Tag Archives: Jay Rosen

4 tips for social media optimization on Facebook from Robert Scoble

SocialMediaNews1 (1)

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen has been trying to trick Facebook’s algorithm by starting his updates with “You guys! Exciting personal news: I’m moving to New York!” and “Big news in my personal life. I’m engaged!” and “I have some exciting personal news. A new job!”

What Rosen is experimenting with here is social media optimization (SMO), or the art and science of getting your updates seen on Facebook and other platforms. In 2014, SMO is still something of a dark art, but in an age when people are using social media to discover news, getting seen there is now as important to media, marketers and public officials who want to find immense audiences online as search engine optimization has become over the past decade.

Without this hack, Rosen says, “Facebook won’t show my posts to nearly all my subscribers.”

When they are shown, they get good engagement. The hack puts them in front of people who never received a thing from me, despite subscribing to me.

Robert [Scoble] is convinced that’s because I used some humor and sounded like a person. But it isn’t. It’s because I used some idiot phrases (“exciting personal news”) the algorithm responds to. That gives my posts a chance to be seen. When they are seen people engage with them. When people engage with them they are seen by more people.

Robert [Scoble] and Dave [Winer] are telling me it won’t work for long and I am sure that’s true. Meanwhile, I have many people telling me they never saw my posts and now they do.

Rosen’s tactic prompted Rackspace’s startup liason officer, Robert Scoble, a power user of social media platforms, to make several suggestions for crafting Facebook updates that get seen in the newsfeed. Here’s a short, paraphrased summary of those tips, courtesy of Robert Scoble’s comments on an update in Rosen’s feed.

1) Short, one paragraph updates often get more engagement than updates with a photo.

2) One photo in an update often gets more engagement than an update with multiple photos.

3) Including a call to action with a URL like “Click here for insight on open government, technology and society: http://e-pluribusunum.com” in an update leads to 80% more clicks.

4) Sort your friends into lists and then remove friends who don’t engage from those lists. (This is different from unfriending them.)

I’m both personally and professionally interested in this advice: I have 129,000 subscribers to my public Facebook updates but am quite certain that the vast majority never see what they subscribed to when they clicked the “Like” button. While the rare Facebook update blows up, many are just never seen.

Questions for you:

1) Have you tried these techniques? If so, what came of it?

2) What other SMO tips do you use?

3) Do you use Facebook lists?

Two cautionary notes

First, just as blackhat SEO leads Google to penalize people for gimmicks, Facebook could flag pages and profiles that overuse them, leading to account issues.

Second, marketers, social journalists and community managers that find success with SMO experiments should take note of a recent Pew Research Center survey on social media and the news, the source of the graphics on this page, which found that “visitors who come to a news site through Facebook or search display have far lower engagement with that outlet than those who come to that news website directly.” That means that SMO doesn’t replace SEO for publishers, or the need to create great stories and interactive content that stands on its own.

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Finally, it’s worth noting that social networks are full of people. Ultimately, the best way to “optimize” your interactions on Facebook or elsewhere is to be a human, not a marketer. Meaningfully communicating with other humans is going to require a different strategy than crafting headlines and URLs that highly relevant to search engines.

Hat Tip: Post by Jay Rosen.

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10 Delicious links to remember on Twitter, Google and Newspapers

Google in 1998
Image via Wikipedia

When I scrolled down this blog this afternoon, I noticed that my list of Delicious social bookmarks was a succinct, useful snapshot of the resources or ideas I’d found worth saving over the past week. As the platform and tools that I can use to tag, share or store information online has expanded, Delicious has remained an important tool for leaving useful digital breadcrumbs I can use to retrace my travels later on. This list struck me as particularly meaningful, both because of how useful the links are and what they reflect in the moment of my life when I saved them.

For instance, I saved the Google AdWords: Keyword Tool link after I enjoyed quick workshop with my SEO guru. I use it whenever I blog or write. The link needed to be in my bookmarks.

I’ve been exploring new ways to syndicate and share digital content for years. The Top 20 Ways to Share a Great Blog Post at Mashable put most of them in the same place. Score.

I found Classroom 2.0 looking for information about how collaborative software is being use in education. Classroom 2.0 is a social network for “those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education.” Perfect.

I came across an anonymous blogging guide provided by Global Voices, “Global Voices Advocacy » Anonymous Blogging with WordPress & Tor,” through an email from the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School. It’s an important resource for any journalist or citizen in repressive regimes that need to get information out but can’t risk being identified. Given the enormous risks to life, liberty and family dissidents face for  in many parts of the globe, I wanted to make sure I saved it to review again later. Flash drive + Tor + WordPress = Anonyblogging. Smart.

I’d come across Tweet Congress before. It’s a visible element of an online movement to get Congress on Twitter. As the site notes, “Twitter enables real conversation between lawmakers and voters, in real time.” We’re all seeing it already, as Congressional staffs, Senators and Representatives adjust to the new dynamic. There’s no need for a TweetWhitehouse, as @BarackObama is already back in use again.

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about the future of online news, newspapers and digital journalism. One of the thinkers I read the most and certainly use as a hub for information is Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at NYU. His list of 12 essays to read, a “Flying Seminar In The Future of News,” is a must-read on the topic.

I tagged Utimaco’s compliance and regulation portal after I attended on a seminar they hosted on the new MA data protection law. I wrote about what I learned there on SearchCompliance.com: Panels reveal risks of noncompliance with Mass. laws.

I saved Bostonist’s post @ Boston’s First Official Google Meetup because Tom Lewis recorded a short interview with me at the event. I embedded it below.

One of the starkest, clearest headlines I’ve read recently was on Washington Post.com: Daily Red Meat Raises Chances Of Dying Early. The link text really says it all.

Google Moderator rounds out this “top 10” because of its use by the WhiteHouse in soliciting questions before  the recent online town hall. I’d tweeted about the TipJar before,  where users can rate “money saving tips submitted and ranked by the Web community.” I learned at the Google Meetup in Boston that Google itself uses the moderation tool every Friday internally.

I don’t usually reblog Delicous links — this was just a helluva good week for ’em. If you use delicious, share similar interests and would like to extend your network, you can find me at delicious at http://delicious.com/alexanderbhoward.

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