Invited to BranchOut on Facebook? Maybe you should just say no.

Originally posted February 2012 – BranchOut.com is now on Hiatus

Those two magic words… You’re invited! “Are you in or you out?” (to quote George Clooneys character in Ocean’s 11).

What is BranchOut, exactly? It’s a Facebook App for Career Networking… 

  • Do I need that?
  • Do you need that?
  • Does it duplicate other online services you already have?
  • Does it perform better than other online services you use or might choose instead?
  • Would it be wise to be a participant in BranchOut, as well as other services?

Being self-employed rather on a employer-employee career path makes it a different decision. In advising others, I do my best to try things out and offer my opinion.

In short, if you’re self-employed, you don’t need it. If you work for someone else, BranchOut duplicates LinkedIn, in a big way. For most people, it’s unnecessary to do both. My preference would be LinkedIn.

The philosophy is this:

“In a land of unlimited social media and networking choices, it’s important to actually MAKE CHOICES. More is not necessarily better. That’s not to say BranchOut isn’t for some people. However, if you’re not using the least number of services offering the greatest amount of leverage, you’re wasting precious time and personal energy.”

That’s the word!

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Facebook On Fire: Sometimes the Best Reaction is Muted Reaction

Opinion, News Analysis, and Social Media 

facebook-on-fireFacebook is a lousy place for a group discussion. There are no debate or discussion guidelines. Reading a Facebook rant is like watching a coyote howl at the moon. Surely a message will be heard, but it’s likely misunderstood and won’t change anybody’s mind.

Depending on one’s vantage point, events and outcomes of the past week or so generated wildly different reactions. The biggest matter at hand was/is the SCOTUS Ruling on marriage equality.

“Facebook is the public square for the digital age, and thunderous array of posts, observations, and opinions has caused it to short-circuit.” ~ Andy Ebon

Forming Perspective

People see virtually everything through experience: Geography, neighborhood, country… the politics of our parents and relatives, the sophistication of our schools… the brands and products used in our household, music influence from an older sibling or friends… the religion practiced in one’s family, teachers who taught the process of critical thinking, dinner tables discussions which allowed for differences of opinion.

Enter, The Bell Curve

Facebook in FireIn any set of polling numbers, there tend to be 3-5 distinct segments of opinion. Using the simplest set of three opinions, there are two extremes. each with roughly 20%. The middle segment is the remaining 60%. The extreme opinions tend to be rock solid, whatever their reasoning.

The middle group is more likely to shift with discussion and debate. And somewhere along the line, a majority opinion is formed.

Don’t quibble about my suggest numbers. It could be 30% – 40% – 30%, but the personalities still apply. There is also another segment defined by frustration. In election and proposition politics, these people can become disenchanted and choose not vote.

Public Opinion is Evolutionary and Slow-Changing

,,, and the politicians are usually the last to figure it out.

  • in 1920, our country was almost 150 years old, when women were ‘granted the right to vote.’ (19th Amendment) In five years, celebration of women voting will reach one full century. Many developed countries, worldwide, have elected Prime Ministers and Presidents, yet the USA has barely tapped the potential of its female citizenry for the Senate, Congress, and Presidency.
  • In 1969, came the tipping point for the America’s gay community. “The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community  against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of ManhattanNew York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United Statessource Wikipedia
  • And this past week, marriage equality became the law of the land in the United States, 48 years after interracial marriage became a reality.

A Key Historical Note

The United States was built on two key platforms (among others): Freedom of Religion and the separation of Church and State. (note: see this detailed explanation of Freedom of Religion in the United States).

Extreme Facebook

Facebook in FireThese last few days Facebook has been a torrent of aggressive pontificating, in part lacking specific knowledge of the events and symbols of history, that led up to these landmark changes.

It’s reasonable to understand the celebration and jubilation of oppressed citizens as blue skies began to appear.

It’s also fair that people who hold longstanding religious practices or skewed social outlooks immediately shout ‘Hell, no!’. 

“The fact that the Supreme Court has decided (in a 5-4 vote)  for reasons of law, with the current beliefs of 60% of the population does not wave a magic wand over the remaining 40%. Getting more closely aligned will take more time.” 

~ Andy Ebon

Facebook: In the present tense

How about calling a timeout on projecting extreme opinions on Social Media? You know… let’s all take a chill pill… for maybe a week or two. Don’t make awkward attempts at sexual humor or people who are different to you. What’s funny to you may scare away some of your closest friends in business.

People who were MIA during the run-up to the marriage equality by SCOTUS are experiencing backlash, being labeled as bandwagon jumpers and opportunists; suddenly the alleged low-hanging fruit in a windfall LGBTQ marriages.

The nature of Social Media begs us to pop off. Let your thoughts marinate… then edit them, and see what social media platform they belong on, IF ANY.

Facebook in FireSearch for Empathy

It wouldn’t hurt any of us to develop a feel for empathy; understanding another person or group’s perspective through their eyes and context.

Combining empathy with being somewhat slower to react to events, large or small, makes for better collaboration, decisions, and middle ground.

Hope to meet up with you on the middle ground of reaction… It’s a calmer, and more thoughtful place.

andy-ebon-signature

 

 

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Facebook Removes PERSONAL PROMOTED POSTS option

Facebook-dislike-buttonAt the Wedding MBA Conference, last week, I made a presentation on blogging, asserting it should be the foundation of every wedding businesses’ online marketing program. I referenced an article I’d read, which said (paraphrasing)…

“Would you rather own your social media platform or rent it?”

The point being, you can post to your heart’s content, about whatever you think is relevant and important, on your blog. However, when using other platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., you are subject to changes in their policies and rules, often made overnight and without warning.

In the words of Tony Kornheiser,

“I believe I had that right!”

Almost on cue, Facebook removed the option to Promote a post, at a price of $6.99. For those people who have been using a Facebook personal page for business purposes, you have been left high and dry. Early in the year, business owners were first mystified, and then enraged, and their reach on Facebook updates took a decided downturn.

Over time, each time Facebook tweaked their algorithms which determine who sees your update, the raw percentage dwindled. By early 2014, only 6-7% of your Facebook friends were getting your updates on their news feed. Now, GETTING THEM doesn’t mean SEEING THEM. The news feed flies by, and friends may or may not see them.

Facebook was presenting us with news feed of organic, promoted and sponsored updates. In simple terms, with dwindling reach, you presented an opportunity to buy back visibility to the friends YOU ACCUMULATED , often over a long period.

Congratulations! The rug has officially been pulled from beneath your feet.

blog-blocks-2I have insisted, over several years that using a personal page for business would be fine, until Facebook decided to pull the plug. And, at that point, it would be smart to have a business page, up and running.

In my mind, many of us have been in denial about the ongoing benefits of FacebookIf you build a business page on Facebook, that’s a good move; however, you still have to pay to BOOST your updates, there.

The stronger move is to build and support a business blog (or fortify an existing one) and attract an audience, directly, and with various Social Media platforms as leverage, in this effort.

This post is not an “I told you so”

It simply points out a significant change in Facebook marketing, and suggests that each business look for more stable ways to share its news and marketing messages.

NEXT PREDICTION: Facebook will freeze personal pages being used, primarily, for business purposes.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority

W E D D I N G W I R E
Education Expert

Facebook Post goes Viral for one Bridal Show Producer

A Chicagoland Social Media Success
A Chicagoland Social Media Success

Windy City Wedding Show serves brides and wedding professionals in Greater Chicagoland, Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin. 2014 is just the fourth year in business, and they are producing almost 20 shows, annually.

The business is operated by Keith ‘KC’ Kokoruz, a Chicago native. KC earned his wedding industry experience in the DJ Entertainment industry, operating two DJ Entertainment companies, Spinnin’ Discs, and now Keith Christopher Entertainment. Several years ago, he recognized some untapped potential for another bridal show production in the area, and set about making it happen.

Having a background as a wedding professional was helpful, from the point of understanding what wedding businesses want from a producer; however, it brought its own set of challenges, too. Being a ‘new producer’ draws both interest and skepticism from wedding businesses. This was particularly true in the Wedding DJ category, where some companies were skeptical that KC would take advantage of his bridal show producer role, in dealing with lead distribution. They would learn, in time, to believe in his ethics.

Some businesses jumped into KC’s first few shows and others waited to see results. In simple terms, results means drawing brides to each show, and managing the bridal show, from check-in to fashion to the show floor with, delivering all aspects, as promised.

Marketing is the Catalyst

Marketing options in the wedding industry are endless. Potentially, one’s promotions are seen by interested brides, wedding professionals (both prospects and current exhibitors), and media.

As well as traditional media, Windy City Wedding Show made a commitment to social media. Not a dozen different social media platforms, but a few specific ones which KC, and staff member, Dena Wickland, felt confident would reach and engage brides, plus draw attention by professionals. One of their staples is Facebook.

Developing a voice and content strategy should be specific to every company. But in execution, consistency is key. Audiences develop an expectation for the frequency and timing of your updates.

The timeless advertising adage is “Repetition builds reputation,”

facebook-150-tileFor Windy City Wedding Show, updates occur daily, and the content strategy includes both elements of specific, local interest, and the out-of-the-ordinary; both original content and shared content.

Their relentless execution has yielded a number spikes in the last year, in several cases reaching several million views. The main Facebook user activity is called Engagement: meaning Likes, Comments, and Shares. These three items that demonstrate INTERACTION, resulting from interesting, entertaining content.

Last month, Dena posted (shared) an item she had identified on another social media platform. HEADLINE: Have you heard about the first fight box?

value-graphThe results, as of today:

  • The item was served (reached) to over 21 million views
  • Garnered over 20,000 comments
  • Received over 230,00 likes
  • Was shared over 152,000 times
  • … and countless new followers of the fan page

What do these results demonstrate and mean?

  • The post struck a creative nerve with brides, spontaneously triggering engagement.
  • Constantly reviewing which previous posts excelled, using Facebook analytics, creates a greater likelihood of success, going forward.
  • The 21 million people that were reached by the post is IMPRESSIVE. But what’s really important are the number representing is engagement: comments, likes, and shares… and the followers of the page.

It’s not being skeptical to note that Chicagoland brides number about 100,000 (1% of 10 million). It follows that Facebook engagement numbers for locals are a small percentage of the totals. On the upside, it’s reasonable to suggest that ALL the tracking is likely to be higher for Chicagoland, because the business local.

As a local Chicago Wedding Business, what should this mean to me?

It’s easy to dismiss this as ‘just dumb luck’. My evaluation is this:

Windy City Wedding Show‘s Facebook practices demonstrate consistency, fueling readership and engagement; occasionally with incredible success. I believe local wedding businesses who observe the ongoing activity will recognize a show producer’s overall marketing effort, not just the occasional grand slam.

If I were an exhibitor, I’d make sure my contracts for the year’s show commitment were signed and sent in. If I were a prospect, and wasn’t sold out, I’d be looking at the show schedule, and become an exhibitor.

Swimming Upstream

What’s truly amazing is this success is being accomplished in direct opposition to Facebook’s latest algorithms (filters) which only serve your updates/posts to  6-7% of your followers. That is the ORGANIC REACH.

Any additional audience is achieved by spending money with Facebook to BOOST YOUR POST or…

ORGANIC ENGAGEMENT through LIKES, SHARE, COMMENTS.

This 21 million+ monster post reached those numbers WITHOUT SPENDING MONEY on BOOSTING THE POST.

OPINION and RECOMMENDATION: Don’t be confused… this isn’t a post about Facebook, specifically, or one bridal show producer or all bridal show producers. It’s a post about marketing decision making, consistent execution, and ongoing reevaluation by every wedding business.

Look outward at the companies you ask to help market your business, and look inward to develop and execute your plan. Part of your success-mission is to maintain constant awareness of the businesses that deliver your audience… your customers; like Windy City Wedding Show.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog