Author Archives: Brett

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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Media coverage should get priority

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Prioritise media coverage over other committments

Your typical conference crowd. Worth suiting up for we guess.

When a media opportunity beckons it’s time to cancel the four o’clock by which  we mean it deserves priority. After all, media opps are too good to pass up – but often they are. We suspect it’s because the audience is invisible.  Think of it like this:  

People get excited about speaking at conferences. An audience of 300 people (often peers and the usual suspects) will justify interstate travel, preparation time, lots of interested inquiries and good wishes from management. And rightly so.

It would be frowned upon for a member of staff not to take up the opportunity or to stand in the way of a collegue getting an opportunity. And rightly so.

Question – what’s the biggest conference audience you’ve seen? 1000+ in one room at a time is rare in Australia, especially outside the medical field. 300 to 500 is typical.

Yet a media hit – say afternoon talk radio – can easily yield 25,000 people. To put it bluntly – that’d be a freakin’ big conference. Yet we see many organisations offered these opportunities pass, obfuscate, delay, dilly and dally. “Can we do the interview next week?” Aaagh.

media audience vs conference

World's biggest conference? Nope - just a typical radio audience.

Would they dilly and dally if there was a chance to speak at a conference of 25,000 people; even for only 8 minutes? Of course not. They’d be thrilled. And rightly so. Would they ask for the conference to reschedule to accommodate them? Of course not.

That’s why PR type people should have the respect to insist that their spokespeople do media; from the CEO down, unless there’s a great reason not to. Unlike conferences, media expands your influence – and they don’t come round every year. We welcome your comments.

Very direct mail

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Direct mail is a universe unto itself. Still the backbone of most fundraising programs, it’s a mix of skills, science and gut instinct. The creative must meet the right segment of the right list at the right time. If not, there’s no pretending otherwise – dollars don’t lie. The Arts Centre in Melbourne outdid itself with this effort, personally addressed to our Mayor and self-professed patron of the arts Brett de Hoedt.

Direct mail fundraising effort

Cute kid, quaintly illustrated, personally targetted.


Arts Centre fundraising

At 16 pages, there's quite the narrative arc.


arts centre

Sadly Baz Luhrmann outbid Martin Scorsese for the film rights.

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Facebook pages with the highest interaction

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The most engaged Facebook page

This well-connected website is the chosen one for millions.

Envy may be a sin but it’s an entirely understandable response upon perusing the world’s most engaging Facebook pages.

Idols from theology, pop music and sport dominate. These are not necessarily the pages with the most fans or likers but the pages with the highest percentage of comments, likes and feedback per post. This shows that they are hitting the mark with their audiences. Murder is also a sin but we’d kill for the percentage of interactions these sites enjoy.

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facebook advice part 3

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Facebook advice

Hump day woes eased with Facebook

Monday sees the most new posts placed onto Facebook.  Perhaps it’s a pleasant way for comms folk to start their working week. (We’re not talking personal sites here BTW, just brands and organisations).
However Wednesday is the clear winner for the number of (all important) comments and Facebook activity overall.
Combining the three things we’ve learnt so far we know that we are more likely to receive interaction from our Facebook fans and likers if we post earlier in the day, in the last quarter hour of the hour on Wednesday morning. 
Of course all this is more valuable, the more fans you have. Get enough of a following and a 1% rise in interactions can mean hundreds of comments. We wonder which Australian NFP has the most Facebook support and which has the highest percentage of interaction. They could be the same but we bet they ain’t. Pop quix – do you know the percentage of interaction your Facebook efforts gain? Shame on you.
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media training tip

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Hootville offers media training.

Puppies, syringes, lessons.

Let’s face it – some causes are much more sympathetic than others. A smart communicator understands this and shapes her argument accordingly. Example: we previously worked with a smart man who raises millions for seeing eye dogs. He  understood that donors weren’t inspired by helping people with impaired vision as much as they were inspired by the cute puppies. As Squiggle pointed out – it’s all about the puppies. As always; he was right.

Safe injecting rooms are currently a big issue in Victoria. IV drug users are some of the least liked, most villified people in the community yet too many pro-injecting room advocates are talking about meeting the needs of addicts. Wrong. Joe Citizen doesn’t particularly care to offer injectors education, warmth, privacy, clean needles and the like. 

Instead; talk about how a safe injecting room makes streets safer for older people, how business owners can trade unimpeded, how police could be freed to perform other tasks, how playgrounds will be cleared of syringes.  These are some of politicians’ most treasured audiences. Those audiences might also be more persuaded.

There are parallels with mental health advocates. Yes we want services to assist people with mental illness for their own sake but talk up the specific, tangible benefits to other groups in the community. Start with carers who may not need to be fulltime unpaid psych nurses. Go to police who will be able to spend time on othert matters.

For some this is too tricky, cutesy, folksy. To others it’s ‘duh’. Either way, it’s a more effective path to the same end. Take it.

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Australian non profit shows backbone

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It’s rare that we see non profits risk their relationship with government. Victorians have had some recent examples with RSPCA Victoria challenging the government on jumps racing and Job Watch highlighting its defunding.

Now we see another example from Environment Victoria which is also being emasculated by the new regime. (Can anyone see a trend emerging?) At least they are going out swinging.

Ask yourself – could our organisation launch such a fight – presuming it had the need and the nerve?

Consider your ducks. Are they in a row?

Are your campaigning ducks in a row?

By ducks we mean – eNewsletter with a big fat engaged database; Twitter account with tuned in followers, website that is easy to update and worth visiting; media contacts ready to take your call?

Do your clients, participants, donors, board members even think of you as an organisation that needs to fight for itself in the first place? Or are you seen as part of the furniture, humbly delivering services until someone in government closes you down?

It’s too late to establish these channels and change the culture when crisis – or opportunity – hit. We think Environment Victoria’s ducks are in fighting formation. Good luck ducks.

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