Facebook: Dead or Alive?

We’ve had some interesting discussions recently on the Clearly Conveyed Communications Facebook page. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a look and let us know what you think!) One of them this week was, coincidentally, about Facebook

                        Facebook: Like or Dislike?Facebook: Like or Dislike?

Is this social platform behemoth living large or dying a slow death? Facebook’s certainly been in the news a lot lately, and I came across an article from our friends at MediaPost entitled, Vine, Instagram: Hit It And Quit It, that made a strong statement. 

“Facebook sucks unless you’re over 40.”  -Karl Greenberg

That’s a strong statement but is it true? The article goes on to say, “Young people don’t use Facebook anymore. It’s too complicated and takes too long.” That thought is from Bernard Glaser, who heads the marketing operation at Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. While MB has a *few* friends on Facebook (1,766,687 at the time of publication), the company’s actually trying to move more of them to Instagram. 

Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. Instagram Content

Despite millions of fans on Facebook, Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. is trying to move them to Instagram — a social network they feel is better suited to a younger audience.

 

CCC’s Experience: A Case Study

Initially, we really struggled to gain traction on our Facebook page, which is frustrating. It definitely lags behind some of CCC’s other social platform presences (linked at the end of this post). However after much time and effort, we’re starting to increase our Facebook community as well as their engagement. Engaging with other pages (and page owners) is so important as well as posting content that’s intriguing to your specific fan base (oh, at the right time). We’ve really found the new and improved Insights tool to be a big help in determining our strategy going forward. 

New & improved FB Insights tool

The new & improved Facebook Insights tool allows you to dig deeper into your audience’s demographics.

For all the advice, statistics and studies available, it really comes down to your specific audience(s). For our page, we’ve found that text updates (generally questions or tips) receive the highest reach while pictures pull in the most engagement. Links typically offer the lowest reach and engagement; however, the last link we posted generated much better results in both of these categories. 

We’ve also discovered our best times to post throughout the day and have been varying our posting times more to see which types of updates resonate the best with our fans at different times on different days. In a nutshell, popular advice on content and posting times may be a good place to start, but dig deeper into your audience’s specific demographics to really tailor their experience on your Facebook page. 

Your Experience

So, is Facebook in your company’s social media plans? Why or why not? Also, who is your target audience(s)?

As a consumer, do you use Facebook? What are your primary reasons for using it? 

Despite its current status as the largest social platform (by a wide margin), do you think Facebook will ever become extinct? 

Drop your thoughts below to continue this interesting discussion or head over to the discussion on the CCC Facebook page

You may also be interested in our other Facebook posts

Photos courtesy of:
Wikimedia Commons (Facebook Like Thumb and Facebook Dislike Thumb)
Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. Facebook page (#CLA Take the Wheel Instagram Contest)
Clearly Conveyed Communications Facebook page (Insights Tool)

A dual Facebook user (for business & pleasure),
Jaime

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#Hashtags: Big Business or Bust?

Hashtags

Hashtags — love them or hate them? Are they good or bad for business?

Let’s take a closer look at the world of hashtags…

On the positive side, hashtags open up your social media updates to a whole new world: non-subscribers, non-fans and non-followers. Searching hashtags brings potential fans, followers, subscribers — and customers — to your doorstep. Whenever I use hashtags, I always receive more traffic from those outside of my network. I’ve also come across brands — both personal and corporate — on Instagram and Twitter that I probably never would have found otherwise.

Hashtags are also a wonderful way to have a conversation online. Stay up to date with webinars, events, ad campaigns, sporting events, etc. by searching for the hashtag and participating in the conversation. As a marketer (or event professional), designating hashtags for your campaigns and events is a great way to invite attendees to join the conversation, build momentum pre- and post-event, involve those unable to attend and integrate your online and offline marketing efforts.

#Olympics hashtag search

The #Olympics hashtag: insight and insanity

For example, Twitter noted that the #SuperBowl hashtag was used 3 million times over an approximate 5-hour time period. As a marketing professional, you’re probably excited to jump in! But slow down — and do the math. That breaks down to an average of 167 tweets per second. And remember, anyone can use a hashtag — not only brands, companies or excited fans talking positively about your product or service. Someone complaining about a sideline reporter’s outfit or a celebrity that’s spotted in the crowd will show up in that hashtag search as well. As Oreo showed us, hashtags don’t make the tweet.

Power outage? No problem says Oreo.

Oreo stole the show on Super Bowl Sunday. No hashtag needed.

Another negative aspect is what I like to call ‘overhashtagging.’ I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but it is in my dictionary. #Have #you #ever #read #a #tweet #like #this? #Probably #not #because #its #so #annoying. I’ve spoken to Twitter users regarding hashtag use and come across research that noted readership (and engagement) drops after 2 – 3 hashtags. Of course, it’s not just on Twitter; we’ve all seen photos maxing out the 30 hashtag limit on Instagram. As my mom always says, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. #justsaying

In summary, hashtags have good and bad qualities like most things in life. They can be used correctly or abused as some of the pros and cons below show.

Pros

  • gain new followers, fans, subscribers and possibly customers
  • have a conversation online
  • bring event attendees into the conversation, including pre- and post-event
  • integrate online and offline marketing efforts
  • help a campaign go viral

Cons

  • new followers may be temporary or fake
  • aesthetically unpleasing
  • overuse is distracting / hard to read
  • overuse lowers readership / engagement
  • get lost in the sea of popular hashtags

I came across an insightful comment by Daniel Victor, social media staff editor at The New York Times, which sums up my opinion of hashtags well.

“Here’s where I’ll join the rest in unquantifiable hoodoo: I believe hashtags are aesthetically damaging. I believe a tweet free of hashtags is more pleasing to the eye, more easily consumed, and thus more likely to be retweeted (which is a proven way of growing your audience). I believe for every person who stumbles upon your tweet via hashtag, you’re likely turning off many more who are put off by hashtag overuse. We need not banish the hashtag, but let’s start putting more thought into when we’re using it.”

Your Thoughts

What do you think? Are you a hashtag user or recovering abuser? Refuse to use them?

Have hashtags been beneficial to your business? Or hurt your online brand?

Please chime in with your thoughts on the wonderful, wacky world of hashtags! Feel free to link to articles, blog posts, studies, etc. (including your own) on the subject in the comments as well.

Additional Reading

Hashtag (first) photo courtesy of Michael Coghlan via Creative Commons License

#EnjoytheWeekend!

Jaime

p.s. Sunday, June 30th, is Social Media Day 2013! Join CCC as we celebrate (virtually) the power of social media in our lives. View the event invite for details and social media resources.

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