Facebook’s Updated Algorithm to Favour Brand Tagging

Facebook’s latest algorithm changes has resulted in more favourable results towards brands that tag other brands in their status updates.

On 24th February 2014, Facebook announced that your brand’s updates can increase their reach by tagging other brands in their status. Whilst great content is one way of growing your likes and pulling in a crowd and will get you more exposure in other people’s news feeds, Facebook has now made it easier to increase your reach even further. If you tag another brand in your update, Facebook may potentially show this update to the tagged brand’s fans and followers as well as your own page’s fans and followers too.

This is what a tagged status looks like.

Facebook Brand Tagging Algorithm Update

As well as showing up in our fan’s feed, Digitally Sorted can also potentially show up in WordPress fans’ feed too, even if they’re not a fan of Digitally Sorted. And vice versa. This has huge potential to significantly increase reach.

However, the emphasis is on ‘potentially’, for Facebook won’t automatically display your updates when you tag another brand. If you’re currently writing a post with half a dozen brands tagged in it, stop now. Facebook’s new algorithm can tell if you’re going tag-crazy. For example, Facebook rates your tagged post as more high quality, the more congruent it is. So, if there’s a lot of people who like Digitally Sorted who also like WordPress then Facebook recognises that there’s something connecting the two pages. Better still, if there’s a lot of people who like WordPress and also like Digitally Sorted. Then, Facebook thinks ‘ah yes, this post would go down well amongst WordPress’ audience.’

What does this mean for brand strategy?

Think about the wider picture. You’ll probably be able to reel off half a dozen of your direct competitors but can you name brands who sit alongside you? What brands live in harmony with you? For example, if you’re a coffee brand, what are other brands that slot in nicely with you? By identifying the occasions when coffee is drunk, you can better work out your ‘friends’.

Coffee is drunk:

  • In the morning. So breakfast brands would be immediate prospects.
  • After a long day. Maybe with a book or a favourite TV Show. Therefore, what are the TV Shows that your audience like? Where would they buy their books from? What books do they enjoy?
  • With cake. Needless to say, what cake brands are often eaten with coffee?

It’s no longer good enough to think that your brand exists in a silo. It doesn’t – it sits along other lifestyle brands and building associations with these only makes your brand stronger.

Co-marketing is fast becoming the smart way for brands, in an ever-competitive and fickle industry to outrank and outreach their competitors.

Smart co-marketing taking advantage of Facebook’s new algorithm will certainly boost brands that are doing it in the ‘right’ way.

But what do you think? Is your brand open to this? As a consumer, would you appreciate seeing related brands’ posts in your feed? Or is that annoying?


Facebook’s Algorithm Changes will see more Promotion of Link Share Updates and Fewer Text Status Updates

Facebook often makes small changes to its algorithm that has larger consequences for brands. Their recent announcement was no different.

Page owners can expect to see a decrease in Facebook promotion of the amount of text status updates and may see an improvement in engagement and distribution for updates with richer content.

What does this mean for brands? Regardless of what you’re posting, Facebook advises that “In general, we recommend that you use the story type that best fits the message that you want to tell – whether that’s a status, photo, link or video,” However, if you’re going to be posting a link, it is advised to decrease these type of status updates that embed the link:

Facebook's Algorithm Changes - Text Status Update example

And instead increase these types of posts that use link share:

Facebook's Algorithm Changes - Link Share post

According to Facebook, these link share posts generate more engagement (likes, comments and shares) and as is seen, provides ‘a more visual and compelling experience’.

Facebook discovered during recent testing that when people see more text status updates from their friends, they’re inspired to write their own status updates. So much so that on average, it led to 9 million more status updates each day. However, this doesn’t have the same result as when Pages post text status updates.

It is apparently from their testing that users react to Page updates differently to friend updates and Facebook is attempting to differentiate between the two in order to serve better content to their users.

If you’re a Page owner and you see a marked difference in engagement either way for your status updates, do get in touch and share your story.

Full details of Facebook’s Algorithm Changes here >



Should you Fake it?*

The pros and cons of buying followers

It’s great to feel popular and there’s no easier way to determine your popularity through Twitter followers and Facebook likes. So it’s time to confess now – do you look at other Twitter pages and sigh with jealousy at their admirable number of followers? That’s all very well, but would you go so far as to fake your popularity?

Let’s analyse the pros and cons of buying your followers:

Pro’s of buying followers

The clout is in the numbers – the bandwagon effect certainly applies to Twitter and the more followers a Twitter account seems to have, the more importance a user places with it and therefore the more likely they are to follow. The same applies to most social networking profiles, in fact.

It’s cheap – For less than five British pounds, on the Fiverr website, you can gain as many as 10,000 Twitter followers overnight. There are also many more websites offering similar deals.

Should you buy fake followers?

Cons of buying followers

Forsaking quality for quantity – your numbers are up but your engagement remains the same. Why? Because the majority of your numbers are made up of ‘empty’ accounts. They’re mere shells so don’t go expecting any response from them. If you want retweets and valuable interaction, then your followers need to be real people who haven’t been paid to follow you.

Damaged reputation – we’re in an age where authenticity is hugely valued. If your users can’t trust you, how can they trust your products or service? Why not use Twitter’s Promoted Accounts service instead? This way, your paid-for-promotion is transparent and can still increase your followers without being underhand.

It’s a lie – no further explanation required – your popularity is a lie.

It’s the lazy way – building a loyal and engaged following takes time, thought and effort. It’s not easy, but it is fulfilling. Like building a house, you have to have solid foundations first and quality materials.

They’re not really followers – if you’ve paid for them, you can’t really claim they’re ‘followers’. They’re not even real people.

Fake followers can be dangerous – having fake followers can be like inviting hooligans to your party. Do you want them to target your genuine, lovely audience with phishing scams and dodgy links?

Admittedly, this is a rather unbalanced list, but we really can’t think of any more pro’s. However, with hundreds of companies touting their ‘fake follower’ wares and around 1 million fake accounts in circulation, it would seem there is demand for it. Indeed large brands and celebrities have been ‘caught in the act’. For example, according to the New York Times, Italian researchers, Andrew Stroppa and Carlo de Micheli have named and shamed companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Louis Vuitton, the Russia Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev and celebrities such as 50 Cents for buying followers. This doesn’t, by any means, infer that its right, even if it is legal.

Unfortunately, increasing your number of followers the ‘right way’ (ie no trickery), is down to a spot on digital strategy, great content and appropriate online personality for your audience. If this isn’t working, you need to rethink, not reach into your wallet.

And lastly, did any of you watch Dispatches ‘Celebs, brands and Fake Fans’ Monday 5th August 2013, 8pm?

* You’re on the wrong site if you’re currently wondering whether a) he knows or b) is she?



An interview with Den Lennie about Rotolight’s decision to remove his video

Having written a case study for Tempero on the Rotolight vs. Den Lennie case and a guide for how brands can deal with negative press, I decided it was time to write my own piece about this situation from a personal point of view.

There was a lot of information that I felt wasn’t appropriate to include in the articles above and after speaking with Den Lennie from F-Stop Academy I decided to write this.

Den and I had a Skype conversation, with him on video. It helps that I warmed to him immediately – he looks like a bear, big and friendly unless provoked. He’s passionate, honest and stands up for what he believes; which immediately made him a formidable enemy for Rotolight when he felt they unfairly removed his review on Vimeo. He also has a lot more followers on Twitter and Facebook than they do…

The Den Lennie Vs. Rotolight story in a nutshell

The story is a long one so I’ve condensed it to the most important bits:

Den is the owner of F-Stop Academy, a company that provides training and workshops to film-makers of all levels of experience. During a workshop in February 2013 with 8 students, one of whom had brought along a new, still boxed, Rotolight Anova LED light. Compared to the other two lights that the students were using, a Kino Flo Celeb and a Dedoflex, the Anova gave off an eerie green tinge. Understandably put out, the student who had spent £2000 on the Anova contacted Rotolight and was brushed off with the excuse that he hadn’t set it up properly. Den stepped in and took the opportunity at a trade event to demonstrate the video comparison (hosted on Vimeo) to the CEO of Rotolight.

The video:

Kino Flo Celeb vs Rotolight Anova side by side test from Den Lennie on Vimeo.

At the end of July, Den was served with a DCMA notice (copyright infringement) and Vimeo notified him that his video review had been removed. Den questioned this on Twitter and Facebook. Rotolight changed their claims to trademark infringement. A law firm in the US picked up on the story and gave free legal advice to Den stating that Rotolight had no grounds for these claims. Vimeo republish the video in early August. Rotolight issue an official statement on their website claiming they had acted on external advice, that they’re a small, family run business and such negative press is harmful for them and their suppliers and that whilst there may have been a fault with their product, they had won loads of awards for their products and had many large corporations use them for filming series and films.

Den accepted Rotolight’s apology for the way they acted in taking the video down and offered to retest their lighting, Rotolight agreed.

Rotolight vs. Den Lennie Twitter screenshot

What is outrageous about Rotolight’s behaviour?
  • Rotolight had been contacted in February 2013 by the customer who experienced the green Anova light to question the product quality. Rotolight had pretty much ignored the customer.
  • At a trade show, Den showed the Rotolight owners the comparison video to which there was approximately 15-20 seconds awkward silence. Eventually it was admitted there may be a calibration error.
  • Rotolight removed a video on completely unfounded grounds. They issued a DCMA claiming copyright infringement, which quickly changed to trademark infringement, something the DCMA doesn’t cover.
  • Rotolight tried to discredit Den Lennie’s expertise and questioned how he set up the equipment. Some people may have off days here and there, but really? You’re disputing over 20 years’ worth of experience in the industry?
  • Rotolight issued an apology, closely followed by a ‘but we’ve won loads of awards’ with links to various glowing reviews and tenuous claims of support from authority bodies. Something tells me that apology isn’t really genuine.
  • Rotolight said one thing publicly and acted differently privately. For example, they publicly offered Den a replacement light, yet only contacted him to confirm it days after. Act like you mean what you say, Rotolight.

Not at all. I feel no guilt whatsoever.”

~ Den Lennie in response to my asking whether he felt guilty about the online backlash Rotolight received.

What should Rotolight have done?

In Den’s eyes, the product was faulty. Several prominent resellers in the US and UK, as well as Directors of Photography contacted him privately to confirm that they had a similar ‘green tinge’ issue when using the Rotolight Anova. As a result, it seems likely that Rotolight would have known about this issue. Why on earth didn’t they do the smart thing and turn this into a beautiful piece of PR? By publicly thanking Den for bringing this issue to light, demanding a recall of the product and a free upgrade to customers who had invested £2000 in this product, Rotolight would have instilled trust in their consumers and maintained their integrity.

Den even admitted that had Rotolight contacted him privately (just by Googling ‘Den Lennie’ several ways to get in touch with him appear in the search results) and asked for him to suspend the video until he had had the chance to retest the product, he would have done so.

Rotolight vs. Den Lennie Tweet

A silver lining for Den Lennie

It was clear from the outset that Den would win this fight. He stood his ground, claimed only what was true and played fair. His Twitter and Facebook followers have significantly increased, many more people are now aware of him and other manufacturers have praised him for his actions. As far as reputation is concerned, this public battle has only increased Den’s authority as a trusted and independent source by suppliers, manufacturers and consumers.

The next step is for Den to re-test the light. It’ll take about a day and will result in him losing money as he won’t be working, but it’ll finally give closure to this whole palaver. The Rotolight will be tested alongside other brands in order to give a fair comparison and if Den takes up the offers, he may be joined by a colour scientist and a renowned Director of Photoraphy to act as an independent advisor. Rotolight – this is either where your products will stand up to your claims or hugely and publicly fall flat on its face. Interestingly enough, Den still stands by his original review.

I’ve tried to find ways in which Den wrongly added fuel to the fire, but I really can’t. I do honestly believe he fought fairly and squarely for what he believed in – for the injustice of taking down his video in the first place, for attempted discreditation and lack of plain apology.

Rotolight – let me know if you want any further advice. I have lots to give. If you’re willing to listen, of course.

Read the case study: Rotolight vs Dennis Lennie

Take a look at a brand’s guide to dealing with negative press online