Monthly Archives: December 2012

SM Alert: Instagram Policy Change

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Before everyone leaves for a well-earned Christmas break, we wanted to draw your attention a big social media story this week – one that may have ramifications here at BC.

Some major changes to the Instragram user policy have been announced. For those who are not yet aware, this new intellectual property policy would give Instagram perpetual rights to sell users’ photographs without payment or notification. The public outcry has been swift against these changes, but so far Facebook (who acquired Instagram earlier this year) has been silent.

This means, everyone with an account will be subject to these new changes, as of Jan. 16. The BBC reports: “The changes also mean Instagram can share information about its users with Facebook, its parent company, as well as other affiliates and advertisers.”

We will be monitoring this story closely, but please begin backing up all your Instagram content. If no changes are made to the user policy as written, this could mark the end of our participation with this platform.

Update: Here’s an early Christmas gift for all out BC Instagram-ers. This morning Facebook released this statement. It’s a long apology to users that, in short, says: “Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”

At least for now, this would directly address the major concerns we had in participating on Instagram. Great news for one of our most popular platforms.

Click on This: Facebook EdgeRank

If you are a Facebook page admin, chances are that you’ve seen a significant drop in your page reach over the past couple weeks. You can thank the Facebook algorithm change. As Facebook starts to become more of a pay to play platform (and tries to generate more revenue for shareholders), staying current on changes is the best way to prevent wasting our limited resources.

Screen shot 2012-12-13 at 2.52.57 PMThe posts your Facebook fans see in their feeds is now based on the EdgeRank Algorithm. Three factors make it up: the “Affinity Score”, the “Edge Weight” and “Time Decay” of each post. Before your eyes glaze over, I came across this great, easy to understand  article by Jeff Wildman: EdgeRank 101

Wildman’s top takeaway is that presentation is everything. He writes: “It’s hard to trick an algorithm into thinking that your content is interesting. It’s much easier to rewrite your content so your fans leave more likes and comments.”

What are some practical ways to get the most eyes on your posts? We’ve been experimenting with the University Facebook page for the past two weeks and here’s what has been the most helpful:

1. Better, not just more content. In the simplest terms, under this new formula, comments are worth more than “likes” and “shares” are worth more than comments. People are more willing to comment or share when the content is compelling. (Keep Calm and Study On is a good example on how we tried to cover events through video. A tried and true way to generate user response is the photo contest. And our big news story of the week – Stokes Hall opening – also generated considerable buzz – and user impressions.)

2. Post at optimum times of day and night. Will your fans be checking Facebook at 2 a.m.? Probably not. We’ve found that around lunchtime, nights (between 5 and 9 p.m.) and weekends get the most response. Stay away from Facebook posts around 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. – people are busy at work or in class. Utilize this time to post on other platforms – like Twitter, YouTube or Instagram – to capitalize on people’s mobile usage.

3. Become allies. See something on the BC Facebook page that you could use? Share it. Like it. We’ll do the same. An effort is underway on our main site to tag SMC members whenever possible and share your content more. Please do the same to maximize all of our efforts.

Need to know more? Here’s a video that shows Facebook Developer George Lee on “How to Grow on Facebook” – a presentation he gave at the f8 Developer Conference. It’s a bit lengthy, but gets into the nitty gritty of EdgeRank.

What has worked for you to engage fans?

SMC 12/5 Meeting Summary

The Dec. 5 Boston College Social Media Council kicked off with a discussion about starting out in social. Led by CSON’s Samantha Levine-Neudel, the talk allowed members of established channels to share success stories. The top advice? Look, learn and contact peer schools; provide short, informative “Social Media 101” sessions with faculty or staff interested in embracing this technology and; establish a team to monitor channels and respond to concerns and questions.

Part of the discussion that was particularly noteworthy was a contribution made by the team from BC ITS. In an age of technology changing so rapidly, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t too long ago that companies and organizations had to be sold on the importance of a webpage. This extension and expansion of an online presence through SM can be seen as natural progression to many of us, but it’s important not to make assumptions that everyone is like-minded or comfortable with that trend. In fact, self-audit and evaluation of channels should be part of our best practices as social media practitioners.

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 3.12.01 PMBC ITS Director of Computer Policy & Security David Escalante was the guest presenter with “Social Media (In)Security.” (For full presentation, click here: social-media-security-dec122.) Among the top takeaways: be wary of shortened URLs – if you are unsure about the origin, utilize a site like longURLPlease.com; keep software updated; create different passwords for different channels; and never click on ads – any ads. David also pointed out this article which asks us to review social-networking security apps. It’s worth the read.

Finally, we briefly touched on two future agenda items: soliciting SMC members who may be interested in co-administering Pinterest boards or provide hashtags used for our forthcoming “Hashtag Directory” discussion. On either, please email us at social@bc.edu.

Great progress has been made this year – we’re expecting even more in the next. Thanks to all for your good work on the Council and enjoy the holiday break. (And please remember to send your additions to our virtual Christmas Tree Pinterest Board – Deck the Halls of Boston College.)

The next SMC is scheduled for Jan. 23 so mark your calendars now!

Click On This

You’ve heard about Movember. What about the Pope on Twitter? Hard to not feel all warm and fuzzy inside after reading about the NYCPD’s newest viral sensation. These are just a selection of some great social media case studies grabbing headlines in the past week.

Screen shot 2012-12-03 at 10.11.16 AMWith so much information out there, and in an effort to make us all better SM practitioners, we’re launching a new feature – “Click on This”- which aims to share interesting stories and info gleaned from the interwebs.

This week’s links are compliments of PR Daily: first up is Quinton O’Reilly’s “25 lesser known social media tips for work and play.” Some of these tips you may know, but chances are there are one or two you don’t. The second is Matt Wilson’s “The stories that work best on Facebook” which provides helpful reminders about what works best on that platform.

Also, prior to Wednesday’s Social Media Council, here’s some food for thought: Jessica Turner’s “7 proven ways to create viral Pinterest posts.” Our Boston College Pinterest page has gotten a few good hits on the small scale, but nothing close to virality. We’re interested in hearing what “brand” pins interest you most and thoughts about how to add shared boards to our offerings.

Finally, this is a great read from Jasmine Henry “The 6 most irritating ways to use hashtags on Twitter.” This story quotes the “guy who brought hashtags out of the geekosphere” cautioning against overuse. As we start our discussion about how to utilize hashtags on our platforms strategically and more effectively, it may be helpful to know what NOT to do.

Have a social media story to share? Post them below and let us know why you find it interesting.