Last month, Facebook expanded its ability for influencers to work with Brands in its “Facebook Branded Content" advertising solution. This is advertising integrated with an influencer’s own content, which promotes a third party. Although it isn’t as sexy as Facebook Live or Facebook Reactions and therefore not getting the same attention, for the purposes of brand marketing on social media, it can be invaluable. It’s a nuanced change in the otherwise seismic world of Facebook updates, but it’s one not to be ignored. Facebook is specific in its advertising rules, unless third party content is part of a paid campaign through Facebook, it’s prohibited on “blue ticked” Verified pages. The rules state, “Third-party advertisements on Pages are prohibited, without our prior permission.” Facebook defines Branded Content as “any post — including text, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360 videos, and Live videos — that specifically mentions or features a third party product, brand, or sponsor. It is typically posted by media companies, celebrities, or other influencers.” Somewhat because it’s tough to enforce, and mostly because Influencer Marketing is taking larger and larger portions of the marketing mix, Facebook is adjusting its policies to accommodate this trend. Updates to Facebook’s Branded Content Policies Include the Following: Only Verified Pages: Branded Content coming from “Verified Pages” must abide by the Branded Content rules. These are the pages with the “blue badge” beside it, and are usually associated with media, celebrities, and influencers. Newly Approved Content: Verified Pages can share a Promotion, Videos or Photos featuring a third party Brand, Links, Text, Instant Articles, 360 video, Endcards, Product Placement, Sponsor logos, and posts that clearly disclose the content is sponsored or provided by a third party. (Live Video will also be rolling out soon, but it is not live at launch) Branded Content Tool: This tool ensures that the Brand associated with this content is permanently attached to the post. Any time this piece of content is shared, the Brand mention will go along with it. This tool will also allow marketers to track the performance of the post, and allow for more transparency when partnering with influencers. Although a Branded Content post looks very similar to any other post (that’s the point of course), the dead giveaway is the word “with” after the name of the influencer and before the Brand. See the Lady Gaga example below as an example: The number one benefit with Facebook’s Branded Content, aside from the reach and impressions generated, is the wealth of insights. When an influencer shares Branded Content associated with your Brand, you will be notified of it and have access to post level data. This means that Brands will be able to see performance metrics of this content the same way you would be able to see metrics for your own posts. With these insights, you will know how particular influencers and media outlets deliver exposure for your brand. Moreover, you can share the post with your own followers, and provide paid support, furthering the reach. In the world of Facebook, this won’t have the same impact on engagement rates for your Brand’s content as Facebook Live, but it will provide you with a much more transparent and holistic view of your Influencer marketing campaigns. Where appropriate, you should encourage your Influencers to use the Branded Content Tool, and when required, you should make sure they are using it. Facebook will start enforcing this new rule, and removing any content that is not in line with the new guidelines. As a rule of thumb, if you’re working with a “Blue Ticked” Influencer, and they are posting about your Brand, make sure they are using the Branded Content Tool. Source: Facebook; VentureBeat
Poor LinkedIn. In the world of social media, it’s like the class bookworm in the library while Facebook and Snapchat are out at the bars partying. Well much like the bookworm that eventually may become a CEO, we are about to witness LinkedIn’s coming of age. The social media site for professionals is in a unique position when it comes to the workforce. Whereas Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are how people share their personal stories, LinkedIn is becoming the way people share their professional stories. Where perennial giants like Facebook face stiff competition from whatever the newest social media platform is, LinkedIn is all but the official social network for professionals. Its purpose is clearly defined, and this ownership of the space will propel the site to be exceptionally important as the state of the workforce changes both at home and abroad. It’s imperative that brands are ahead of this shift. LinkedIn is moving away from simply connecting individual professionals, to connecting the workforce with organizations on a much larger and impactful scale. By 2020, 40% of the workforce will be “freelancers”. Chalk up the change to millennials refusing a 9to5 (really an 8:30 to 5:30), and wanting to readjust a shockingly dysfunctional work/life balance. As this change occurs, recruiting the right people will be increasingly difficult. This is where LinkedIn gets its aforementioned CEO stripes. These freelance workers will need a place to show their work and their professional stories, separate from their personal social media accounts. Let’s look at China as an example, where this sector of freelance professionals is experiencing exponential growth. The middle-class in China, LinkedIn’s bread and butter and where it really differentiates itself from the competition, is growing at a rapid pace. With all of these workers job hunting, companies will be placing and increased emphasis on hiring the right people. In an effort to improve talent sourcing and acquisition for brands and businesses in China, amongst other initiatives, LinkedIn has just signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China International Intellectech Cooperation, a major Chinese human resources organization. Under the agreement, the two will team up to provide global talent solutions to Chinese enterprises. For now they’re exploring and growing this strategy where the demand for it is present, but we can expect to see LinkedIn make similar pushes outside of China. As brands continue to ramp up their social efforts, they shouldn’t overlook LinkedIn so quickly. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is a “Best in Class” example of how an organization can capitalize on LinkedIn strategy. Although their Facebook page is populated with pictures of its most exotic hotels, on LinkedIn you’ll be greeted by happy and fulfilled Four Seasons employees, and write ups extolling the benefits of working for the organization. It may not be a place for marketing messages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, but it will be where you can find the most valuable asset in your company, your newest hires. The question then becomes, “How does LinkedIn monetize this concept?” LinkedIn is making a concerted effort to expand its advertising solutions. LinkedIn has recently introduced a new offering for advertisers called “LinkedIn Account Targeting”, it’s the first part of the company’s “Audience Match” program. “LinkedIn Account Targeting” allows advertisers to target their Sponsored Updates and Sponsored InMail campaigns to specific accounts, accounts that represent meaningful results. Its value proposition to advertisers is “we can help you hire the right people (and buy some advertising so we can show your job postings to those people).” In addition to the size of its user base, its unique and differentiated position in the social media space, and its expanded advertising solutions, LinkedIn can prove to be a valuable tool. Full disclosure, I used LinkedIn to get my job here at AMP!