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7 Strategies to Grow Your Facebook Audience




Live video needs to be a part of your social strategy.

10 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

At the beginning of the year, Mark Zuckerberg rocked the marketing world with a series of announcements stating that Facebook is going to usher in a great deal of changes in 2018 and beyond. Throughout January, Zuckerberg made three major statements regarding algorithm updates to be rolled out.

  1. On January 11 — Content posted by friends, family and groups will receive more visibility in the news feed than content posted by businesses, brands and media. This is to encourage “more meaningful social interactions over passively consuming content.”
  2. On January 29 — Users will see more local news on their news feed and less divisive national news.
  3. On January 31 — Zuckerberg rehashed the first two announcements and added that the news feed would place a higher importance on the credibility of news outlets and public pages. Algorithms will favor content that comes from “broadly trusted and high-quality sources in order to counter misinformation and polarization.”

The goal for these changes is to bring Facebook back to its original roots and objectives — to focus on personal connections and encourage positive, active engagement.

So what does all this mean for brands, publishers, news outlets and influencers?  

Truth be told, it’s going to change the game quite a bit. Simply put, your content will no longer appear in news feeds like you are accustomed to. The strategies that worked well in previous years are going to need a makeover.

The good news is, it’s not impossible. There are a number of useful tactics you can incorporate into your social media strategy to survive the latest update. Let’s discuss.

1. Create content exclusive to Facebook.

Throughout all of Zuckerberg’s announcements, there is one underlying message that operators of public pages need to keep in mind: He wants people to stay on Facebook. In other words, Zuckerberg and his team do not want users navigating to other sites from their news feed. This means that your updates featuring an external link to your own website — like a blog article — will not be favored as much as Facebook-exclusive content.

Related: 5 Advertising Strategies for Entrepreneurs Coping With Facebook’s Revised News Feed

Fortunately, you do not have a character limit on Facebook and can post longer updates. However, if your goal is to use Facebook to generate more web traffic, not posting a link to your content may seem counter-productive. Here’s what you can do:

Let’s say you want to post a link to your latest blog post. In this case, I would post an update with “7 Facebook Audience Growing Strategies for 2018” at the top. Next, I would post the seven section headers underneath, with maybe a sentence or two for each. Now, being as how I still want to get traffic to my content, I can post the published link to the full article in the comments. In turn, I’m getting my main points across with exclusive Facebook content while still giving my followers a link to the external page — all without hurting my organic placement.

2. Go live!

Ever since Facebook Live was rolled out in early 2016, it was obvious that it was going to be a big deal in the future. It’s no secret that Zuckerberg loves video content. He even went on record a couple years ago claiming that soon “the majority of content we consume will be video.”

Studies have found that live video gets 10 times more engagement than traditional videos. Even better, most of these interactions are in real-time. That being said, this format needs to play a huge role in your social media strategy moving forward. There is no way around it. Live video is a fantastic way to give your followers a raw look into your brand and the value you provide. There are many strategies for accomplishing this. If you are a B2C company, giving viewers a behind the scenes look into your operation is a great way for people to see you in a different light. In the early days of Facebook Live, Dunkin’ Donuts gave viewers a live peak into their kitchens and how their famous pastries are made. The engagement levels of this live stream blew every other video they produced out of the water.

Another common tactic for live video is Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions. This is a phenomenal way to broadcast your wisdom while getting engagement in real-time. A lot of brands are also hosting live Q&As with special guests and influencers. Whichever strategy you choose, the most important thing to remember is you need to let your personality shine while providing expert insight.

If there is one thing that is blatantly clear with the direction Facebook is going, it’s that live video is going to hold a lot of weight. You are wise to plan your strategy around this concept.

3. Be relevant.

At its core, this idea is nothing new. However, it definitely needs a mention. A major goal of these Facebook updates is to get people to actively engage in the content they are exposed to. As a brand, your strategy on Facebook should place less focus on talking about yourself and more on addressing issues in the common interest of your audience.

Burger King did an absolutely phenomenal job in using a Facebook video to educate their followers on the hot topic of net neutrality, with an incredibly smart branded twist to it. If you haven’t seen the video, it’s definitely worth the watch. Burger King is proof that you can use your platform and brand to spread awareness about certain issues that pertain to the masses. This video alone got well over 300,000 shares.

Another thing to keep in mind when producing video is that you need to plan for mute. Reports claim that 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Be sure to always add subtitles.

Related: Why These People and Brands Are Fed Up With Facebook

4. Be local.

As Zuckerberg’s second major announcement stated, the algorithm change would show more content from local news sources in the users’ area. He also noted, “Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement.”

Now to me, this is one of the most interesting and beneficial aspects of the update. Essentially, it now gives brands an incentive to improve their presence in the community and discuss certain topics on a local level. Brands are now encouraged to do things like start fundraisers, attend/host events, collaborate with local businesses, and of course, get to know the people around them.

There are many things you can do right now to improve your presence in the community. Something that many brands are currently doing is starting their own podcast and inviting local guests. This is an awesome way to network and expose your wisdom to new, local audiences. 

5. Focus on groups.

In Zuckerberg’s first announcement, he mentioned that users would see more content generated from groups. One of the common observations is that a great deal of meaningful interactions occurs in Facebook groups and tight-knit communities. These are formed around things like TV shows and sports teams. The interactions are generally positive because the people involved in those groups typically see each other as friends brought together by a common interest, as opposed to random strangers on the internet.

Brands can use this concept to their advantage. For example, I run a digital marketing agency. There are all kinds of groups out there based around topics like SEO, content marketing, PPC, etc. By joining these types of groups, we can offer our insight and expertise to the right people in the right place. In turn, we are developing connections with like-minded people and brands while growing our network.

6. Offer specials for Facebook audience engagement.

One of the greatest aspects of Facebook is it gives you the ability to start public conversations and advance them with all kinds of viewpoints and opinions. The result being that you, your followers, and anyone else that pays attention gets a whole new perspective on the given topic.

The trick is simply getting people to engage, especially early on before you have a sizable following. When this is the case, offering some incentive to add to the conversation is a great way to gain likes, comments, and most importantly, shares. Depending on your niche, you can get as creative as you want with this incentive. It could be a chance to win a free ebook or seminar, or if you run a B2C company like a restaurant, a free meal or gift certificate.

The key here is to encourage active engagement with your incentives. How will each action benefit you and your audience? Perhaps the best approach for this tactic is to offer incentives for an expert take or answer to a question. Given that each scenario here will be different, all the engagement you encourage should ultimately point to improving the general status quo.

7. Know when to boost.

It’s no secret that boosting content on Facebook is getting more expensive by the day. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can spend a fortune without seeing a substantial return. Given the new update, a great deal of your followers may never even see your post unless you promote it. With organic reach plummeting and boost pricing on the rise, you need to know exactly when boosting a post is necessary.

First off, there are three ways to boost a post on Facebook:

  1. Boost to your followers only.
  2. Boost to followers and their friends and family.
  3. Boost to a new audience through targeting.

The option you choose depends entirely on your goals and nature of the content. For example, let’s say you produce a post with a broad topic like “How to start a business with no money.”

Related: Mark Zuckerberg Spins Decline in Facebook Usage as a Good Thing

This is a post that could potentially benefit a mass number of people. So, it would be a wise move to boost it with option 3. You could target people with interests around entrepreneurship, small businesses and startups. This is a great way to get your content in front of more interested eyes while promoting your expertise.

Keep in mind, boosting a Facebook post can be very expensive, depending on how many people you want to reach. If you are aiming for the stars, the content must be of the highest quality and provide a level of value people cannot get anywhere else.


Many businesses and public page owners saw (and still see) Zuckerberg’s announcements as a death sentence. However, in the grand scheme of things, this is just another fork in the road. Ultimately, Zuckerberg, and the people behind the scenes, want Facebook to be a more positive online environment. If you want your public page to survive in this new era of organic reach, you are going to need to adopt these core values and know how to create content accordingly.

A daily source of inspiration and information, fuels the spectrum of game-changers that define what it means to be an entrepreneur today. That includes business leaders who launched something from nothing, content creators in the social influencer space, athletes pushing the boundaries of performance, and internal thought leaders innovating inside major corporations. offers strategic insights and how-to guidance for the people that make things happen.


Social Media

Everything You Need to Know About Vero, the Social Media Platform Co-Founded by a Billionaire That's Gone Viral




Vero co-founder Ayman Hariri tried to clear the air with Entrepreneur about some of the backlash Vero has received.

8 min read

For a while, it’s seemed that Instagram and Snapchat are unimpeachable. They’ve been the two preferred mobile-first social networks for years, and little has gotten in their way.

Any apps that have sprung up as challengers have faded into oblivion. Remember when people talked about Ello for a hot second in 2014? Or Google Plus back in 2011?

This week, a new (well, almost three-year-old) platform called Vero has come out of the woodwork, and some people over the age of 18 are asking themselves, “Is this just a typo of Vevo, the video company?” But it’s not. Vero means “truth” in Latin (and Esperanto and Italian.) It’s now the number-one free app in Google Play and ranks eighth in the iOS App Store.

Related: 10 Things You Should Know About tbh, the App for Teens That Facebook Just Acquired

Vero has positioned itself as a different kind of social network, one designed in response to the ways in which existing networks have counterintuitively made people unsociable. It’s grown from less than 1 million registered users to nearly 3 million, according to the company, over the past several days.

“Our intention is really to create an online social network that mimics the greatest social network that exists, which is the one that exists between people,” Vero co-founder Ayman Hariri told Entrepreneur. “Our responsibility as designers and developers is to have technology be a tool for people — to have it enhance their life experiences and not to detract from them.”

Read on to learn how Vero differs from the other social platforms and get a sense of why it’s attracting so much attention now.

How is Vero different than existing platforms?
Photos, videos and text content shared by users on Vero doesn’t just blast out to a mix of their friends and followers. You can specify which fellow users are your close friends, acquaintances or mere followers and post to each group separately.

Another big draw of Vero is that its feed isn’t manipulated by an algorithm. Posts from accounts users appear in chronological order (like they used to on Instagram).

There are no ads on Vero, either. The business model is subscription-based. To sign up, users must provide their name, email address and mobile phone number, but for now, Vero’s not charging anyone.

Where did it come from?
Vero was founded in 2013 and launched in 2015. It was co-founded by Ayman Hariri. He’s a billionaire and the son of former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafic Hariri, who resigned in 2004 and was assassinated in 2005. He’s also the half-brother of Lebanon’s current prime minister, Saad Hariri, who’s been in office since 2016.

Ayman Hariri told Entrepreneur he served as deputy general manager of Saudi Oger, a now-defunct construction company founded by his father, from 2005 until 2013. During that time, his brother served as general manager. In 2013, Hariri said he sold his shares and exited the company to co-found Vero.

“I really felt like it was time to pursue my dreams in the world of tech,” he said, claiming that he had no role in the company after 2013.

Saudi Oger shut down in July 2017. The company was unable to pay thousands of workers for months after the Saudi Arabian government delayed payments to builders in 2015, prompting riots, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The Saudi Labour Ministry government provided food and basic necessities to Saudi Oger workers, many of whom lived in cramped, unsanitary conditions in company-constructed dorms and labor camps with little or no access to food, running water, electricity or medical care, Reuters reported.

After 2013, Hariri told Entrepreneur that he’s unsure who took over leadership of Saudi Oger. “Different managers, really,” he said. “I really wasn’t involved after that, so I didn’t keep up.”

But a document published by Mashable seems to indicate that Hariri divested from Saudi Oger in 2014. And a 2016 Vero press release identifies Hariri as “also Vice Chairman & Deputy CEO of Saudi Oger Ltd.”

Many users have discovered the information about Saudi Oger, assumed involvement by Hariri and responded with backlash and even a #DeleteVero hashtag.

People are trying to figure out why Vero went viral.
It’s difficult to pinpoint. Some people think it’s because of all of the backlash. Others say “the teens are lovin’ it.” But Mashable reports that Apptopia data revealed that 50 percent of the app’s users are between 21 and 40 years old — and 68 percent male.

Hariri told CNN Tech that he links Vero’s recent uptick in users to word of mouth across user communities, from the cosplay community to tattoo artists, which were early adopters Vero targeted, but did not pay to use or promote the platform.

“When somebody asks me, ‘What is your target demographic?’ Our target demographic is people and their passions,” Hariri told Entrepreneur. “People who have passions who want to share them … with our unique audience selector or more publicly with followers.”

How is the user experience?
So far, not great for some. Because the app has soared in popularity, it’s servers have slowed down. Many users have taken to Twitter for customer support.

Hariri said that Vero is increasing the capacity of its servers and introducing software patches that Vero “couldn’t take into account before, given that the number of users wasn’t there.”

How does an ad-free social platform work?
The company will eventually charge subscriptions. Originally, it promised its first 1 million users free service indefinitely, but it’s extended the offer.

“As promised, our first million users have access to Vero free for life. However, given the service interruptions, we are extending that offer to all new users until further notice,” Vero’s website has stated since Feb. 28. “We will confirm the start date and pricing of Vero subscriptions soon.”

The recent surge in the number of registered Vero users slowed down the service, and many people who tried to register had trouble doing so.

Hariri said that Vero wants the eventual annual subscription fee to be “accessible,” though the company isn’t ready to announce a figure yet.

As for another revenue stream, Vero is also a marketplace for entrepreneurs. The company charges a transaction fee to merchants when they sell via its “Buy Now” feature. Buy Now allows brands and influencers to sell products via Vero posts.

Any brand can create a verified account on Vero. Then, if Vero determines that an entity is capable of selling and fulfilling orders, they may share posts directly with their followers — only those who have opted in to see their posts — that contain an item they’re selling and a “buy” button for in-app purchases, Hariri said.

There’s also been controversy over Vero’s terms of use.
Some users have read the fine print and have been alarmed by what Vero’s terms of use specify, although they are relatively standard among dominant social platforms.

One Twitter user summarizes a primary concern:

After backlash, Vero updated its terms of use language on Feb. 23 (though the tweet above is from Feb. 27).

As for the update, Hariri told Entrepreneur, “We’ve only updated our terms of use once, and the update is a clarification and not a change.” Vero added words to the terms of use in an attempt to prevent further confusion.

“We do not claim to own any of the content that you share on Vero,” Hariri said. “It’s standard language and standard practice to ask for things like, basically a license for us to host it on their behalf.”

He added: “I can understand users’ concern about that, because there’s so much going on on data mining, and the use of data, and the monetization of that data, and the monetization of users’ behavior. I think people are in such a mode of concern that even the slightest thing that they don’t understand, etc., makes them react where they’re worried about something.”

Despite the #DeleteVero hashtag, people have had trouble doing so.
Deleting Vero hasn’t been an immediate process for those who have attempted to do so — they’ve had to submit a request.

“Anybody who asks to delete their account gets their account deleted,” Hariri said, explaining that the company will roll out automatic in-app account deletion (with no need for a request) in the next day or so after testing the feature.

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Facebook’s Controversial ‘Messenger Kids’ App Arrives On Android

Social Media Week





Facebook’s controversial Messenger Kids chat app, which first came out on iOS in December, is now available on Android.

Messenger Kids is a dedicated app designed to help children socialize with others, and it specifically targets children ages six through 12. Some detractors saw the creation of the app as a means for Facebook to ingratiate younger users on the platform sooner. In 2017, Facebook saw a decline of teenage users for the first time ever.

The app’s debut also sparked conversations around the influence of technology in our everyday lives, and more specifically, the potentially negative effects it can have on children’s development. Studies have shown that social media can weaken young people’s self-esteem, for example.

That said, there’s no denying the positives that smartphones and technology have brought with them: increased connectivity, for one, although this sometimes can be paired with feelings of loneliness and isolation. It’s a complex issue and one we’ll be exploring in-depth at SMWNYC this spring.

Facebook has gone out of its way to try to ease the concerns of parents about the app, which is designed to let users talk and video chat with their friends and family. According to CNN, Facebook claims that before the app was released, it worked with a committee of experts and more than 250 online safety organizations throughout the app’s development.

Facebook also says that parents have full control over who their kids can talk to and children are able to flag inappropriate content. In an attempt to alleviate concerns even further, Facebook doesn’t automatically turn Messenger Kids accounts into regular Facebook accounts once a child turns 13, so parents are still in full control of when their children are mature enough to handle regular Facebook.

While Facebook has taken some steps to ensure Messenger Kids is a safe environment for kids, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood raises legitimate concerns about how the app may affect young children.

The organization recently wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, which contained input from more than a dozen organizations and approximately 100 health experts. The note references a 2018 study published in Clinical Psychological Science that found social media use is linked to significantly higher rates of depression in teens as well as another study that found eighth grade students who use six to nine hours of social media per week are 47 percent more likely to be unhappy with their lives than their peers who use social media less often.

In a world where on average, kids get their first smartphone shortly after their tenth birthday, the fact that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Tim Cook, all giants of Silicon Valley, strictly limited or want to limit the amount of time the children in their family spend on social media serves as an additional red flag. However, most parents don’t have the luxury of saying “absolutely not” to technology and are forced to face the reality that their kids are already on social media.

TechCrunch reporter Sarah Perez recently published an article titled, “Why I decided to install Messenger Kids,” which explores why parents are apprehensive about the existence of the app. Many have already tried other messaging options because they don’t want their kids lying about their age for Snapchat access and want to teach their kids how to be responsible online, but they also admit that they don’t know if letting their kids have access to social media is the right decision and fear it could be the wrong one.

For more information on Facebook Messenger Kids, visit

Join us at SMWNYC (April 24-27) where we’ll explore the tension between community and individualism as part of our global theme, “Closer,” alongside leading platforms, publishers and brands. Claim your pass today.

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Pinterest Introduces New Tools for Keeping Pins and Projects Organized

Social Media Week





Neat freaks, rejoice! Pinterest plans to make organizing your pins and boards a whole lot easier through several new updates.

First up, Pinners can now archive their boards to keep projects compartmentalized and separate from your general pinning activity.

Pinterest explains that one of the major benefits of this update, aside from contributing to a more tidy profile, include reduction of irrelevant recommendations and notifications. For instance, if you created a board for a specific event like a bachelorette party, baby or bridal shower, or wedding, you will no longer get any related recommendations once that board is archived.

Image via Pinterest.

As the above screenshot depicts, archiving takes two total taps: first to select the “Edit” button followed by the “Archive” button. Once archived, the board will be filed under a new section located at the bottom of your profile. Even though these are removed from your other public boards, they will always be accessible until deleted, and can be shared amongst family and friends using the “Send” button.

A second update allows you to reorder sections of a board. “Sections” was a feature the company introduced last fall, and having received feedback since then, users are now getting the option of rearranging sections. For example, if you’re looking to plan your outfits for the week or making a grocery list for a particular week, these can be moved to the top of the board so you know exactly where they are when you need them.

Image via Pinterest.

If you’re on a computer accessing Pinterest or pinning from your iOS smartphone, simply open a board, press and hold on a section, and drag to place to the desired location. Another way to achieve this is to tap the “Organize” button, triggering the collapsing of all created sections, and then dragging them to where you’d like.

Android users can reorder their sections by opening a given board, tapping “Organize,” then “Reorder” to start moving and replacing sections.

Pins are getting a similar update as well (see below).

Image via Pinterest.

For iOS and web, hold and press on a Pin to drag and place in the new spot of choice. Alternatively, you can tap “Organize” from a board of section to replace a pin to a new location.

Though not a new update, the company reminds its users that the copying or moving of multiple Pins either to a new board or new section can also be accomplished via the “Organize” button.

Finally, Pinterest is introducing the capability to sort boards. These can now be ordered alphabetically, by most recently saved to, by board creation date, or custom (dictated by where they are dragged and dropped).

Image via Pinterest.

“These new tools are features our users have asked us for, and we’re excited to roll them out to help make planning and organizing all aspects of life with Pinterest easier,” said Lawrence Ripsher, Pinterest’s senior vice president of product, in a statement to WIRED.

Updates aside, what are the notable implications here?

As TechCrunch points out, despite seeming like trivial updates on the surface, neglecting them could have significant consequences like users leaving or not finding as much use in the platform. Moreover, as VentureBeat reiterates, AI is continuing to gain traction, so any feedback that can be translated back into the platform’s machine learning algorithms today will be helpful going forward.

These features are all available for the web as well as iOS (version 6.44) and Android (version 6.52) users.

To explore more about the Pinterest and visual content overall, join us at SMWNYC April 24-27. Register your pass today.

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Unilever Turns Up the Heat on Facebook & Google Over Tech’s ‘Unintended Consequences’

Social Media Week





Unilever has issued a stern warning to digital platforms including Facebook, Google, and YouTube: do more to improve transparency and clean up the “swamp” of fake news, exploitative, and socially divisive content, or be cut off from its multi-billion dollar digital advertising budget.

CMO Keith Weed recently spoke at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting held in Palm Desert, Calif. CNBC quotes him as saying, “We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there’s some unintended consequences that now need addressing.”

Two of the most important consequences being referred to include the threatening of safety of users, especially young children, and loss of trust by consumers and companies at large.

While it’s unlikely that Unilever will turn its back on the two largest digital platforms, Weed’s words matter because of the sheer amount of ad budget Unilever holds across its portfolio brands. MediaPost reports that in 2017, the company spent approximately $9.8 billion on marketing and advertising, a quarter of which went to digital.

Beyond the public denouncements, Unilever is also working with IBM to develop a blockchain with which the company can more effectively reduce ad fraud via a record of what media is purchased and how it is delivered.

A separate MediaPost article shares YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s response to Weeds comments on Monday. In her own statement at Recode’s Code Media conference, she assured,
“We want to do the right set of things to build [Unilever’s] trust. They are building brands on YouTube, and we want to be sure that our brand is the right place to build their brand.”

Recent efforts we’ve seen in support of this include significant updates to its Creator Program policy. Further, in light of the recent Logan Paul controversy involving a video in which a suicide victim was filmed inside a Japanese forest, the company has suspended running ads on his channel, per Ad Age.

While brand safety is a concern on the minds of many marketers, Unilever’s public comments this week indicate that brands are viewing the issue with a much broader lens, and seriously questioning the role these platforms play in people’s everyday lives, beyond the world of advertising. In this important cultural moment, people are looking to brands and platforms to assume responsibility and be proactive to keep their spaces safe, trustworthy, and suitable for communities.

To further explore the overarching question of how technology, including digital platform giants, can be used to bring us closer together versus further apart, join us at SMWNYC April 24-27. Register today and save 20%.

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