Valentine’s Day is upon us which has us thinking about those we love, but also those great loves we may have lost…This post laments the loss of social and content marketing tools we loved over the years, and are now *sniff* lost to us; and how we, the digital savvy, can overcome our abrupt breakup from tools we loved to move on as stronger marketers.
Google Reader and iGoogle
What happened and why we loved it: Google shut down Google Reader in July 2013, and retired iGoogle later in November due to ever decreasing usage. It was standard practice for new aimClear employees to set up either an iGoogle or Google Reader account, chock-full of relevant, beloved industry publications as a way to keep current with the ever-changing landscape of online marketing. A quick sweep of the Reader or iGoogle dashboard provided us with up-to-date knowledge of the industry from trusted, cherry-picked publications, and a slew of posts we could share in social channels.
Google Reader alternatives:
Sure, Google suggested using G+ instead, and there’s always Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn feeds, but it just isn’t the same. There are LOTS of other alternatives out there, but one we’re particularly fond of is Feedly because it’s pretty similar to Reader, and was even built on a clone of Google Reader API so users who integrated early had a seamless transition.
The Short and Sweet of it: sleek design, easily add feeds, mobile app integration.
For years, guest blogging was a legit tactic to build links for SEO. However, recently Google has made many comments regarding guest blogging being seen as “spammy.” Most notable was Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, announcement (on his personal blog) that “guest blogging, as a way to gain links in 2014” is over and “you should probably stop.”
How to move on from guest blogging as a link building tactic:
OK, so Cutts isn’t saying that all guest blogging should die, he specifically stated it in terms of a link building tactic. Fair enough. That means, thoughtful and relevant guest blogs on your site will be OK. No need to throw out your editorial calendar yet. As with content on your site, be sure it’s quality, unique, and that the guest blog serves a purpose.
As for an alternative link building strategy, aimClear has successfully used Facebook sponsored posts to generate links and media attention. We target traditional media pros and bloggers who are interested in what we’re writing about at the time and track the links those pieces of content receive.
Free Social Distribution
What happened: Facebook brand Pages everywhere of every size felt the decline of social reach and engagement months before Facebook explained that organic reach for brands was declining due to the level of competition in limited space, and blatantly said if businesses wanted that exposure they’d have to pay for it. Youch.
How to move on from Free Social Distribution and Dominate: Many sage, social marketers EXPECTED social platforms to put the kibosh on social reach, and got ready for the age of paying to promote content in social. What can you do? First, put the Ben & Jerry’s back in the freezer and STOP CRYING ABOUT IT. It’s not coming back. C’est la vie.
Second, set expectations in this new zeitgeist for expected reach (organic reach for pages dropped from ~9.5% to 7.7% -via EdgeRank Checker) and engagement and budget expectations. Content is critical, you may even say it’s king (gag), it takes time (read: money) to brainstorm, create, package for social distribution, smart marketers should now allocate a portion of media spend budget to amplify social distribution.
Third, be sure content is optimized correctly on your site (eg. Open Graph[OG] tags), and packaged for social distribution. Packaging to dominate social distribution means the image that is pulled in by Facebook (using OG tags) looks great, if not, you’re prepared with an image that’s optimized for Facebook sharing (1200×627 pixels), and crafting messaging that feels organic but is as compelling as an ad to earn clicks.
Fourth, target smart! Go ahead, target your existing fans because hey, they’ve already expressed interest in your brand!
If your fan base is HUGE, we suggest adding other targeting parameters that are inline with the content being promoted. For example, if you manage a Facebook Page for a travel brand and post about Voluntourism saving endangered wildlife, certainly filter your existing audience by adding in precise interests such as “World Wildlife Federation,” “Endangered Species,” or even “Save Pandas.”
Next, go beyond your own fans and couple this targeting with Partner Categories surrounding travel.
Facebook Targeting – Precise Interests
What Happened: In the early days of Facebook advertising, Precise Interests was the only way to target what people “liked” and had in their profile. Precise Interests included incredibly specific job titles and more. Now, we have Facebook’s Broad Categories and Partner Categories. Facebook has been showing less and less precise interest targeting when searching.
aimClear was notorious for finding and building (and saving) large Precise Interest targeting buckets that were carefully cultivated to adhere to some stringent client guidelines. Such as the following:
But a (not so) funny thing happens when attempting to use these precise interest in Facebook’s Power Editor.
What Now? The good news, dear Facebook advertisers, is all is not (quite) lost (just yet)! Luckily we’ve been able to find these gems of Precise Interests in the Ads Manager Create Flow:
So, while your treasured precise interests aren’t totally gone, they are gone from PE, which is exactly where you savvy Facebook advertisers would likely be building targeting segments (to access Partner Categories).
Here’s our tip: do your precise interest targeting research in the Ads Manager Create Flow, then download into PE to add Partner Category targeting.
So there you have it, sweet marketers. We may have loved and lost these content and social marketing tools and tactics, but all is not lost! We’ll get over them together… now let’s finish that Ben & Jerry’s. 🙂
Happy Valentines Day!