Browsing articles tagged with " facebook"

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.

3 Tools to Help You Share Microcontent Online

Apr 2, 2010   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Corporate Blogging, Industry News, Mashable News, Online Marketing, Social Media, Twitter  //  No Comments

Over the last few years, the concept of microblogging has gone from zero to hero. Just a few short years ago, the terms “microblogging” and “microcontent” were known only to early adopters.  These days, the only thing “micro” about microblogging and status updates is character count. Consider a few recent statistics:

  • There are nearly 40,000 Tweets a minute, according to TweeSpeed
  • Last year, Tweets grew 1,400%, while traffic to Twitter.com grew around 1,100%
  • More than 60 million Facebook status updates are posted every day

When it comes to microblogging sites, customers and prospects are either there, or those that influence them are. Microblogging can take on a life of its own – with users making connections, developing relationships and publishing content all from within.

Are you unsure of how to best leverage microblog connections and microcontent for other online marketing efforts?  One answer: cross-publishing or syndicating microblog content to other channels.

Fortunately today there are several tools available to help you and here, are three:

1. @anywhere

Twitter is in the process of rolling out a new feature, @anywhere, that will allow users to syndicate Twitter content to virtually any online channel without sending visitors back to Twitter.com. Not only that, but the syndication process will be as simple as dropping a few lines of JavaScript.

Initial participating sites include Amazon, eBay, Digg, Yahoo!, The New York Times, Salesforce.com, You Tube and several others. With @anywhere, visitors to these sites will be able to follow Twitter users, retweet content and search for new Twitter accounts – without ever having to leave the website.

Here’s what it could someday mean for your organization:

  • Customers reading a blog post written by your CEO could follow him or her on Twitter directly from your site
  • Prospects viewing a video on your website could retweet the content without leaving the webpage

2. Google Buzz

Google Buzz

The latest social media player to enter the game is Google. Its recently launched Google Buzz tool is built into Gmail and enables sharing of updates, photos and videos all from within the inbox. The tool connects with sites already in use, including Twitter, Picasa, Flickr and Google Reader.

Essentially the tool enables Gmail users to leverage the personal email contacts already made, as well as the entire Gmail community at large, to engage in conversations and share microblogging content.

Google Buzz goes beyond just status updates, though. It automatically pulls images from links and enables users to respond to content without ever leaving Gmail.  Whether Google Buzz attains the popularity of Facebook or Twitter remains to be seen.

3. Facebook Connect

Facebook Connect

Facebook Connect

With Facebook Connect, marketers can create more engaging experiences on their websites by allowing site visitors to bring their Facebook life with them. Facebook Connect pulls Facebook users’ profile information, photos, connections and more directly to your website.

Facebook Connect creates what it calls a “viral sharing loop” on your site by:

  • Making it easy for site visitors to share your content with their Facebook networks
  • Enabling you to show visitors what’s most popular on your site with their Facebook friends
  • Allowing visitors to comment on, review and rate content on your site

Other tools that make it easy to share microcontent incude: ping.fm, HootSuite or socialoomph.com.

What tools do you use to cross-publish or syndicate your microblogging content to other channels?

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Google: The Social Media Company

Mar 19, 2010   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Corporate Blogging, Industry News, Mashable News, Online Marketing, Social Media, Twitter  //  No Comments

Over the last few years, the popularity of social channels – for professionals, teens, grandmas and everyone in between – has skyrocketed. Consider the recent numbers:

  • Twitter experienced an annual growth in 2009 of 1,382%
  • Facebook now boasts 400 million active users
  • Every minute, 20 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube

Between blog posts, Facebook status updates, tweets, videos and every other piece of social content published, there’s a whole lot of information floating around out there.

Enter the latest social media player, Google.

Google’s latest activities, acquisitions and features all point to the fact that the search giant no longer has a close eye on web 2.0; it’s already there.

Here are 5 ways Google is now becoming a dominant social media player:

1. Google Social Search

Google Social Search results

Until now all of the social content in channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, hasn’t been easy to find in a central place – including through Google search.  Until now, that is.

That’s where Google Social Search comes in. It’s still in the experimental stages, but this new feature combines users’ social connections with organic searches. For example, if you were to search for “New Zealand,” social search results would appear beneath the organic search results. The tool scans your social connections’ content (based on the social accounts included in your Google profile) to create these results.

2. Google Buzz

Google Buzz

These days, it seems the social world is abuzz with talk of Google Buzz. This new product is built into Gmail and essentially turns users’ inboxes into social networks. A mobile version of Google Buzz is also available.

Here’s how it works: Google Buzz leverages current email contacts and connects you with their social profiles. Through Gmail, you can share status updates and photos, and start conversations, all through from your email.

What does this mean for your brand? You may want to consider adding Gmail to your social media marketing mix.

3. Twitter and Facebook Feeds in Search Results

Imagine the tweets highlighting your latest blog post or a new product launch getting found in organic searches. These days, that’s a reality.

At the end of February, Google happily announced on Twitter that public status updates from Facebook fan pages would now be included in real-time search. Facebook joins a long list of other social content appearing in search results including:

  • Twitter tweets
  • FriendFeed updates
  • Google Buzz posts
  • MySpace updates

Twitter and Facebook marketing efforts, then, take on new importance and new meaning. It’s now essential that all social content be optimized just as other online content is optimized.

4. Google’s Social Acquisitions

Still not convinced that Google’s sights are set on social? Just check out the list of its acquisitions over the last nine years, and count the social platforms.

In terms of sites owned by Google, the search giant has the gamut covered:

5. Google Wave

Google Wave

Google Wave

Essentially, Google Wave is 21st century email. The tool enables real-time communication and collaboration – i.e., share images, post videos, discuss ideas. Within Google Wave, you can create a message, invite other users to take part in the discussion, and add files, images, videos, you name it.

The coolest part about the tool is conversations are live, but you can rewind the wave at any time to see a previous comment.

It’s only available in limited preview right now, and you need an invitation from Google to join. Unfortunately, I’m not one of the lucky ones. Google, if you’re out there, can you hear me?

There’s no doubt about it: Google’s gone social. What’s up in the air is where it will go next. What do you think will be the next Google social media tools or applications?

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5 Social Media Tips for Ecommerce Marketing

Mar 12, 2010   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Corporate Blogging, Industry News, Mashable News, Online Marketing, Social Media, Twitter  //  No Comments

If you run an ecommerce business, chances are your customers – regardless of their age, gender or economic status – are active on social networks and social media sharing sites.

Just consider the statistics from social media monitoring site Pingdom:

  • Males and females almost equally use social sites (47% vs. 53%)
  • 61% of Facebook users are middle aged or older, with the average age being 37
  • 18- to 24-year-olds don’t dominate any particular social networking site; they’re spread out all over

The bottom line: If you aren’t discovering which in social networking channels your customers spend time and include them in your ecommerce marketing mix, you’re probably  missing out on building relationships, community and increasing new customer acquisition through online word of mouth.

Leverage these five social media marketing tips for ecommerce to either get started with more social digital marketing or take your current social strategy to the next level:

1. Go Where Your Customers Are

Very few things in life promise endless options – digital and social media marketing being one exception. From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to YouTube, there’s no limit to the number of social networking channels available for your business to leverage. Key to successful social media marketing for ecommerce is choosing the right channels to reach customers.

Find out where your customers are congregating by:

  • Asking them. Sounds overly simplistic, but sending a formal survey to customers or more informally polling them on your website can provide a wealth of knowledge.
  • Monitoring social sites. Use a free tool like Social Mention or Trackur. For something far more robust use tools like Radian6 to discover how and where customers are talking about your brand, your competitors or target keywords.
  • Leveraging the stats. Some sites like Facebook are transparent when it comes to user statistics. Or leverage research conducted by third-party firms like eMarketer.
  • Revivew backlinks, job postings, news announcements and keyword rankings of competitors on a regular basis to get a glimpse into their online marketing health.

2. Monitor What Your Competitors Are Doing

Whether your ecommerce business is new to social media marketing, or just need to take your efforts up a notch, competitive intelligence can be very useful. Spend some time by conducting a competitive audit of your top five competitors on the social web. Include:

  • The social sites in which they are active
  • The type of content they publish on the social web
  • The number of followers/fans/views they have on each site
  • How they promote specific products, programs or events via social media

For even more inspiration and insight into what works well on the social web, look to ecommerce sites in other industries or even successful B2B social media examples.

3. Promote Exclusive Offers Through Social Media

In order for your ecommerce business to gain a following on whatever social channel you choose, entice customers with something they can’t get anywhere else.

For example, promote a contest via social media. Last fall, TopRank® Online Marketing leveraged this tactic for one of its ecommerce clients. TopRank used the client’s blog and Facebook fan page to promote a Halloween contest to name the best costume. This initiative not only drove additional traffic to the client’s website, but also helped increase the number of Facebook fans.

Alternately, offer an exclusive item to social media followers or fans, such as free shipping or a weekly coupon. You can also offer “breaking news” that does not appear anywhere else, like pre-product release announcements or an inside look at your company’s inter-workings.

4. Don’t Just Push Products and Promotions

The primary goal of your ecommerce site may be to sell products, but your social media marketing strategy should encompass a wider range of tactics that simply promoting offerings. With too much product pushing and not enough engagement, you’re unlikely to experience optimal success.

Incorporate some of these ideas into your ecommerce social media marketing strategy:

  • Share messages or news stories from external sources
  • Create a blog on your website and feed blog content to your social accounts
  • Ask questions, participate in discussions or poll your customers via social media
  • Post pictures from company events or videos from your CEO’s speaking engagements

1-800-Flowers maximizes the use of social media for its marketing efforts.

5. Sell Products Through Social Networks

Many ecommerce sites leverage social channels to make it even simpler for customers to purchase their products. 1-800-Flowers has taken this idea to the max (see image above). It was the first ecommerce site to launch a Facebook store, allowing customers to browse and purchase its products directly through Facebook.

1-800-Flowers may be an extreme case, but ecommerce sites large and small can still indirectly sell products through their social profiles. For example, highlight new products or best-sellers and provide a link to the order page on your website. It may not be quite as simple as purchasing directly from the social profile, but it can be just as effective.

The five ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ecommerce social media marketing. What social media tactics have you found to be successful?