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Why I'm Protecting My Social Circle in 2019

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Remember when you first signed up for Facebook? Chances are you added whoever tried to add you, brands››› that sent you page likes requests were added on auto-pilot and that annoying person from high school who's now that annoying person in the adult world somehow made it onto your friends list. Then you probably carried that habit over onto LinkedIn. I did it and according to a Mashable poll from 2016 so did over 70% of users.

In 2019, the name of the game is tightening up social circles. This is true for many, especially in my case. Here's how I use my social networks:

  • Facebook: I only add people I know or with whom I have 100+ connections in common. When it comes to brands, I only add them and have turned off notifs to get invites.

  • LinkedIn: This is a professional playground, so to speak. So, that in mind I only add those whom I can see having a mutually beneficial relationship. Two good examples would be someone who could potentially be a client. I benefit by getting a client and they benefit from my agency giving them ROI backed campaigns. Another would be someone in an industry that I could see myself needing in the future.

  • Instagram: I'll add anyone in my industry, that I know, or who interacts with my written word.

  • Twitter: I don't even bother with the tweets anymore. It's become too negative of a space.

There are clear no-brainer blocks in my social world:

  • Lead gen companies not willing to give up real proof of concept or not willing to work on commission.

  • Someone who sends me a spammy message with a connection request.

  • Any business on LinkedIn that has their business name as their profile name.

  • Any person or business with following counts that dwarf their followers count.

I protect my social circles because just like the real world, I wouldn't give anyone the time of day if they weren't following basic social decorum. Social media is no different. It's SOCIAL media, which means you should be trying to build relationships, not throw digital billboards at people and hope someone wants what you have to offer (personally and professionally).

REAL Teamwork Makes the Social Dream Work

Teamwork

I come from the nightlife industry, which is essentially "Try Anything 101". Those in nightlife spend endless amounts of time and money testing new features and opportunities in social media extensively. Now in most cases, the testing is flawed because they don't have a business background and can't fully understand the delicate balance between advertising and assault but one thing is certain; if you see nightlife people doing something on social media you've never seen before, it's coming to an industry near you.

This is no more evident than in the gratuitous use of staff members in social media marketing. Back in 2008 (yes, 11 years ago) I opened up a nightclub and pretty much banked its entire success on the staff. We made videos, bios, had them post about the club, and featured them in as many pictures as possible. The crazy thing is ... it worked! We were packed.

However, nightlife has—much like they do with everything—taken things too far. Staff are now forced to post on behalf of the club. Yes, forced! I suspect this is because nightlife entrepreneurs generally don't like spending money and because they want to blame failure on their staff "not doing it right". A dirty little secret of the industry is that everyone is planning for failure because it's an industry without a standard.

Staff Buy-In

There is a valuable lesson here though. Staff buy-in is a huge piece of marketing online. It's one thing for you to say you're awesome as a brand, but for the people who work for you to say it is a huge bonus! However, you can't force them to post 2 or 3 times a week, or whatever other ludicrous ideas you have. Consumers are savvier than ever. What you need to do is give your staff reasons to post about your brand, make it easy for them, and reward their dedication.

Here are some key points to get you started:

  1. Get your staff together and ask them for ideas and a media shoot.

  2. Use those ideas in a constructive way.

  3. Advertise those ideas and use the media from the shoot, showing off your staff.

  4. Setup a group on each medium you advertise on with all of your staff. When you have something important to say, make that post easily accessible and ready for sharing.

  5. Each month, at your staff meeting, reward those who made whatever impact you'd like to measure.

  6. Repeat.

To give you an idea of the impact this can have, here's a bit of a case study.

Case Study: Facebook Ads

We represent a real estate brokerage with several dozens of agents. There is a month post that goes out on Facebook with a $1000 spend. The average reach of that post is usually about 218,000. The average interaction is roughly 600. This is with no staff buy-in. When 4 staff members are engaged on $1000 we got 322,049 reach and over 1000 interactions. With 12 staff members engaged on $1000 we got 518,001 reach and over 1500 interactions. See where I'm going with this?

Now, the goal is 200,000 reach and the max spend is $1000. If we had reliable buy-in we could cut that budget by $100 each month and still get the same reach. If all of the staff bought in that $1000 would become $0.

Tell me again why staff buy-in isn't near the top of your priority list?

If you need help with your ads or any digital marketing, let's talk.

Demographics & Interesting Facts about Facebook

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When you go out you often look for places that have similar minded people; that's why young adults cover about 99.99% of people in nightclubs and diners have a generally older clientele. Similarly, when you launch a business, you have a target market. You may think you know the demographics of Facebook, but do you really? Here is a snapshot to keep in mind when planning campaigns.

Note: Last update February 2018

Facebook Statistics

  • Total Number of Monthly Active Users: 2.072 billion
  • Total Number of Mobile Monthly Active Users: 1.66 billion
  • Total Number of Desktop Daily Active Users: 1.368 billion
  • Total number of Mobile Daily Active Users: 1.57 billion
  • Facebook users are: 53% female and 47% male.
  • Average Facebook user has 155 “friends”.
  • 56% of online Seniors aged 65+ are on Facebook and 63% are between age 50-64.
  • 87% of online users of age 18-29 are on Facebook.
  • 74% of college graduates are on Facebook.
  • 72% of online users of income more than $75K are on Facebook.
  • Percentage of user base by age: 13 - 17 (5.4%), 18 - 24 (21.3%), 25 - 34 (23.4%), 35 - 54 (31.1%), 55+ (18.6%).
  • Active small business pages: 40 million.
  • The Facebook like button has been pressed 1.13 trillion times.
  • As of January 2017, 250 million hours of video were watched on Facebook Daily.
  • The average time spent on Facebook per visit is 20 minutes taking the average monthly time spent to 600 minutes.
  • Percent of 18-34 year old who check Facebook when they wake up: 48%.
  • Average number of pages, groups, and events a user is connected to: 80.
  • 350 Million photos are uploaded every day, 14.58 million photo uploads per hour, 243,000 photo uploads per minute, and 4,000 photo uploads per second. Whoa!
  • Every 20 Minutes, 1 million links are shared, 20 million friend requests are sent, and 3 million messages go out.
  • 55 million status updates are made every day.

In the face of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, chances are these numbers will dip slightly, but as you can see Facebook is firmly entrenched in the lives of many young and old, far and wide, so it's likely you have to worry much about the #deletefacebook movement unless they keep screwing up.

Need help with online marketing? Contact SYNC, and let's talk about how we can get you on track.

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

Graphic & Photo Size Guide for Social Media

Gone are the days of creating one or two versions of a graphic, or having a single crop of a picture. In this modern world of advertising we have dozens of formats to choose from across multiple platforms. Luckily, our friends at Postcron have created a handy guide that you can take a look at.

Let's dive into sizing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Social Media Image Sizes 2018 - Sync Digital Solutions

Is Facebook the New Big Brother?

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Facebook has once again publicly denied that they are the new big brother. Now, I'll assume that you're not a huge conspiracy theorist and try to explain why you—yes you—might actually believe they.

I'm sure you've questioned whether Facebook is listening to your real world conversations. Otherwise, how might one explain talking to your friends about organic soy tea and then seeing an ad for that very obscure product on Facebook within days, sometimes hours?

You quickly consider whether you've ever spoken on Facebook about the liquid deliciousness ... nope. Have you commented on someone's status about it? Probably not. So then, the natural conclusion is that Mark Zuckerberg has a secret facility somewhere in the mountains of Russia live recording all Facebook user's conversations through their phone's microphone, right? Oh, so terribly wrong.

In theory, it is possible. iPhone apps can turn on the microphone at any time without informing you, as a researcher pointed out last week. However, it can only do this when the app is open, and this would also break App Store guidelines. Given that Facebook is the biggest app in the world, it probably receives plenty of scrutiny from Apple and Google.

 Why does Facebook Want Access to my the Microphone?

On both Android and iOS, Facebook and Instagram do use the phone's microphone—like any other app, however the user must explicitly opt in to give the apps permission.

The main reason it does this is so it can record videos, such as Facebook Live or Instagram Stories. However, this is only activated when a person (ie: you or me) has the Facebook app open and deliberately typing a status update. Facebook has denied it is used for listening to conversations and that it does not "tag" your profile with the data, only using it to build up a chart of the most listened to songs.

So, you understand the theoretically it's possible that Zucks and his crew might be evil because as I'm sure you're aware, tapping into conversations to make ad revenue but not stopping the many attacks that have been planned over Facebook is pretty damn sinister.

But, enough stalling. Let's assume that Facebook isn't listening.

What on earth is going on with Facebooks Ads?

You're imagining things, and so many people do it that there's a name for your condition. It's called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as the frequency illusion, and it's a concept that existed long before Facebook came around. If you've ever noticed that you learn a new word or cultural reference, only to then see it used constantly, it's the same feeling. It's a form of cognitive bias—our tendency to assign more importance to things than they deserve. Have you ever bought a new car then noticed so many others driving it? Same shite different pile.

There is another possibility. Online advertisements are targeted based on many different factors: your browsing history, your Facebook interests and so on. Even if you don't feel that you've given Facebook enough data to target an ad about renal failure without it eavesdropping on you, its algorithms may well be sophisticated enough, based on a number of data points, to suggest that you might be the kind of person that's worried about your kidneys.

In layman's terms, you see a thousands ads per day in all likelihood, and you search for all kinds of associative data; of course there will be a link from time-to-time. But, just think of all the times that there weren't a link. You can take your tinfoil hat off now.

Which Social Network is Right for My Business?

Social Networks

One of the most common questions I get when speaking to potential clients is, "Which social network is right for my business?" It's a legitimate question, because if left unanswered, you could burn yourself out just trying to keep up with your marketing. As a business owner, you have a huge to do list, and no time to waste with Social Media Management that doesn't work for you.

With that, I present my quick and dirty explanation of the various social networks.

Facebook

Your business should be on Facebook, period. Not only do they have the best ads platform, but they're also the number one network when it comes to reaching a wide range of ages. Presence on Facebook is also good for SEO. I'm going to state this clearly though; do not jump on Facebook until you have an ad budget to spend. You will not reach the people necessary to impact your business without at least a few hundred to spend on boosts (local biz), or a few thousand (for larger biz).

Twitter

This is the network you have to be most active on to be effective. I mean, really active. Post and reply, post and reply. It's a constant cycle. Twitter's relevance has fallen in the last 18 months, and continues to. I recommend staying away from Twitter unless you know you can be active, you have a solid network growth strategy, and tons of content. The companies that do the best on Twitter are media outlets and celebrity brands. If you're neither, you can pass on Twitter and place that focus elsewhere.

Instagram

Are you trying to reach anyone between the ages of 13 - 38? If so, get on Instagram. The community is active, the feed is still pretty fair for everyone, and the network growth strategies that have come up are easier to implement than with Twitter. Make sure you get creative, and marry your personal + professional voice. No one wants blatant advertising on Insta.

Pinterest

Want to reach women? Use Pinterest. It's really that simple.

LinkedIn

The professional Facebook has just released a really annoying update, but it's still the best place for B2B interactions, and we find the interaction rates to be stellar. Don't spam though. Simply network, and offer through conversation. You'll generate leads if you have a strategy.

Google+

Don't look at Google+ as a social network any longer. It's an SEO platform. You post and stay relevant to boost your rankings, not to engage with others.

Flickr + Tumblr

If you have the time to create stellar long-form content, or you have a business that falls under the category of "the arts", then you should look at Flickr and Tumblr. Otherwise, don't bother with these platforms.

There you have it. I did say this post would be quick and dirty; no need to bury you in stats.

Need help with Social Media Management? Let me know.

"But I Saw An Article on Facebook ..."

But I Saw An Article on Facebook

The Opinion

We live in the information age, so naturally there is a ton of data coming at us on a daily basis. Some of that info is interesting, and helpful. Then there’s trolling articles, aimed at getting as many shares and hits as possible to bolster their ad revenue through sensational headlines.

Case in point: This article.

I’ll say this out of the gate. We provide SEO services to clients, so at first glance, this blog could be perceived as me scrambling to keep business. However, dig deeper. The above linked article is dangerous for many reasons.

1) Some of Us “Hang” With Google

Just last week, I was on a call with Google. They outlined that 30,000,000 sites would take a ranking hit in the next few months. They’re cleaning up, and are kicking sites with grossly misleading content to the curb. While it is true that no search marketer has access to Google’s code, we do have access to their people. Through years of communications and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, we have built relationships with those people. You have a business to run, and don’t have time to build relationships with the right people at Google.

2) His 6 Points are Valid

Jayson talks about 6 important points of SEO, and he’s right. These elements of SEO are important. However, they’re 6 of 205 points identified as an SEO priority by us at Sync. Simply put, there’s steak sandwiches, and then there’s prime rib. Steak sandwiches are fine, but for that top tier experience, you want prime rib. SEO functions the same way. There are shortcuts, but ultimately if you’re taking SEO seriously, you need to cover all of your bases. Eventually, one day SEO might boil down to 6 core principals, but that day is not today. You have a business to run, and don’t have time to figure out what’s happening in SEO on a daily basis.

3) No Technical Expertise Needed

How interesting that Jayson wrote this article, when his company itself, offers technical SEO services. Google has stated in their official SEO guide that technical aspects are important. While content plays a huge role in this, you have a business to run, and don’t have time to deal with sitemaps, canonical data, W3C errors, titles, URL optimization, staying on top of the latest website trends (*cough frames anyone?), and the perfect text to graphics ratio.

4) What’s in a Strategy?

We can’t speak to other companies, but our overall SEO strategy includes on-site optimization, off-site optimization, back linking, content, and directories. We have a full-time department dedicated to these strategies. If, it was at all possible to stay ahead of the SEO game with a more simplistic process, thus saving us time, money, and further streamlining our workflows, we would be all over it. Think from the stand point of a business owner. If something came along to make your life easier, wouldn’t you institute the policy? Of course you would. I’m a business owner and I think the same way. What Jayson is talking about is not an industry killer, but rather an industry optimization shift. His article doesn’t take a client’s industry into consideration, or any other factor. He’s just highlighting what we already know. After all, you have a business to run, and you don’t have time for his core principals (never mind the over 199 points to SEO).

5) What about “The Other Guys”?

Lest we forget, Bing, Yahoo, and the other search engines. While Bing swallowed up Yahoo, there’s still factors for those search engines that don’t resinate across to Google. While Google is the most popular search engine, it’s not the only provider. Concentrating solely on Google is like a social media strategy that ignores Twitter and Instagram. Only in select cases is this not a mis-step. You have a business to run, and don’t have time to worry about all these search engines.

I could go on, but I don’t come off as a bully picking on Jayson. Ultimately, what you want out of SEO will be in direct proportion to the effort. Sound familiar? It should, because that principal is relevant to everything we do in life. Think about it this way; you have a business to run, and barely had time to read this blog.

Looking to expand your brand online? Learn more about how SYNC can help get you on track online. 

Written by:
Jay Hall - Chief Strategist