Monthly Archives: June 2011

Beating Facebook and EdgeRank into submission

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OK you know by now that interaction from your friends with your Facebook content is vital. So what gets the interaction started? Try these:

facebook polls create interaction

Vote early, vote often.

Polls – regular, quick, fun or serious. Polls are interactive by nature.

Facebook advice

Open up a conversation.

Ask for comments – studies prove that asking for comments creates more comments. Who knew? Yep it’s obvious but how much of what you write on your Facebook page is questioning and how much is telling?

Facebook photos improve EdgeRank

Pictures tell thousands of words. Many about dachshunds.

Photos insist on interaction as they are small and need clicking for a fair display. Studies show that videos – yours or someone elses – have far greater power over readers than text alone. 

Facebook EdgeRank likes links

You're only as strong as your weakest...

Links - particularly when they are to sites other than your own – show your readers that you care about more than just generating traffic.

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seo advice

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If your job has anything to do with a website pour yourself a stiff drink and read on. Stay reasonably sober and read to the end for one very practical piece of advice.

SEO advice - drink whiskey.

Managing SEO? You may need this.

We have bad news. Search engine optimisation – the art of tweaking your website to gain prominent rankings on search engines – is getting far more complex.  Those are the findings of a rather huge survey by SEOmoz of 132 leading SEO nerds. 

There are a great many factors that add up to your ranking for particular search terms. How many factors do you know? We’re guessing you responded with:

  • quantity and quality of links to your site,
  • number of words on a page,
  • amount of keywords on your page that match search terms,
  • freshness of content;
  • submitting a sitemap to search engines.

Maybe you had a dozen more including:

  • age of the domain;
  • descriptive ALT tags for photos and images;
  • page titles that match search terms.

Bottom line; the number of factors that add up to your ranking is increasing and the weight of the factors is constantly shifting. Many SEO factors are “off-page” which means that there’s nothing visible on your site nor nothing you can specifically do about them; even in the content management system. Off page factors include links to your site, time visitors spend on your site and the biggest factor for good SEO – social media.

Increasingly your search results are determined by the vibrancy of your social media efforts. An engaged Facebook following, enthusiastic Twitter audience, well-watched YouTube channel and well-read blog leads to better search engine results.

Even more complexly, the amount of sharing of your content on others’ Twitter, Facebook and social networks matters to your SEO results. Google also measures if the individuals who Tweet about you are they people with large and engaged followings. Are they with institutions that matter? It’s all about working out if you have something to say that others listen and refer to.

Everything is connected, everything matters. Oh dear. Who has time for all this?

This level of complexity is good in one way as it makes SEO-rigging harder for shonks but it also makes it too complex for smaller players and non-shonks like you. 

Social media advice

Actively encourage sharing. It works.

We’ll be looking at more aspects of SEO in upcoming posts but here’s one simple thing you can do to encourage sharing.  Install a social media sharing plugin such as Sexy Bookmarks on your website.

We now include this device at the end of every news item and guess what? People use it. Why? Because it simplifies the process of sharing. We like it because it was simple to install, is a one-size-fits-most solution and is reasonably discreet to look at.

Mostly we like Sexy Bookmarks because it encourages sharing of our content with zero effort on our part. This sharing may take place years after we post an item but it still helps us build the empire.  You may find alternatives that you prefer but the principle remains the same: encourage and facilitate sharing of your content.

There is of course one catch – you better be providing content worth sharing. More about that in an upcoming post. In short though – these days everyone is a publisher. And of course if you liked this post please share it.

Melbourne media training

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Media training for Moreland Hall in Melbourne

Welcome Moreland Hall

Hootville Communications will deliver media training in Melbourne to UnitingCare’s Moreland Hall which is a alcohol and other drugs rehabilitation service. 

As per many clients wishes, the media training will mix media, marketing and spokesperson training.

media training specials

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media training discount

Coming your way, soon.

More In the Neighbourhood specials announced today: Sydney Wednesday July 27 or Friday 29. Book Hootville for training or event emcee work on those days and receive a charming discount. After all; we’re already in the neighbourhood. Details on the Media Training Specials page. Specials also available for other days in Sydney and Queensland.

Sydney emcee role

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Hootville’s own Brett de Hoedt is headed to Sydney to emcee a Love Your Liver lunch as part of World Hepatitis Day July 28, 2011. Excitingly, Brett will get to finally meet O’Liver, Hepatitis Australia’s walking, untalking hepatitis awareness mascot in person. What’s he really like? We’ll tell you July 29.

A beastly Facebook experiment

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Facebook advice

Maybe there's hope yet...

We’re all about EdgeRank at the moment and so should you if you’re in charge of a Facebook page. This piece by Thomas E Weber of The Daily Beast summarises one man’s attempt to go viral via Facebook. As you’ll read, most of us have developed an immunity.

Lazy (aka busy) citizens should skip to points six and nine as they offer hope to the devious (aka innovative).

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facebook advice part 5: EdgeRank

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Warning: this post may leave you feeling overburdened, overwhelmed and over the never-ending quest for social media results that meet expectations. Presuming you aren’t in that state already.  

Brett was training in Dalby, western Queensland this week when he heard a tragic tale from a father of two concerning Facebook. Let’s call him Martin. Martin; a recent immigrant from the UK is a keen Facebooker as it enables him to keep contact with the Poms back in the Motherland. 

A soccer or “football” lover; Martin recently penned a long and carefully crafted article about a football team of his youth. He was sure it’d be a hit with his Facebook pals, all of whom love the game, know the team concerned and enjoy a sporting debate. Many friends were specifically mentioned in the story. Martin posted his story and waited for the tsunami of response but received barely a comment; let alone a debate as he’d anticipated. Three interactions in total.  He was social; he was networked but he was confused. Anyone share this sort of experience on their organisation’s page?

Why? EdgeRank; that’s why. EdgeRank is how Facebook decides what links, images, status updates and photographs of yours get shown in other people’s Newsfeed. Without such a system we’d soon be overwhelmed by a torrent of content.

The Newsfeed is the first thing we see when we log on to Facebook and it’s probably the only thing. It’s likely to be set to Top News as in:

facebook navigation

EdgeRank rules. Respect it or Facebook to nobody fool.

So tell us Hootville; how does EdgeRank work?

EdgeRank measures every single piece of your Facebook content by three criteria: interaction, affinity and timeliness.

Interaction. Let’s say you post a link to a great story. If someone presses the Like button under that link, the links’ EdgeRank lifts. If someone writes a comment under that link it’s even better as a comment is considered a deeper interaction. Sadly most people do neither and thus that link gets a low EdgeRank and is be unlikely to be displayed on others’ Newsfeed. More interaction = higher EdgeRank = more displays on Newsfeeds.

Affinity: Facebook knows who interacts with you the most and shows them your content in their Newsfeeds more often. This is why so many of your interactions can come from the same people. It’s a vicious cycle. 

Timeliness: material that has just been posted is more likey to appear on others’ Newsfeeds.  

The sorry truth is that most of your content will have a low ranking and thus not be shown beyond your very bestest friends and fans’ Newsfeeds. To pull rank you must prioritise interactions at all costs. It is no different to being willing to tweak your website endlessly to get better search engine results. More on this to come.

(Yes – we know Martin’s parental and ethnic staus were irrelevant to the story but we felt they added depth to the narrative.)

What people (claim) they read in a newspaper

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Another day; another expensive, professionally executed survey based on people’s version of the truth. Hmmm. We’ll run it anyway. It’s Roy Morgan Research’s long-awaited survey into what sections of the daily newspapers get read and which don’t. The study takes into account all dailies bar the AFR.

If these results are accurate, then most of the copy being slaved over is being passed over. That’s showbiz. At least this is a wake up call for reporters who all tend to presume that every reader reads their story.

Newspaper circulation may be declining (papers write stories on this most days) but they are still gold to publicists as beyond their own readership they influence TV and radio agendas. Every radio and TV newsroom is full of newspapers but print journos aren’t all huddled around the TV and radio unless there’s live sport to watch.

Newspaper reading survey

What gets read and what doesn't.

 

Damn shame they didn’t ask specifically about social affairs. I guess our issues are filed under News. So we win.

Newspaper reading by gender

Weren't we all supposed to be the same by now?

In case you thought that we’d achieved some kind of progressive balance between the genders; think again.

Once more we’d have loved to see which gender reads the social affairs stories. Need we bloody ask?

Media training special offer

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media training special

Like Gerry we offer easy repayment options. Though not on washing machines.

What a jealous lot you are. Sparked by the response from non-Queenslanders to our Queensland In the Neighbourhood discount, we’ve decided to bring forward our end of the financial year special for everyone.  After all, you are; I am, we are Australian.

Make a new booking for any training before June 30 to receive an extra six months follow up coaching (that makes 18), a collection of classic marketing texts and some very friendly payment options. New MC bookings receive the friendly payment options, and a firm handshake.

What do visitors to your site want?

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Website design advice

Meeting your visitors' wish is your first but not only command.

We don’t trust survey results – people like to say all the right things. 

They can also be persuaded to say all sorts of things depending on how questions are asked and the options available as answers.

After all; people always promise to vote for candidates who protect the environment and create a better future for our kids. In reality they vote for the more likeable candidate who offers the best back-pocket sweetener.  

That said; this stat courtesy of HubSpot, rings true because we all hate not being able to find what we want. When developing sites we try to meet this demand with sitemaps that create lots of categories of information and lots of pages within those categories. A sitemap is the blueprint that itemises and categories all the content of your website.

website content advice

Funny because it's true.

Here’s one tip – create a Publications section for all newsletters, annual reports, brochures etc. Many websites have these spread around like so much confetti.  

Another tip: offer big, clear picture-based navigation on the homepage to separate key audiences such as professionals, carers, members. 

Another tip: how many of you non-profiteers have exactly zero information about the price of your services? Yep – that would be most of you. Why? And do you similarly keep hush-hush about how people can register for the programs that you describe on your services section. Aha!  

sitemap example

Your sitemap is crucial. Don't leave it to your developer.

But here’s the thing: meeting visitor desires is one part of the equation. What do you want to get from your visitors? Their subscription to your database? A donation? A signature of a virtual petition? Attendance at your event? You need to optimise your site to meet both visitor expectations and your objectives. Do you know exactly what your objectives are?

Along with ongoing Facebook advice we’ll be throwing in some webpage optimisation articles to help you meet your objectives so drop by.

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