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Facebook Business Guide – Max out your Facebook Reach without spending a cent!

There is plenty of information about Facebook out there, from amateurs to expert users, from major business branding to online marketing experts – everyone has something to say about Facebook.

Yet, we at bab.la thought that that information was somewhat scattered across the Internet. So we decided to gather the essential you need in a step-by-step guide that will help you out from setting up a Facebook account all the way to having an active Facebook business page, with loads of Likes, high Reach and strong “Talking About” rates.

Source: Facebook

In this guide, you will find all you need explained in a very plain way: many pictures, all the aspects you can adjust later and the points of no return where you must make a decision carefully. Are you a newbie on Facebook? The guide has it all spilled out. Do you already have a running page that you feel could perform better? It presents ideas and examples of successful pages. Are there some technicalities or jargon you do not quite grasp? Find the light you seek in the corresponding chapter of the guide.

A significant part of this guide is marketing  related. If you are only aiming at a basic page, the first section is for you. The second half is more business and communication oriented; it is meant for users who will spend some time and energy building up their Facebook presence and pushing the social medium to a high level of communication.

The guide is free and can be found below.  If you like it, feel free to share it, like this blog post, write an article about it – any form of support is welcome!

Facebook Business Guide by bab.la

Facebook is constantly evolving and adding new features, offering new possibilities and giving more leeway. Therefore you should be aware this guide is only comprehensive within an extent. We will however try to keep it as updated as quickly as possible as Facebook grows.

You can find us on Facebook here 🙂

John

Top Ten Tips for your Website Relaunch

bab.la is in the process of relaunching its website bit by bit. We started with our most important product: the bab.la dictionaries. There are many aspects to take into consideration to relaunch such a big part of the website. Here I would like to compile a checklist of factors website owners, SEOs and programmers should acknowledge and evaluate.

  1. Firstly it is vital to define a strategy and with it the goals you want to achieve with modifying your web presence. It should not be the case that you or your boss are just tired of the design of the page because you are looking at it every day. You should consider the audience and users’ needs when deciding on new designs, changing the navigation or adding new tools. Also, an excellent website relaunch is planned, takes place in phases, is tested and constantly improved.

    With the relaunch of the bab.la website in May 2012 we also changed our logo.

  2. A search engine friendly site architecture is an important factor for a crawler and ultimately for the user to discover and understand a website. Sites that generate a lot of traffic should not be on a low hierarchical level so it is easy to travel to that site from the homepage. Furthermore a cross linking between the strong pages is vital because this is increasing the link popularity and finally the ranking of the site.
  3. When relaunching a website it is most likely that you will change the site architecture and with it the URLs as well. Examples are that you are renaming or merging categories or that you change from or to subdomains. These decisions need to be discussed and agreed upon at the beginning in your vision and strategy. Here it should also be considered to change to SEO/user-friendly URLs. Now you need to map out all old pages and relate them to the new URLs with a 301 permanent redirect. This will eliminate 404-Error pages and direct users from search engines to the now correct pages.
  4. On top of that you also want to keep tracking your traffic, conversions and your adwords campaigns. This means to transfer your old analytics to the new website so your account will continue to show all your data. Especially now, but also on any other day, it is crucial to see what is happening on your website, how users react to the changes, if the bounce rate increases and if you still get enough people through the important and correct sources. You should also let the Google Webmaster tools know that you have moved to a new domain.
  5. Redesigning and restructuring the website is not the only part you should be thinking about. It is vital that you also consider your mobile users. There are certain options you can choose but the most advanced technique is probably building your website with HTML5 and make it responsive to all mobile devices. Additionally you can also create apps for the most popular mobile operating systems iOS and Android.

    The bab.la homepage in May 2011.

  6. As many SEOs in the industry point out it gets more and more important to create a brand, especially since the recent Panda and Penguin updates. Meaning that a keyword domain, or an exact-match domain (EMD) as Google calls them, will not generate success in the long term. Build a brand, design or redesign your logo and update your website with all the relevant brand messages.
  7. Careful with duplicate content! This seems to be an evergreen subject but it really is important, especially since the Google algorithm updates (especially Panda and Penguin). Remember that search engines read texts, so do not hide the good content in images. This is also important for the navigation because flash menus are invisible for search engines. Use the important keywords wisely and do not overdo it. Do also take a look at your titles and description in order for them not to be duplicates either. Check the Google Webmaster Tools in the HTML Improvements tab to find out more.
  8. When you moved parts of your website or the whole project to different domains and URLs then your link building strategy has to accompany that change. Contact all the websites again and ask them to include your new link and explain shortly how you improved the website.

    The bab.la homepage in November 2012 after the relaunch in May in the same year.

  9. Now, and this should be done throughout the whole process, it is time to test. Test everything. The new design, new products, new functionalities and the new site architecture. Also consider different devices and browsers. Test it within your team because they know how the website should work and can spot mistakes easily. But then you also need to test with external users who are not as familiar with the project as you and your team are. They will uncover problems you would not have thought of in a million years. Things that are obvious to you might not be so obvious to a ‘normal’ user of your website.
  10. Lastly, you also want to let everyone know that you have relaunched your page. Use press portals, social media, your corporate blogs and newsletters to direct attention to your new site.

There are obviously more things you have to consider when relaunching your website, and they also depend on the structure of your site, the goals you want to achieve, and the target groups you want to reach. If you think there are some important points missing then please add them in the comments below!

Stefanie

Recap of the OMCap SES Berlin

For the third time the OMCap – SES Berlin is taking place in the German capital of Berlin. The OMCap is a conference dedicated to all online marketing disciplines, best and worst practices, as well as trends and tips for future implementations of online marketing strategies. The conference is organized by André Alpar, who has been part of the SEO community for over a decade and is now a partner in the German SEO agency AKM3 GmbH.

The line-up for this year’s conference was again impressive and showcased sessions by renowned SEOs and other online marketing professionals from Germany and other European countries. The conference was a two-day event with seminars and workshops on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 and the all-day sessions on Thursday, October 11, 2012. The conference took place in the Kosmos Berlin which used to be the biggest cinema in the former GDR and was the perfect location for a conference with comfortable cinema seats with good view on the stage.

The conference on Thursday started off with the introduction by event organizer André Alpar followed by the keynote by Sebastain Schreiber from the Syss GmbH. His keynote was a very interesting start into the day as he showed, under the title “Live Hacks” how easy and quick it can be to hack into mobile phones, laptops, tablet computers and even online shops in order to change the price of several items. After that the conference was divided into four tracks of sessions beginning at 9:45.

My first choice was to go to the session by Maik Metzen and Frank Hohenleitner who talked about sustainable link building strategies. A relevant topic considering recent updates on Google’s algorithms to clean the web from spam through unnatural and black hat marketing practices. After giving an overview about the Penguin update with examples Maik gave recommendations on how to improve SEO linkbuilding strategies. Along with this, Frank talked about a few tools to evaluate a site where a backlink is or was placed better.

The second session Maile Ohye gave insights on how we can create sustainable online marketing strategies with the help of the Google Webmaster Tools. She works for Google in the Unites States and gave a very lively and interesting presentation showcasing the search persona workflow that should help webmasters and online marketers finding the right metrics, increasing the crawl efficiency, get most of your sites indexed and appear in the SERPS the way people will actually click and engage with your site.

The third slot just before lunch was a difficult one to decide upon. There were two interesting sessions but eventually I decided to listen to Aaron Axelsson and what he had to say about Black Hat SEO.  There were some interesting view points on different linkbuilding techniques and what, according to his experience and opinion, still works well, such as link buying and snapbacks. Although he also pointed out that those techniques are not seen to have a long-term success but are rather short-term quick wins. After that he referred to things he would not recommend to do linkbuilding with, such as open blog networks, sponsored posts and infographics. Aaron finished his presentation with the advice to “stay under the radar!”

After those first three sessions we all were invited to join for a lunch buffet with more networking and catching up with people from the industry. Furthermore it was a good opportunity to recharge the batteries, laptops and brains alike, as there were four more sessions ahead of us.

The first session of the afternoon was supposed to be held by Marcus Tandler and Niels Doerje who discussed the topics search and social in 2013; unfortunately Marcus was not able to join the conference that day. At first, it was not entirely clear in which direction this session would go but there were some interesting ideas I would like to point out. Starting off with the quote by Niels that “Google is constantly becoming faster in its verticalisation” he referred to the history of the search giant, its business decisions and goals for the future. When we look at what acquisitions Google is making, what kind of patents they registered, in which product partnerships Google engages and even who they are about to hire, the online marketing industry can conclude what is about to be introduced and what adjustments SEOs have to make.

Following this session a panel discussion with recognised SEOs from the online marketing industry was held: Sistrix founder Johannes Beus, Searchmetrics founder Marcus Tober and ex-Google support engineer Fili Wiese. The ‘SEO All Star Panel’ was moderated by Jens Fauldrath. This session definitely promised to be insightful. Questions about the development of Google and its most important steps in 2012, the [not provided] issue, the warnings webmasters received in the Google Webmaster Tools, the tagging with schema.org elements and finally opinions on Yahoo! were raised during the discussion.

After this very enlightening discussion the speakers Marcus Tober and Karl Kratz dared another look into the future and talked about the ranking factors for 2013. Marcus spoke about a study his company has carried out for the ranking factors of 2012 for Germany which they have renewed for the following year. According to their survey respondents found it to be more important to create a brand rather than using keywords in your domain or URL. Further the survey also showed that the +1’s might have the strongest impact on search among all social signals. Karl continued the session in a very entertaining way talking about four ranking factors he chose to be important with the focus on the content of a website and optimised texts. For his presentation he also won the “Best Speaker” award at the end of the night.

The last session of the day discussed ways to use SEO with other marketing disciplines. Sepita Ansari from the Catbird Seat GmbH talked about SEO with content marketing, PR, SEA, Usuablity and many more. Most importantly he pointed out that SEO cannot be seen as a “silo” anymore, meaning, that SEO alone will not ensure success without other inbound and paid marketing techniques.

Following the eventful day the official part of the conference was over and all attendees were invited for drinks and food and had time to network and enjoy the atmosphere in this great location.

Concluding, the OMCap in Berlin was a successful event with some insightful and entertaining presentations. The organising team did a very good job, the location was a great choice and there had been some useful information I could take from the seven sessions I saw. Thanks to everyone who made this conference a success and I might see you again next year.

Stefanie

 

PS: Thank you, OMCap for providing the photos!

What is a good Facebook Virality rate?

After gathering data from dozens of Facebook Pages over the last few months, we have some data to present about virality rates. What is the average virality rate? How popular should you expect your posts and shares to be? How are you positioning? We have here exclusive answers to questions you have been asking.

First of all, here is the background of the study and the profile of our respondents. A large proportion of the Facebook Pages are related to education (about 30% of them), however there also is a lot of e-commerce and product/brand Pages (close to 25%). Other categories include entertainment, local business and news.

Regarding the size of the Pages – understand number of Likes – our panel was quite varied! On an average, a Page has 16,555 Likes, however they ranged from 123 to 200.050 Likes. Unless you are a worldwide-known celebrity or a listed company, you should find yourself to be in those waters.

What do Page managers do with their Pages?

Let us now have a look at the trends the interviewees reported.

Regarding the frequency of posting, 2 interesting results appeared from the answers: about 40% of users post several times a day and just as many 2 to 4 times a week. Barely 20% post daily and only 3% post less than once a week.

When asked the nature of posts that are the most successful, there is a strong incline for informative posts or links, deemed by 48% of users to be among the most popular. Then come personal pictures, reaching 33%, and informative videos with 29%. It should be mentioned that all choices offered were selected by people taking the survey.

On the other end, the least popular posts happen to be, surprisingly enough, informative posts and links as well, voted by over 72% of respondents. Far behind stand polls (28%) and debates or games with 17%. Among the several choices offered, personal pictures, funny pictures and funny posts/links were voted by none as unsuccessful posts and can be considered as such some of the safest choice for some interaction.

 

Reach, engaged users, talking about, virality

Let’s focus on figures now. We asked our participants about their average Reach, amount of engaged users, talking about and virality rates.

On an average, the Reach per post is 3,415. However this depends on the amount of Likes you have gathered; 3,415 corresponding to the average mentioned earlier 16.555 Likes, the Reach rate is just above 20% the amount of Likes. The weakest Reach reported was 70, which, assuming is from the same Page of the 123-Like Page, makes a 57% Reach. On the other hand, if the highest Reach rate (25,502) comes from the 200,050 Like Page, the percentage is only 12,7. We can conclude from these that smaller Pages have higher chances of reaching more users than large scale ones.

Engaged users seem to be harder to get. Facebook defines engaged users as users who clicked on the post. The average figure in this category is 110, with data ranging from 2 to 512. Consequently, the number of average users should be about 0.66 of your number of Likes.

The talking about rate builds up from Likes, comments and shares your Page benefits from. Thus inactive Pages are likely to have a talking about rate close to nil. Our data revealed an average of 33, with rates from 0 to 192. Percentagewise, this means 0,2% of your total Likes. You can find more about talking about rate in another article of ours #here# (http://blog.bab.la/online-marketing/how-to-tell-whether-your-facebook-marketing-is-crap-average-or-great/).

Finally, virality. Writing such post that become viral is a tough job and often frustrating – surely the figures Facebook give to you are low, extremely low even. You can relax, most Pages do have weak virality rates – the average amount reached is 1,38%, with Pages scoring from 0 to 2,8%.

So this is how Facebook Pages are used and what they hide. It’s very difficult to get users to reveal confidential data such as virality for many consider them private and confidential. Thanks to all the participants in this survey, we now have a better understanding of how Facebook statistics works and what sort of goal you should aim at. Are your figures completely different from our study? We would like to hear from you! Share your experience on Facebook with us and check our own Facebook Page.

John

Tell me how often you ‘Like’, I’ll tell you where you’re from: A cross-language comparison of the use of the Like button (2012 version)

Twelve months ago, we carried out a study about Facebook Likes across 13 languages to determine which speakers were the most inclined to click on Facebook’s omnipresent Like button. The results brought conclusive trends that revealed the gap between some speakers very spontaneously clicking and others more reluctant to do so. A year has passed and we have carried out the same analysis, with the addition of Danish, to get an overview of how these 2011 trends have evolved in a different direction or remained as they were. What’s your bet?

Before we strip the numbers, some points we would like to mention:

We gathered the Facebook likes since adding the functionality in April 2011 until August 2012. Like Buttons are gathered by language (bab.la operates by language subdomains).

The number of Internet users per country and Facebook users per country were taken from Internetworldstats. These are snapshots and quite recent numbers (December 2011 and March 2012 respectively) but they are not 100% accurate (we are comparing longitudinal Like button data with one-time user numbers). Nonetheless, we feel that the time frame considered is short enough to do this kind of comparison.

Our visitor numbers are based on Google Analytics. As we gathered the Like buttons by language we grouped the bab.la users this way as well. In some countries (such as Switzerland) many languages are spoken so we needed to make a choice which language group the country belonged to. We checked on the country level which language subdomain was used most and then added the country accordingly.

As we launched the Danish version of bab.la in October 2011, the Danish numbers suffer some slight disadvantage, yet it is still interesting to see how they are positioned among other languages.

Let’s see how many likes we’ve accumulated in 12 months:

 

Graph 1: Number of likes per language (August 2012)

Our sample consists of 21,817 likes as of August 2012 – over 4 times the amount we had a year ago (4,868 likes). Remember you can always compare the graphs with last year’s ones on the previous article.

So what’s new here? First of all Portuguese and Spanish have over taken the lead, leaving last year’s number one – English – on the third spot. There is also a huge decrease to notice from there on: the top  three languages have between 3,500 and 4,500 likes, leaving a huge gap to the next language – Polish – which gathers around 2,500 likes. Swedish and Dutch, albeit still rather small overtook Romanian and Japanese respectively compared to last year.

Let’s now have a glimpse of how many Internet users have a Facebook account:

 

Graph 2: Percentage of Facebook users per language (August 2012)

Turkish is still number one, far ahead of any other country. Spanish is still number two, while English speaking countries caught up on Italian ones. Newcomer Danish is a worth-mentioning number 5. Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal) reaches a whopping 55% this year, compared to 30% a year ago. German experienced an increase in similar proportions. Russian and Japanese are still to be conquered by Facebook, they shares are below 10% and still seem to be using respectively VK and Mixi more than Zuckerberg’s social network. Overall, Facebook is still on the increase for the past twelve months.

 

Graph 3: Number of unique visitors required per like (August 2012)

Using the data we have from of unique visitors over the given timeframe and the amount of likes across languages, we now know how many users we need to get one like. Russian is still the most clicking language; 1 like for each 825 unique visitor. Nonetheless significantly more than last year – about only 300 were needed. This trend can be observed in all languages: proportions are similar compared to last year, as are positions except for a few. It is becoming harder and harder to get users to like your product.

Next Romanian, English and Japanese are still rather willing to like, needing around 2,500 visitors for a like. Polish and Portuguese, which were in the top four last year are on the decrease, needing now over 3,000 users per like, twice as many compared to last year. Swedish is still the toughest crowd with over 7,000 unique visitors required to get a like, overtaking Dutch which was last year’s most reluctant language. Dutch, unlike most languages went drastically down from over 6,000 to 4,391 visitors. Danish is the third hardest crowd to please, just behind Turkish.

Towards a horizontalisation of clicking habits?

Table 1. Levels of difficulty to obtain Likes per language

On a scale from one to ten, how difficult is it to get a crowd to like you? A bit harder than last year on the overall, however the results are more homogenous. Russian is again the reference point (difficulty one, the weakest) and the difficulty extends to a mere 8.5 – last year it went up to beyond 16. As such, categories stand much closer to each other – spontaneous Likers (3-5 points), cool-headed Likers (5-6 points) and reluctant Likers (6 points and more). The largest amount of languages falls in the spontaneous category, while Italian, German, Dutch, French and Danish are more hesitant to click on the Like button. Finally, Turkish and especially Swedish are very reluctant “clickers”. The Italians and especially the Dutch are the communities that gained most clicking friendliness.

 

Graph 4: Facebook user penetration (% of total Internet users) compared to Like difficulty level in August 2011

 

Graph 5: Facebook user penetration (% of total Internet users) compared to Like difficulty level in August 2012

These two graphs display the development of the use of Facebook against the frequency in clicking the Like button. As mentioned earlier, the percentage of Internet users with a Facebook account is on the increase, with a few exceptions like French and Spanish speaking countries which seem to be more stable, even slightly down compared to last year. There also seems to be a normalisation in behaviour appearing across most languages: around 50% of Internet users are on Facebook and their clicking rates are a lot similar- between 3 and 6 on the difficulty scale – with the exception of Russia, Japan, Turkey and Sweden which have more atypical behaviours. In spite of its growing popularity in countries where it does not have the lion’s share, Facebook is still struggling to impose it product where other social media are already well implemented, like in Russia or in Japan. Korean and Hindi pages have so few likes that the data could not be used.

That evolution could be due to the fact that most Facebook users have a steadily better idea of how to click: informal norms have started to establish with the increasing presence of Like buttons on web pages.  Consequently a user will be more picky in its liking and it also knows that an excess of liked pages will generate a boring, overcrowded Timeline. Will this gap between language communities narrow further down next year? Likely, yet some cultural differences in use and preferences will hopefully prevail, avoiding the homogenisation of our social media habits.

John

How to tell whether your Facebook marketing is crap, average or great

It has become a very well-known marketing technique – if you have a business, you want it to have a Facebook page. Setting it up, adding exclusive features, gathering as many likes as you can and keep the dialogue with your audience alive and active.

And so you start posting pictures, videos, entertaining material, exclusive information, controversial statements to start a debate, and so on. Your amount of likes rises as should your “talking about” rate. Everything looks fine, yet some questions might dawn on you.

First of all you should know what that “talking about” means. According to Facebook, it is the sum of “users you have created a story from your post” – a story being a like, a share, a comment or an answer to an event. Now that this has been cleared up, a bigger question needs to be answered:

What is a good “talking about” rate?


In other words, at what point can you consider the amount of interaction satisfying? Facebook does not tell you that.

This is why we decided to lead our own inquiry and compare 12 major brands (BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Facebook, Starbucks, McDonald’s, PlayStation, iTunes, HP, Subway, EA Sports, Nivea) which have the particularity to have several Facebook pages: one for every language or country. We checked their number of likes and “talking about” rates on three dates (24th January, 31st January and 7th February 2012), calculated their ratios and established an average of these.

The ideal “talking about” figure or number of likes?

It seems that even if you have a brilliant online media specialist running your page, having more than 1,000,000 likes renders it challenging to reach high “talking about” rates – between 1% and 3% with the exception of the American page of McDonald’s that exceeds 5%. A previous study had already proven that large pages (over a million likes) have more trouble reaching their “likers”.

On the other side, the highest ratios “talking about” number of likes are reached by pages with less than 100,000 likes, higher even when they have less than 10,000 likes. They manage to score 10 to almost 20% with the exception of the Polish Audi page that scores an astounding 44% with a mere 4,000 likes.

In a nutshell it seems you should not aim for quantity, but for quality. It is better to have fewer faithful committed fans than a large pool of likes that does not interact with you.

So does a high number of likes really imply a lower talking about rate?

We did some correlation analysis to check what the statistics would tell us. There are two possibilities:
1. The number of “talking about” increases at the same rate as the number of likes, or in statistical terms: There is a linear relationship.
2. The number of “talking about” slows down the higher the number of likes gets, or in statistical terms: There is a non-linear relationship.

Calculating both options we get a correlation of 0,96 for option 1 (using the Bravais Pearson correlation coefficient) and 0,87 for option 2 (using Spearman’s Rho). Both coefficients can rank between 0 (no correlation) to 1 (perfect correlation). Hence both options have a high statistical correlation: Based on the numbers we cannot say for sure which assumption is correct. If you think this sucks (we did) just scroll all the way to the end and fill out the survey (this helps us gather more data so we can do a better analysis).

The “talking about” vs. “likes” data in a graph

Is your targeted country a factor?

As we pointed out in our first Facebook study, some countries are more inclined to liking a page than others. What about interaction then?

The final figure is 5.79% (for our sample) – that is the average percentage “talking about” per number of likes, all countries taken together. However, the average differs from one country to another. If your page targets a Polish audience, the average is above 10% – the Poles are more faithful fans than other countries. Brazilian and French audiences are fairly willing to participate as well: both scored over 5%. Spain is right behind with 4.75%. Then come the tough crowds – Germany and Italy only get 3.92% and 3.57% respectively. The American/general page is last with 2.60%. This might have different reasons such as how many brands an average user in that country likes – the more brands, the less time for interaction with each brand.

So, by now you know that “talking about” rates differ by country and possibly by the number of likes. But wouldn’t it be cool to have some comparison data for your industry? We thought so as well, so we created a survey to do a more in-depth analysis including Reach and Virality data from Facebook Insights – finding out what good rates are, what your target should be, etc.

In order to do so, we need YOUR help! We would like to invite you to fill out a 10-question anonymous survey that only takes 5 minutes (we used a stop watch to make sure) to complete.

You can find the online survey by clicking on the URL below:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/facebook-insights

We will list all participating companies with a link below (if they want) in order to boost results. The following companies are participating:
Dublin’s Q102: More music. Less talk.
Bonprix: Fashion, shoes and homeware at unbeatable prices.
Hitmeister: 100% secure buying and selling.
WHU: Otto Beisheim School of Management.
Netmoms: Babies, kids and pregnancy.
OnlineMarketingJobs: The best Jobs for SEO, SEA and online marketing.
Loftville: My key to the best apartments in the city.
Tatort News: The weblog to Germany’s most successful crime show.

In order to get listed, send us an email to Stefanie [at] bab[dot]la