Hey, what’s new? I’m good thanks. I love the summer down here in Brighton. The sun is shining, the World Cup has yet to disappoint and Wimbledon tennis is almost upon us. As I discovered yesterday to my complete joy, it’s possible to watch football on the big screen on Brighton beach while swimming in the sea. What could be better? *Gives self high five*
Anyway, back to business. This edition includes news of forthcoming Facebook features in the shape of A/B Testing on posts, monetised Groups, and the launch of its new tool for managing collaborations. Instagram has rolled out their long-awaited, long-form video platform IGTV, and Twitter launched a new website specifically to help you. Yes, you.
Facebook may soon allow A/B testing of Organic Page Posts
Facebook may soon be launching a way of testing which of your organic page posts are resonating most with your followers. We’ve tried to do this ourselves in the past – sending variations of the same post to different segments or at different times, but the results have always been skewed. Maybe one post performed better because it was sent at just the right time on a Wednesday, or to a particularly receptive group of people.
Who knows? This is the sort of thing that gives data-driven marketers sleepless nights. Well, hopefully, no longer.
According to @wongmjane, who was casually digging around in the Facebook source code (as we all do in our idle hours, right?) the new A/B testing feature might look a little like this
How would I be able to make use of this?
If rolled out, this new feature would allow you to send variations of the same organic post to randomly generated audience segments. You’ll then be able to look at the results and see which content gets the better engagement rates. This gives you a chance to trial content before posting it to all your followers, making sure you’ve honed it to within an inch of its life.
Remember the first rule of A/B testing (club) – only vary one thing at a time. Don’t go changing your image and text all at the same time, as you won’t be able to learn anything from this.
This new feature also gives you a good way of getting your head around the process of A/B testing itself. If you’re not already a hardened social media advertiser then you may not have much experience in testing and optimising your posts.
This could be a way of learning the ropes and building up some knowledge about the types of content that work with your audience, before putting money into advertising.
In the long run, this will make your campaigns more effective and save you money.
Instagram launches new IGTV app focused on long form video
Having hit a billion users this month Instagram has celebrated by launching a new app. IGTV allows people to view videos of up to 60 minutes in length. They’ll also be able to watch the same videos in the normal Instagram app.
In a move that sees it competing more directly with YouTube and Facebook, Instagram clearly wants to jump on board the growing consumption of video content. The differentiator will be its focus on portrait or vertical video native to smartphone screens.
The design of the app is more closely aligned to a traditional TV viewing experience (remember that?). Creators are ‘Channels’, and video autoplays when you open the app. The big difference is that anyone can start a channel simply by uploading a video via the IGTV app or desktop.
I’ve met lots of Instagrammers who were frustrated by the previous 1-minute limit. So far they’ve had to ‘hack’ the system using apps like VidStitch and chop together multiple short videos into a single post. This leads to a rather jumpy, disjointed experience for the viewer. So this news will be music to their ears.
IGTV will be rolling out on iOS and Android over the coming weeks, and you can find out more here.
What does this mean for my business?
It’s doubtful that many people will watch hour-long content via Instagram, but allowing more than a minute will prove very useful to content makers and marketers alike. Instagram is an image-rich social platform, perfectly suited to businesses with great visual content.
Being able to create longer videos will help you tell the story of your business much better. You could create video content at your latest event, demonstrate a production process, create an explainer video or simply introduce the individuals in your team to the wider world.
Used well, video content on IGTV is going to help businesses connect with customers in more authentic and personal ways and, in turn, breed trust and loyalty.
Facebook testing paid subscription groups
As Facebook Page owners saw organic reach decline since Facebook’s ‘infamous’ algorithm change of January 2018, many started Groups. This has allowed them to interact more closely with their customers and foster communities around their brands. Maintaining Groups takes time and effort. While this may be easier for large organisations, smaller businesses and individual content makers needed new ways to fund their time and effort.
Based on feedback Facebook is now trialling a feature that would allow Group owners to charge their followers a subscription fee ranging from $5 to $30 per month. They haven’t defined what sort of offering Group admins can and should make, but will doubtless analyse the takeup over the next month to see what content people are prepared to pay for.
Early testers include Groups focused around decluttering homes, preparing children for college and providing food and dietary advice. Paying subscribers will get exclusive access to live Q&As, online training, the support of a strong community and more. At present Facebook takes no cut of the money, but is likely to in the future.
Could this provide me with an additional source of income?
Well, this depends on the outcome of Facebooks current trials. Whether or not they find that Group followers are willing to pay each month for access to exclusive content is still up for debate. For a platform that has always been free for users, this represents a sea change in mentality.
That said, this subscription freemium model is well established in other arenas, such as YouTube and Spotify Premium accounts. The difference is that these services offer a wide range of content in different genres.
What Facebook is hoping to do is to entice people to pay for access to their favourite Facebook Groups. This may work if an established music artist or popular brand runs the Group, but it may be difficult to monetise new, smaller or niche communities.
If you run a successful Facebook Page and don’t already have a Group now might be the time to start one. If your offering/content is genuinely useful to your followers, they may be willing to pay a small amount in the future for continued access.
For now, work to grow your Group, prove it’s worth and perhaps even survey your followers to see if they would be willing to pay for access, how much and what you can do to meet their needs. In time, this may prove an additional source of revenue for your business.
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Twitter launches new website to help publishers
This month Twitter has launched a new website aimed at helping those who publish content to get the most out of its platform. This new portal – Twitter Media – offers tips and tricks, case studies, examples of best practice and FAQ responses. It also highlights new (and older) features that you may or may not be aware of.
For those relatively inexperienced on Twitter, this handy site promises to show you how to post engaging content that will help you grow your follower base.
If you’re a regular publisher on Twitter you’ll probably be familiar with most of the advice given on Twitter Media, but it’s always good to check in to see if there’s anything more you could be doing. It’s also worth checking out what other companies are doing on Twitter via the case studies that are being published.
Successful Twitter users post their tips and tricks for making engaging content. If you’re struggling for ideas of what to post, or which techniques to use (and let’s face it, we all have days like that), this could get those ideas flowing.
Try it out yourself at media.twitter.com and let us know how you get on.
UPDATE: Facebook launches Collabs Manager
As covered in our blog last month, Facebook has now officially launched a new platform that allows brands to search for, and partner with great social media content makers.
It’s currently only available in the US and for selected brands, but you can find out more and register your interest right here. And check out our What’s New In Social Media – June Edition to find out what this could mean for you and your brand.
That’s it from us for this month. Thanks for taking the time to read.