As of early April this year, verified celebrities, influencers, and publishers can use their Facebook pages to post their branded content. Now they can post videos, photos, and articles that feature or mention brand without any need to worry about Facebook penalizing them. This rule change was requested by marketers, as branded content has become an integral part of their online media strategy. There are limitations, however: for example, "overly promotional" content such as videos with watermarks won't be allowed. "Alongside the tweak, Facebook also introduced a new tool that will let publishers tag brands in their sponsored content posts. That gives users some indication that they're reading an ad, but it also gives brands better insight into how well their posts perform," writes Ricardo Bilton, a staff writer for the Nieman Journalism Lab. And what's in it for Facebook? The new policy increases the odds that brands will use Facebook's ad platform to get all that branded content in front of users. For more information about how to get started, visit Facebook's new Branded Content page.
"It takes a lot of work to maintain a social media presence. After you finish all the work of publishing a new blog post or unveiling a new service page on your website, the promotion has only begun," writes Adrienne Wolter on undullify.com in her "Quick Start Guide to Social Automation." While it's abundantly clear that social media has become an essential tool for small business marketers, finding the time to keep up with the work necessary for success is hard. Smart marketers take advantage of social media automation to streamline time-consuming tasks like scheduling and posting. Wolter provides and introduction to tools like IFTTT, Buffer, and the JetPack plugin for WordPress, which lighten the load and make it easier for any business to manage an active social media marketing program.
Local search is the single most important way customers find businesses today. That's why franchise brand marketers must stay on top of how Google determines what to say about their business, and what they can do to affect their listings. According to a recent blog on Mediavine Marketing, "If you've verified your business on Google Maps, your company's position in search results is based on relevance, distance, and prominence. They combine those factors to determine the best match for a person's particular search." To rise in the rankings, you first must verify your business on Google Maps; this only takes a few minutes and may be the single most important marketing task any small business has today. Relevance refers to how well your listing matches up with what a user is looking for. Distance is exactly what it sounds like, although relevance (and prominence) may outweigh it. Prominence is measured both on and offline: a famous landmark or brand will score high on prominence. But the online component is where you can have the most impact on your position. Giving Google as much information as possible - websites, social media accounts, links, articles, and reviews - is the best strategy for improving prominence, according to the blog.
In honor of reggae legend Bob Marley's birthday, April 20, Snapchat released a selfie filter that added dreadlocks, a Rastafarian hat, and - controversially - dark skin to the user's face. The company justified this by saying they did it to give people a new way to celebrate their hero, and that it was done in cooperation with Marley's estate. That was not enough to satisfy Snapchat's critics, who called the use of blackface in the modern world objectionable under any circumstances. "If there's any constant with respect to social media and the Internet, it is that somebody is going to do something incredibly stupid and racially insensitive. Congratulations to Snapchat for being the latest guilty party," wrote Michael Arseneaux in The Guardian.
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