 

In the end, it doesn't matter what you do, whether you post popular pictures on your facebook page or invite discussion with compelling questions, it's how you do it. I've noticed that actions stand out more than content. People are bored on the internet, and they are always looking for something that makes them laugh or cry, but they are also looking for something to do, something that their tribe is doing. It doesn't matter if it's planking, video taping an ice bucket challenge, or creating a one liner with a specific hashtag on twitter. I think the act of doing increases the feeling of belonging. 


Now I know what you are asking... Where did you get this information? Well I'll tell you... Some of the sources where I gained this knowledge include, but are not limited to due to my memory...

Virality Prediction and Community Structure in Social Networks


A Facebook Post Is Twice As Likely To Go Viral If You Append It With The Phrase 'Please Post This'

Twitter Trends Help Researchers Forecast Viral Memes








Fear Factor: How the Herd Mentality Drives Us


What do you think? What psychological factors motivate you into sharing, liking and doing? 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blog Hop Lessons

One of my favorite link-ups / blog hops is Finish the Sentence Friday. We don't require everyone who links up to read all the posts in the link up, but I try to. I started doing that when I co-hosted once, and I try to do that every time I link up with them.



Real quick, not the point I wanted to make but I'll make it...

Reasons I Love FTSF:


1. They get me a lot of traffic for a blog hop. 
2. They get me a lot of comments for a blog hop.
3. Their topics are easy to write, and I seem to write better posts from them that my own readership seems to like.

The point of this post... I've learned some things reading these other blogs. When I'm reading 35 blog posts in a row, on the same sentence prompt, trying to come up with a comment on each post... I figure some things out about how to improve my own writing.

1. Shorter is Better for Blog Hops


The point of any blog hop is to hop through multiple posts. They aren't just reading your post, and a long post is intimidating.

The Bloggess average post length is ideal I think for most blog posts anyway. They say that women between 20 and 30 ish prefer to read shorter things, and women over 30 tend to put more time into reading something longer. 

It's funny because a lot of news articles are short leaving out a lot of information. They tend to focus on a more narrowed scope of a major story and write multiple articles as opposed to doing one story on a major story that entails all those smaller topics. I think it should be flipped. News is the place where you want to provide all the information regarding that story that you can dig up. At least provide it in the form of links. People are always going to Google to find the whole story. 

PS I write really long posts usually. 

2. If you want people to comment on your blog, make sure your post is something they can comment about.


I think to avoid the writer's block of a comment, it would help your readers greatly if you ended every post with a question. I don't do it because I usually don't get comments. I probably don't get comments because I don't ask any questions inviting it. I'm probably going to start braving the whole asking a question nobody answers just to make it invite-able. 

3. Pictures


I don't need pictures to read a post and enjoy it, but I do like seeing faces of children and mothers. I don't post many pictures of my family because I'm thinking, "Nobody cares about us." But, when I read other blogs, I really enjoy seeing a family picture related to the post. 

4. Fonts should be easy to read


You want a boring font for the body of the post for comfort. I strain reading some of these decorative fonts. Arial and Verdana are great fonts for a blog's body. 

5. Eye-Friendly Background 


Busy backgrounds can cause eye strain, but most importantly, if you have a black background with white text, if it takes me more than 30 seconds to read what you said, and I don't blink much when I read, then your blog becomes an optical illusion, and I start seeing shit on my walls that would make Rorschach blush. If it wasn't painful, I'd probably enjoy it. 

Stare at this shit for 30 seconds and then look at the wall. They are calling you.

What are some of the things you noticed reading other blogs that you love or hate? 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Social Media on your Blog

Free To Use... Click for the Rest of the Set
If you have a blog, social media links and some form of email subscription is a blog vital; if the header is considered water to your blog, your social media is food and your subscription is sleep. You need this stuff on your blog as much as you need to name your blog.

Now providing methods of sharing your posts is totally different than this. I'm focusing on getting people to follow your profiles on various social media platforms.

Why link to your social media? 


1. Everyone else is doing it, and this is probably one of those herding mentalities that helps the species with survival as opposed to hurts it. I understand if everyone is jumping off a bridge, would you do it? Only if the water is warm, but the point is, some people herd to bully someone. This isn't anything like it. This is more like being lost in New York City trying to get to New Jersey to travel south, and after an hour using a map driving in circles around Chinatown, you finally decide the best thing to do is follow all the cars with Jersey license plates. Yes I've done that before, and it worked beautifully.

2. So people can find you again. Just assume for one glorious minute that you are one of the best bloggers on the web. You just have yet to be discovered by EVERYONE. Because you've been working hard on improving content and providing the best you have to offer, you know that when people come across your blog, most of them (not all, that's impossible) are going to fall in love with your writing. They are going to read any one post of yours and say words like, Epic. Genius. My Kind of Crazy. They want to follow you, but now what?

No one method of following someone is guaranteed you will see all their posts. Emails sometimes go to the Spam folder or some other place in the dark, dusty corners of the web. Facebook only shows your posts to 10% of your page likes if you are lucky enough to get 90% of the people to whom it shows to like, comment, or share, which is more difficult to accomplish with blog posts than any other content. Twitter's feed is old in about 5 minutes, depending on how many people a person is following. The best way to follow someone is to follow them everywhere. You may not see all their posts, but you are bound to find them again. Nobody wants to spend 5 minutes hunting you down anywhere, whether it's your contact me page or searching your name in Facebook.

3. The numbers matter when it comes to anything money, whether it's publishing or sponsorship. They say not to buy Facebook ads because your likes probably won't engage much in the future and you want loyal readers, not robotic profiles, but you know what? The Mattress Company thinking about paying you for some advertising doesn't care. Social media numbers are a vital part of your statistics.

Where do you put social media icons?


The blog norm of social media icons is to have just the icons linking to your profile somewhere in a sidebar, or the header. The sidebar should also have a place to enter an email to subscribe to your blog. The subscription button is also good to place within each post at the bottom (like Moms Who Drink and Swear does on Chicago Now), at the footer (like I do because I'm too lazy to keep typing it at the bottom of posts), and the contact me place. That is like the thing you are allowed to over-promote because the choice to subscribe is usually an impulse decision. Nobody wakes up in the morning thinking, "I need to go find some new blogs to subscribe to. I'll do that before I do the dishes."

How to Put Social Media Icons on Your Blog


In blogger, the easiest way to do it is to add an html gadget. I'm not sure how wordpress works with it, but I'm providing html how-to for you to use anywhere html is accepted.

Ingredients: 

Graphics. The F for Facebook. The Twitter bird. The Pinterest P. And anything else you decide to add. These pictures need to be uploaded to the web somewhere. You can use Flickr or Google's Picasa. To get the address, find the image, right click, and then choose "Copy Image URL." If you don't have that option, you can attempt to click the image, and then try, or find the image elsewhere and try. There's many reasons that option might not show up. Google works better than Flickr for that.

You can also get free icons from my Doodlegraphs Blog and it includes the basics as a font you can download for free. 

Profiles. It's a personal decision on what social media to focus on. Some bloggers have a profile EVERYWHERE possible. Others focus on the basics, usually Facebook and Twitter; however, some bloggers prefer Google Plus to Facebook. You will need a link to your profile. Not a link to Twitter or Facebook in general. Your profile's address.

Process:

The HTML is simple really. First you list the link the image will take you (a href), and then you list the image source, the place the internet finds the image (img src).

Target equaling blank means it will open in a new tab. You want to do this because you don't want people leaving your blog page forever. You want them to keep that open.

Alt text is text that shows up if someone's computer can't pull the image, in theory anyway.

The width and height determines the size the image will appear. You can adjust the size to your preference.


<a href="http://www.SocialMedia.com/YourProfile" target="_blank">

<img src="http:www.IMAGElocation.png" alt="Find me on Facebook" width="50" height="50" />

</a>


1. Copy and paste that code and enter your information where you need to.

2. Repeat code for next image and social media link. Make sure to change alt text to "Find me on Twitter" or whatever matches it.

3. You probably want all the images to be the same size for purposes of professional design.


Common Social Media:

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Pinterest
RSS from Feedburner



Less Common Social Media:

Instagram
Linked In
YouTube
Tumblr
Blog Lovin



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Font by Me: Floral Flush Font

I finally finished working on my Floral Flush font of stems and flowers, so you can do that whole look they do at Walmart on the planners, notebooks, folders and journals that are now found on bags at the Family Dollar... You know, this look...


Eventually, I'll provide photoshop brushes of the grayed look.

The beautiful thing about fonts as opposed to photoshop elements is that a font can be used on any program you have, and unless you have Photoshop or something similar to it, or the experience using a program like that, you really don't have much options for pictures to use. As a font, these images can be used on any program that has text. The best thing is, because it's a font, you don't have to worry about pixelation issues when enlarging.

THIS FONT IS FREE FOR PERSONAL AND COMMERCIAL USE

Where can you find this? I have supplied it on my Google Site Attachments, and the link to that link is on my new blog called Doodlegraphs. Really check out Doodlegraphs. I'm compiling all my artwork that I'm supplying free like it's public domain. You can use the photos, fonts, and photoshop elements from Doodlegraphs for any reason, including commercial reasons. I'll be adding to Doodlegraphs periodically. I think after I finish all the little things with this font, my next project will be to play with coffee and wine because they are mommy blogger cliches.

Click to get to this Font Download on Doodlegraphs


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Twitter #blogger Guide

I sometimes hate twitter, but I'm trying to figure the ropes. The hashtag seems to be one of the most prominent features in twitter as it helps tell people what your link is about if you provide a link, but also it makes you visible to people who don't follow you but are searching for content your hashtag labels. However, outside of the trending box of hashtags, twitter doesn't provide you with much insight to what people are actively searching in the realm of hashtags. I have no idea what those hash tags are, but I will tell you the various blogger hashtags are frequently used. #bblogger and #fblogger generally show up in the trending box every day there isn't a big news event (like Paula Deen).

But the letters, like what do they mean? Nobody really tells you, but I searched them and this is what I concluded... Some are probably spot on. Others are probably close. Others, no idea... Read at your own risk from here on out. The most active ones at the time of writing this are in BOLD.

#blogger

abloggers: Artist Bloggers? Graphic Design and Illustrations
bbloggers: Beauty Bloggers
cbloggers: Crafts
dbloggers: whatever you want it to mean... Dad Bloggers. Design Bloggers. Diabetes. And many many posts at random making me think it could be Denver or Detroit... Some in French which makes me think DeFrenchWord.
ebloggers: this one had a short list, and the best I can decipher... Entertainment Blogging
fbloggers: Fashion Bloggers
gbloggers: used for giveaways, beauty and random, and gardening
hbloggers: health
ibloggers: instagram and/or Irish
jbloggers: jewelry and/or Jewish
kbloggers: Not really happening, mainly kashmire which is actually spelled cashmere with a c
lbloggers: I'm thinking London Bloggers... not sure
mbloggers: Mom bloggers, music and/or mental health
nbloggers: Fingernails and Nail Art
NZbloggers: I'm guessing New Zealand Bloggers but have no clue
obloggers: Not very popular, no real pattern
pbloggers: Pregnant / Pregnancy Bloggers
qbloggers: 2 tweets with it ever, and it's because they used the letter Q somewhere in their name
rbloggers: Review Bloggers and/or RSTATS, which seems to be mainly data and statistics
sbloggers: Social Bloggers and/or Student Bloggers.
tbloggers: Travel Bloggers
ubloggers: not used often, and no pattern
vbloggers: Video Bloggers
wbloggers: Wedding Bloggers
xbloggers: No Results
ybloggers: Very few results, all Youtube.
zbloggers: Two posts showed up, one for zoo and one for zombie apocalypse



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Facebook's New Algorithm 2014



Facebook is like that friend that drinks all your beer and eats all your food and then leaves without ever contributing to the cause. You hate that friend, but you invite him back and call him constantly because you would miss him for whatever irrational reasoning. It's like you know he's bad for you, but you love him anyway, so you get over it. Like an addiction. Yep. Facebook is that friend.

I had the Dribbles and Grits page. Some of my posts weren't going to more than 10 people of the 3500 who liked the page, so I was like "screw this." I told everyone, multiple times, if they want to see my posts, add me as a friend. I no longer post funny blips or things about my life on that page. It is only picture shares at this point. My personal profile is now set to public, the way Facebook wants it, so they beat me with that one. Well then, my blog domain got hijacked, so I was like, "I need a Facebook page," so now I have one for Crumpets and Bollocks with a whopping, steady 35 people, and it feels rather pointless to post to it.

I still have these pages, sharing pictures and videos that make me laugh in my newsfeed, and my mentality with it is, "hahahahahahaha, click share, let's see, personal profile? Crumpets and Bollocks? or Dribbles and Grits? hmmm, eenie meenie miney mo.." I truly offer nothing more than what is already out there on my pages.

When I first started with the Facebook pages, I considered it more like a radio talk show where I shared multiple things like stuff from my own head, stuff that's funny with my opinion on it, questions, polls, music, video, articles, blogs... Nobody seemed to really like all that crap. So then I stuck to what the "insights" (the fortune teller of Facebook pages) told me people liked, and basically, stupid memes and crap from my head. This decision is tough. What to post. Even the memes themselves, do you post something you've seen EVERYONE share because it's viral? Or do you post something you haven't seen around much that's hilarious because it's original? The sad fact is that people seem to prefer the stuff that's viral, like I think they like liking the same thing 50 times in a period of a week. Or maybe it's a Facebook conspiracy to pick and choose our content for us by manipulating the likes that way. Who knows?

But I think it helps page owners at this point to understand the new algorithm. It's a tough one to google because you get a lot of out-of-date stuff that was popular when it was relevant, and the stuff that's relevant isn't making the Google because it's new and hasn't been read enough yet, not enough to compete in the search results with out of date stuff.

This woman figured it out on her own, and she blogged about it, so I'm re-blogging what she blogged. You should check her out because she's funny, witty and one I enjoy reading...


From Abandoning Pretense

"When you post, Facebook sends a sample blast to a very small percentage of your followers. (I don't think anyone knows what the percentage is; it is secret info, and appears to be ever-changing.) Based on the reaction from that initial blast, the algorithm determines whether or not your post is worthy of being included in other of your followers' newsfeeds. If, based on the reaction of that initial sampling, your post is deemed worthy, it will send another blast to a few more followers. As long as people keep interacting with each subsequent blast, the algorithm will continue to keep pushing the post out. If people do not interact with your post, the algorithm will determine that your post is unworthy of people's newsfeeds. Worse? If you consistently put up posts that do not invite interaction, the algorithm will determine that your page, as in, the whole kit and caboodle, is unworthy. (See video below for more detail on how the algorithm works.) So..."

The rest of her blog post gives quality advice on page management, but the real thing to remember is now that you know how the algorithm works, now you have to get creative to come up with something that works with it.

I hope this helps you. It probably won't help me too much because I've abandoned ship with my Facebook pages. Like it's an old boat just docked somewhere. Maybe I might come back to it and fix it up and sail that ship again some day, when the ocean changes hue or something.

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