Archives for posts with tag: Facebook

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I get up in the morning, check my email first and then explore what happened overnight on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. My streams are littered with reactions to some software updates or a new app release, musings about social platforms and why they’re dead or half-alive, food posts, complaints about flight delays, snarky remarks about politicians or pundits.

It’s my fault. I created this virtual world.

These are friends, colleagues, acquaintances, thought leaders. I chose to follow them. I created this stream. Sometimes it seems silly.

We have so many problems in this world. Our institutions don’t work anymore. We have a crumbling infrastructure. Debt everywhere. People kicking cans down the road. I’m worried about our future. I’m even more worried about our kid’s future.

Social Media was supposed to change the world

We finally had a voice. We finally could speak out. But we tend to talk mostly about entertaining issues: TV shows, sports, weather.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming anyone. I’m just blaming myself. We’ve been given this fantastic technology and we tend waste it on trivial matters.

Since I called myself out…

Over time, I will try to make a meaningful effort to add more compelling content into the stream. And stop bothering people with the triviality of my existence.

The Arab Spring, the London riots, the storm in Los Angeles: Examples were Social Media was used beyond marketing.

Take this video:

A racist woman on the tram.  The viral video – named My Tram Experience – shows a white woman racially abusing Black and Polish people on a train from Croydon to Wimbledon.  The video, which is extremely uncomfortable to watch, sparked millions of tweets on the subject.  The hashtag #mytramexperience was the top trend one day and soon the video had been watched million of times.  Later, following outrage from the general public and many celebrities, the woman, later named Emma West, was arrested.

That is the power of Social Media. And we should remember it when we tweet or post the next time.

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Or Twitter. Or any other social platform

Everybody has favorite brands. We have preferences when it comes to cars, restaurants, TV shows, movies, grocery stores, bands, authors, bloggers – you name it. You are one of these brands that people like and continue to purchase.

Wonderful.

So, one day you decide to jump on the Social Media bandwagon and develop a presence on some social platforms. Let’s say your first choice is Facebook. And you start to market your Facebook page: “Please find us” or “Like us”. And they do.

Wonderful.

Not really. Wonderful for some customers and brands. The small minority.

The majority of customers hate their favorite brand on Facebook.

Why?

Because you are only focused on the platform and not on the offer.

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The majority of people follow brands because they want offers, are current customers or explore entertaining content that they can’t get anywhere else. People connect with brands because they want something and they expect brands to give them something.

Focus on less on the what. And more on the why.

The social space is littered with brands that never answered the question why a person should connect with them. Marketing on a social platform doesn’t work without the why. Brands need to define their own WHY before choosing a specific platform. Once you determined your why, you can create your strategy: Content to engage people, contests, polls, humor, discounts, coupons – your why has to be aligned with your brand promise and needs to be sustainable for the long-term.

Define your value proposition and communicate it.

Don’t just ask people to like you or follow you on Twitter. Tell them what they get in return, why they spend their limited time with your content, what’s in for them?

Being social is your primary goal. Being a marketer is secondary.

Nothing wrong with marketing on social platforms. Don’t feel guilty about it. But you have to be social. Create compelling content that keeps people coming back. The customers are really the king on social platforms. You’re the servant.

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Whenever I go to Facebook, I tend to see the same people on top of my newsfeed (I love you all.) and a lot of (almost) strangers. I met some of them a few years back, made the connection, never to see them again. I know what they are doing each day, what hotel they are staying, what song they are listening to.

But I often don’t see my own wife. Or my best friend.

There’s mounting evidence that Facebook is making assumptions about me – without asking.

Those (false assumptions) are shaping who else I see, meet and talk with and I find that deeply problematic.

Last weekend, while watching football, I went through all my Facebook friends and clicked on the forgotten ones. The ones that I normally don’t see. The ones that I miss. My friends. I was hoping that clicking on their profile would change the algorithm and let Facebook know that I care about these people. Nothing changed. I still see the usual suspects. And the strangers.

Personalization can be very convenient and useful. But it can also be wrong and damaging. Personalization may find you lots of what you like, but look at the ads that you see. They are based on similar assumptions. On my page, it’s the request to like Michelle Obama, some crappy brain enhancing formula and the request to like Kia. I don’t care about Michelle Obama that much, my brain functions very well, thank you very much, and don’t get me started on Kia.

Assumptions behind personalization are wrong all too often.

Those assumptions will push you in a direction that you may not want to head into. I don’t mind reading about strangers but the reason for investing time in Facebook was to stay close to family and friends, wasn’t it? Facebook should offer the option of opting in and give me more freedom. They can ask each of us to confirm assumptions they are making.

Of course they won’t. It’s inconvenient to them in their haste to assume they know what is convenient to us and what is not.

It will get worse.

Rumor says, Facebook will try to get public next year. This will increase the pressure on the platform to improve monetization. The algorithm will be changed to improve opportunities for brands to connect with us. We’ll see more brands/advertising/marketing and less friends. Makes sense for Facebook. Not so much for us.


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Groupon’s IPO: We’ve wasted too much time, writing about Groupon’s problems, challenges, opportunities and internal machinations. I’m as guilty as anyone. The IPO filing moved the conversation from pundits to the market. As it should be.

2. Google+: Since we don’t have to focus on Groupon anymore, Google+ gave marketers more fodder to discuss the problems, challengesand opportunities of Google’s innovative social layer. The combination of SEO and a huge user base makes it likely Google+ will be a success. It’s not the new Facebook, but it’s a new Google.

3. Zombies cling to life: Just a few deaths of 2011: The Web, micro site, print, display ads, television (a golden oldie) and radio. I’m glad to see all these zombies looking pretty much alive. Some of them need some drastic procedures to move them back to a real healthy existence, others need a good rehab to reset their mission and vision. Still, they are alive, nobody died and no need to write more obituaries.

4. Josh Williams, Gowalla: It’s good to see a CEO pivot in the right way. He knew he lost the “check-in war” and changed the vision of his company from “I was here” to “I wish you were here.” Check-ins were always kind of stupid: marketing opportunities are limited (Since most people use location-based apps as personal branding tools, the opportunity for businesses to conquest seems minimal), and the user base was even more limited. Foursquare cornered that small opportunity and we’ll see if they can get traction outside of the geek crowd. Gowalla’s mission change to craft the narrative of your life is fascinating. I wish them well.

5. Content Marketing: Let’s be honest here: We didn’t feel needed anymore. People just blocked us out. Banner blindness, DVR, apathy, ignoring our messages. Content marketing gave us an opportunity to go back to our roots of communicating with our customers and prospects without selling. Instead of being the parrot-on-the-shoulder-crazy-colored-blazer-wearing pitchman, we can deliver now messages that make our buyers more intelligent. Beautiful.

6. Steve Jobs: Simplicity and purpose. A powerful vision for all of us.

7. The GOP primary: Some of the candidates remind us of marketing lessons we should never forget:

a. Rick Perry: Never overpromise and under-deliver. Always under-promise and over-deliver.

b. Herman Cain: Always be prepared for everything. You lose all credibility when you don’t know the basics of your profession.

c. Mitt Romney: It’s not good enough to look and act the part. You need substance.

d. Rick Santorum: Brand Awareness is important.

e. Jon Huntsman: If there’s no demand for your product, you need to create demand.

f. Newt Gingrich: Lies only get you so far. And they will always come back to haunt you.

8. John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” We all thought this would change with the digital revolution. Not so fast, friends. Clearly, we still haven’t figured it out and John Wanamaker’s quote will be around for many decades to come. Maybe not, since some claim 90% of advertising is wasted.

9. Mark Zuckerberg: The inventor of the Zuckerberg dance: Introducing new features, protest dances by a minority of users combined with flaming threats of an even smaller minority to leave for good, Mark and his team dance the apology tango, retreating slightly with a waltz and the users go back to do the Facebook Polka. Thanks, Mark, for keeping us all in motion.

10. All the people that dedicate their lives to help people in real need. You have my deepest thanks. You do work that really matters.

Last but not least, thank you to everybody who reads my posts. I feel humbled and quite lucky to have the privilege. Thanks for being here, for making a difference and changing the world.

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Facebook is a terrible tool to build communities outside of your immediate friends and family. It’s a good platform to maintain existing relationships. It performs badly when it comes to creating new communities based on shared interests. I’m still active in many forums and stats show they tend to build powerful, long-lasting communities.

The emergence of niche networks.

Big social networks have received all the attention in recent years but the real action happens in community forums. There are millions of these sites that have a combined audience comparable to Facebook. The one big advantage Facebook offers for marketers: Scale. It’s so much easier to communicate a message on a unified platform compared to millions of communities, often behind password walls.

In addition, you need to be passionate about specific topics: Unless you’re into Dubstep in Brazil, why would you ever know about forums discussing that topic? Or baseball forums in Germany. Sumo forums in Los Angeles. Bobblehead forums. These forums are surprisingly popular and extremely resilient because of their community bond. For every interest there is an online community to accomodate: fishing, hiking, TV shows, Rugby, Bakersfield fans – you name it. They live and grow every day even if you know nothing about them.

Real relationships

I joined a EDM (Electronic Dance Music) forum in 2000 and still participate every day. The conversation has transformed from sharing club experiences to political discussions, parenting issues, travel advice, general entertainment. I’ve never met 99% of the community but we’re a lively bunch and engage on a daily basis. It’s fascinating to experience this use of the Web and the untouchable strength of community.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to engage in niche networks

Facebook has become the Microsoft of Social Networks. It’s there, you can’t escape it but you don’t love it. We use it every day but we are really not passionate about it. I’m sure Facebook will be around for years to come, just like Microsoft won’t disappear. The real love and passion happens in niche networks. By integrating more social features into their forums, niche communities will soon begin to have their heyday. Soon means about now.

All this talk about Facebook and Twitter have distracted from one the most important strengths of the digital medium: bringing people together to form a community. The current Forums 1.0 will soon be transformed into more advanced and socialized forums.

Scale is important.

The bond and passion of a community is more important. And a much better playground for your brand.

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For its annual look at the blogging world, Technorati interviewed 4,114 bloggers in 145 countries. The focus of this year’s report was on why and how they blog, how they connect with brands and the usage of Social Media.

The Bloggers

The majority of surveyed bloggers were hobbyists (61%) with varied frequency of posting. 11% of the surveyed bloggers post daily, 13% are hoping for extra income and only 5% are professional bloggers. The majority of bloggers are educated, married parents between 25 and 44 years old. The majority continues to be male (59%), we experience a slight gender shift from last year when 64% were men.

80% of surveyed have been blogging for over two years, and around 50% for over four years. They tend to juggle an average of three different blogs, last year the average was two years.

The Platform War

The term ‘blogosphere’ is hardly used anymore because it’s hard to define the line between a blog and another social network. Is Instagram a blog? Twitter? Foursquare?

51% of surveyed bloggers used WordPress, followed by Blogger (21%) and Blogspot (14%). Social Media continues to be biggest traffic driver (Facebook, Twitter, and new face in the crowd, Google+). The average number of Twitter followers for a blogger is 847, jumping to 1,674 when we’re talking about a professional blogger. Interesting to see how quickly professional bloggers jumped on the Google+ bandwagon to further syndicate their content. Still, this is not an indication that Google+ has any staying power.

90% of professional bloggers use Twitter to promote their content, 40% of them use automated tools to syndicate their content, 37% link their Twitter and Facebook accounts so they only have to post once. Besides Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn was the next most popular social platform followed by YouTube and Flickr.

The majority of traffic comes from Facebook and Twitter, followed by LinkedIn, YouTube and upstart StumbleUpon. Additional traffic is derived from tags, comments, Google, Technorati and SEO.

The Blogging Business

2/3 of bloggers post about brand, and a 1/3 do reviews. Brands are intrigued by the power of bloggers and they tend to aggressively court them. A third of hobby bloggers are approached by brands twice a week, while professional bloggers get approached an average of eight times a week. Some bloggers receive up to 1,000 pitches a week.

Still, bloggers feel undervalued by brands – 60% feel they’re not treated as well by brands as the traditional media. Often, brands don’t research the blogs well enough and they are not interested in building a real relationship with the blogger. Less than 25% of respondents said brands provide any value.

When bloggers sign a deal with brands, 86% disclose the nature of the paid post and 58% disclosed when they were reviewing a product they had received for free. (This is a disturbing number: Brands need to require bloggers to disclose their paid posts and free products 100%)

Who influences bloggers? Other bloggers. In 2010 only 30%, in 2011 68% of other bloggers influence them. The other influencers (in decreasing importance): friends, social media, print, family, major news sites and TV.

An interesting report you need to read in detail before connecting a brand with blogger.

Here’s the full report.

KPCB Internet Trends (2011)

Advertising

While online advertising is booming, it’s still not on par with time investment by people per medium. Print is hugely overpriced, representing 8% of people’s time and 27% of ad spending. Contrast that to mobile: 8% of time spent and 0.5% of ad spending.

Content Creation

Content creation has become a commodity. Newspaper continues to decline while we experience the golden age of content aggregation.

Commerce

E-commerce now represents 8% of all retail commerce and will grow dramatically. Retailers beware: The #1 reason for customers to abandon the in-store purchase is because they found cheaper options online. #2 reason: They found a cheaper price at a different store.

Economy

We might muddle our way through it. Or the economy collapses. Nobody knows. This uncertainty is the biggest challenge for politicians, economist and people. Uncertainty might be the new normal.

Empowering people

More people have access to the wireless grid (85%) than electricity. Over 200 million farmers in India receive payments via mobile devices and they have become instrumental during disasters.

Globalization

While we talk in our echo chamber all day long about Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google (and they remain global mega-leaders) Internet giants from China and Russia (Baidu, Tencent and Yandex) are catching up quickly.

Here’s an eye-opener: 81% of users of the top global Internet Properties are outside the U.S.

Identity

A big challenge for all of us: How will identify and authenticate the almost billion Facebook customers with the 1.4 billion mobile customers by 2012?

Innovation

The economy is down but U.S. mobile innovation is still the global leader: Made in the US-smartphone operating systems – Android, iOS and Windows Mobile – have increases market share from 5% in 2005 to 65% today.

Mobile

Mobile subscriber growth is more explosive than the initial Internet adoption, leaving TV adoption in the dust. Smartphone shipments have surpassed feature phone shipments.

Usability

Usability matters and it will become even more important over time to deliver complex services to people through a simple interface. The next revolution? Between your ears. Voice recognition, sound creation and sharing, and audio interfaces.

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The conference season is upon us.

It costs a lot of money to go to conferences. Conference fee, transportation, hotel, expenses. Let’s not forget the time you’ll spend away from your daily work, the loss of productivity.

Why should you go to conferences?

Should you really spend all this time and effort to watch the keynote that will be streamed lived and can be viewed online until the end of time?

Should you follow a presentation that will be uploaded to Slideshare 5 minutes after it’s done?

Should you try to meet some semi-important web celebrity?

Should you feel obliged to see all sessions just because you paid for all this content?

I would argue, this is the wrong way to attend a conference.

What do I remember from conferences?

The conversations. The human connections. Moments where I learn from people what drives them, what makes them tick, what they are working on. The coffee with an interesting person that has 25 followers on Twitter. The drink with a woman who is about to change the world. The discussions about marketing at 11pm with five brilliant minds. The friendships that last.

That’s why I’m going to conferences.

Conference advice

Don’t try to go to every session. You will come home drained and exhausted.

Choose one or two sessions per day. While you’re there, try to focus. Use Twitter (or other channels) to add your voice to the conversation, not just rehashing sound bites of the speaker. Be engaged and present.

The rest of the time, roam the floors. Make new friends, help solve problems, explore new point of views.

Go against the stream.

Most conferences are organized around the sheep principle: Just follow the masses.

Instead, create your own conference. The one that’s valuable to you.

The one that creates memories.

The one that matters.

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I know, this question was asked a gazillion times before. And answered by much more profound minds than I could ever aspire to be.

Let’s look at the question from a different angle.

Let’s not focus on how we are going to consume media (tools, platforms). Let’s forget about the location where we will consume media (home, public place, office, etc.) And let’s not bother discussing what we will do with media (lease it, share it, own, co-own it, etc.)

Let’s answer a different question:

How are businesses are going to manage this new media world?

Sure, we have amazing examples of companies utilizing new media to their advantage: Zappos, Virgin America, Starbucks.

But, let’s be honest here: the majority of businesses are completely lost in this new world. They are acting like a 13-year old trying to score a date. They understand the world of media is moving faster and faster while they stand still and fall behind. They desperately hold on to tactics and processes that used to work 20 years ago. Just like the 60-year old who tries to squeeze himself into the wedding suit from 30 years ago. They are more care-takers of media than real managers or leaders of their destiny. This applies to paid, earned and owned media.

But, let’s focus on earned media.

Most brands claim to be engaged in social media. Frankly, they are lying to themselves. A daily tweet or Facebook post doesn’t mean engagement.

It’s checkbox engagement.

Most businesses are barely engaged in the real world. They shield themselves from customers by deploying phone trees, arduous forms and bureaucratic processes. Why would a narcissistic brand believe they can suddenly communicate with their customer base just because there is a new tool or platform?

Time Warner Cable is a great example.

I drop around $200 monthly for cable and Internet service. And I’ve done it for 15 years. That’s around $40,000 in 15 years. Did they ever thank me, offered free on-demand movies for a month, gave me something that says: “Thank you, Mr. Hook, for being such a great customer!” Of course not.

My brand experience is extremely low, if Dish or DirecTV offer me a special deal: I’m gone. I’m just too lazy to research this further and plan on returning their remotes and cable-boxes. And, I’m not alone. Just check out their Facebook page: It’s a great example of brand misery. They post content once a day, never to listen to anyone. People are bitching, complaining, expressing their deep hate towards the brand. Time Warner Cable’s answer: Push another message. It’s all about them, narcissistic, deeply dysfunctional.

They do on Facebook what they do on TV: push a message, push another message, push more messages. This push mentality translates how to engage with customers and treat them. Time Warner Cable has no clue how to navigate and manage new media in positive ways.

They are just one example. As I said before, the majority of brands act that way. They need to take a hard, long look at the mirror and ask: “How are we going to manage the future of media to be successful?” Zappos, Virgin America and Starbucks can answer the question honestly and don’t need to worry about their media future.

The other brands will continue to lie to themselves or finally wake up.

If you don’t engage and communicate with your customers in the new media world, you’ll be talking to yourself very soon.

And you well deserve it.

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That video should be a good reason.

The lyrics:
Put a heart on your page, heart-heart on your page
Let’s make it official
Baby you and me, you and me
Facebook official

Makes me wonder, will Facebook just become another MySpace? Another fun time-waster? Or will there be more energy coming through political movements like the Arab Spring who communicated through Facebook?

According to this video, the destination is clear.

In their words:

Status update, what?
Checking the pics of your butt
Did you see that link on your wall?
Girl, I don’t wanna play Farmville, I just wanna play for real