Facebook’s New Algorithms and What they Mean to Marketers

Facebook is a place for sharing, and when I say sharing, that encompasses a little bit of everything. Some good, some not so good. Family vacations, new adventures, uplifting stories and quotes…good. Political views, personal/private details of your home life and marriage, negativity in general…not so good.

So you would think topics concerning nutrition, fitness, and health issues would be a positive thing. Unfortunately, Facebook has been bombarded with misleading ads that are false, outlandish, and prey on vulnerable users when it comes to losing weight or solving health problems. Back in 2013, Jezebel published a post which looked at some of the worst Facebook ads, and among them were numerous weight loss ‘cures’.

Facebook is now taking action against them, with two new News Feed algorithm updates designed to reduce the reach of ads that promote miracle health claims.

As explained by Facebook:
“In our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of information in News Feed, we consider ranking changes based on how they affect people, publishers and our community as a whole. We know that people don’t like posts that are sensational or spammy, and misleading health content is particularly bad for our community. So, last month we made two ranking updates to reduce (1) posts with exaggerated or sensational health claims and (2) posts attempting to sell products or services based on health-related claims.
For the first update, we consider if a post about health exaggerates or misleads – for example, making a sensational claim about a miracle cure. For the second, we consider if a post promotes a product or service based on a health-related claim – for example, promoting a medication or pill claiming to help you lose weight.”

So how does Facebook weed out such content?

“We handled this in a similar way to how we’ve previously reduced low-quality content like clickbait: by identifying phrases that were commonly used in these posts to predict which posts might include sensational health claims or promotion of products with health-related claims, and then showing these lower in News Feed. We’ll continue working to minimize low-quality health content on Facebook.”

How will this affect users?

For most of us we should see less of those outlandish ads with miracle cures, weight loss creams, and fake photos. That’s great news! If you are a company who posts questionable health claims, you should probably stop.

The second Facebook update involves video. It’s obvious that content containing video performs exceptionally well because it humanizes your brand and helps the viewer understand what they’re seeing easier than in written text. With the introduction of Watch and Stories, Facebook has shown priority for video in its news feed algorithm.

They are now taking that a step further. In an update release Monday, David Miller, Product Management Director at Facebook, revealed updates to Facebook’s video ranking algorithm. The goal of this is to help video content creators “find their audience and build profitable video businesses on Facebook.”

What is changing in the Facebook Algorithm?

Facebook will now reward you for creating video content that brings in repeat views. That funny clip or favorite recipe that you watch over and over, it will benefit tremendously from this update. Duration was also mentioned in the algorithm, noting that three-minute videos typically perform best and those that capture the attention span for at least one-minute will be higher ranked. Basically, Facebook wants to make sure you’re creating valuable content that users actually use. Lastly, the algorithm update is going to be de-prioritizing pages that simply share videos and don’t upload original content.

Why It Matters to Marketers

If you are thinking about investing in Facebook video, now is the time! Your video strategy should reflect the new algorithm changes, specifically hitting the three-minute timeframe that Facebook is looking for.
If you do not align with what Facebook wants your video content to be, you’re missing out on potentially valuable brand awareness and leads. And, you could be wasting effort on videos that don’t get attention.


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Social Media for Customer Service- Are Companies Keeping Up?

In today’s advanced digital marketplace customers are no longer stuck with only an automated phone system to respond to their customer service needs. There are a wide variety of service channels to choose from that cater to different customers – self-service knowledge bases, chatbots, and social media messaging services.

And it seems that companies are seeing the value of social media customer service. In their “2016 State of Social Business” publication, Altimeter analysts Ed Terpening and Aubrey Littleton report that among 523 respondents in big companies in the US and Europe “social customer service” is now the top external objective for social business functions, just ahead of “relationship building” – which also focused on current customers, not customer acquisition.

For customers, interacting with brands via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, etc. is often faster and easier, and many customers believe they receive better care via these channels than they receive via phone and email. According to a new report from Conversocial, 54% of customers prefer customer service via social media and SMS. Because of this, Twitter and Facebook have rolled out several tweaks and enhancements to their platforms to make them even more viable replacements for traditional contact channels.

So what is Social Media Customer Service?

Social customer service is the practice of providing consumer support through social media channels to quickly answer questions. 69% of customers believe fast resolution of the problem is vital to good service, making social consumer support invaluable. While Facebook and Twitter have proven to be vital platforms for marketing, they are also important channels through which consumers solicit and receive customer service. According to the Q2 2016 Sprout Social Index, 90% of surveyed consumers have used social media in some way to communicate with a brand. And, over 1/3 (34.5%) said they preferred social media to traditional channels like phone and email.

How can you improve your Social Media Customer Service?

1) Be where your customers are.

Where should you focus your time and efforts? Facebook and Twitter will be the primary focus for most companies, but other brands may find that their customers also frequent Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, or other social sites.

To find out where your audience is, search for mentions of your brand within popular social sites. If you find that your audience isn’t yet talking about your brand online, look for ways to include yourself in conversations relevant to your industry. The way, for an employee to be welcomed into social conversations is to add something of value.

2) Listen to what your customers have to say.

Many marketers are already familiar with social media monitoring tools that automate the process of searching for mentions of a brand name, but listening is equally important from a customer service perspective. Research from the Institute of Customer Service reveals 1 in every 3 customers turns to social media to seek advice or communicate with a business.

Depending on how much volume your brand’s social media pages generate, it’s important to collect and analyze activity so that you understand the issues being raised over social media. This information allows you to determine:

How many comments reflect a poor customer experience, in person or online?

How many comments provide feedback, positive or negative?

How many brand mentions require, or would benefit from, a response?

What time of day are your customers most active on social media?

The answers to these questions will help you define priority content, make decisions about self-service options, and determine whether you’ll be able to handle the majority of issues directly through the social media channels or directing users to other lines of support.

3) The speed of your response is critical.

Studies have shown that most customers want a response over social media within the same day. The Northridge Group reported that 42% of consumers expect a response to their customer service inquiry within the hour. Because tweets and timeline posts can be submitted overnight, this presents a challenge by driving your response time from just a few hours to 10-20 hours later.

As a best practice, always respond with immediacy—or with the promise of. A good strategy may be to set up an automated response letting customers know you received their message and will respond the next business day. At least then they know their message was received and you are working on a resolution.

4) The success of your social care efforts will depend on the quality of care you provide.

Agent responses must be timely, accurate, sensitive, brief, and friendly…which is a lot to ask. Agents must be able to read into a customer’s emotional state and determine an appropriate response. That may involve a message conveying friendliness and willingness to help or possibly sending a more formal statement of empathy or apology to address an issue.

So what can you do when you receive negative feedback? This is an opportunity to rectify your brand’s image and, more important, your relationship with the customer. The customer must feel like they’ve been heard and that you’re willing to do what it takes to make them happy. Research for Hug Your Haters (conducted by Edison Research) studies found that customers are more likely to advocate on behalf of brands who answer their complaints.

When a company answers a customer complaint via email, it increases advocacy by an average of 8%.

When a company answers a customer complaint via phone, it increases advocacy by an average of 10%

When a company answers a customer complaint via social media, in increases advocacy by an average of 20%.

Regular monitoring of your company’s social media pages combined with savvy use of the sites can elevate your customer service efforts from acceptable to exceptional. The better your social care, the more social traffic you can expect, and ultimately more loyal customers.


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