Archive for March, 2012

Advertising: What’s Your Message?

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“Hang in there, creepy guys! She’ll love you some day!”

[Insert ad for Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear here.]

Facebook and Privacy: The Continuing Saga

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Facebook keeps making its social ads more social. Don’t want to be associated with that? Step through this Mashable slideshow for information about how to opt out of social ads on Facebook.

Looking for a new job? How would you react if your potential employer asked for your Facebook password? Right now that’s legal in all 50 states. How would you handle that request?

Zonealarm provides an infographic that sums up social media privacy habits, based on Pew research. Take a look–which parts reflect your practices?

“Bad Idea,” Verizon

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Remember when this was a sketch on SNL?

Yeah, SNL did it better.

Breakout Kings

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No need to mention that there’s a woman in the show, though.

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What Does Your Audience Want?

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What does your audience care about? In “Lost & Found: The Next Generation of Alumni Donors,” Fran Zablocki looks specifically at alumni and why many of them don’t give. But his suggestion–focus on what interests them, not on what you think is important–hold true far beyond the world of alumni associations and university development.

Brian Solis talks about how “Social media is about social science not technology.” He points out that too many marketers don’t ask their audience about what they want, or how they benefit–which means that too many marketers are making decisions based on guesswork, not data.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that tablet ownership among college students has more than tripled, and that in a sharp reversal of last year’s results, they prefer electronic texts to print editions. So is this a new trend? And how if you’re in the business of producing materials for college students, what do you do about it?

And it’s not just college students. Encyclopaedia Britannica is no more–at least, in its traditional print format. People want instantly updated information at their fingertips, and there’s no way to provide that in print–plus, at more than $1,300 a set, it’s something of an aspirational item. The only problem is that fewer and fewer people are aspiring to it.

So what does your audience want? And are you sure?

To Boldly Post: George Takei and Social Media

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I once heard a marketing executive say, “I think of Twitter as something that 20-somethings do.”

Well, she clearly hasn’t been paying attention to George Takei. The 75-year-old actor and activist has become a social media heavyweight, with over 299,000 followers on Twitter and over 1.2 million likes on Facebook.

But it isn’t his numbers that are so incredible—there are plenty of brands, celebrities, and organizations that can boast more fans. What’s noteworthy about Takei is his level of engagement.

In her post “George Takei: Facebook Hero” on Commerce Kitchen, Natalie Winslow points out the share rates on Takei’s Facebook posts–in one case, more than 10,600 shares on a single photo, compared to 708 on a photo on Coca-Cola’s page. Obviously one post doesn’t make a case–but this is not an isolated incident. Takei’s recent photo posts have share rates ranging from some 3,000 shares to over 25,000.

Roni Weiss’s RW Social post “Whose brand is stronger: George Takei or Starbucks?” answers its own question–George Takei–by comparing “Who’s talking about this” numbers for each Facebook page. Can we expand on this? As I write this, I can find the following corresponding numbers for Facebook pages:

Starbucks: 339,272 (over 29,000,000 likes)
McDonald’s: 780,873 (over 17,000,000 likes)
Nike: 796,869 (over 8,000,000 likes)
George Takei: 584,907 (1,265,789 likes)

Want to compare him to other celebrities? Lady Gaga’s page has 650,076 people talking about it–and she’s got more than 49,000,000 likes–more than 40 times as many as Takei. Dwayne The Rock Johnson, who Mashable readers voted the “Must-Follow Actor or Actress on Social Media,” has 220,000 people talking about his page.

Forty-six percent of Takei’s fans are talking about him. The others don’t even come close.

So what’s the secret to his Facebook success? I see several:

Frequency
He’s very active, posting multiple times a day.

Authenticity
He posts about gay rights and the World War II internment of Japanese Americans–causes that matter deeply to him. The first thing I saw was this YouTube video he made in response to anti-gay remarks made by a school board member in Arkansas:

You can often find him posting on heartfelt topics like this on Facebook and Twitter–and also about his hatred of the “Twilight” franchise.

Humor
He’s not just about the causes. Takei has several posts a day that are flat-out funny.

User-Generated Content
Business Week quoted Takei as saying, “True to my base, I like to find fan-generated images that are in the world of science fiction, especially Star Trek or Star Wars—both are franchises that I have worked in.” Many of his posts originate with fans–and he indicates this. In fact, his current cover photo is the result of a fan caption contest.

Knowing His Audience
It’s the first rule of comedy, and it’s also true for communication. George Takei knows who his fans are, and he’s paid attention to what they like–which means he’s very good at delivering it.

And the results are clear. So, how can you go boldly?

Facebook Timeline and Your Brand

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Facebook Timeline will become the default for brands on March 30–between now and then, only you can see your page in the new format, so now’s the time to start working on it. You’ll want it to be ready for the public by then (and if you’re ready ahead of time, go ahead and make the switch by publishing your page).

Mashable has a post that identifies six things you should know going forward. I’d particularly like to point out #5, because it’s a reminder to look at all of the ways your brand uses Facebook, not just the Wall. Take a look at your current tabs and app, and figure out what you need to change to make them look current in the new format.

Patrick Powers writes about higher education, but his advice about Timeline is good regardless of your economic sector. Remember that you can now add events that took place before the dawn of Facebook–was your organization founded in 1919? Great–why not list that on your Timeline?

If there’s a post you particularly want to highlight, you can “pin” it to the top of the Timeline; this Techcrunch post shows what that will look like.

Are you ready to get started, but want some inspiration? Check out what how the U.S. military is using Timeline (see above for how the U.S. Army is using its cover photo)–or look at these 20 other examples provided by Mashable.

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