Everyone wants to be liked.
This was first felt in the schoolyard. It meant being invited to hang out with the popular gang. It was noticed when you were offered to attend “that” all important birthday party.
When college came around it was being selected to be on the football team, chosen for that all important committee or be part of a fraternity.
It doesn’t change when you start your career. You need to be “liked” to get past first base at that job interview.
Being left off the list is a lonely place.
On the social web that has been transformed into every “brand” wanting to be liked. It does have some benefits.
What are the benefits of Facebook likes?
So you are chasing the blue upturned thumb. Why should you?
These are some of the benefits:
Creates social proof that your brand is popular which says “everyone likes us so you should check us out and find out why”. Empty restaurants may have great food but those empty tables scream a different message.
Those social signals can improve your search engine optimization
It helps move your content
Creates brand awareness
Find out what your fans like and so create products and services that they want through free crowd sourced research
Sell more products and services
All of these are important as marketing moves offline to online.
So how do get more Facebook likes?
Dan Zarella likes doing research and loves numbers. Often he lurks around calculators, spreadsheets and data crunching computers. So he has summoned the lists of figures and made the database sing and dance.
This meant he collected 1.3 million posts on 10,000 of the most liked Facebook pages and did some correlation and calculation.
Then he made simple sense of the complex.
Here are some of his results that turned up a revelation or two. Well …it did for me.
You may be surprised
The data showed some results that many of you already know. Photos are helpful for garnering likes but there are some surprises.
Short posts “and” long posts get a higher “like” percentage. In fact an 800 character post can get as many likes as one with 90 on Facebook! The common knowledge is short always wins. The data says something different.
Share percentage on Facebook spikes at around 450 characters. So on the topic of Facebook sharing the data analysis insights show that if you want your Facebook post to be shared rather than just liked, then make it 450 plus characters.
Self reference works well on Facebook. If you use “me” or “I” then you will gather more of those Facebook likes.
Social media networks were a novelty 5 years ago and today they are no longer debated around the dinner party table.
The conversation has moved on.
Facebook is now part of most people’s web lives, Twitter is where a lot of people are reading the breaking news and if you want to be entertained then just dial into YouTube.
Despite it’s minimal mindshare, media profile and awareness Google+ has woven its way into our consciousness and is now the second largest social network.
As if these social networks aren’t enough to distract us. We also now have Pinterest and Instagram to add to the online temptations.
The social web is the modern version of Alice in Wonderland, where we are following not one but many rabbits down innumerable rabbit holes.
What are 2 key factors driving the social web in 2013?
According to a Global Web Index study it is:
- Mobile – with the number of people accessing the internet via a mobile phone increasing by 60.3% to 818.4 million in the last 2 years.
- Older users adoption – On Twitter the 55-64 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic with 79% growth rate since 2012. The fastest growing demographic on Facebook’s and Google+’s networks are the 45 to 54 year age bracket at 46% and 56% respectively.
These 2 key factors are keeping the social web bubbling along. So maybe the reason your grandparents aren’t turning up to that dinner party is that they have now discovered Facebook and Twitter!
So let’s look at some of the fact, figures and statistics for the major social networks.
Facebook continues to grow and work out how to make money from its ads and mobile users.
Here are the latest facts and figures from its earnings call for the first quarter of 2013
- Daily active users have reached 665 million
- Monthly active users have passed 1.1 billion for the first time
- 751 million mobile users access Facebook every month
- Mobile only active users total 189 million
- Mobile now generates 30% of its ad revenue up from 23% at the end of 2012
Twitter is the fastest growing social network in the world by active users according to a Global Web Index Study.
So how does that translate to hard numbers?
- 44% growth from June 2012 to March 2013
- 288 million monthly active users
- That means that 21% of the world’s internet population are using Twitter every month
- Over 500 million registered accounts
- Twitter’s fastest growing age demographic is 55 to 64 year olds, registering an increase in active users of 79%
When you wanted to watch a video it used to be VCR, then it became a DVD player, then we moved onto cable networks and now it is YouTube.
These numbers from YouTube’s own blog put some perspective on it penetration into our culture and time.
- 1 billion unique monthly visitors
- 6 billion hours of videos are watched every month
- This means that 50% more hours of video are watched in March 2013 compared to last August when it was 4 billion hours a month and last May when it was 3 billion.
- YouTube reaches more U.S. adults ages 18-34 than any cable network
Google+ is making an impact on the social media universe and is now the second largest social network.
What are some of the numbers on Google’s social network built to protect it from Facebook’s growth and data capture to ensure it remains relevant?
It is Google’s social layer that enhances it’s other online assets.
- 359 million monthly active users according to a Global Web Index study
- Its active users base grew by 33% from June 2012 through to March 2013
The largest professional business network on the planet continues to grow but not at the pace of Twitter or Google+
Here are some numbers from Visual.ly.
- Over 200 million users
- 2 new users join it every second
- 64% of users are outside the USA
So what numbers surprise you?
The lightning pace at which information moves across the social web lends itself to the eventual mistake. So does human nature.
Take the opportunity to put these unpleasant, wish-you-never-made-them, social media mistakes behind you for good.
1. Putting quantity over quality
Content matters. Quality matters. Conversation matters. Make quality your focus, not the quantity of content you put out.
2. Being reactive instead of “active”
While it is important to reply to inquiries and thank people for mentions, it is a mistake if it is all that you do. Strive to actively seek out others and create conversation in and around their content. Show that you care by paying attention to where they are and what they are talking about.
3. Posting without a strategy or plan
Posting without a social media strategy is similar to tossing content at a wall and hoping it sticks. It is a waste of time and will find you throwing away valuable time, resources and money. Take the time to write down your goals, integrate those goals into your overall marketing plan and create daily tasks that move you towards those goals.
4. Using automated direct messages
Whether you manage an active business account or a personal account with the occasional mention, being “on” at all times is a challenge. This makes automating certain tasks very tempting. One of these tasks is thanking new followers. We have all received that auto direct message encouraging us to “find them on Facebook, download their latest e-book or buy their latest product on Amazon.” Not only are these messages spammy, but they also discourage people from interacting with you going forward. Bottom line: thank whom you can, as often as you can and do it genuinely.
5. Posting without proofreading
Have you fallen victim to the hastily posted message riddled with misspellings? Blame auto-correct all you want, but it’s your reputation that fails in the end. Take two extra minutes to proof your message before hitting “send” and immortalizing those words online forever.
6. Posting while tired or inebriated
Anytime your thought process is impaired, posting should be avoided. Take a step back and think before you post or better yet — put your computer or mobile device away and avoid a potentially disastrous moment altogether.
7. Asking for a RT every time
At the beginning of Twitter’s history it was common practice to end a tweet by asking for a retweet. The landscape and usage of Twitter has vastly changed since then and asking for a retweet in every tweet is a mistake. If users find your content interesting, they will retweet it.
8. Stretching yourself too thin
This one is for anyone who just can’t say no. Whether it’s to the latest and greatest tool or a pet project, taking on too much can leave anyone worn out and weary. As nice as it would be to be everywhere at all times, it is an impossible objective. Streamline your focus and simplify your social media. Take on only what pushes you closer to your goals.
9. Spamming your fans and followers
Creating conversation and engaging with your fans and followers is what social media is all about. Sending spammy messages that take advantage of the trust placed in you is not. Blasting promotional links will only alienate you and your business from the very consumers you are attempting to reach. Just don’t do it.
10. Letting fear hold you back
Don’t be afraid to take a stand and find your voice on social media. Fear can be debilitating as you over-think what to post, when to post and how it should or should not be said. While you should pay close attention to how your message is received, it’s difficult to create your own unique voice if your posts feel generic and stale. This is not to say that you have to throw caution to the wind, only to say that trying out a new approach or tactic every once in a while won’t hurt. You might be pleasantly surprised how those around you respond.
11. Writing a novel with every post
We all have verbose friends. You know who they are — the ones with posts that say “click here to read more.” If you happen to be one of those “friends,” know that not every post needs to win a Pulitzer and not every tweet needs to max out the character limit. Sometimes the best posts are short and sweet. Make an extra effort to condense down your thoughts and share in a clear and concise way.
12. Diluting the power of #FollowFriday
The practice of Follow Friday is a great way to show appreciation to those who have either been following you, or you yourself have been following. The mistake often made is using the #FollowFriday hashtag to randomly tweet out hundreds of names without any apparent connection or forethought whatsoever.
Instead, choose to use #FF as a way to showcase specific people that have made an impact on you both personally and professionally. Share their traits and strengths with your followers in a way that encourages others to then follow.