Facebook Sponsored Stories to Be Eliminated in April 2014

FacebookAccording to a blog post, Facebook will be retiring Sponsored Story ads starting April 9, so you better hurry up if you’re looking to invest in one!

Sponsored stories appear when a user’s Facebook friend engages with a sponsored Page, app or event. For example, if one of your Facebook friends Liked a Brand Page, and that page has chosen to promote that engagement, a Sponsored Story would appear on your News Feed.

By April 9, Sponsored Stories will not be up for purchase for Advertisers and existing Sponsored Stories will turn into other format of ads. In example, a Sponsored Story highlighting a page Like will just turn into a Page Like ad and the “social context” component of Sponsored Story ads where a single or multiple friends of yours are featured in the ad, will simply become commonplace in all of Facebook’s advertisements. The social context will become a greater part of the Facebook’s advertising strategy in June.

A  Facebook spokesperson explains:

“As announced in June of last year, we’re bringing the best of sponsored stories – social context – to all ads. Since this update makes sponsored stories redundant, we will no longer offer them as a standalone ad unit for marketers. Social context will continue to appear with all ads where eligible. Our social advertising honors the audience that people choose, so nobody will see information in social context for an ad that they couldn’t already see.”

Choose A Hashtag

The Hashtag (#), originally created by Twitter users to categorize tweets and mark keywords and topics, has become a very precious asset in modern marketing campaigns.

Brands who haven’t invested the time to think about their hashtag(s) and their proper use get anticipated results, however those who take their hashtag(s) seriously will harvest the benefits on Twitter.

The micro blogging platform has created a step-by-step infographic that helps you choose your hashtag(s) and guides you through launching your campaign.

Choose a hashtag

Choose a hashtag – click to enlarge

Basics first! Why are you using a hashtag? Keep in mind that for your audience to easily remember it, a hashtag should be notable.

Integrating a hashtag in media is a way to make sure it becomes memorable.

Whether it’s on TV, flyers or though direct mail, integrated hashtags have the best chance of making it to the top of the consumer’s mind.

There is no absolute need for a new hashtag to be created. If people are already engaging in a relevant conversation, half the work has been done. All brands have to do is join in with significance.

After choosing or creating a hashtag, Twitter’s “Choosing A #” will walk you through the next stages to take in order to amplify your message.

Twitter Ads API

Twitter Ads APITwitter officially launched their Ads API recently allowing marketers to work with chosen partners (Adobe, HootSuite, Salesforce, SHIFT and TBG Digital) in order to manage Twitter Ad campaigns in a quicker and automated way. They will use Twitter in much the same way they manage marketing campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn using CRM platforms. For the time being it is unclear how long Twitter will work with only the five of them.

Twitter says that its focus has been on delivering better ads instead of more ads, encouraging ads that are “engaging, relevant and useful” and they will be leveraging the ability they have to deliver targeted ads. This would make Twitter the second-screen ad platform of choice after Facebook and will be starting a Certified Ads Products program just like Facebook. We can only think about the kind of revenue boost this will be for Twitter.

Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends are the 3 advertising options on Twitter. If a company pays to promote an account or tweet, the account or tweet appears at the top of results for searches of relevant terms. The advertising options also cause tweets or account handles to appear elsewhere on Twitter like for example on widgets. Promoted Trends, remain exclusive to Twitter enabling a company to surface its brand in the form of a hashtag on Twitter users’ trend sidebars.

Today, other major platforms like Foursquare, Pinterest and Google+ remain without an ad API.

It seems that Twitter took its time to study Facebook & LinkedIn ads before drafting its own strategy to ensure the success of the ads API. Soon it will be easier to compare how campaigns on all 3 platforms perform.

Would you invest in Twitter ads?

Optimizing Facebook Pages for Facebook Search Graph

Facebook Search GraphFacebook Graph Search is here. Is your page ready for it? To make sure that you benefit from it, you need to check the following:

1. Your Category and About Section

Choose your category carefully as this could make it or break it for you and make sure that you fill your “About” section thoroughly with relevant keywords.

2. Claim your Place and Encourage Check-ins

If you do not claim a Place as your own, check-ins will not be useful. When someone attempts to check into your business, Facebook will display you Page if it’s set up as a Place.If you have a Place Page, you want to push for people to check-in. Although the number of check-ins does not always guarantee a better ranking of search results,you will come up in searches when people filter by their friends if many of them check-in at your place.

3. Encourage Tagging and Liking of Photos

People can search and filter photos of friends they like. They may see a photo of their friend at your location or tagged by your Page. All of this activity helps your Page and your business to remain in people’s minds more often.

Facebook Graph Search will continue to evolve as it goes through beta, but you can start encouraging interactions such as check-ins and tagging to help your Page show up more prominently as people search. Remember that it’s still important to post regularly, produce content that initiates high engagement levels, focus on keyword-rich status updates and connect with people through the news feed, since not everyone will use Graph Search.

What is Vine?

VineVine is a separate iOS app from Twitter that lets users create short, 6-second videos that run on a loop (which could be irritating for some) and that can be shared on Vine itself, Twitter or even Facebook.Its aim is to become for video what text is to twitter.

There is a lot of content on Twitter even though it is brief but it will just get better with Vine. As a trusted and massive brand, with an instant huge user base, Twitter is guaranteed to make this new app more appealing to more new users. When Instagram ceased Twitter Cards integration, disregarding the capacity to embed Instagram photos right into the stream, Twitter’s visual appeal decreased. Although Twitter may have Photos feature, with filters, but it’s nothing compared to Instagram’s level of engagement. Instead of fighting Instagram on the photo arena, Twitter went a step ahead by working on the natural transition that will be video.

Vine will not replace any existing apps online it’s more of a new form of media — a self-made video rather than another filtered photo.

For marketers this is yet another opportunity to get their message across by creating brand relevant content. We can only think of the numerous ways they could use it.

One major downside to Vine is that there is no Android app for the time being and another concern will be the quality of content that will be posted and shared.

Have you tried it already?

The Social Media Awards – Beirut – First Edition

Recently, social media in Lebanon has witnessed a noticeable growth. There are more and more people on all the social media networks to the extent that it makes it a must for diverse entities like NGOs, companies and celebrities to have an established presence.

The Online Collaborative took the initiative to organize an event, Beirut Social Media Awards,  during which the best users of social media will be rewarded. Acknowledgement is always a good thing knowing that it takes a lot of work to be successful on the various social media networks.

There are 33 different categories that will be awarded ranging from bloggers, media personalities, artists to various types of businesses, NGOs and social media campaigns. We hope that there will be no confusions here: could there be nominations in different categories for example and people winning 2 prizes?

The selection process will include a panel of judges who will be narrowing down the nominations to 7 and then the voting will be open for the community to select the winners for each category.

We hope that the nominations will be fair and honest as well as the voting and may the best be awarded!

Who will you be nominating?

The New Facebook API: Graph Search

The new Facebook API: Graph SearchUsers of Facebook will soon have a new search tool at their disposal: Graph Search feature will let those on Facebook go through photos, people, places, and business pages. You will be soon able to ask questions like: “What are the sushi restaurants that my friends like in Kaslik?”

Apparently, what people search for the most on Facebook are people, brands and business pages. Graph Search is different in the sense that it improves results by putting together diverse elements.

After the Facebook’s statement that it would make it easier to source for data and photos, worries were raised concerning privacy. The company made sure to address those worries, saying that Graph Search will respect privacy settings. People won’t be able to look for those who have blocked them; they will be able to look up information and photos that have been shared with them.

Zuckerberg wants people to use Facebook in order to discover places where they could go eat, or things that they could go do and have been working in-house on this API for the last couple of years. It is now available for some English speaking users in beta version.

For him, this new feature will form the “Third Pillar” of the ecosystem, after the being able to see what’s going around in the News Feed and what’s going on in ones’ life on the Timeline.

Some people have raised other concerns. Graph Search could be used for less noble reasons. For example one could look up: “People who like child pornography” and do whatever with this information.

How will you be using Graph Search when it goes public?

6 Tips for Writing a Facebook Post with the Perfect Call to Action

Writing a Facebook Post

Reaching potential customers while retaining current ones requires much more than just creating a Facebook profile. Constant work and improvement are necessary in order to build a community.

In this particular article inspired from a recent post on social media today, you will get a few tips on techniques and practices to help you keep your community interested and engaged.

  1. Formulate your ideas into questions: Ask short and specific questions that target your audiences’ needs, interests and wants. They will be more likely to respond to your question than to comment on your sentence. Also, don’t forget to provide feedback on their answers!
  2. Use the 2nd person singular pronoun and verbs such as “feel”, “want”, “enjoy”, “appreciate” and “give” to engage the readers
  3. Provide a Link: Direct your fans to other pages especially when your post is related to specific products. It can push them to purchase it directly online.
  4. Use images and visuals: You can ask questions that relate to an image or provide information through visuals. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!
  5. Include small quizzes, true or false and fill in the blanks. Fans will enjoy competing over the right answer.
  6. Keep it positive: Fans should feel excited and pleased when they read your posts. They will also be more likely to share positive feelings!

Feel inspired? Go update your Facebook page! I am sure you now have plenty of ideas! Need training, don’t hesitate to contact Eastline Marketing.

Twitter Community in Lebanon

Twitter in Lebanon

Twitter in Lebanon

Did you participate in the 14th of January protest against rape?
Did you attend the last event organized by Sarah’s bag “Behind the scenes”?

Where did you get your invitation from?  Twitter. Of course!

Citizens, governments and companies are becoming more and more active on social networks in Lebanon and especially on twitter since the beginning of 2011. Whether to post interesting links to articles, invitations to events or encouragements to participate in manifestations, people are constantly tweeting and re-tweeting.

But it seems that Lebanese personalities are ahead of the competition.

Haifa Wehbe has already tweeted 8,949 times and has 308,429 followers!

In fact, if we look at the current top 10 twitter ranking in Lebanon based on the amounts of followers, we notice that it includes 4 Lebanese singers: Elissa Khoury, Ragheb Alama, Nancy Ajram and Haifa Wehbe, 2 Lebanese politicians: Saad Hariri and Najib Mikati, 2 Lebanese talk show hosts: Zaven Kouyoumdjian and Mona Abou Hamze as well as a religious figure Sayyed Ali El Amin and a Lebanese actor and director Nadine Labaki.

In addition, although not currently in the top 10, Myriam Fares has 137,819 followers and has tweeted 1,092 times. Moreover, Marcel Ghanem, host of many famous TV shows on LBC, has 69,334 followers. Ministers Ziad Baroud, Nicolas Sehnaoui and Gebran Bassil are also very active on Twitter and the list goes on…

The domination of these public figures on social network affects the online community since many Lebanese sign up on twitter just to follow a certain personality and sometimes even just to criticize him by tagging him in mean comments. In addition, Lebanese citizens exteriorize themselves on twitter, as “it is the only place where they can talk and be heard”.  They create hash tags such as #Lebanese electricity to complain about electricity cutoffs.

As for social causes, followers feel encouraged when personalities re-tweet their tweets and it helps them reach a larger audience.

Therefore, through this social networking platform, public figures discuss political or musical events with their followers, share some quotes or ideas, support and encourage certain happenings and respond to questions asked by their followers.

Most of them have more replies than tweets!

Not yet on twitter? Too bad! You won’t be able to catch up!

We All Love a Lebanese Meme

What’s the fuss all about lately? Ever since the Lebanese Meme page has been created on Facebook end of February 2012, the online community has exploded with satirical views sharing memes that depict so vigorously the Lebanese community.

And who hasn’t shared and laughed over these hilarious anecdotes of the country? Anyone who is anyone in Lebanon has been featured in these memes, from local famous diva artists, to politicians, to your typical bimbo ladies and gigolo men.

Buzz Lebanese Meme

Naturally we had to have a share of the fun! So during the launch of the online campaign for Buzz Vodka Mix, aligned with the current TVCs running on the local broadcasting channels, we created a funny meme and shared it on the Lebanese meme page.

The result was surprising and the post went viral among the Lebanese memers community, 551 likes, 77 shares, and 66 comments in the same day!

The aim of it was to create “buzz” around the new online activation that requires from the Buzz Facebook fans to complete the ad and submit their idea in order to win a trip to Ayia Nappa with 4 of their friends.

Moreover, other viral memes were created by Facebook users mimicking the Buzz scenario.

Either ways, strong TVCs can always give the online marketing a strong push and increase the viral effect and brand visibility, of course spicing it up with a funny meme targeting the product consumers is always a plus.