Posts tagged Facebook

Marketing Isn’t News

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There’s something going around on Facebook and Twitter, and it represents a lack of critical thinking.

The gist of it is this: Author Wednesday Martin has uncovered a phenomenon that she discusses in her upcoming book Primates of Park Avenue. Allegedly, wealthy Manhattan moms are hiring disabled people to join them on trips to Disney World so that they and their actual families can jump the line.

Now, clearly this would be abuse of Disney’s policies. And you may or may not feel that it’s taking advantage of another person–the moms in question are using someone else’s physical condition for their own benefit, but on the other hand someone’s getting a free trip, and possibly payment in addition to that.

But is it really news?

I say no, and here’s why.

Every article and report I’ve seen refers to the same source: The New York Post. Every article uses the phrase I used above: wealthy Manhattan moms. Every article uses the same unattributed quote from “one mom.”

And those elements set off my skepticism meter.

There’s both not enough detail (the lack of variety and the lack of names) and too much (“wealthy” “Manhattan” “moms”). The details that exist seem calculated to push class-issue buttons.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt that some people do this. Name anything, good or bad, and somebody does it. But I really doubt that it’s as widespread as Wednesday Martin wants us to think.

So I took a look at not only the articles, but Wednesday Martin. She has a Ph.D. in comparative literature, and her other book is called Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel and Act the Way We Do. And on her website, there is a large, impossible-to-avoid button that says, “Tell Oprah you want to see a show about women with stepchildren.”

WednesdayMartinWebsite_crop

As you may have guessed from the subtitle, Wednesday Martin has stepchildren.

What we have here is not news. It is not a societal phenomenon. It is a marketing campaign.

Shouldn’t CNN and Time be seeing that, too?

The Best Time to . . .

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Mashable has an article about the best times to post on Twitter and Facebook. The answer for Twitter: Monday between 1 and 3 p.m., east coast time. For Facebook: Any weekday between 1 and 4, but particularly on Wednesdays at 3.

Which is great, unless everyone does it at once. Then it’s pretty much the worst time, because you’ll just get lost in the noise. As Matt McGee points out, “there’s no magical time to publish.”

As he explains, you need to take a look at when your audience is online–what gets the greatest response? When did you post it, and when did people respond? Keep the quality of your content high, and be open to the unexpected. That makes a lot more sense than assuming that there’s one answer for everyone.

Besides, don’t those days and times sound like you’re James T. Kirk setting up a game of Fizbin?

Social Check-Up

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laptop and stethoscope

The Consumerist points out that 13 million people have left the default Facebook privacy settings in place. Don’t be one of them.

Karlyn Borysenko of HoneyB Social Media & Digital Communications writes about deciding if Pinterest is a good fit for your brand. She makes a point that I think a lot of people forget: it’s okay to try something and then stop if it doesn’t work. If your core audience isn’t on a particular channel, it’s okay to stop using it. But if they are, well, aren’t you glad you tried? Keep on keepin’ on.

Mashable reports that 49% of marketers have not made social media part of their larger strategies. Don’t be one of them, either.

Photo by jfcherry, via Flickr.

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?

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.

Guest Post by Adam Paul: Simple Is As Simple Does

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I’m delighted to introduce my first guest post, written by Adam Paul. Adam is the executive producer of The Steps, a web drama that has recently started its second season. (Disclosure: One of the creators, Dylan Kussman, is a close friend, and I am a contributor to the Kickstarter campaign that funded this season.)

In addition to creative work on the (very) small screen, The Steps has showcased innovative and integrated marketing through myriad social media channels, using a variety of tactics based on larger strategic goals, as Adam explains:

As an independent producer of web and television filmed content, I should be much more savvy about marketing via social media than I am. Working with lower budgets just to get the story told, never mind marketed to the public, you’d think I’d have a firm grip on the ins and outs of using Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about my product.

But I don’t. It seems I’m always learning about some new way to cleverly reach out to an audience. A contest or survey or targeted ad or email campaign. But I’ve come to accept recently that that’s the nature of the beast. If new content is the fuel on which the internet runs, then social networking is the Internet’s true combustion engine. And there will always be a myriad of ways to fill the engine’s tank.

My current series, ‘The Steps’, is now in its second season. During the first season, we gave away a Dell netbook via a Twitter hashtag campaign and premiered the series at a ‘Device Party’ which encouraged participants to bring their own connected platform – be it smartphone or laptop or tablet – to our party event, join the wifi network there and simultaneously view the first episode together. We took out Facebook ads, rigorously administered our pages and found multiple distribution partners to screen our series to the widest possible audience.

The Steps

While our budget was raised entirely via Kickstarter.com’s brilliant site and a strong outreach to our production team’s networks, this year we’re utilizing far fewer event-based methods to actually promote the series. Aside from a weekly new episode release (Thursdays at www.WatchTheSteps.com), we’re letting the show gain traction through the simplest of marketing techniques: word of mouth.

Despite a compelling premise and world class production values, ‘The Steps’ is a unique animal in the world of web series –

  • It’s a drama (a noir thriller, to be exact)
  • It takes its time – far from boring, our series is a particular type of tale, with richly textured characters, strong imagery, and an overarching story that requires some investment from the viewer.
  • Like life, it’s complicated – the story’s hero, Charlie Madison, is a private eye with a habit of getting into trouble. He gets in his own way. He may have even killed his last girlfriend. He’s a human being who’s made mistakes, can’t forgive himself, but trudges on and tries to do the right thing.

That’s a lot to pitch to a new audience in a blurb or even a press release.

And so, our most recent revelation in the world of social media marketing has been this:

That’s right. A badge. We’ve asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter to use it as their profile picture for a week. Then we’ll change it up with another image from the show each week as we roll episodes out.

Simple, no? But very effective. No one has to beg their friends to check it out. Those who like the show just change their profile picture. Yes, we seed our social network pages with behind the scenes stills and notes from the creator of the show during the week between episodes. We keep topping off the tank of that engine so it can run loud and strong. But this little badge has proven to be the best way to get our name in front of the maximum number of eyeballs. Our followers wear it with pride, their followers see the bold url, and hopefully, just hopefully, we’ve penetrated their subconscious with our three-word call to action.

Adam Paul is the founder of Giantleap Industries, a digital studio that develops multi-platform content to bridge the divide between television, the web and wherever else you’re watching. ‘The Steps’ is currently rolling out new episodes of its second season at www.WatchTheSteps.com, Youtube.com/TheStepsWebSeries, Koldcast.tv and Blip.tv

All images provided by Adam Paul.

Facebook Timeline is Here!

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Or, at least, now in the roll-out stage. So are you ready for the big change to your profile? How will you use Timeline?

Facebook Timeline and Your Brand, Part 1

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Facebook’s Timeline is a dramatic new direction for Profiles. What does it mean for Pages? As with anything, there are opportunities and challenges. Let’s start with the opportunities and move on to the challenges in a future post.

The first question to ask, really, is whether it means anything for Pages. What if Facebook decides to give Pages a different look?

I’d be surprised if they did. After all, the last several Page revisions have been focused on making Pages more like Profiles, not less. But even if Pages do get a different look, there are still a lot of ways in which recent changes can help bring new awareness and energy to your brand’s presence on Facebook.

1) New metrics. Facebook has introduced a “People Talking About” metric. This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly, because it doesn’t measure sentiment. But it does measure likes, comments, shares, questions answered, and more.

2) It’s not about the “like.” As Seth Odell* discusses in a recent Higher Ed Live webcast, there’s now a lot less reason for someone to like your Page–because they can comment without clicking like. As Seth’s conversation with Webster University’s Patrick Powers points out around the 42:50 mark, control of that process is shifting further away from the Page (although it may not really matter very much, because if someone wanted to snark you, they just clicked “like” to gain the privilege anyhow).

3) It’s not only about the “like.” New social actions will allow people to “read,” “listen,” “watch,” and more. Why not get creative with it?

4) You can find new ways to spread your content. As Mike Schaffer points out, the cover photo offers the chance to ask people to use your branded image on their profiles without changing their profile images; Timeline entries mean you can ask someone to add an encounter with your brand to their personal history; and Life Events mean that people can include your brand in their milestones–which are expanding from things like relationship status to include “bought a house,” “got a dog,” and more. (You can find icons with drop-down menus near the status update box on Timeline.)


*If you like people who have ideas and talk about them, you ought to be watching Higher Ed Live. And remember Seth Odell’s name. You’re going to keep hearing from him, and he’s worth listening to.

Facebook It Is A-Changin

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I’ve been using Facebook’s new Timeline for almost a week, and within about a day I quickly decided that I like it. It’s a fun and interesting way to present Profile information. (Now, if only they’d do something else with the News Feed, which has turned into an ugly, cluttered mess.) And no, you do not have to pay to get Timeline.

But there are other changes, and you’ll want to know about them, too. Here are a few to keep in mind:

And in related news:

Spotify
now requires you to log in with Facebook.

But if (like me) you have lousy taste in music and want to hide that, you can.

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