Julie Wright moderates IABC Los Angeles talk on Facebook’s changes

(W)right On Communications President and Founder Julie Wright headlined the International Association of Business Communicators – Los Angeles chapter’s first event of 2018.  The venue was TOMGEORGE Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles and the topic was Facebook’s changes.

“We discussed the most recent changes to Facebook’s news feed algorithm and what that means to a brand’s communication strategy,” Julie explained. “It was a perfect mix of perspectives including people who oversee communications departments for large organizations, consultants, agency folks and business owners.” Facebook changes IABC Los Angeles event

You can find IABC LA’s blog post recapping the event here: Creating Engaging Content with Facebook’s Newest Update

“I came into the discussion very familiar with the issue, but left it with even more insights and fresh perspectives. IABC always attracts such high-caliber communicators. And, not to mention, the food was outstanding.”

What Do Facebook’s Changes Mean for Businesses in 2018

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By Julie Wright —President
Twitter: @juliewright


If you’re like most communicators, you engaged in some kind of 2018 planning and goal setting. And you probably worked with your social media team on measurable objectives for each platform, including Facebook, but then, on January 11, Facebook’s changes came down with a massive thud.

The social network announced it was changing the game. And, bam! You realized you needed to change your game too.

 “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Not that organic reach for brands on Facebook hadn’t already fallen by half over the past three to four years. Smart and strategic communicators could still find ways to continue to drive engagement and ensure that, despite falling reach and lower and lower visibility in news feeds, their content was attracting engagement and staying on the good side of Facebook’s algorithm.

But that could be changing. Here we are entering 2018 with Facebook announcing that the paltry 2 to 6% reach averaged by brands (or Publishers, as Facebook calls them) is too high and degrading the news feed experience for real people. Going forward, Zuckerberg said, brand content will be further suppressed in news feeds while posts from friends and family will be given more visibility.

Clearly, the message is that Facebook is a pay to play platform for brands not unlike traditional media outlets.

So, where do Facebook’s changes leave organic content for brands?

DOWNLOAD: 8 Smart Ways Your Brand Can Adapt to Facebook’s Changes in 2018.

Unless it’s exceptionally engaging (think animals, kids, heroes and other phenoms, kickboxing octogenarians, etc.), your content may not be seen by sufficient numbers to justify the effort it took to create that content. Worse, if your content isn’t regularly engaging people, you’ll be digging yourself a deeper hole. It’s essential in 2018 to fully commit to quality over quantity in your Facebook strategy, if you haven’t already. 

Facebook Live videos are expected to remain a powerful engagement tool. Currently, when you launch a Facebook Live video stream, Facebook alerts your followers. So, this is definitely one tactic to embrace to raise your page’s visibility and share engaging content with more followers.

If you’re a manufacturer or a B2B company, it’s going to require a lot of creativity to keep your content engaging.

Nonprofits have a better shot because typically causes are more engaging. Expect to see more cause marketing partnerships between brands and nonprofits on social media in 2018.

If you’re a resort that can produce and share incredible experiences and travel ideas for your guests, you might break through by tapping into everyone’s desire for a great get away. But how many businesses have the time and resources to consistently pull together and pull off this kind of show stopping or heart rendering content?

The first rule of good communication has always been to know your audience. This will be truer than ever in 2018. What has resonated with your audience in the past? What are they struggling with? Excited by? Interested in? Mine your Facebook data and customer research for content ideas that you know will connect with your followers.

That said, all brands have promotional messages that they must distribute to show ROI on their social media investment, but just as with traditional media outlets, they’ll need to pay Facebook to deliver those messages to followers. That is the clearest impact of Facebook’s changes.

Facebook is completing its evolution from a social sharing platform to a paid advertising platform for brands and businesses. Plan to adjust your strategies in 2018 to succeed under this new reality. Tweet: Facebook is completing its evolution from a social sharing platform to a paid advertising platform for brands and businesses. Plan to adjust your strategies in 2018 to succeed under this new reality. https://ctt.ec/mwH93+

Looking back over the past six months at some of our client partners’ pages, we’ve seen a few trends worth noting. Our results will be different than yours, depending on your brand page or the variety of brand pages you manage. But this is an exercise every Facebook admin should do to get a clear handle on how their content has been performing in order to better leverage what works. Here are our findings and recommendations:

REACH

  • Our post with the greatest reach in 2017 featured a testimonial video message from a famous celebrity (i.e. an influencer). Prioritize influencer engagement on Facebook in 2018 to maintain or extend reach.
  • Other top posts by reach in 2017 were those that we tagged with other brands or real people. Connect your content to real people whether they’re employees, customers, donors, celebrities or community leaders. This will be a key strategy to ensure that your content is meaningful. It must feature real people and brand relationships and not simply be a brand billboard.
  • About half of all organic impressions were earned virally by people sharing our content. Put another way, for every 2 people that saw unpromoted content, a third person saw it on their friend’s page. In 2018, brands need  to post Facebook content that starts conversations and is worthy of sharing. Be careful not to ask for shares or comments! Facebook’s algorithm will punish posts that overtly ask “share this.”

COMMENTS

  • The posts with the greatest volume of comments were related to contests and sweepstakes. These were also boosted. Facebook’s algorithm didn’t punish our sweepstakes content but be careful. If you create contests on Facebook in 2018, be sure you comply with all rules and best practices. Create some value in the contest for true engagement (don’t ask followers to tag a friend or for one-word responses). This can be a fun way to engage with your followers and drive some of that meaningful interaction Mark Zuckerberg wants to see, if done right.
  • Other posts with a high volume of comments tended to appeal to followers’ nostalgia and encouraged them to share memories or personal details or stories. Drive conversations with your followers in 2018. Look for opportunities to start conversations. But don’t start a conversation at 5 p.m. and let comments go without a response until the next morning. The Facebook algorithm pays attention to how quickly your respond and rewards fast responses and exchanges in the comments.

PAID PROMOTION

  • Paid promotion generated quadruple the number of organic video views. If you’re going to put the time into creating videos for Facebook in 2018, plan to support them with paid promotion.
  • Paid promotion drove 40 percent more impressions than organic impressions. Continue to use boosting on Facebook in 2018 to add momentum to content that is already performing well. If you have an important message that you want your followers to get but that you don’t expect they’ll want to interact with, consider an advertisement instead. Dry and purely informational posts or announcements by brands will hurt their Facebook performance. Save those for advertisements or email campaigns.

What was your experience in 2017? And how are you preparing for Facebook’s changes in 2018? Share with us at @wrightoncomm or tag us with #WOCPR on Twitter. In addition to the ideas shared above, we’ve compiled a more detailed set of recommendations in our white paper on Facebook’s changes.

DOWNLOAD: 8 Smart Ways Your Brand Can Adapt to Facebook’s Changes in 2018.

This is a helpful tool for sharing with your team to get everyone on the same page and thinking creatively about your social media program in 2018.

Five Tips for Successful Social Media Branding

By: Kara Dement

Twitter: @KaraDeMent_


In more ways than one, social media is at the heart of how most organizations communicate with their audiences.

‘Heart’ is a good metaphor since it’s both central to the communications strategy and the source of how the organization looks and feels—and of course the ‘look and feel’ is the definition of a brand. So how do you make sure your organization’s look and feel are accurately and consistently portrayed through social media? Here are five expert tips to keep your social media strategy on the brand:

  1. Establish and maintain a consistent voice voice GIF

Buffer defines voice as, “your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.” If you want people to listen, you need to inject some personality. Know your brand’s voice and ensure it’s aligned with your company culture and your target audience. Then make sure you use the same voice across all platforms so that you don’t come across as a split personality.

  1. Choose the right platforms

Understanding each platform’s audience can help you identify what social media platforms are the right choice, and then you can use your brand voice to share things that are relevant to that target audience. Snapchat users on average are between the ages of 18-34 according to Omnicore Agency, so using Snapchat to discuss retirement planning probably won’t work. Also, not all voices work across all platforms. If your brand voice doesn’t have a playful side, you should either look into developing one or steer clear of Snapchat altogether.

  1. Select appropriate visuals

When it comes to describing your brand, a picture is worth a thousand words. So select imagery carefully and make sure it is consistent with and helps augment the story your voice is telling. Speaking of consistency, it’s also important to maintain visual consistency across all social media platforms. Having the same colors, logos, etc. is a given, but even your photography, video and shared stories should all align with your brand’s personality.

  1. Engage

Nobody wants to have a conversation with themselves, plus that goes against the whole point of “social” media. For a brand to have a credible personality, it needs to be responsive on social media, or people will assume no one at your organization is listening. Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert, found that 42% of consumers expect a 60-minute response time, so being engaged with the audience’s comments, questions and concerns is critical to meeting your audience’s expectations. It’s also a great way to build trust and rapport so when you want your customers to engage with you, they’ll be ready and willing. yes killer whale GIF

  1. Offer relevant and killer content

At (W)right On, we go by the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of content should be “check this out”, so long as it relates to the brand, and 20% should be “check us out”. Talking about yourself all the time is a turnoff, and not the kind of personality that brands want to be perceived as having. If you stick to the 80/20 rule, it will help prevent the pitfalls of constant monologue and will help develop your brand’s personality by giving it depth beyond your own organization.

Need help developing your brand’s voice and personality on social media? Call or email our team of social media pros to help! You can reach us at (858) 755-5411 or info@wrightoncomm.com.

Five Pro Tips For Mouth-Watering Food Photographs

By Shae Geary—Senior Communications Strategist


Ready. Set. Selfie!

We all love showing off our personalized pictures of food, travel, and fun experiences, especially during holidays. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, we’re betting you’ll be sharing some delicious eats with your sweetie or besties. To make sure your food selfie skills are perfectly polished, we’ve delved into our archives for today’s blog. Here are five pro tips from San Diego food photographer Sam Wells for producing mouth-watering and Instagram worthy photos for this Valentine’s Day xoxo.

In Hospitality Public Relations, we often rely on images to help tell our stories – a pristine white sand beach; a mojito in a mason jar; a field in bloom. With the rise of social media and the availability of high quality cameras on most smart phones, photography is often how our guests tell their vacation stories, particularly when it comes to food.Tip1

Despite having such ready access to cameras, however, most of us remain photographically challenged. A good camera phone isn’t enough to turn our latest gastronomic delight into the envy of all our friends: placement, lighting and composition are all important elements in the quest to capture delicious food memories. Sounds difficult, right? That’s when you turn to the pros.

I was recently fortunate to work with Sam Wells, a respected San Diego food photographer who shoots for publications like Carlsbad Magazine and San Diego Magazine. While I watched him work his photographic magic, it occurred to me that he must have a load of helpful hints for us “do-it-yourselfers.” Sam was more than happy to give his insights on what makes for great food photography. Follow his tips and you’ll be on your way to drool worthy food on Instagram in no time.

Food Photography Tips from Photographer Sam Wells

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Tip 1: Light quality is everything. 

I shoot most of my food in areas I call “transition zones” – where the light is transitioning from light to dark. Windows, open doors, and the outer edges of shaded areas all produce beautiful directional light. If there are any conflicting tungsten lights in the restaurant, try to block them to create clean light.

Tip 2: Create a strong composition.  

Negative space can be a great asset to a photo. Using the “rule of thirds” always helps – just imagine there are two horizontal and vertical lines dividing up the frame into nine rectangles. Place the most interesting point of focus on any two lines or where the lines intersect, and you’ll instantly have a better-composed image. Add a few more details to fill the frame, and you’re off and running.

Tip 3: Steady your hand.  tip4

Motion blur can ruin a photo, so if you are hand-holding the camera make sure to take a few and be gentle when you push the shutter button. Make sure your camera or phone doesn’t move when you shoot the photo. I always use a tripod to ensure maximum sharpness.

Tip 4: Show some life and action. 

Have a hand reaching for something. Take a bite. Make it messy. Do anything that makes the food look delicious and enticing.

Tip 5: Styling can make any dish interesting. 

I always use linens and napkins to help spice things up a bit. Adding other elements allows you to create a more interesting composition by leading the eye through the image. Think of image flow – a fork placed in the lower right hand corner pointed towards the dish will lead the viewer’s eye towards the focal point.tip6

Keep this handy for your next dining adventure and you’ll definitely have some Insta worthy food photos. Need more photo inspiration? Follow the latest in Sam’s food reel on Instagram at @swellsphoto.

We team up with photographers like Sam to help tell your hospitality story. Get in touch with me, (Shae Geary, Senior Communications Strategist), if you’d like help getting your hospitality story out there.

3 PR & Marketing Tactics to Dump in 2017

By Julie Wright—President and Founder

Twitter: @JulieWright


Out with the old. In with the new! What stale PR and marketing tactics will you shed in 2017?

I’ve got a few on my naughty list this holiday season. They’re activities that perhaps at one time were strategic but now are automatic things PR and marketing professionals are doing without really thinking. Isn’t it time to leave these three things behind?

  1. Your Press Releases No One Reads

Away documents Free PhotoIt’s well past time to ditch the traditional press release.

If you want media coverage, then spend your energy and budget on developing your brand’s story and pitching it to a carefully cultivated list of media targets.

Just as advertising is the price you pay for being unremarkable, press releases are what you do when you don’t have a real PR strategy.

They’re a PR crutch and are often abused by people who think press releases are public relations.

In 2017, empower your agency or PR department to generate media coverage with creative ideas and storytelling. Focus on your communications goals and then determine if press releases are really going to help you achieve them. If not, get creative and strategic with the tactics that will actually impact your communications and business goals.

While they may not generate media coverage, you can be strategic in your use of press releases.  Use them to raise online visibility for your brand or key content to spur discovery through keyword analysis and search engine-optimized content, and to share exceptional visual content such as great photos, videos and graphics.

Just don’t continue putting them out as a proxy for a real PR strategy.

  1. Your Facebook Page that No One Sees

Facebook social media Free Vector How much time does your team spend drafting and posting content to Facebook? Now how many likes or comments does that content get you? How much traffic to your website? How much brand engagement and equity is all this effort producing?

Be honest with yourself. Is it worth it? What would happen to your business if you dumped your Facebook page? Or your Twitter account, for that matter?

If you’re doing it right, hopefully the answer would be “quite a lot.” Website visits would fall, event attendance dip and top of mind awareness would suffer.

If you can’t answer that question satisfactorily, take a hard look at what you’ve been doing and ask yourself why? Do you know what impact you want this activity to have on your business?

Now flip things around and pretend that Facebook was your only channel for reaching your audience. How would you approach it differently? Would you do more research and target better? Would you dedicate more budget to advertising? Would you study what type of content performs best?

So develop a plan in 2017 to do social media right. Or stop doing it.

Set goals for your social media activity that will support the impact you want to see for your business and then produce the content, schedule, promotion and targeting that will reach them.

  1. The Content You Spend More Time Marketing than Your Actual Product or Service

I get the concept behind content marketing. Provide people with helpful, well-packaged information that draws them in and predisposes them to like, trust and value your business so they’ll consider doing business with you.

Time and money Free Vector Do this on a massive scale and you’ll have a lead generation machine, the theory goes. With every blog post or white paper, an email has been captured so that the prospect can be continuously marketed with more friendly, helpful emails, blog posts and white papers.

That said, it’s a shit-ton of work to do this right. And if you’re the prospect, you could now have five or 10 companies trying to move you through their content marketing funnel. Your email inbox will implode!

So how much of your marketing department’s time or agency budget do you want to spend generating and marketing helpful blog posts, infographics, videos, white papers and case studies, and how much do you want to spend actually marketing your product or service to your target buyers?

I may be out of fashion here, but content marketing has to have jumped the shark a few years ago.

“With over 90% of B2B marketers cranking out ‘content,’ prospective buyers are inundated with information.”

How many buyers will be saying to themselves in 2017, “Boy, if only I could find more content?” I’m skeptical. Content is important but it is not the end in and of itself. It’s the means to an end. So in 2017 stop slaving away at the content game and make sure it’s serving your needs and not vice versa.

What tactics will you be dumping in 2017? Let us know with a comment or tweet!

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12 Signs PR Agency Life Isn’t for You

By Julie Wright

1. Month end is just another day to you.

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2. You’re happiest doing one thing at a time.

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3. You don’t read the by-lines as closely as the articles.

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4. You don’t measure your life in 5 minute increments.

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5. You come up with song hooks instead of news hooks in the shower.

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6. Your only sense of urgency is when the barista takes too long with your latte.

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7. You had to Google KPI.

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8. You think the work day is 9 to 5.

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9. You wouldn’t describe yourself as a people person.

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10. You follow the Kardashians more closely than Facebook’s algorithm changes.

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11. You fall asleep Sunday nights with no thought to the client projects waiting for you Monday morning.

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12. You fall asleep Sunday night.

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