Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

What is Facebook Graph Search and how to optimize your content for it

If you are spending most of your time on Facebook you might as well also carry out your daily dose of searches on the social networking website. Almost every individual and every business that is on the Internet is also there on Facebook. So that is why Facebook is coming up with its own search engine called Graph Search. How is it going to be different from conventional search engines like Google?

Facebook is people based. In the name of improving user experience Facebook is able to extract as much information from its users as possible. It knows how old you are, where you live, where you work, which school and university you attended, with whom you are hanging out, who is your spouse or brother or sister, which foods you like to eat, which books you like to read and which movies you have recently seen or would like to see. This kind of detailed information is not available to conventional search engines, although with Google Plus Google is trying to break that barrier. In fact Google is changing its ranking algorithm in such a manner that people will be forced to use Google Plus if they want to improve their search engine rankings as well as search engine traffic.

Anyway, back to the Facebook Graph Search. Facebook is all about wanting to know what your friends and relatives are doing. You trust your friends, at least more than the search engine ranking algorithms. The search results that you get on Facebook will be totally different from those appearing on Google simply because the Facebook search results will be based on the preferences of your friends.

Take for instance, you want to read some sci-fi books that your friends have recently read. On Graph Search you will look for the following:

“Sci-fi books my friends like”

Or if you want to find a good coffee shop in London (I know, quite a broad search) you can search for

“London coffee shops my friends like”

Or if you want to find out something more specific

“London coffee shops my female friends like”


“London coffee shops my friends have been to”

You can replace London with any other city, and you can replace coffee shops to any other business.

The basic idea behind Facebook Graph Search is that it is based on your friends’ recommendations and preferences. It is totally human-based. Most of the data has been submitted by people themselves and hence there is little chance of error.

Optimizing your content for Facebook Graph Search

Relevance and quality, as usual, are always relevant. Content marketing that also involves social media marketing, should also take care of how you create content on social networking websites, in this case, Facebook. What language you use when you post your updates can alter the way you appear on Facebook search results. It is based on natural language processing as you might have experienced in Apple’s Siri.

Remember that your presence on Facebook becomes popular when people “like” your content or share it on their own timelines. For example, in order to find my services people may look for “content writer my friends like”. To make sure I appear in these search results, I need to make sure that enough number of people, and right type of people, like my Facebook page or my Facebook updates.

In order to optimize your content for Facebook Graph search

  • Use the language people use (if they are looking for a content writer, then actually use this expression while creating your content)
  • Post relevant content so that people “like” it and share it
  • Use social buttons on your website so that people can easily post your links on their own timelines without having to leave your website or blog
  • Encourage people to leave comments on your website using Facebook
  • Create great content on your website or blog so that people have a reason to promote your links and talk about your website or blog
  • Establish yourself as an authority

As you can see, the same rules that apply to creating content in general also apply to optimizing your content for Facebook Graph search. Be regular, stick to quality and relevance and give people a reason to appreciate your presence on Facebook.


Why you need a Facebook page and how to increase your fans with quality content

Creating a Facebook page is a great way to build a community around your product, brand or identity. More than 99% Fortune 500 companies have a Facebook presence (it differs from company to company how much they engage their customers and clients via their pages).

It takes a few minutes to create a Facebook page but it can take months to get a decent number of fans. Creating a page over there can be as simple as using its default features or as intricate as creating an interactive Facebook app to take your presence to an entirely different level.

Lets quickly go through some benefits of having a Facebook page.

  • It can act as your landing page: Since you can make your Facebook page as interactive and feature-rich as any other web page you can easily create a landing page for your product or service. Since you cannot create multiple pages you will have to take down one page in order to create another. Or you can have different tabs as different landing pages and then randomly decide on which tab people should land when they visit your page.
  • It can help you build a community around a product, service or idea: Just as birds of same feather flock together people of similar interest try to find people like them. There are many gadget companies that create Facebook pages to post interesting stuff about their gadgets and then have interactions with their fans. You can get valuable feedback from your fans. Some of those fans can turn into your evangelists and promote your product, service or idea on their own timelines, websites and blogs. The basic idea behind building a community is developing a kinship with your fans and having regular interactions with them to maintain a buzz around your presence.
  • It can act as a press release: Whether you’re launching a new product, testing a prototype, or giving an offer on your various products or services, you can announce that on your Facebook page. A good thing about releasing your news on your Facebook page is you will get instant feedback. So if you have just launched a product, you can include a link to the purchase page of that product and you can immediately see your sales soaring. Provided you have a considerable number of fans it can be a great PR tool for you in case you get some bad press.
  • Your Facebook fan page can help you build an audience: Suppose you are an artist or a writer and you want to build your own fan base. Just imagine what a boost you will get if you have 10,000 fans on your Facebook page. A good thing about having more fans is there is a greater probability of you getting more fans much faster. As a writer it will certainly give you an edge when you are negotiating with publishers or looking for agents. People who have become your fans will be more eager to buy your books. Similarly, if you are an actor people who have become your fans will be more eager to see your movie, and hence it will be profitable for producers and casting directors to prefer you over another actor who doesn’t have a solid Facebook presence.

These are some selective benefits and there can be a long list of other benefits of having a Facebook page.

Getting more Facebook fans with quality content

Eventually it all boils down to what sort of content you post on your Facebook page. Remember that you have to engage your audience. Your content must be inspiring, informative, provocative and thought-provoking. Since they have liked your page they expect you to say something authoritative, knowledgeable and useful. You are like a thought leader. They look up to you.

Publishing content on your Facebook page differs from field to field. It depends on your audience. A Paris Hilton audience would be totally different from, let us say, a Salman Rushdie audience (yup, I’m stereotyping here but that’s the reality). So you have to understand the dynamics of your audience and post your content accordingly.

A professional content writer can help you study your audience and then create your Facebook page content accordingly.

Three things get you a greater number of fans on Facebook:

  1. Regular posting
  2. Sticking to the interest of your fans
  3. Interacting with your fans however much possible

Regular posting

Regular posting gives you constant visibility. Timelines on Facebook move very fast. No matter how popular you are if you don’t post for a couple of weeks nobody really misses you unless your presence is indispensable. So you have to appear in the timelines of your fans as much as possible. There are different frequencies for different types of audience, 4-5 postings everyday is the least amount of content you should create and post.

Regarding creating quality content, it doesn’t always have to come from you. If you come across an interesting link that you think your fans will find useful, post that link. If you find something controversial, post that and invite your fans to give their comments. You can also share stuff from people you are friends with on Facebook and other social networking websites. Use different sources to keep your Facebook page timeline buzzing.

Sticking to the interests of your fans

Your fans follow you for a reason. If you are a writer, they expect literary content from you or something related to your writing pursuits, or whatever is happening in the field of literature, writing and publishing. Of course you can also express your views on whatever is happening in the world at a particular time, but you should maintain a ratio of 80:20 – 80% your subject and 20% general interest.

Interacting with your fans however much possible

Social networking is after all 1-1 interactions. If you just post and never respond to your fans’ comments people gradually begin to lose interest, especially when they are addressing to you and they don’t get a reply. It gives them an ego boost when you personally reply to their quarries especially if you are a budding celebrity. If you are a business then people will most probably comment about how fantastic or how lousy your product or service is. Try to respond to positive and negative feedbacks as early as possible because timeliness makes your conversations more effective and relevant.

So keep on posting relevant, quality content on your Facebook page and see your fans growing with great speed in a matter of a few months.

As a business person or as an artist it is not feasible to focus on your core area and also focus on your Facebook page. Sooner or later you will need professional help, especially when it comes to regularly posting quality content on your Facebook page.


How to make your headlines social media friendly

Since lots of your traffic may come from social media and social networking websites through plenty of sharing and re-tweeting you need to create your web page and blog post headlines/titles keeping that in mind. Here is a nice post on Making your web content headlines more shareable.

Of course in order to create enough incentive for sharing your content you need to deliver some value.

With that out of the way, the blog post linked above rightly says that keep the number of characters in your headline to the minimum because re-tweeting adds more characters to the update and considering there are just 140 characters you can post on Twitter at a time, the real estate is quite precious. Nick has recommended 80 characters but it depends on the underlying message you want to deliver through your headline. Sometimes I pay special attention to creating smaller and succinct headlines/titles and sometimes I don’t care much. It’s not that I want to make things difficult for people who want to share my content via Twitter, it’s just that when they really want to share the content, they can come up with their own ingenious ways (even to the extent of creating their own shorter headlines – I do that sometimes with other people’s content). The objective here is not creating headlines to facilitate easier sharing, it is making your overall content shareable enough.

Another important topic touched upon in the blog post is the relevancy and topical significance of your headline. How relevant is the headline to the current and ongoing mood among your followers? It must satisfy a need and preferably some pressing, current requirement. It also depends on your audience and basically what it is looking for.

For instance, most of the content appearing on my blog deals with content writing, content marketing and content strategy. This is an ongoing topic and it doesn’t deliver instant results (although in many cases it might). It is an ongoing education. It is reference material that you can use again and again or as you need. People share it if they find it useful, rather than compelling. They also share it/re-tweet it when they agree with it or don’t agree with it.

So shareability of your headline depends

  • The convenience of sharing it (it’s size)
  • Its relevance
  • Its topical significance
  • The manner in which it imparts a message (short, succinct and compelling)
  • Your social media presence

The last point is also important. Simply creating great content and compelling headlines isn’t going to make people share your content with their friends and followers. They need to be familiar with you, they need to be comfortable with your presence and they should know that in more than 70% posts you deliver quality content.


The benefits of having a Google +1 button on your website

Although this has got nothing directly to do with content writing and content marketing, since it can help my clients I have decided to write on this topic. Frankly, I haven’t really started using Google Plus as regularly as I use Facebook and Twitter, but the Google +1 button is slightly different from the social networking platform Google is trying to promote.

What is the Google +1 button?

You can see the Google +1 button on the top of this blog post (most probably on the right hand side at the top).

It can be used like a “thumbs up” act by your visitors. If you’re familiar with how the Digg button works, with every click, the number of people who have “plussed” your link increases. On Digg, the more diggs you have, the better is your chance of getting on homepage and all of sudden increasing traffic to your website by hundreds of thousands. I am personally not very impressed with the sort of traffic you get from but that is just a difference of opinion I guess.

The Google +1 button achieves almost the same thing, but instead of helping you get to the homepage of, it helps you improve your search engine rankings. It is something like page rank: the more “trusted” websites and blogs link to you, the better your search engine rankings get.

The Google +1 button is a step closer to “humanizing” search engine results. So far, almost all the search engines have depended on ranking algorithms to rank various links. Although these algorithms are mathematically sound, after all they are algorithms, and whenever you have algorithms, people can devise workarounds.

But if actual human beings start recommending web pages and blog posts by clicking on the Google +1 button it increases their relevance in the real sense. Then Google doesn’t have to depend much on its algorithms and its search engine results are more validated and relevant. So if you have a Google +1 button on your website, you are allowing your visitors to help you improve your search engine rankings. When they click on your Google +1 button they recommend your link to – “Rank this link well, it is definitely good!”

It is like “social search”. This concept has been introduced by many newcomer search engines.

Some even say immediately crawls your web page and indexes it the moment you install the Google +1 button on it. I’m not particularly sure of that. Anyway, if you regularly publish content on your website or blog, your content gets indexed within a few seconds or a few minutes of the new content appearing on your website or blog.

Another benefit of having a Google +1 button on your website or blog

The Google +1 button also allows you to post the link you are presently on directly to your Google Plus profile. It is like, Facebook or Twitter plug-in that allows you to straightaway post the link under your profile.

How to install a Google +1 button on your website or blog

The direct way to install the Google +1 button is by heading to the official Google webpage dedicated to the button. This page has code snippets that you need to insert into your website. The first code snippet is for the button to appear wherever you want it to appear, and the second code snippet is the required JavaScript that you will be putting within the

section of your website.

If you manage your blog or website with WordPress (as I do) you can simply install a plug-in to display the Google +1 button. This is not the only recommended plug-in – you can use whatever you prefer. If you’re using a social media plug-in as you can see on the left hand side of this blog post, it might already be coming up preloaded with the Google +1 one button feature.

Here is a small video on the Google +1 one button (from


Creating content for Twitter and Facebook

Creating content for Twitter and Facebook is all about targeting and engagement (I know, clichéd expressions, but they are relevant). Remember that people interested in Twitter and Facebook marketing aren’t interested in the billions of members, they are interested in vertical niches, even if it means interacting with merely 100 individuals.

You need to create content in such a manner that it creates a platform for your target audience/customers/clients to interact with you. You become easily reachable to them. The content must be generated according to people who will likely follow you on Twitter and Facebook. And they shouldn’t just follow you, they should also respond to your content and share it, among their own friends and followers.

Even among Twitter and Facebook, the formats are quite different. You post content on Twitter mostly

  • To forward relevant news and updates about your business, about your product or service, or about any event affecting your customers and clients
  • To share interesting information on your own website/blog or from somewhere else
  • To share interesting thoughts and anecdotes
  • To interact with people who want to interact with you or with whom you want to interact
  • To post answers to queries made by your customers and clients regarding your products and services
  • To carry out awareness and PR campaigns

Facebook on the other hand is more informal and flexible simply because you can post more than 140 characters (a limitation in Twitter). Compared to Twitter, it is easier to post videos, images and links on Facebook, although you can easily share links to videos and images on Twitter too. Before deciding on what sort of content you want to produce, you have to figure out where your audience hangs out; is it Facebook, Twitter or both? If it isn’t both, you shouldn’t waste your time creating content for both.

For Twitter, as already mentioned above, you create content to share information, internal and external links, reply to questions from customers and other people and to create general awareness. Visibility is very crucial on Twitter. People’s timelines are extremely fast and within a couple of minutes your updates are going to scroll down out of their sight. It doesn’t mean that you constantly post, but be as regular as you can. On Twitter, you are known by the tweets you post. So be very careful what causes you associate with and what ideas you promote. Your messages become your brand on Twitter, no matter what your profile says. Twitter is also used for curating… more on that later on.

Facebook is being used by many individuals and companies as a full-fledged content publishing platform. People are posting long updates in the blog format and they seem to be working quite well. Facebook is more transparent in the sense that people can immediately see which users are responding to your content in various manners (replying, commenting, sharing and liking). You can also create your company’s Facebook fan page and initiate a dialogue with your customers and clients through it. Most of the mainstream companies these days have a vibrant Facebook fan page (it is another matter how they manage it).

No matter what platform you choose, the basic idea of having a Twitter or Facebook profile is to facilitate real-time two-way communication between you and your audience. It is well and good that people should appreciate your content over there and your content should go viral and lots of people should share it. But all this means is, you get more people to talk to and exchange ideas with. That’s the fundamental purpose of creating content for Twitter and Facebook: expanding your circle of influence.