Seriously, it wasn’t planned at all- the fact that she and I will be doing monumental things at the same time is just fate being oh so very fate-like.
Fun Moments As A Team
It’s been an incredible journey, working for Mack and with the Mack Web team. From the moment I met Mack for coffee at a local spot to my impending departure as social media strategist and community manager, many unforgettable moments were had.
(Like the team indulging me with these costume props at my baby shower.)
(Or the time we went painting a Picasso and Wine. We love that place.)
(Or our first outing as a team, ever…the New Belgium Brewery Tour.)
Not An Easy Decision, But The Right One
Mack gave me the ability to create my own ground to stand on in the vast space of social media, and she opened up her business to my ideas and obsession for connection and community.
Although I’ve gained so much knowledge in the 16 months of employment at Mack Web Solutions, it’s time to hang my hat. (It’s not a physical hat, but perhaps I can talk Mack into looking into some great swag like that….)
It’s not an easy task to decide between career and family. It’s not an easy decision at all, so rather than choose one over the other…I’ve chosen both. Luckily, with the industry we work in, freelance work presents itself often and my Masters of Art in Adult Education and Training allows for me to teach at the local community college. In order to maintain my sanity while adoring my new child, I’ve chosen a more flexible schedule over a job and team I’ve grown to admire and respect.
Decisions like this are ones that may cause stress (as well as ulcers) for some, but luckily I have an amazing family who supports my decision and an amazing friend (my friend being Mack) who understands the role a mother plays (she has two beautiful children of her own).
With my departure, another amazing woman takes on the role of web marketing strategist. Julie Sutter is one smart cookie. I’m sure our clients will fall in love with the work she does, and I’m positive our community will appreciate her humor. I’m bummed that Julie and I won’t have much opportunity to collaborate. But I’ll take the weeks that we have as a team because even in a short time, big things can be accomplished.
Thank You For Being Awesome
I want to thank my amazing clients and team members for trusting me with important decisions, respecting the strategies I developed, and just being great partners.
I look forward to what the future holds, to what my son Aaron will look like (if you knew my family you’d understand why), and to see all of the amazing things Mack Web does for not only their clients, but for the company itself.
So with that, I say goodbye, Mack Web (as of May 10)…and hello motherhood part deux (Aaron’s due May 19). See ya on social. (wink, wink)
If you’ve been using Facebook as part of your company’s marketing strategy for more than a year, you know that this particular social outlet is subject to frequent change. Whether it’s an addition or a subtraction, Zuck & Co. aren’t strangers to the idea of “new and improved”. As users of their product, we really shouldn’t be surprised anymore.
Now, I’m not telling you that you need to be happy about each Facebook change but, please put away your surprised face.
While we don’t have a right to be surprised at the fact of change, a recent change to Facebook may have been a little shocking.
Sounds a little scandalous, right? Well, it’s because Facebook has been “free” since its inception in 2003 and this new change seems like a completely different model for Facebook.
What we’ve got now is the addition of a “promote your post” feature, a way to pay cold hard cash to get your content noticed by those who “like” your company’s page.
You read that right folks. All of those little thumbs you worked so hard for on Facebook have lost quite a bit of their value. Only a fraction of your fans see the statuses you post in their newsfeed organically.
So if no one comments or likes your post it may not be because they lack interest, but that they never even saw your post to begin with.
We noticed a drop in views
The proof is in the pudding, folks (mmm pudding). Mack Web has been working on building our own community for nearly a year now. We’ve been writing content on our blog and in our industry in order to encourage this community growth. Throughout this time, we’ve had some pretty decent engagement through Facebook but towards the end of December, we noticed a significant drop in our Facebook statistics. This was all due to Facebook’s infamous EdgeRank. EdgeRank was put into place to help alleviate the noise and reduce spam, but it has also caused businesses to disappear from their fans’ newsfeeds.
Like many businesses, Mack Web experienced a significant drop in visibility after EdgeRank made an appearance:
As you can see we went from reaching nearly 1,500 people organically, to just a mere 20-70 people, depending on the type of status we post. That was a drastic and, frankly, unpleasant change. We left Facebook alone for a few weeks to see if there would be any other significant effects and as you can tell from the image, it stayed about the same until we decided to bite the bullet and use the new feature to promote a post (more on that below).
So what should you do?
I know, it seems unfair. You’ve worked so hard to build your community on Facebook and your brand awareness and now it feels like it’s going to waste.
Well, don’t let it all be for nothing. With change this drastic, all you can do is shift your perspective to match. It’s not about random posts or being on Facebook ‘just because.’ If you are doing that, you’re wasting your time. Now you have to invest some money and become more strategic about the content you share.
When you pay to promote a post, it needs to be something your community is going to appreciate, enjoy, share, read, engage with. You have to be really thoughtful of what is truly needed within your community.
Ins and Outs of Promoting Postson Facebook
Now, because I have the opportunity to assist in the management of a number of communities, I’ve learned there are some ins and outs to promoting a post:
According to Facebook, pages with at least 100 likes can promote posts and the posts that are promotable have to be made after June 2012.
You can share photos, offers, videos, questions, events and good ol’ status updates.
Promoted posts are labeled Sponsored.
You pay for a post by providing credit card information.
You don’t have much control over a promoted post’s life span (but you can extend its visibility.)
What you’ll see when you go to promote a post:
Hit the promote button
Go to the wheel and you’ll input your credit card information
If you have the option, you can choose your budget for the promotion
Then hit promote post
Two case studies
As part of our services we help our clients manage their online communities. We have great partnerships and our clients are quite amazing.
Because I’m the dedicated Social Media Strategist andCommunity Manager, it’s my duty to do what is best for our clients. I wanted to determine whether it was worth paying the money to promote posts, so I went ahead and did a little experiment.
Case Study #1: Warren Federal Credit Union
For this case study, I am focusing on one client in particular because recently they wrote a post that informed their community on the advantages of being a member at a community credit union versus being a customer at a bank. It was a brilliant post that wasn’t getting the attention it deserved so, with their permission, we spent a little money and promoted it.
The situation pre-promotion
Prior to the promotion these were the stats:
175 people saw it.
5 people liked it.
It was pinned to the top of their page which means it had a prime spot for visibility.
When you promote a post you can choose the audience so I chose to promote to people who already like their page and to their friends so that it gets the most reach available to them.
The maximum budget allotted was $10. Facebook estimates the post will reach 700-1300 people. I chose to run the promotion for 3 days.
As you can see from the image below our client was able to reached 1,525 people with this particular post while only spending a little more than half of their budget.
One of the most important metrics from this promotion is that they gained 11 new likes. (Win!)
Also, there is some good engagement (likes and shares and comments and such), which helps in terms of Facebook EdgeRank (the more a person engages with a company, the more likely that company is to show up in their newsfeed). The client was happy with the results and it will be in their best interest to continue promoting great content/give-aways/contests/new products.
Case Study #2: Mack Web Solutions
Recently, Mack wrote an industry blog post for SEOMoz. It was a good one that I thought our community would appreciate because it was all about building community with value, so I promoted it even though it didn’t lead people to our website. It lead our community to great content and that was reason enough.
The situation: pre-promotion
This is what our stats looked like right when the promotion began:
25 people saw it.
3 people liked it.
It was pinned to the top of our page.
I chose to spend $5.00 over three days to promote this post.
These results are very different from our client’s experience, but still pretty good. For $5 dollars, we had about a 5600% increase in visibility along with increased interaction with people within our community:
And the verdict on promoting a Facebook post is…
Facebook has clearly committed to this change and I don’t think they intend to “go back to the way it used to be.” Promoting a post is a new way of informing the community you’ve already built. You still need to earn the respect and intrigue of people in order to increase your audience size on Facebook, but now you’ll need to pay to reach them.
Based on this little experiment and the results both Mack Web and our client experienced, I would highly recommend you promote a post chock-full of value or a post with some type of purpose behind it. Not one like this:
But one that will actually educate or provide your consumer with important information or get the word out on a contest or giveaway, etc.
See how well it does, and if you aren’t satisfied with the results then keep it organic next time. After all, who knows what the next change will be.
Try it for yourself. I’d love to hear about your experience with this new feature, so feel free to comment.
Wheel-Cogs and Puzzle Pieces and the Like
So, here at Mack Web Solutions we’ve overlooked a rather critical piece in the process of a company’s self-actualization as a web marketing entity.
Now, in our defense, we didn’t overlook it because we were ignorant of the need for this piece. We overlooked it because we have gotten so phenomenally lucky in our acquisition of it that it never occurred to us that it might not be so easy to find.
Thoroughly confused? Excellent.
The piece we’re talking about, you see, is June. (Smile and wave, June. All eyes are on you).
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, June Macon is Mack Web Solutions’ community manager. (And social media strategist and sometime project manager and frequent comic relief).
Of course, all those hats means that we’ve actually broken one of the cardinal rules of selecting a community manager. Which is rather embarrassing, considering there’s really only two.
But more on those in a minute. First, a more fundamental question.
What is a community manager?
I am so glad you asked. Your community manager is the person primarily responsible for your company’s online presence.
They manage your social media accounts, review and share the blogs and social pages of your industry thought leaders, and oversee the distribution of your content.
Fancy talk, but what it boils down to is that they spend their time checking a lot of blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and the like. They read, respond, and reshare anything of value they find.
They are also responsible for making sure any of your blog posts, infographics, videos, or company announcements reach the virtual world in the most efficient and relevant way.
So, in other words, your community manager, uh, manages your community.
Sounds fun, huh?
The truth is that it can be, but that leads us back around to those two simple, but cardinal, rules.
Rule #1: Pick someone who actually likes social stuff.
It sounds like a ‘duh,’ but the truth is that there are a lot of people out there who are quite good with socializing and quite bad at social media.
You can’t just grab a random person out of your IT or PR staff and thrust them into the social universe. (Well, you can, but you probably won’t much like the results).
Try to find someone who already knows most of the ins and outs of things like Twitter or Google+. There must be at least one person on your staff who has a blog or a Twitter handle. That one person is probably who you want to start with.
Someone who already likes and does not fear the social realm is far more likely to be an effective ambassador to the Disparate Republics of Internetesia.
Because the truth is that, though they may deny it, many, many people find the idea of tweeting or commenting or Hangouting rather intimidating. And not unlike dogs and kindergarteners…the internet can smell fear.
So find someone who is actually willing to give it the ol’ college try. (Whatever that actually means. It’s kinda up there with “to boot” for baffling phraseology).
Rule #2: Pick someone who actually has the time.
Being a community manager is a whole lot of work. While the description may sound suspiciously like “sitting on your duff, browsing the internet”, managing an online community requires a real time commitment and a targeted determination.
So heaping that particular burden…er…delight on someone who already has a demanding job is both counterproductive and rather unkind.
(Unless, of course, they are a superwhiz like Our June. Then it’s more a statement of admiration for her general awesomeness).
Just to get an idea of what we’re talking about with this, here’s a brief glimpse of what June’s daily community manager grind looks like:
9:00 am: Arrive in office. Exchange pleasantries with co-workers. Turn on computer.
9:03-11:00 am: Work like a fiend.
11:01 am: Take a deep breath.
11:02 am – 5:00 pm: Mostly do client stuff, while checking in with our community as necessary. Occasionally, there’s lunch. (And with June, frequently there are snacks. Many, many snacks).
Also kinda June.
Working like a fiend
In all seriousness though, in that one to two hour interval, June’s actual task list is broad but variable, depending on whether or not it’s a “post day.”
(Post days, just to clarify, are days where the Mack Web team is putting out a new blog post).
But post day or no post day, her routine usually looks a little something like this:
Facebook: check our wall, check our newsfeed. Engage, comment, like, respond. Search for content to share. If found, share.
Twitter: check for engagement (direct messages or responses), respond. Search the stream for content to share. If found, retweet or create a tweet with link, hashtags, and clever teaser.
Google+: check for engagement, respond. Search for content to share on the stream. If found, share. (Are you sensing a theme, here?)
LinkedIn: check her personal profile & groups. Look for content to share. If found, share. Check the company profile. Share content.
Check news headlines. Yahoo News, Mashable, etc. Look for content to share. If found, share.
Check our friends’ blogs. Comment, respond, engage. Look for content to share. If found, share.
While she’s checking these many outlets, she’s also keeping an eye out for fun ideas we can appropriate and repurpose or gaps in the general knowledge of the community that we can fill.
On top of all that, on a post day, she drafts specific content teasers for our various outlets and audiences.
She also oversees the preparation of things like pushing our content live and post-specific email marketing.
And here at Mack Web…we pretty much have at least one post day a week.
Hence the fiendlike working.
Finding a support system
The beauty of belonging to a group that specializes in fostering online community is that they’ve created a rather lovely online community you can join to gain inspiration and indulge in a little commiseration.
If you have been honored with an appointment to the Noble Order of Community Managers, there are ways to find and connect with your brethren.
There are websites specifically created and populated just for you and your topics of concern, the aptly named The Community Manager and My Community Manager. That last one, by-the-by, once named Our June Community Manager of the Day and hosts Google+ Hangouts that Our Same June frequently attends.
You even have your very own Community Manager Day. (An honor previously only held by Mothers and Fathers. And Grandparents. And Teachers. And Secretaries. And Veterans. And Presidents. And Flags. And St. Patrick).
The point being…you’re not alone. Hook up with your peers and celebrate your not-aloneness.
Get the picture?
So, in essence, June’s job is to keep Mack Web Solutions active and relevant in the wide world of the interwebs. It takes a lot of work and a lot of smiling and a lot of communication both internal and external. And, apparently, rather a lot of snacks.
How did you select your community manager? What other characteristics would you take into consideration?
All of us here at Mack Web Solutions would like to welcome our new Social Media Strategist into this world of search engine marketing and web design. June Macon is the newest edition to our roster of innovative employees.
Ms. Macon is experienced in public relations, marketing and social media and enhances the creativity, reliability and professionalism Mack Web Solutions currently provides for clients. Macon, with her expertise in social media and ability to identify the wants and needs of a company’s audience, will focus on social strategy and social engagement.
Prior to joining Mack Web Solutions, Macon held the position of Director of Public Relations, Professional Relationships and Events at a local company with a focus in education. She also consulted with companies in the education, health and real estate fields, providing web writing, social media management, social media strategies, social media campaigns and services in public relations. Macon holds a Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations.
“In today’s web-driven world, it is imperative for businesses to establish an online presence,” says owner Mackenzie Fogelson. “We’ve found an approach and process that really works, giving our clients the web exposure they want and need. Bringing June onto the team expands our expertise and opens new avenues to generating great results for our clients.”
If your company would like a free consultation to learn how Mack Web Solutions can improve your search engine marketing and increase engagement in your current social media efforts or you are interested in learning more about what Mack Web Solutions can do for your company, contact email@example.com.
About Mack Web Solutions:
Mack Web Solutions specializes in custom website design and development, search engine marketing, email marketing, social media, public relations and navigation development. For more information or to look at Mack Web’s portfolio please visit www.mackwebsolutions.com.