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5 Simple Steps for Using Facebook Groups to Grow Your Business

In January 2018, a lot of marketers expressed frustration with Facebook—some even gave up on the platform altogether—after noticing a sharp decline in the organic reach of their posts. Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri said that the company decided to “shift ranking to make News Feed more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation.” 

As it stands, the platform’s current news feed algorithm has basically ensured that brands won’t be able to grow organically through their Facebook Pages. But, this is not a problem with Groups.

A Facebook Group is basically a community that revolves around an idea, cause, or theme. There’s a group for anything and everything on Facebook. From doomsday preppers to Wiccans to those looking to learn more about SEO, you can find what you need in Groups. Since it’s more about ideas than hawking a product, a lot of brands underestimate the power of Facebook Groups and its capacity to build customers and yield high conversion rates. Don’t make that mistake.

Why It’s Better to Use a Facebook Group

You don’t need a strong social media following or a long email list for your Facebook Group to thrive and grow. For one, FB groups are more focused on collaboration. It might not allow for Facebook ads but brands will be able to engage and talk directly to their market, so you will know exactly what your buyers want or need.

This is also a great place to announce an offer to a highly targeted group. This same group can also give you immediate and extremely valuable feedback. You can create a poll or conduct a survey about product concepts or customer experiences. Facebook Groups also gives companies an advantage in terms of notifications. While new posts will appear on the news feed, members also receive a separate notification.

5 Steps to Use Facebook Groups to Grow Your Business

1. Be Consistent in Posting Content

Make sure that every piece of content you post in your Facebook Group page brings value. This will help boost engagement among members. Look for interesting content to share with members on Google news. You can also check out podcasts that are of interest to your members or utilize sites like Buzzsumo to see what topics are trending in your group’s category.

2. Get Members Interacting

Facebook Groups are famous for its members’ high level of engagement. Keep the ball rolling continuously by posting things that will encourage interaction. For instance, introduce daily theme prompts that will allow members to post photos or share their opinions. You can also create a poll and ask your group for advice. A live Q&A, a weekly challenge, or a tutorial are other exciting options to consider.

However, keeping up with active members is challenging and time-consuming. Consider hiring a community manager who can help you in monitoring posts, comments, and questions. This will give you more time to focus on content and on your group’s objectives.

3. Leave No Social Media Platform Behind

Put all your social media accounts to good use by using them to announce your group. You can even do a little cross-promotion if you want. Design an attractive post that shows your group’s logo and post it on your Instagram or Twitter accounts. Include a link to your Facebook group so people can simply tap on it and be taken to your profile.

4. Use Giveaways to Drum Up Interest

People love getting free stuff, so drum up interest or build up engagement by giving away gifts, points, or freebies. Companies have been using this strategy for years and it still remains relevant. Use this ruse and announce a giveaway on your group page. Utilize your other social media accounts to promote the giveaway. You can then choose a date and organize a Facebook event for this promotion.

5. Ask Loyal Members to Invite Their Friends

One of the best ways to grow your group and business is to ask loyal members to invite their friends along for the ride. Make things easier by giving them clear instructions on how to do this. Inform them to go to the right side of the group’s page. They’ll see “Add Members” and “Suggested Members.” Beneath that are the names of their friends and an “Add Member” button. They can simply click on the button beside the name of the friend they want to invite.

It’s a good idea to ask your members to be selective about who they choose to invite to the group. You want to make sure that only those who are really interested or who will have something to contribute will join.

Never underestimate people’s passion for a cause or their desire to be part of a community. Tap into this power by creating your own Facebook group. You’ll be able to build a solid consumer base composed of like-minded individuals.

[Featured image via Facebook]

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European publishers accuse Google and Facebook of ‘plundering’ their content

Publishers and media companies have stepped up lobbying for a restrictive copyright law that would effectively create ‘link taxes.’



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SearchCap: Google and Facebook accused of plundering, GSC gets new features, IF functions & more

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



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Why You Should Consider Launching Your Product on Facebook Live (And How to Do It)

People love to watch other people do stuff; it’s ingrained in our DNA. It’s why most of us enjoy people watching in the park or going to the latest blockbuster movie. Facebook and Instagram have taken advantage of this quirk in our genes with their live video streaming features.

Brands who live stream appear more approachable and real. Unlike TV commercials, live stream feeds feel more authentic as it shows the human side of a company. It’s why more businesses are incorporating Facebook Live into their marketing strategies.

Benefits of Live Streaming on Facebook

  • Boosts your audience numbers: An event streamed live on a platform like Facebook or Instagram is capable of reach millions of people worldwide. It also gives users a chance to participate in or attend an event they would otherwise have missed.
  • Cuts down on cost: You don’t need an expensive camera, a fancy set or a video editor when you go live on Facebook. And since you can host an event anywhere, even in a hallway, you can cut down on travel and rental expenses as well.
  • Real-time audience interaction: Consumers react more positively to “face to face” interactions. During a Live feed, the audience can send questions that the host can answer on the spot. Brands can also build trust with clients because of the transparency they show during these engagements.
  • Drum up excitement around product launches: Businesses can generate hype for a product launch on Facebook. These raw and real videos can harness the excitement you’d feel when opening a gift or seeing an event start.

How to Launch Your Product on Facebook Live

Give people an inside look.

Everyone is curious about what happens behind-the-scenes. Pull back the curtains on your business and give viewers a chance to know the real people behind the brand. Give your audience a quick tour of your office or show the tools or equipment you use. Doing this will help viewers understand you better and it’s a great way of building trust.

Starbucks used this strategy in its 2016 National Voter Registration Day. They broadcasted the event live as company representatives walked around the park. They also introduced and talked to people who volunteered in the event.

Draw in viewers from other platforms.

One of the best ways to launch a product or start a new channel is to through the “cheap seats” route. You start by going live on Facebook and encourage viewers watching on other platforms like YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat (considered the cheap seats) to move to your page in order to see the comments.

To make things more exciting, you can also go live on the other platforms during a break from the mainstreaming feed and invite viewers to join you on Facebook.

YouTube entrepreneur Chris Ducker used this tactic to promote his book launch party.

Instagram Live stream Chris Ducker

Provide a preview of your upcoming product.

Giving your audience a sneak peek or a preview on what’s coming next will drum up excitement and make them feel special. Show a trailer for an upcoming webinar or go live and show your staff brainstorming about a new product.

Tough Mudder is a great example of how to do it. The organizer streamed Coach T. Mud showing participants their training course. Seeing what they would be experiencing got more people interested in signing up.

Use video bots for show notifications.

Take advantage of Facebook’s live video bots and use them to interact and encourage your audience to subscribe to your show. You can do this by asking viewers attending your live feed to type a specific word in the comments if they want to receive notifications. You can also create a URL for your video bot and encourage your audience to click on the link to sign up for notifications. This strategy gives you control on who can see your posts since it’s your viewers themselves who told you they want to be notified about your show.

Get live customer testimonials.

Tap a loyal customer to talk about your product or company during a Facebook Live event. A lifestream approach to get engaging and natural flowing testimonials from customers are a very effective way of marketing your product. Meet up with a customer and hang out with them. The informal setting and relaxed mood can go a long way to getting your audience to warm up to your pitch or new product.

Facebook Live is an excellent platform to launch a product or show your customers and prospective clients what your company is really about. Take advantage of the numerous strategies you can employ to get people interested in your launch. Live stream a launch party with a celebrity or conduct a real-time Ask Me Anything session. Seeing what’s happening as it happens can drum up interest and build customer trust.

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How Facebook Messenger Can Help You Drive Sales

Facebook Messenger is only about three years old and it’s already one of the most popular messaging platforms in the world. With the right marketing strategy, the app can easily convert leads and drive sales.

Since its unveiling at the 2015 F8 conference, more than one billion messages have been sent to Facebook Messenger by businesses and their customers. Analysts expect this trend to continue and have predicted that the app will have 139.2 million users by 2020.

Number of Facebook Messenger users in the United States from 2014 to 2020

 

There are about 1.3 million people using Facebook Messenger now. That’s a number that marketers should not ignore, especially since the app is a great marketing tool.

Advantages to Using Facebook Messenger

Consumers today use messaging apps like Messenger, Viber, and WhatsApp more often than social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. This means that brands who can successfully use these apps can enjoy advantages like:

  • Improved Communication With Clients: Reaching your customer is faster with Messenger since you don’t have to wait in queue or be placed on hold. One Facebook study also revealed that people nowadays prefer to send a message than to call customer service. A majority of customers also tend to purchase online from brands that they can easily reach through chat.
  • Raised Awareness of Your Products: You can raise more awareness about your products or services via Messenger. This is because you can swiftly start a dialogue regarding the products or services you offer with your prospective customer.
  • Better Customer Service: A lot of customers prefer to send Private Messages instead of publicly posting their questions in the comments section of the Support Page. With Messenger, you can quickly reply to your customers and provide them with the information or answers they need. Plus, 63 percent of consumers surveyed by Facebook were found to have developed a good impression of brands that they can easily chat with.
  • Faster Transactions: It’s also simpler to conduct transactions with the help of Messenger. You can sell your products and services directly to your customers. The application can also assist you to immediately take orders, book appointments, invite prospective clients, and send product photos, receipts, and shipping information.

 

[Graphic via Facebook IQ]

 

4 Ways to Use Messenger to Boost Sales

1. Use a Welcome Message to Initiate a Conversation

When you enter a store, you are always welcomed in by someone, whether it’s the owner, the manager or a sales personnel. You can do the same thing with your online shop. Consider setting up a welcome conversation so that when a customer sends a message to your page, you can greet them automatically. You can then proceed to inquire about what they need and assist them in finding it. A welcome conversation will make your customer feel appreciated and supported. It also provides a good experience that will entice repeat business.

2. Send a Reminder About Abandoned Carts

Buyers abandoning their carts is a big concern. Facebook Messenger has been found to be more effective than email in converting abandoned carts to sales. Set up a message that will ask the customer if they would like to complete their purchase. You can even put options like “Remind me tomorrow,” “Still thinking,” “Thanks” or even a “like” or “heart” icon. 

3. Drive Traffic With Pop-Ups

 This is one of the most popular strategies to drive traffic and accumulate opt-ins. It’s easier for users to just tap on a button to opt-in instead of typing out their whole name and email address.

4. Set Up an Auto Reply Feature 

Aside from a chatbot, companies can also utilize the Messenger’s Auto Reply feature to send a custom message to customers and prospective clients. People today don’t want to waste time listening to messages that they can just read. With Facebook’s Messenger app, you can program and send messages based on the consumer’s requirements in a quick, interactive and convenient way. This can also boost the chances of opening a conversation with the client over what you’re offering.

Your business has the potential to grow bigger if you use Facebook Messenger, especially since the company continues to develop new ways to interact with consumers. So integrate the app into your marketing campaign and give yourself an edge over your rivals.

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5 Ways to Stop Ad Fatigue From Killing Your Facebook Campaign

The Internet and social media have made it easy for brands to get their message out to millions of people. In fact, the average American is reportedly exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements every single day. But this accessibility has also led to “Banner Blindness,” a psychological effect wherein people become blind or indifferent to the ads they see.

Banner blindness is essentially the consumer’s defense mechanism in the face of an abundance of information. This means that at some point, your ads will no longer be effective as your audience starts to suffer from ad fatigue.

Understanding Ad Fatigue

Ad fatigue occurs when your target market becomes so used to your advertisements that they become bored and stop paying attention to them.

One platform where ad fatigue can be felt is Facebook, where account holders frequently see advertisements fighting for space amidst the numerous statuses and photos on their News Feeds. Marketers understand the impact ad fatigue can have on a company’s investment. When the Frequency rate of a Facebook ad goes up, its click-through-rate (CTR) tends to go down. Conversely, the cost-per-click for the company will increase.

Luckily, the platform’s robust rotation display and audience-targeting network mean there are strategies that can be utilized to prevent ad fatigue from setting in.

5 Ways to Prevent Facebook Ad Fatigue

1. Change Your Headline and Use Power Words

Image result for free

Mix up the wording in your ad. Consider changing your headline to include a question, your brand name or even a call-to-action (CTA). Another option would be to change the language to target a specific audience. For instance, men would prefer a more humorous content while women opt for something subtle. Power words like “Instantly,” “Sensational,” “Free” and “Now” can boost the odds of having a more positive response to your ads.

2. Tweak Ad Displays

Tweak the design of your ads to capture your audience’s interest once more. Something as simple as changing the background color can make a huge difference so try experimenting with different hues. You can also utilize a simpler image to catch people’s eyes. A photo of a happy woman apparently works best in Facebook ads. Avoid images with lots of details and keep the use of text in the picture to a minimum.

3. Rotate Demographics and Audience Network

When you keep utilizing the same group on the platform’s Audience Network, desktop, and mobile iterations, the ad frequency will increase, thereby raising the dangers of ad fatigue. Separate your ad groups for every placement. This will make tracking bidding and frequency rates more effective. You should also consider rotating your ads and the target audience every few days to reduce individual ad frequency and keep things fresh.

4. Try Out Different Call-to-ActionsRelated image

Your ad requires a strong call-to-action if you want to nab those conversions. Test five to six distinct CTAs as you rotate your ads and see which one gives the best result. For instance, you can start with a straight CTA this week (ex. Take that vacation now!). You can then try one that begins with a question (Need a break from work?) the following week.

5. Stop Underperforming Campaigns

If all else fails, you have the option to stop underperforming campaigns until you can develop something better. Evaluate every aspect of your marketing campaign, from the images you used to the target groups to the value proposition, to see what is causing the sluggish conversion rates. You can also freeze your ads once the frequency becomes too high and wait until people don’t recognize them anymore.

Fighting ad fatigue on Facebook is crucial to the success of your campaign. Utilize a variety of strategies like changing background colors or rotating the audience network to keep things interesting. Bear in mind that these ads are pay-per-click, so you have more than enough leeway to try something different.

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Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox Leaked Facebook User Data Caused by Browser Vulnerability

Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox might have inadvertently leaked the Facebook usernames, profile pictures and even the likes of their users because of a side-channel vulnerability.

A side-channel vulnerability was discovered in a CSS3 feature dubbed the “mix-blend-mode.” This allowed a hacker to discover the identity of a Facebook account holder using Chrome or Firefox by getting them to visit a specially-designed website.

This critical flaw was discovered in 2017 by security researchers Dario Weißer and Ruslan Habalov and also by independent researcher Max May.

The researchers created a proof-of-concept (POC) exploit to show how the vulnerability could be misused. Weißer and Habalov’s concept showed how they were able to visually harvest data like username, profile picture, and “like” status of a user. What’s more, this insidious hack could be accomplished in the background when the user visits a malicious website.

The visual leak could happen on sites using iFrames that connect to Facebook in via login buttons and social plugins. Due to a security feature called the “same-origin policy,” sites can’t directly access iFrame content. But the researchers were able to get the information by developing an overlay on the cross-origin iFrame in order to work with the underlying pixels.

It took Habalov and Weißer’s POC about 20 seconds to get the username and about five minutes to create a vague copy of the profile picture. The program also took about 500 milliseconds to check the “like” status. Keep in mind, however, that for this vulnerability to work, the user should be logged into their Facebook account.

Habalov and Weißer privately notified both Google and Mozilla and steps were taken to contain the threat. Google was able to fix the flaw on their end when version 63 was released last December. On Firefox’s end, a patch was made available 14 days ago with the release of the browser’s version 60. The delay was due to the researchers’ late disclosure of their findings to Mozilla.

IE and Edge browsers weren’t exposed to the side-channel exploit as they don’t support the needed feature. Safari was also safe from the flaw.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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Facebook Improves Admin Tools for Groups, Introduces Enterprise Collaboration

Facebook has launched several updates for its Groups to help admins manage them efficiently and keep communities safe. The rollout of new tools, controls, and additional features are in line with the company’s focus on creating engagement in various communities on the site.

With more than a billion members across millions of active groups, Facebook is putting in an effort to help community managers handle nearly every activity each day. That’s why admins will now have a dedicated customer support service to handle queries and reported issues. And with more people on board, Facebook intends to give quick feedback as well. For now, the free service is only available to selected group admins on iOS and Android in English and Spanish but will continue its rollout in the coming weeks.  

Another tool that will benefit group admins is the launching of an online educational resource. The live site contains short tutorials, product demos, and actual case studies drawn from the experience of fellow admins. Done in audio and video formats, content on the learning portal aims to give a better understanding of how Facebook and Groups work.

As Facebook promises to build resources according to its users’ needs, the company has introduced two admin tools. One new feature will allow community admins and moderators to inform members of their rule violations that merited removal of the post. Admins and moderators can even add comments in the activity log when a post is taken down.

Another update is allowing admins and moderators to choose certain Facebook users, otherwise called pre-approved members. Whenever they post, their content will no longer require approval since they are tagged as trusted members. This means less moderation of content for managers and more time in connecting with others.

Apart from creating communities, Facebook wants to bring social networking to the workplace as well. Called Workplace by Facebook, the collaboration tool is one of the many available in the market now. It faces stiff competition from Slack, Atlassian’s Stride, and Microsoft’s Team, but none of them have a userbase that comes close to Facebook’s over two billion.

Facebook is banking on its partnership with identity management developer Okta to bring in more business accounts and convince larger companies that Workplace is an enterprise app. With the proposed integration, employees can securely sign in Okta and gain easy access to Workplace and other cloud apps.   

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Facebook ‘Weaponized’ User Data, Says Bikini Photo-Finding App Developer

Facebook is facing accusations of gathering more user data than disclosed. According to court filings, former start-up Six4Three claimed that the social media company conducted mass surveillance on its users and their friends alike.

Based on the lawsuit documents, Facebook reportedly had access to its users’ text messages, photos, and microphones. It can even track their locations by remotely activating the Bluetooth on mobile devices without permission. All of these accusations were detailed in Six4Three’s fifth version of the complaint, initially filed in 2015.

The court document read, in part:

“Facebook continued to explore and implement ways to track users’ location, to track and read their texts, to access and record their microphones on their phones, to track and monitor their usage of competitive apps on their phones, and to track and monitor their calls.”

In response, Facebook refuted the claims by saying that these “have no merit and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously.” The company clarified rumors back in March that it was monitoring calls and messages of its users. Rather, they only collected call and text message history as part of its opt-in feature under Facebook Lite and Messenger on Android.

The former start-up also contended that Facebook had access to several photos on iPhones. But the social media company pointed out that users can opt-in to the photo syncing feature of the app for easier uploading.

Allegations of breaching user privacy and data collection remain touchy subjects for Facebook,  following its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica fiasco. Prior to the scandal, the social media giant has removed the access of third-party developers to personal information. This policy change reportedly led to the failure of Six4Three’s controversial paid app Pikinis, where users can find their Facebook friends’ swimsuit photos.

Along with accusations of causing its financial ruin, Six4Three claimed that Facebook ‘weaponized’ its ability to access user data, sometimes without explicit consent, to earn billions of dollars. There was also a mass surveillance scheme, details of which were redacted from the latest filings per Facebook’s request. These documents, such as email correspondence among senior executives, contain confidential business matters and were sealed from public view until further notice. 

Facebook has continued to deny the purported claims, filing a motion to have the case dismissed by invoking the free speech defense under the law in California. Six4Three, on the other hand, is trying to stop the social media giant from getting the case thrown out. As the legal battle wages on, Facebook still faces continued scrutiny over its users’ paranoia on weak data privacy and protection controls.

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It’s Worse Than You Think, Facebook Exposes Millions More Users to Cambridge Analytica Data Breach

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Facebook revealed that Cambridge Analytica was able to access personal data of up to 87 million users. The figure was shockingly higher than the previous estimate of 50 million.

The number was shared by the company’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, in a blog post. Schroepfer wrote that they “believe the Facebook information of up to 87 million people – mostly in the US – may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.”

Last month the personal data of almost 50 million Facebook users were unethically shared with Cambridge Analytica, a data company that worked on President Donald Trump’s campaign.

The huge discrepancy between the new figures and initial estimates was surprising, although Facebook’s head Mark Zuckerberg tried to downplay it a bit, saying that he’s confident the final tally of affected users will be lower than 87 million.

Zuckerberg is expected to appear before Congress on April 11 to discuss how Facebook manages the personal data and privacy of its 2-billion strong social media platform. Facebook’s CEO was also invited to appear before a committee of the UK parliament but he declined and just sent a deputy.

Facebook also posted another blog post stating that it had found and deleted almost 300 additional Instagram and Facebook accounts and pages with ties to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a propaganda group working out of Russia.

Schroepfer’s blog post also confirmed several privacy updates, like the scrapping of phone numbers and email addresses being used to search for people on the social network. The company believes that due to “the scale and sophistication” of activities they’ve uncovered, the feature made it possible for information found on their public profile to be scrapped.

The blog also revealed that starting April 9, Facebook users will be able to check if their data was exposed to Cambridge Analytica. The disclosure on the data mining firm will reportedly appear at the top of users’ News Feed.

[Image via YouTube]

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