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What are People’s feelings of Facebook today?

Sep 23, 2011   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Facebook, Google +  //  No Comments

Facebook has three-quarters of a billion users and shows no sign of slowing down. Just this week it introduced a very Twitter-like and Google+-like function — “Subscribe” — and it is the social destination for millions of Americans, many of whom still do not tweet and never had a MySpace page.

Yet there are whispers that Facebook’s best days are behind it, and that it could be the “next MySpace” (or Yahoo). As far back as 2010, there was talk of Facebook fatigue. Some teens said they would quit, though they didn’t know where else to go. Now some suggest that those who forgo Facebook may head over to Google+, once it’s out of its closed beta.

The reality, though, is that we often complain about the things we love and use most. No one in my house has requested a Google+ invite. This is not surprising; virtually none of their friends or family — except me — are on Google+.

The consensus: Facebook is running cool to lukewarm. Considering I asked the question in the echo-chamber that is Google+, this response is hardly surprising. But many of the comments hit upon what I see as Facebook’s key faults and hurdles it must jump over the next three to five years.

One commenter said Facebook, which has added a number of new features in recent weeks, is finally “stepping it up” in the face of growing competition from Google+.

Those who still think Facebook is hot did admit that the game may change when “Google+ opens up”. A few hedged their bets, saying that Facebook was lukewarm, but also “sitting at its peak of interest.” I guess they expect Facebook to topple from its perch at any moment.

There were, however, some who could see outside the Google+ bubble. Antonio Moro wrote: “[Facebook is ] still King of the hill, very hot, and since G+ started: hotter as it’s pushing new features faster than ever. I still prefer to use G+, but this doesn’t matter.”

There were other begrudging admissions of Facebook’s dominance. Allan Petersen wrote, “I wish I could say “Not” with a straight face. Unfortunately, it’s so much more intertwined with current online culture than MySpace was. And they’re continually pushing updates. I say ‘warm.’”

Many said that despite the encroachment of brands, fan pages and confusing updates, they will stick with Facebook because their friends show no interest in moving to another social platform. The decline of platforms like Friendster and MySpace suggest that what people say and what they actually do may not be totally aligned.

Some said the MySpace analogy is off — or at least years away from being reality. It’s not a matter of Facebook being Hot or Not as it is “a signal of evolution. Facebook can’t be the bright shiny thing all the time.”

They are right, of course: nothing remains in the spotlight forever. Facebook is simply not the hot, fresh new thing. But the lack of pure heat doesn’t mean Facebook is going away. Few of us get excited about Sears, but the retail store survives, even in the face of competition from online megastores like Amazon.com. A little less heat, and a lot more focus on what its users want, is probably what Facebook needs anyway.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

What are People’s feelings of Facebook today?

Sep 23, 2011   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Facebook, Google +  //  No Comments

Facebook has three-quarters of a billion users and shows no sign of slowing down. Just this week it introduced a very Twitter-like and Google+-like function — “Subscribe” — and it is the social destination for millions of Americans, many of whom still do not tweet and never had a MySpace page.

Yet there are whispers that Facebook’s best days are behind it, and that it could be the “next MySpace” (or Yahoo). As far back as 2010, there was talk of Facebook fatigue. Some teens said they would quit, though they didn’t know where else to go. Now some suggest that those who forgo Facebook may head over to Google+, once it’s out of its closed beta.

The reality, though, is that we often complain about the things we love and use most. No one in my house has requested a Google+ invite. This is not surprising; virtually none of their friends or family — except me — are on Google+.

The consensus: Facebook is running cool to lukewarm. Considering I asked the question in the echo-chamber that is Google+, this response is hardly surprising. But many of the comments hit upon what I see as Facebook’s key faults and hurdles it must jump over the next three to five years.

One commenter said Facebook, which has added a number of new features in recent weeks, is finally “stepping it up” in the face of growing competition from Google+.

Those who still think Facebook is hot did admit that the game may change when “Google+ opens up”. A few hedged their bets, saying that Facebook was lukewarm, but also “sitting at its peak of interest.” I guess they expect Facebook to topple from its perch at any moment.

There were, however, some who could see outside the Google+ bubble. Antonio Moro wrote: “[Facebook is ] still King of the hill, very hot, and since G+ started: hotter as it’s pushing new features faster than ever. I still prefer to use G+, but this doesn’t matter.”

There were other begrudging admissions of Facebook’s dominance. Allan Petersen wrote, “I wish I could say “Not” with a straight face. Unfortunately, it’s so much more intertwined with current online culture than MySpace was. And they’re continually pushing updates. I say ‘warm.’”

Many said that despite the encroachment of brands, fan pages and confusing updates, they will stick with Facebook because their friends show no interest in moving to another social platform. The decline of platforms like Friendster and MySpace suggest that what people say and what they actually do may not be totally aligned.

Some said the MySpace analogy is off — or at least years away from being reality. It’s not a matter of Facebook being Hot or Not as it is “a signal of evolution. Facebook can’t be the bright shiny thing all the time.”

They are right, of course: nothing remains in the spotlight forever. Facebook is simply not the hot, fresh new thing. But the lack of pure heat doesn’t mean Facebook is going away. Few of us get excited about Sears, but the retail store survives, even in the face of competition from online megastores like Amazon.com. A little less heat, and a lot more focus on what its users want, is probably what Facebook needs anyway.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Can a Business Utilize the Power of Facebook?

Apr 21, 2010   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Facebook, Online Marketing, Social Media  //  No Comments

By now, most people know what Facebook is. Yes, Facebook is a social utility, but what does that mean? How it works and what it can do for the business person – and this is where its true power lies.

For the business person, it means that your business contacts, your profile, business groups, targeted prospects, social media applications (and many other), can all be under one online roof. It means that through information sharing, you can find more opportunities to network with other business people. Not to mention the opportunity to be a better resource to more people in your market.

Here are 8 more reasons to start using Facebook for business today.

1.   The very nature of Facebook is viral.

Here’s just one example.

Each time you log into Facebook, the home page gives you updates of everything your connections have done that they chose to share since the last time you logged in via their profile. And when people visit yours, your mini-feed at the top of your profile page is one of the first things they’ll see, which contains your own updates.

With this capability, you can virally drive news to your Facebook connections. If they find what you’re doing interesting, and take action on it, those actions are driven to their network as well.

In this way, your news can be driven far beyond your direct reach.

2.   Facebook is the ultimate in social presence marketing.

Social presence marketing is the activity of promoting by participating in the pre-existing conversation around your target market, in a way that enhances and uplifts the dialogue, rather than intruding upon it.

In Facebook, it’s easy to make such contributions to the community, and for people who want to know more to find and contact you. If that wasn’t enough, the audience is often already targeted and organized.

3.   Your target market tells you exactly what it wants, and they’re easy to find.

Each person who joins Facebook has the option of filling out an extensive profile. You can browse or search profiles by keywords, or find groups and events by keywords filled with people who gather in the name of a common interest.

For example, if you had a business that sold weight loss supplements, you could join groups about fitness. Instead of leaving marketing messages, you can relax and be open with your advice. Those who want to learn more, or hire you, will follow you back to your profile, where they can continue to communicate with you, or be led back to your website.

4.   Over half of the people using it, use it daily.

Think of how many subscribers or monthly visitors you have. How many of them, honestly, visit you daily? What if you could increase that number simply by having a presence in a free tool they use daily already.

The opportunity exists in Facebook. Of the 35 million people currently using Facebook, half of them are using it daily. Why do they do this is the key observation here.

There’s no way I can speak for 17 million people, I can only tell you what I see. And what I see is that people who log in daily connect more with the people and information around them. Why can’t that be you, and your information?

5.   Better, stronger online connections.

Facebook goes the extra mile in helping you find a basis for connection to the people you know, or would like to know.

Conversation starters include common interests, status updates, and upcoming birthday reminders. Information sharing is immediate, passive, viral, and costs nothing. You can control the quality of data by controlling the quality of the people you’re connected to, and vice versa. Therefore people who understand Facebook are careful about the quality of their connecting news.

6.   Hard core marketing is out of vogue and declining in effectiveness.

The traditional online sales-letter may continue to work with trusted audiences, but it’s beyond dispute that improvements to this model are changing the way sales take place online with new clients, not to mention how different the lead generation stage has changed with the progression of social media.

In English that means that while the way your present clients buy from you probably doesn’t need as much tweaking, the way new people meet you is shifting every day. All online marketing interactions are becoming more transparent – the visitor doesn’t need to take an expert’s word for it. They can become their own expert, do reputation checking on their favorite guru, and can now search for, and find the majority opinion on their business of choice.

It’s becoming more important to make a better impression on your audience before they actually show up at your site. With Facebook, contributing knowledge and resources to the conversations taking place is what brings more people to you, faster.

7.  Your clients — and your competition’s clients — may already be on Facebook.

With 35 million people registered, and new signers showing up so fast, that by the time you read this, that number will have changed – someone from your desired online demographic is on Facebook.

Why is this different, this time? What does it matter that your clients use Facebook already?

Because with Facebook comes a completely different way for you to build trusting relationships with your clients and prospects. Since they must join your group, or add you as a friend to interact with you, it’s completely opt-in.

You’ll be able to have deeper interactions with them, through photos, videos, private messages, public messages, or through custom applications you can build or use to enhance their experience with your company.

8.    Facebook friends are willing to continue the conversation.

Facebook is for social information sharing and interaction. It makes sense that people who are already in the mode of action would continue interaction with you or even follow you to your site.

The traffic to your site isn’t, by far, the most important benefit of Facebook for business. It’s worth noting, but the real opportunities with Facebook are to get better information, faster, and to have better social connections to both existing and new contacts, be they client, friend, acquaintance, or colleague.