Acing the new Facebook algorithm


By Becky Hogan

At TrendPo we’re keeping up with the latest social media trends just as much as we are politicians.

One new development in the ever-changing social media landscape is Facebook’s recent update to its EdgeRank news feed algorithm.

The modification prioritizes posts in your news feed based on relevancy, timeliness, and engagement–and it’s having a direct impact on what posts users see in their desktop and mobile news feeds.

While Facebook has described the change as an effort to deliver better content to its approximately 1.26 billion users, many see the algorithm modification as a way to boost Facebook ad sales.

The social networking site has been mum on how algorithm works, but based on our research it seems published news sources will have more news feed exposure than one-time viral posts.  And sources that a user interacts with frequently are more likely to appear in his or her news feed than posts that go “viral” just because they are popular.

For example, if you’re an avid reader of The New Yorker and often “like” or engage with the content the online mag serves up on Facebook, The New Yorker’s posts will be more likely to appear in your news feed.

In short, Facebook fancies itself a personal curator of the content it believes users will find the most interesting and newsworthy.

What does this mean for businesses that use Facebook Pages?

Facebook wants to keep users on Facebook “real estate” as long possible so changing their EdgeRank rewards content creators on the Facebook platform and punishes posts that send users out to other websites.

Organizations that are delivering interesting content to their audiences will be ahead of the game.  Here are TrendPo’s tips for acing the new Facebook news feed algorithm:

  • Quality over quantity – Now more than ever it’s important to understand your audience and what content resonates most with users.  Analyzing which posts are resonating with audiences is critical.
  • News feed Ads – It will be important for organizations and companies invest more in news feed ads in order to reach their audiences.
  • More content creation – Companies that advertise or have use branded Pages are going to have to create more content than before to reach their audiences—and be smarter about the likes and interests of their followers when creating new content.
  • Get the conversation started – Strategies like encouraging community conversations on Facebook and posting compelling images to keep their audiences engaged will help organizations stay relevant.

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Facebook uses general demographics to target ads, but TrendPo’s customized lists have been filtered to identify the most engaged Facebook users that align with your organizations’ brand or interests.  That means your social ads dollars aren’t wasted and your Facebook ads are more effective at generating leads.

For more information of TrendPo SocialEdge and more, visit us here or sign up for a free demo.

Democrats, Republicans Approach Facebook Content Differently


By Becky Hogan

Looking at Facebook data since November 2012 until this month, we found that potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates are pushing out a variety of content on the social networking site—some are predominately sharing videos or statuses, while others are more often posting links or photos.

But each GOP lawmaker has his own style—and no two are alike.

What are the 2016 GOP Candidates doing on FB_

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By contrast, top Democrats have a clear strategy for Facebook engagement: a picture is worth a thousand words.  Data shows that they favor posting photos on Facebook more than any other piece of content.

A version of this chart was featured in U.S. News and World Report earlier this week.

Every Monday, U.S. News and WorldReport’s “Washington Whispers” blog will feature a piece of Trendpo’s data on the political social media landscape.

Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—both of whom top the list for 2016 Democratic ticket– are following President Obama’s shoes.  And it’s no secret that Obama has used social media more effectively than any politician in the last two presidential campaigns, so are Biden and Clinton on to his strategy?

Recently re-elected New Jersey Governor Chris Christie primarily posts videos.  And this is probably very intentional—Christie’s no-nonsense approach has bolstered his national presence giving him credibility on both sides of the aisle; he’s taking advantage of the fact that his style resonates best on video.

Just last week he posted a video of a press conference he gave in Union City, New Jersey a day after he was re-elected.  Christie talks about his strategy for winning the Latino vote—something the Republican party has struggled to do.  In his speech, he says “You have to show up.”

For Ted Cruz, the vast majority of his content features statuses and links, though he uses a variety of different content and this strategy seems to be working for him.  He’s survived to the final rounds of TrendPo’s social media competition, #SenateSweeps.  He’s best known for his efforts to repeal Obamacare and the recent posts on his Facebook page reiterate his message.

This week was no exception:

Cruz

This post was shared 5,100 times and Liked by over 24,000 times–Cruz’s messaging strategy is resonating with his Facebook audience.

Sixty-three percent of Representative Paul Ryan’s Facebook posts are photos, whereas Florida Senator Marco Rubio uses the least amount of photos of any of the possible GOP front runners.

Lately, Paul has been more ‘talked about’ on Facebook than any of his Republican colleagues due to budget discussions in Congress–and his photo-centric approach is getting him a lot of buzz on the social network.

FB Talked Abouts_5

Once these potential candidates are in campaign mode, will their Facebook content feature more photos and videos? We’ll be watching the data to see if their social media strategies change over time.

Senate Sweeps: The Championship


Bracket (1)

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Winners: Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT)

Losers: Rob Portman (R-OH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

We’ve reached the finals, and our two remaining contenders have been together since the beginning. Of the four Senators, Bernie Sanders came in second overall last week, but couldn’t match the social media powerhouse that is Ted Cruz. Sanders tweeted 60 times last week, but his very active week on Twitter only garnered 772 new Twitter followers.  Meanwhile Ted Cruz proved his online presence is well-established–he tweeted  12 times and gained over 3,300 new followers.  And Rob Portman, despite being a strong contender in the Midwest, was outmatched by Lee’s strong showing on Facebook and YouTube.

Mike Lee owes much of his prominence to his affiliation with Ted Cruz; the two work together at the Senate Conservative Fund, a PAC promoting conservative Republicans.  Cruz has a significantly stronger social media presence – he dwarfs Lee in followers and likes. However, the final round of #SenateSweeps is the social engagement round, looking at how Senators are actually interacting with their constituents. Metrics we’ll be looking at include Comments, Retweets, and Shares.

Can Mike Lee squeak out a victory on the back of more active engagement? We’ll announce the champ of #SenateSweeps later this week.

Senator Feinstein’s Missed Opportunity


Senator Feinstein

By Becky Hogan

Senator Dianne Feinstein has been one of the strongest supporters of the NSA’s surveillance activities. But when news broke of U.S. spying on the country’s allies, she changed her tune.

In a statement this week, Feinstein condemned spying on America’s allies.  She said she was “totally opposed” to such efforts and concerned  that President Obama did not know about them until recently.

The California Senator also released an NSA “reform” bill Thursday.  Feinstein claims the measure would increase privacy protections and congressional oversight of the program, but preserve activities she deemed vital to preventing terrorist attacks.

The NSA story and the woes of the Obamacare exchange website have been competing for national news coverage all week.  Earlier in the week, Feinstein was even outpacing coverage on the Affordable Care Act.

Feinstein in the News

It’s rare that one of Obama’s staunchest allies would take a stance against the Administration, and as a result she’s seen quite a bit of media coverage on the issue.  But she hasn’t taken to social channels to advocate her cause.

This could be a missed opportunity for Feinstein.  She has not posted to her Facebook or Twitter accounts which means that her position on the NSA surveillance program has been overlooked on social media–simultaneously, her national media coverage has been on the decline since Wednesday.

NSA vs Feinstein

While the National Security Agency has seen an increase in Facebook Talked Abouts everyday this week, Feinstein’s Talked Abouts have been declining.  One of the most common ways lawmakers extend media coverage is by taking to social media to fuel support and discussion on the issues they are championing.

Of course Feinstein is a veteran Senator with a reputation for being outspoken on issues she cares about even when she’s at odds with fellow Democrats. But by neglecting to use social media channels to champion her position on NSA snooping, she isn’t maximizing her online influence–especially compared to other Senators.

A staunch proponent of increasing gun control,  Feinstein’s assault weapons ban lost in the Senate in September and she blamed the Senate for shirking it’s responsibility.  We’ll be watching to see whether she uses ramps up her social media this time around to drum up public support for reigning in the NSA.

Senate Sweeps: The Final Four


Bracket

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Winners: Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rob Portman (R-OH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Losers: Rand Paul (R-KY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY), Harry Reid (D-NV)

This was a rough week for Senate Democrats. Senators Klobuchar, Gillibrand, and Reid were all knocked out – the only non-republican remaining is Democrat-allied independent Bernie Sanders. That’s not to say Democrats haven’t been active on YouTube – but the launch of Healthcare.gov created an opportunity for some high-volume for conservative critics.  All four matchups this week had something interesting about them.

Ted Cruz vs Rand Paul

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul both had popular videos this week, ranking first and second respectively. The differentiating factor is how each of them used YouTube; while Senator Paul’s videos were primarily television appearances, Senator Cruz created original content in an easily sharable 30-second video. While both Cruz and Paul have been incredibly effective at using YouTube, Cruz’s prominence in the fight over Obamacare combined with his savvy in producing original content nudged him over into the final four.

Mike Lee vs Harry Reid

Despite being the Majority Leader in the Senate, Harry Reid has not uploaded a video to YouTube in over 3 weeks. Against Mike Lee, who has been active on YouTube and in the anti-Obamacare fight, that just doesn’t cut it. Senator Reid is not weak on social media by any means, but Senator Lee’s popularity has been enhanced by his association with Ted Cruz. The finals have a very real chance of being a Ted Cruz – Mike Lee showdown.

Bernie Sanders vs Kristen Gillibrand

Bernie Sanders is without a doubt the most effective social media user among the Democrats. Although both have the same kind of videos up, Sanders’ audience is big enough that he is able to stay in the top four. Although no slouch on social media, Gillibrand’s videos were never able to get the same kind of traction.

Rob Portman vs Amy Klobuchar

This one wasn’t much of a competition. Although she’s active on Twitter and Facebook, Senator Klobuchar hasn’t updated her YouTube page in over a year. Senator Portman also has a weak YouTube presence, but has been consistently uploading videos as Senator.

The final four have proven they have what it takes to survive Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube only rounds – we’ll see who has the strongest social media presence in the second all social media round next week.

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