New Template Being Pushed for Facebook Business Pages

changes

Many of you Facebook received the same update news that I got about changes to business Pages. I have read that these changes are largely inspired by a push to support small and local businesses.

There are more than 80 million businesses that use Facebook Pages. About two-thirds of the 1.6 billion people around the world visit a local business Page or an Event Page each week.

I have also read that Page reach and engagement for brands has been on the decline. The area of weakest engagement is the News Feed.

The News Feed is the key area for personal pages, but not so for business Pages. The changes seem to be making your business presence more like a website. Some smaller businesses have been using their Facebook Page as a website in that they don’t have a traditional website at all. Recently, I built a Facebook business Page for a professional photographer who did not have a website, though he did use Zenfolio to display and sell his work.

Business owners know that customer reviews (Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor etc.) are important to all businesses but especially for local businesses. If you trust the validity of those reviews for restaurants and services, they can drive engagement and sales. And facebook quickly realized (and abused to a degree) the fact that most of us especially trust reviews by their friends and families.

The update makes it easier for people to recommend your business by posting text, photos and tags directly on your Page.

There are also action buttons prominently near the top of Pages for things like booking an appointment for a haircut, ordering, sending a message or writing  a recommendation.

The email I initially received said:

We want to let you know that your Page’s template will be changing. This new design will help you connect with the people who care most about your business on Facebook.

The new layout is specifically for businesses like yours and will showcase important information about your business – like hours, prices and your menu – making it easier for people to connect with Ronkowitz LLC.

You can make this change now, or we’ll automatically update your Page layout on August 24th, 2018. You can also continue to use your current template.

Other changes are also coming for businesses. It may not really affect small, local businesses but job listings (which Facebook has been testing since 2017) is supposed to be added to business pages in the next few months.

Choosing the action buttons best suited to your business would be a good first step, but you can also feature information such as hours and prices, as well as Recommendations more prominently on Pages. You can also choose to highlight new content such as events and offers.

Some of these features are not new, but are displayed differently. Facebook says that 700 million people use Facebook Events each month. You could always link to ticket sales on another site, but now you will be able to sell tickets directly through Facebook Pages and make event-specific ads to help with promotion and marketing. Obviously, those changes benefit Facebook monetarily too.

I have seen other recent changes too not mentioned in most update articles. For example, a photo post I shared from my Instagram to Facebook no longer carried an Instagram label and so looked less like a repost.

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Type, Typefaces and Fonts

Everyone online knows the term “font” but or designers there are important differences between type, typeface, and font.

Type is the generic term for everything that goes into visual text. Historically, the term  referred to the actual pieces of wood or metal used to create physical letters on printed pages. When designers talk about typography, they are discussing the style and appearance of printed text. Some designers actually specialize in typography in the design and arrangement of text visually.

Typeface, or font family, is the A-Z alphabet designed so that all the letters and symbols have similar features. This is what we mean when we say For instance, Times, Arial, or Helvetica.

Font is the term used to refer to the specific style of a typeface. Arial Black is a font of the Arial typeface.

Designing websites requires considerations of all three terms. rarely will a website use one font throughout.

If you want to divide font styles into two groups, it would be serif and sans serif. The serif is the small line at the end of a stroke on a letter. Calibri is a sans (without) serif font, while Cambria is a serif font.

Some fonts that are quite readable on a printed full-size poster are inappropriate on a screen. And of course, a phone screen and a laptop screen are different pieces of real estate.

Designers generally look to find and use fonts that complement each other. One approach is to use multiple fonts belonging to one family so that you have bold, italic, light, medium, and black options to use. Different fonts from within the same family can break up the text and draw attention while still being complementary.

Adobe adds fonts to their Typekit library and there are names that you have probably never seen as options in common applications like Microsoft Office. Check out BlambotChandler Van De Water, EuropaType and MAC Rhino Fonts as examples.

MORE

theblog.adobe.com/whats-in-a-font-how-fonts-can-define-your-design/

thenextweb.com/dd/2017/03/31/science-behind-fonts-make-feel/

Why Your Organization Might NOT Want To Use Social Media

Though a portion of my work is creating social media strategies and campaigns for organizations, I don’t think social media (SM) is suited to every business.

Probably every organization can benefit from some social media presence, but having a presence does not mean you have a strategy. Without that planning before and after, you could be wasting valuable time and money.

The four most common possible disadvantages I see:

  1. You will need additional resources to manage your online SM presence. That can range from reassigning some of a current employee’s time, hiring a new employee for SM, or having a third-party manage your SM.
  2. I have seen companies make the mistake of making a current employee take on SM “part-time” and it being insufficient. The same thing happened in the 1990s with websites. Social media is even more immediate than websites and needs daily monitoring. Organizations that don’t actively manage their social media presence, probably won’t see real benefits.
  3. Your strategy should begin with an audit of your current online presence and that of your competitors and partners, and include monitoring those other organizations. Do you belong in LinkedIn and Facebook? Is Snapchat something to consider or avoid? Do you need multiple Twitter accounts in order to target your messaging and be more granular about your audience’s interests?
  4. Social media open you up to the risk of unwanted or inappropriate behaviour on your network sites. Social media is all about engaging with the public, but that also open you up to harassment. Risks can include negative feedback, information leaks or hacking. False or misleading claims made on your social media channels by your business or by a customer can be subject to consumer law. Even customer/follower posts and testimonials that are misleading or deceptive to other customers, particularly about competitor products/services may result in your business being fined.

To Snapchat or Not To Snapchat

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To Snapchat or Not To Snapchat is a question I am asked by some clients. They recognize that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn remain the big three for most businesses large and small, but no one seems very sure about using Snapchat.

In 2016, Snapchat had been around for 5 years, but Instagram got into their space by adding Stories to their platform with filters, stickers, and text overlay, and just last year Snapchat’s parent company, Facebook, also rolled out its own Stories and the option to crosspost between platforms.

Does Snapchat make sense for your brand?

Here are some numbers. Snapchat is especially popular with Generation Z. 79% of US teens have a Snapchat account and rate Snapchat above other platforms. On the other hand, only 2% of Baby Boomers use Snapchat.

If your brand bathes in the fountain of youth, Snapchat is a place to be. If Boomer dollars are your target, there’s no point in using the network.

One suggestion to stay in touch is to follow the posts about specific networks on the big social media sites – for example focus on posts about using Snapchat at blog.hootsuite.com/topic/snapchat/

The Right Social Networks

It is clear nowadays that there is not one recommendation you can make about social media for all businesses.

Though Facebook launched in 2006, it was a niche for at least a year until it was opened to everyone in late 2007. At that time, it had 100,000 business pages (pages which allowed companies to promote themselves and attract customers).

At that time, clients would ask me “Shouldn’t we have a Facebook page?” though they weren’t sure why they needed one but it seemed to be the “thing to do.”

Today, every business probably needs a social media presence, but the question to ask is which networks do they need.

Caroline Gillan at Launch as Digital Content Specialist did this video on that question.

The 7 biggest networks have been relatively the same for the past few years.

  1. Facebook still has the widest penetration of any social network in the U.S. 68% of U.S. adults are on Facebook.
  2. Instagram – owned by Facebook – has come on strong the past few years and has now surpassed a billion monthly users. While younger people seem to be leaving Facebook for their parents, Instagram with its easy image-focused mobile interface has grabbed the 18-29-year-old share.
  3. And if the teen to young adult segment is important to your brand, then Snapchat is a network to use. It’s most popular with 13-24-year-olds, and especially with teenage girls.
  4. If the Millennial (arguably 18-29) users with their generally higher income bracket are your target, Twitter is a social network to use. It also has more of an even split between male and female users.
  5. The popular image-based network Pinterest bridges both the 18-29-year-olds and the 30-49-year-old markets and has a predominantly female user base. It also skews towards women with young children. But the women points out that 40% of new sign-ups are from men, so a shift is occurring.
  6. Many people still don’t think about YouTube as a social network but only as a place to find videos. Not only is one of the top social networks, but it is also the second-largest search engine. Why? Because people are very often looking for video results. That is certainly a major consideration for any brand.
  7. LinkedIn continues to be a popular network with higher income-level users, and for businesses to be more B2B, generate sales leads and find employment candidates. The fact that it is not popular for teens and the younger demographics is what makes it popular with another segment.

A topic for another post that jumps off for here concerns the many other social networks that are smaller and more niche but that might be more importance to some brands. Are you a restaurant? Then Yelp and other review sites are more important to you than other industries. Having a presence in the top 7 networks may be an important start to your SM strategy, but it certainly does not end there.

Hiring Web Developers

I saw a post about hiring developers. It was written with clients in mind, but these tips for hiring developers also are something to consider if you are a developer hoping to be hired.

Their list in brief is:

  1. Start with a crystal-clear project scope.
  2. Take your time.
  3. Determine must-haves vs. nice-to-haves.
  4. Ask (and expect) good questions.
  5. Ask for examples of previous work.
  6. Look for a cultural fit, not just talent.
  7. Consider logistics.
  8. Be open to change.
  9. Take a test drive.
  10. Set contractual milestones.
  11. Budget and pay appropriately.
  12. Put everything in writing.
It’s a good list to consider. Certainly, tip 5, ask for examples of previous work, is standard practice from bot sides. Item 9, take a test drive, is not something I have found to be common, but as a developer I would not object to doing.