Viewing posts from the Facebook category

Facebook to make brand’s advertising spend visible (blame the Russians)

So, in Mark Zuckerberg’s ongoing quest for greater transparency (at least, on the PR front) following the US Elections, he’s just announced plans to throw open the previously hidden world of Facebook advertising.

While the focus is largely on those buying political ads, his slightly ambiguous post suggests that anyone visiting a brand page will soon be able to see how much said brand has paid for advertising, details of how their particular ads are targeted, as well as the number of impressions their ads have generated.

To quote him verbatim:

1.    We’re making all ads more transparent, not just political ads. We’ll soon start testing a feature that lets anyone visit any page on Facebook and see what ads that page is currently running. For political advertisers, we’re working on a tool that will let you search an archive of ads they’ve run in the past. You’ll also be able to see how much an advertiser paid, the type of people who saw the ads and the number of impressions. Our goal is to fully roll this out in the US ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Clearly then, there are major implications for any brand advertising on Facebook. While I’m not expecting every single nugget of data to be publicly available to the hoi polloi, it will still make uncomfortable reading for anyone running ad campaigns on behalf of their clients (i.e. us). Specifically, I can see issues around three areas;

–         Giving away competitive information into investment in social advertising. Would a brand be comfortable revealing this? Probably not. Just as they wouldn’t want anyone to know about how the rest of their marketing budget is sliced.

–         Audience targeting insight. Many highly effective campaigns we run on behalf of brands come down to creative, insight-led audience targeting. Certainly not the kind of information we – or our client – would be happy to share. Unless we want to lose a competitive edge, which we don’t.

–         High performing ad content – crudely speaking, Facebook ads perform in the same way as organic content, ultimately slaves to Facebook’s ever-changing Edgerank. So high reach ad content, could = Edgerank-busting content. The crown jewels as far as Facebook content is concerned, and, again, not something you, as a brand, want to explicitly advertise to your competitors.

Is there reason to panic? Probably not. As usual, this is being tested in limited US markets first. At this stage I’d put it down to PR lip service from a company keen to put fake news and electoral fraud behind it.

Is Facebook about to kill organic reach for brand pages?

Facebook has recently announced some significant changes that have the potential to impact upon the way we manage communities and post content on behalf of brands everywhere.

As you’ve probably seen, Facebook is currently rolling out its new Explore Feed – a new news-feed dedicated to content discovery – it is a combination of content from brands, friends, as well as recommended content (you can view this on the left-hand sub menu of the Facebook homepage – click Explore; ‘Explore Feed’).

At the same time as this, Facebook is also trailing a new algorithm in certain countries whereby all content from brands is automatically moved to this (less visible) Explore Feed.

That means in these cases the main newsfeed will be made up of content from just from your friends.

Therefore, for posts from brands to appear in a traditional newsfeed, you have to pay for it – in effect, organic reach is over.

The good news for brands: this is just a regional test in certain countries (not the UK) – at this stage, it’s unclear whether Facebook plans to roll this out globally and there’s no need to panic.

Possible implications for brand pages;

  • Organic content as we know it could become a thing of the past
  • A need for greater and more strategic investment in paid-content
  • A need for a revised channel strategy: hygiene and hub content to play greater roll on alternative social networks

Prohibition Pirate Takeover

Here at Prohibition HQ, we love creative social campaigns of all natures, and video content is no exception. So when our lovely city centre client, The Light, informed us that they would be hosting another pop-up bar – after the success of the Game of Thrones-themed Stark’s Tavern – we couldn’t wait to get creative. The theme this time? Pirates.

The launch of the bar was set to coincide with the release of the much-anticipated fifth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Dead Men Tell No Tales. The bar itself was to feature Caribbean cocktails from in-house mixologists Turtle Bay, pirate props and a steel band playing everything from Caribbean calypso to traditional sea shanties.

Our response was simple: create an engaging and humorous video. In order to encourage excitement and buzz around the bar and drive footfall to its launch, we called on ultimate Jack Sparrow lookalike, Simon Newton, to create (a lot of) mischief in and around Leeds city centre on one particularly gloomy Monday evening.

Our strategy was to release three micro videos over the weekend, teasing the people of Leeds about what was to come, and one full length video afterwards, driving people to the bar’s opening on May 26th.

The results were incredible, with the video achieving a reach of almost half a million people, all in Leeds, drove 128,000 video views and encouraged a total of 13,000 likes, comments and shares.

Did you see the video? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Check it out here.

Facebook has announced some exciting new features and we can’t wait to try them out…

Back in April, the annual Facebook F8 conference revealed a heap of new and exciting features heading our way. Although mainly aimed at developers, CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcements are set to have huge implications for users. From apps to virtual reality, let’s take a deeper look into what’s going to happen in the world of social media this year…

Camera filters

We all love a good filter and let’s face it, animated effects for your selfies have become a huge part of modern messaging ever since Snapchat released the puppy-dog filter. However, Facebook is now attempting to join the party by creating two new tools dubbed ‘Frame Studio’ and ‘AR Studio’. These nifty apps enable developers to create augmented reality (AR) content more easily, with Frame Studio focusing on 2D overlays such as borders and frames, whilst AR Studio mimics Snapchat’s face filters, allowing developers to create 3D masks that respond to facial movements. The aim of the applications is to make AR content easier to create for developers by eliminating writing code.

Virtual Reality

Hot on the heels of the virtual reality trend is ‘Facebook Spaces’ – a new virtual reality app that enables you to create an avatar that looks just like you. The app lets you hang out in a VR world with friends by using a virtual reality headset. With features including being able to draw in the air with a virtual marker, we are confident that this new feature will transform the way we stay connected across the globe.

Music and Games in Messenger

Messenger is getting a makeover in the hope of making it one of the most advanced platforms available to the public. Improvements include new stories and other content becoming available in group chats via ‘Chat Extensions’, as well as the introduction of games and music onto the platform to create a more interactive experience while chatting with friends. For the music lovers, there are also plans for messenger to sync with Apple Music – perfect for those all-important music taste debates!

M Suggest

You have probably never heard of Facebook’s virtual assistant M, but you will do soon! Although most people usually turn to Siri to lend a helping hand, Facebook is aiming to improve M’s capabilities which they say will get smarter over time. M currently has the capacity to join chats to help users pay for things, find information, and suggest responses to messages. One of the latest features is ‘M Suggest’ which will listen to conversations surrounding food and restaurants and will speak up to offer food recommendations nearby, forever solving the age old argument of where to go out for dinner!

360 video

Hoping to boost the use of its 360-degree videos Facebook has unveiled plans for two new cameras designed intentionally to capture spherical video. The circular cameras have as many as 24 individual lenses capable of capturing photos and video. The Surround360 units are both large and expensive, so they are unlikely to be used for personal use just yet, but it’s defiantly likely that people will begin to rent them for production purposes to create some cool imagery.

Which Facebook features are you most looking forward to? Tweet us at @ProhibitionPR


Image Credit: Flickr

Top 10 Social Media Disasters

Social Media DisastersBusinesses nowadays are becoming increasingly more consumer savvy and one of the ways to engage with a target market is via social media. However, everyone knows that from time to time people make mistakes, but unfortunately on social media platforms there is no getting away from it. Listed below are some of the biggest social media howlers out there.


Hurricane Sandy
American Apparel, Sears, Urban Outfitters and Gap are just a few to mention in accordance with this blunder, which ranks as one of the biggest social media gaffes of all time. Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest storm of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season, which resulted in 285 fatalities. The companies named above, questionably decided to utilise this natural disaster to their advantage. The brands offered free shipping to those effected and said they should take advantage if they were ‘bored’ while the hurricane was in full swing.

Kenneth Cole
Everything was going swimmingly as global fashion Kenneth Cole launched its new spring collection. That was, however until the brand headed to Twitter to promote its new clothing range. The company sparked enormous controversy when it tweeted “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online”.

NRA American Rifleman
Timing is everything when it comes to social media and I think it’s fair to say that the American Rifleman well and truly miscalculated the timing of this tweet. The American Rifleman is a journal affiliated with the national rifle association. They tweeted a pro gun statement in the midst of a mass shooting.

Celeb Boutique
The clothing company Celeb Boutique jumped on the social media trending bandwagon as they tried to promote a Kim Kardashian endorsed dress. They alluded to the fact that the trending topic of the mass shootings outside a cinema in America was actually due to an item of clothing. Celeb Boutique later apologised for the tweet and claimed they didn’t know about the disaster at the time.

During the 2012 presidential elections KitchenAid got involved in the political sphere by tweeting Barack Obama directly. Unfortunately the tweet was about his deceased Grandmother. The tweet was by one of the social media team and they later apologised for the incident.

Pigalle Boston
As time progresses, different organisations are becoming increasingly respondent to negative criticism on social media. This is usually resolved by an apology or in some cases a good will gesture. However, that wasn’t the plan of action for Pigalle Boston. When the company received some poor customer feedback via Facebook, the restaurant decided to hurl abuse rather than apologise to the customer. If the use of profanities wasn’t unprofessional then the manner in which they handled the situation definitely was.

T.G.I Friday’s
Another great example of a social media mishap is when T.G.I Friday announced a fake Facebook page. They ensured that when the page had 500,000 followers, free hamburgers would be provided to all its customers. What started as a good promotional activity was soon derailed, as the company deleted the Facebook page and faltered on their promise.

Ketchum PR
Ketchum is among the largest and most geographically diverse agencies in the country, however this didn’t stop a senior member of staff at the agency dropping a real clanger and upsetting a major client thanks to social media.  Senior employee James Andrews tweeted a negative statement about the home town of one of its biggest clients, FedEx in Memphis. Again, like many of the other blunders listed above Mr Andrews was made to apologise and later left the agency.

American Red Cross
In 2011, an American Red Cross employee mistakenly sent a tweet stating how they were ‘getting on the beers’ – hardly something you’d expect to see from a charitable organisation. Whilst there was initial fallout with followers making complaints about the tweet, the situation was rectified by both the company and employee, who diffused the situation with a series of explanatory and light hearted tweets.

Tesco is the UK’s leading private sector organisation so it was no surprise that when the horse meat scandal came to light, there was public uproar. People took to the keyboards to vent their frustration at the huge supermarket chain. The social media team then sparked even further outrage when they tweeted at the end of the night, stating they were going to ‘hit the hay’. Tesco later apologised and claimed they didn’t know about the situation before they tweeted.


Have we missed any of your favourites off? Let us know what your top social media howlers are in the comments section below.


The Prohibition Seven Days of Social

3256859352_cf35412c5f_zFast moving, always adapting and often controversial, social media is an area where many of us have divided opinions. We like to keep our ear to the ground in the social media world, and as the week comes to an end, we’ve put together a few of our favourite pieces of social media content from around the web that you might not have spotted.


  1. “Can we auto correct humanity?”
    by Prince Ea (@PrinceEa)
    By far the biggest hitting and most shared piece of social media content of this week (over three million YouTube views) saw musician and rapper Prince Ea take to the camera in a thought provoking video, assessing how social media and modern technologies are leaving us less connected with our ‘friends’ than ever before.
  1. “ I didn’t actually wake up like this (and other Instagram confessions)
    by Amelia Olson
    We’re dubbed the ‘selfie generation’, but are the self facing snaps just an expression of vanity? In this article, Amelia Olson argues that selfies are not a self-obsessed or narcissistic expression, but that Instagram and other social media platforms that allow us to adjust our appearance through brightening effects and filters only contribute to our appearance insecurities. As does the marketing of makeup brands to encourage the public to look ‘photo/TV ready’.
  1. Fortune’s 55 most influential women on Twitter”
    by Caroline Fairchild (@CFair1)
    Social media is a powerful tool, especially for influencers, and with Twitter being the network of choice for some of the most powerful leaders in government, business and industry throughout the world, maintaining a strong Twitter presence has never been more important. If you’re looking for key female influencers to follow on the network, this is Fortune’s definitive guide to the 55 most influential women on Twitter
  1. “23 Tools and Resources to Create Images for Social Media”
    by Kevan Lee (@kevanlee)
    Social Media is all about engagement, especially when it comes to managing a community for a brand or business. Sharing interesting and engaging graphics is proven, especially on Facebook, to drive reach and increase your audience. However, the success of a post often depends on the make-up and design of an image. This week, our fourth piece of social media content provides one of the most the definitive guides available when it comes to social media image resources.
  1. Teens are officially over Facebook
    by Caitlin Dewey (@caitlindewey)
    We all know the Facebook story, created in a university dorm room, coming from nowhere to take the social media mantel from MySpace and within ten years, it’s arguably the most renowned business in the world. We all love to forecast the future of the most prevalent social network, and in this article, the Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey looks into the trend for teenagers to stray from the site, in search of more engaging content, from the likes of (Facebook owned) Instagram.
  1. 5 Ways to Use Metrics to Improve Your Social Media Marketing
    by Debra Eckerling (@WriteOnOnline)
    Gone are the days when a brand’s social media absence could be glossed over. In the modern, online age, it’s expected that a reputable brand will possess an engaging online presence. With social media marketing being as important as ever, and most if not all brands now taking on newer and more innovative social accounts, it’s important to keep track of those important metrics that showcase just how effective your presence online is.
  1. YouAreWhatYouLike: Find out what algorithms can tell about you based on your Facebook account.
    by Jennifer Golbeck (@jengolbeck)
    Social media users now number more than 1.4 billion—more than half of the Earth’s Internet-using population. We share a lot of information on social media, but it turns out we are sharing far more than we think. Seemingly innocuous information, when analyzed against tens of thousands of other profiles, can reveal secrets you never intended to share.


Photocredit: CC image from Rosaura Ochoa via flickr.

Brief flings: How social media is becoming more short-term

Social networks were never really meant to be long-winded. Twitter has and probably always will limit its users to the SMS-style 140 characters; Facebook cuts statuses off mid-paragraph and encourages you to ‘see more’ instead of displaying the whole thing and TL;DR (too long, didn’t read), a phrase originating well over a decade ago on Usenet forums is now wildly popular on Tumblr, Instagram and just about any other social network.

Nowadays however, things are more ephemeral than ever. Not only are social networks curt, but so are news websites and apps. Look no further than popular mobile apps like Snapchat and Jelly; on the former, communications last for a few seconds and vanish forever and the very format of the latter is based on brief queries and short communications between virtual strangers.

It’s not just apps and social media either. Websites like Upworthy and ViralNova are popular for their short, snack-sized listicles populated with vibrant images and simple explanations. Even more sober outlets post their more extensive articles with the hashtag #longreads often attached to discriminate them from the quick-fire journalism that has become the norm.

This is an important development for PR and marketing, because it means that keeping things brief is more important than it ever has been. A snappy pitch is a simple task for most PR pros, but a snappy pitch that will stick in a consumers mind long after they’ve clicked on one hundred other links isn’t at all.


Social Media ROI event proves a huge success

Yesterday at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Prohibition team headed up another of our strategic social media seminars for industry professionals, this time focusing on generating an ROI on Social Media. With over 30 guests in attendance, our MD Chris delivered a half hour seminar advising organisations on the best ways to generate and calculate a return on investment.

Chris presenting

The seminar went down a treat, and once the presentation was concluded, Chris spent time fielding multiple questions from what was a clearly engaged audience. With some attendees travelling from as far afield as Nottingham to gain insight into the subject, the topic of Social Media ROI is clearly one of genuine interest within the industry.

Following Chris’ presentation (the slides can be seen in their entirety at the foot of this post) and after guests enjoyed a breakfast of bacon and sausage sandwiches along with multiple mugs of fresh coffee, Colin Docherty, the SEO Account Manager at Search Laboratory delivered a master class on Google Analytics, which was equally well received by the crowd.

Our event had a great turnout, with over 30 industry professionals in attendance.

Following the success of yesterday we can’t wait to get our next event planned, so keep your eyes peeled for information on our next strategic social media seminar, which should be taking place around June time.

5 tips to keeping your Facebook content fresh

downloadHow often do you post an update on your Facebook brand page? Weekly, every other day, daily, more often than that even? There’s not necessarily a right or wrong number of times to post updates, and your appropriate post frequency depends heavily on your brand, the purpose and broader strategy of your page and how interested or engaged your audience is.

Clearly a Gen Y mobile operator or fashion retailer will do things differently to an engineering company or a law firm, but regardless of sector, it’s always worth asking yourself some serious questions to make sure your content is as fresh, engaging and hard-working as possible. Here’s a few pointers to achieving this –

1)     What does your Facebook insights tell you?

Every community manager should spend as much time in the back-end of Facebook as in the front end. That means getting to understand your audience; what day and time are they online, and what content do they engage with most? Act on the insights, even if it means chopping out a day’s content here or there. And be prepared for some surprises: maybe your audience is most active at 11pm on a Sunday night, not at 9am on a Monday morning as you previously thought.

2)     (As tempting as it might be) avoid straying into spam territory

Ok, so we’re not talking spam in the conventional sense, but avoid ‘shouting’ at your audience. Try to keep explicit brand messages to an approximate 1:10 ratio, unless you have good reason to do otherwise. Similarly, if you see your engagement dropping right off, then maybe you’re over-posting (or indeed, under-posting) or just not hitting the mark with your content. Less is often more.

3)     Are you ever scraping the barrel when it comes to content?

You know what I’m talking about here, but don’t try to link your brand to every damn world event or public holiday that’s happening. Obviously if you’re a greeting’s card company then Christmas is perfect for you, but if you’re a wood stain company, then it might not be such a good idea. It’s worth following Condescending Corporate Brand Page for some of the very worst examples of this.      

4)     An image (or video) tells a thousand words

Social media has been hurtling towards rich media content for a while, but only now are we truly reaching tipping point. So that means telling your brand story though imagery, not endless text updates. Think about what imagery you could use as a brand and invest properly in quality photography and design, not tired stock shots.

5)     Embrace Facebook’s new promotional guidelines (sparingly)

As you no doubt know, Facebook now allows you to directly run promotions or competitions on your brand wall, rather than via a third-party app. This can be a double-edged sword; don’t fall into the trap of running competitions or giveaways too frequency, or you risk attracting the ‘compers’, who are only interested in freebies, not what you’ve got to say. But that said, a well-timed promotion or competition can do wonders for your post reach and engagement. Also think of creative mechanisms, such sharing a branded photo or a website treasure hunt – not just a ‘like to enter’.

It takes a brave social media executive to suggest to their client that maybe they shouldn’t be doing social media updates every day, especially when that client pays for said agency’s time, or that there needs to be a dramatic content focus shift. However, Facebook brand pages should be fun, engaging, living, breathing communities, not just a one way conversation. Ask yourself, is your brand page reaching its potential?

How to moderate comments on a brand Facebook page

Sadly sometimes it’s inevitable that from time to time, customers will have a small gripe with your company, and if you have a social media presence it can often result in people becoming rude or abusive on your online platforms.


In order to try and contain or extinguish these figurative fires you need to approach the situation in the right manner to prevent customer dissatisfaction and this negativity.

Facebook Settings – Before you start

When first starting your Facebook page it’s always worth familiarising yourself with the page settings which are accessible to a page admin.

To start, you have the option of whether you want to enable users to post on your wall, via the ‘posting ability‘ function. Using this setting can restrict users in a way which only allows them to reply to your posts, rather than them being able to make their own posts directly on the page’s timeline. This can reduce a page being filled with nasty negative posts and your great content being lost.

Another easy way to filter out the abusive comments from positive ones is through use of the ‘profanity setting’. This will automatically block posts with profanity in accordance with the settings you set from none to strong. Of course there will be words with negative tones created by users to skirt your guidelines, meaning there will be insults which your computer and the vast majority of the public won’t understand or even dream of. It is also an American filter so it sometimes doesn’t understand UK curse words.

If you need any extra help use a swear word generator to really maximise your creativity but no laughing at the words please!

how to settings facebook

As a fail safe, on the off chance the profanity setting is unable to block certain words, there is a setting which allows you to immediately block comments which use the words of your choice, labelled ‘moderation blocklist‘. Whilst this might be one of the more time consuming ways to moderate posts, it is arguably the most effective.

Laying Down Your Facebook Page Ground Rules

It is important to set out your page rules beforehand rather than add them later when you are experiencing difficult or angry customers. The creation of some house rules will give you the basis to act and will hopefully prevent trollish abuse or the advertising/promotion of other sites of your page. Remember, social media is in the public domain and therefore all outward facing, so taking the time to prevent bad practice is much easier than panicking and having to react when the worst occurs. Here are the types of things to consider when writing your own house rules:

  1. Clarity and politeness is key – lay out your rules but show you have the customer’s interests at heart, whilst also encouraging discussion e.g. saying you will remove abusive comments ‘so you can quickly and efficiently help people in need’.
  2. Keep the focus on you – people will either reference other companies or post links to external sources. While these comments might not be abusive, they restrict focus on you. Your own page is about self-promotion meaning comments promoting outside organisations should be removed and followed up with a private explanation on why you have removed the comment.
  3. Give contact details – people will have genuine queries that need to be addressed, some of which are difficult to solve over social media. To prevent frustration display a contact number or email to customer support.
  4. Deleting chain comments – some comments might have to be deleted even though they aren’t abusive as they’re chained to a comment which needs to be removed. Highlight the possibility of this situation and in event of it happening, apologise and explain the situation.
  5. No tolerances for spam – both customer and provider have little patience with spam. Remove the posts and notify the user that you won’t tolerate it.
  6. Exercise your right to delete comments and block users – while it shouldn’t be your first port of call, make it clear you are within your right to remove posts or people from your page. Only use when other avenues have been exhausted.
  7. Outline protection for others – if users leave comments containing their contact details delete the comment for the safety of the consumer and contact them privately to help them. Outline a zero tolerance of bullying to protect yourself and your consumer’s interests.

An example being the BBC’s blog house rules:

bbc house rules

Replying to people’s Facebook Comments

Now your Facebook page is set out, don’t be scared you maybe at the mercy of the public, some of whom will be looking to bombard you with complaints but the reality is often far less sinister.

Whilst it may be frustrating to get complaints or negative feedback, the trick is to grit your teeth and bare each comment no matter the how irritating or daft the comments may be. Replying to each comment in a polite and helpful manner is the only way you will reap the rewards from your social media page. Never get involved in an argument.


Tesco’s four pint milk might be a puzzle to pour for the minority of the public, but the post above is dealt with in a polite and helpful manner of which (so far) hasn’t resulted in a customer backlash.

Deleting comments should be your last option. If the user is repeatedly abusive and ignoring your help, then it might be time to delete their comments and possibly block the individual if no progress is being made as it can cause distress and annoyance to your other page fans.

Be careful when deleting comments however, no one likes to be ignored and if a user realises their comment has been deleted they could come back bitter, possibly trying to confront you on the subject (even if it’s clearly obvious why you have done so).

If the user persists to leave negative comments despite you sorting their problem and this is causing trouble regularly. This is when its probably best to block that particular user, before any more disruption is caused. Think about containment, if you’ve got an isolated problem with a user, who isn’t being responsive or constructive, cut them out of the picture so you can focus on constructive criticism and keep the attention on your brand and what your trying to do.

All of this can seem rather scary but here at Prohibition we manage pages of all shapes and sizes and some get genuine negative customer service enquiries and some get none. However, if you try to help people and be transparent with your replies and take the antagonists offline this will often result in a far happier Facebook community that continues to thrive.

If you are really interested in how to contain an online crisis you can also read our MD’s latest article on E-consultancy entitled: 22 tips to help contain an online crisis.

Image used under creative commons, courtesy of CALI.