Posts filed under ‘facebook’
Sociableblog posted this article on developing Facebook applications. A great idea for brands and small businesses who may have already created a page and want to add some interactive elements to keep users interested. The article gives you some basic guidelines on how you can use applications as a marketing tool. Read the full post in Facebook Application – Develop It with Care
This article in the New York Times Small Business section provides anecdotes of small business owners who rely on Facebook as a critical selling and relationship management tool. Business owners are using it to find new customers, build a base of followers, and hone in on targeted prospects. With forthcoming advancements in digital communications technologies, like geolocation for Twitter, it will be even easier for mom-and-pop shops to take advantage of social media tools. Highlights from the New York Times article include:
For most businesses, Facebook Pages (distinct from individual profiles and Facebook groups) are the best place to start. Pages allow businesses to collect “fans” the way celebrities, sports teams, musicians and politicians do. There are now 1.4 million Facebook Pages and they collect more than 10 million fans every day, according to the site.
Businesses can easily create a Web presence with Facebook, even if they don’t have their own Web site (most companies still should maintain a Web site to reach people who don’t use Facebook or whose employers block access to the site). Businesses can claim a vanity address so that their Facebook address reflects the business name, like www.facebook.com/Starbucks. Facebook pages can link to the company’s Web site or direct sales to e-commerce sites like Ticketmaster or Amazon.
Facebook enables small businesses to engage in targeted marketing that they only could have dreamed about a few years ago. Facebook users fill out profiles with information like hometown, employer, religious beliefs, interests, education and favorite books, movies and TV shows — all of which can help advertisers deliver messages to specific demographic slices.
Honda has recently had a push adding social media to their marketing mix. The most widely received is their set up of an official Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/Honda. The featured campaign “Everyone knows somebody who loves a Honda” is mediocre, in my opinion, but it’s really the Facebook fan follower response that matters. The campaign was part of the auto giant’s plan to talk about their core values while sticking to a tight budget. The idea is that Honda owners use the site to link to friends and create a global web. In turn, Honda can demonstrate how Honda is connected to everyone else. They refer to this campaign on their page as a “global social experiment”. Although when reading comments from the creative minds behind it, they say “It’s really an awareness campaign on a limited budget.” Not that we marketers and social media users haven’t already figured that out.
While the positioning is hardly original, and the page doesn’t look much different from a car manufacturer’s website, especially given the humdrum lineup of Honda models with devoted pages for each model, it’s enough of a hook to attract the target audience. As of November 10, 266,908 fans can’t be wrong. To participate in the “global social experiment” simply go to facebook.com/honda and click on the button “I love a Honda (current or past)” or “I know somebody who loves a Honda”. You get the idea.
It wasn’t their first foray into social media, but certainly their broadest campaign. They had tried much smaller social media efforts as part of their marketing mix to promote specific vehicles from the Honda family. These included a MySpace page for Element, and then Facebook pages for Fit and the hybrid Insight. Honda was initially hesitant to open up the two-way dialogue. “You open yourself up; it’s risky, but with the success of Fit and Insight with Facebook, they were able to see the advantage,” says Joe Baratelli, SVP and creative director at Honda’s creative agency RPA in a recent article on Mediapost. Ads and offers are noticeably missing from the Facebook page. However, one of the first user comments I saw was from a guy (possibly car dealer) with a car to sell, so there is no stopping users from doing their own advertisements. (more…)
This article written by Rob Birgfeld for SmartBlog on Social Media shows how a communications professional for the Lupus Foundation of America established an official Facebook cause page and used it as an information hub to rally other activists for the cause within the FB community.
In search of insights on successfully navigating the social media landscape, I talked to Gregory Bramman, Director of Marketing for Magnet Media, an award-winning production company and interactive marketing agency. With a client roster that includes Apple, HP, Toyota, Lexus, Sundance, Adobe and Microsoft, I figured a social media dummy like myself would have a lot to learn from a pro like Bramman.
Q: I’m very interested in the work you’ve done in “An Executive’s Guide to Social Media and Digital Technology“. What are some of the top areas your clients need help with in social media?
Bramman: I think one of the top areas our clients need help in understanding is what goals should be set in Social Media. These goals should be trackable and tie into their larger business goals. I think everyone understands that social media is here to stay and that it can’t be overlooked – but where it fits in the business landscape is where it gets hazy. You need to understand not only the different metrics that you should be striving for in each, but also how those metrics fit into the larger picture.
Q: No doubt plenty of companies are diving into social media without first planning what their objectives are or what they need to get out of it. What are the most popular misconceptions that business executives have about social media? What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve seen?
Bramman: One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is not understanding the culture of these various networks and mediums. Understanding how people consume in each environment is critical to being successful. A business needs to have a very different strategy and approach when running a Facebook fan page or Twitter feed versus its regular corporate communications. Consumers are inundated with more information everyday – and now with social media even more so. You have a very small window to make your impression. If you annoy someone or they don’t find what you’re giving them useful – you may not get another chance to win them over.
Q: For a business that wants to build a Facebook presence, do you have any tips or basic suggestions for how we can get started? How is a corporate profile on Facebook similar or different from an individual profile?
Bramman: A business should never be using an individual profile. Fan pages and groups are the only accounts that should be business related. A fan page should be the official presence of the brand on Facebook. Although it’s business related, the tone and communication should be in the same vein as a personal profile, that goes for the status updates, wall comments and photo posts, and so on. This is key to staying within the culture of the network. Groups have to come across as more informal and not necessarily corporate controlled. This is something that would be started by users of the product or service. It’s a great way to create a larger community around the brand and have more credibility because it isn’t run by the actual company.
Q: Can you give an example of a business that really gets social media and is doing really good things with it?
Bramman: Huffington Post is a great example. I’ve read that their traffic referred by Facebook as well as their overall comments coming through Facebook are growing in exponentially every month. They’re doing some very innovative things that seem to be driving great results.
If you’re looking to get the basics on understanding Social Media and how to use it for your own personal brand, check out ZIO Pro’s ‘Executive’s Guide to Social Media and Digital Technology’. Magnet Media offers a range of marketing services to help companies big and small capitalize on multi-platform ROI-focused media campaigns. For information on how Magnet Media can tailor a social media campaign for your business, contact email@example.com.
In search of top tips from a social media pro, I talked with Alona Cherkassky, a social media strategist who recently came to speak to my Digital Communications class at Columbia. After a ten-year career in broadcast journalism, Alona obtained her M.S. in Strategic Communications at Columbia University, then went on to work at Fleishman-Hillard on their strategy and social media business. Most recently, Alona and a fellow Columbia alum launched their own company, Bite Size Strategies, which Alona manages along with various communications consulting projects for clients that include UNICEF and UN Peacekeeping.
Q: How important is it for a business to have clearly defined social media policies/guidelines?
Alona: It is crucial for businesses to have clear policies that outline exactly what employees can and cannot post on their private blogs. It is mainly done to protect company’s reputation when people not employed by the company are searching for information. Employees must know that posting any type of slander, or uncomplimentary information, or even information that could be considered private to the company, is just not acceptable. However, there are ways to make it work. As an example, I’ve known former colleagues to have had their own blogs. They were able to express their opinions intelligently, but were clear about disclosing that were an employee of a large public relations firm.
Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes companies make when they jump into social media without a clear strategy?
Alona: One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen is taking the old “kitchen sink” approach, as well as the “me too” approach. Companies think, if my competitor is doing it, then I must do it. Social media is just a vehicle for one’s message. That message can be relayed through other mediums but social media allows for interactivity like no other mediums have been able to previously. It requires a carefully thought out strategy, which involves potential crisis management. But most importantly, it requires engagement. If you don’t engage your audience through questions, quizzes, interactivity of any sort, you’re going to lose at this game. The point is to have people come to you because you not only have interesting things to say, but you also facilitate the conversation. And you enable others to congregate under your umbrella, and so on. Remember, social media is a marketing vehicle but it should never be showcased as such. It should be authentic, smart, but never a tool to market your products. It’s a conversation tool. Strategy, potential crisis management (not everyone will say something complimentary about you), engagement, consistency, creativity and out of the box thinking are all keys to successful social media program.
Q: Can you think of any examples of companies/brands that are really doing it right?
Alona: Zappos’ CEO regularly tweets and engages with his customers. Ford Motor Company’s Scotty Monty who manages social media, responded to thousands of inquiries/questions when US automakers got into a ton of trouble. Dell has a robust social media strategy and may have even rescued what was a dying brand. Apple computer – unquestionable. Wells Fargo Bank has at least 7 blogs. Sun Microsystems’ CEO regularly blogs. Visa Business Network started a small business Facebook application and community.
Q: Any tips for a company new to social media?
Alona: Engage! Social media is all about engagement with your audience. Do not use every tool if it doesn’t make sense. Use only those that make sense. It may be just a blog. It may be just a facebook page. Take it a step at a time. Monitor and monitor constantly! Watch what people are saying about you. What is their tone? What is the volume of conversation? Take your cues from this monitoring. Don’t be afraid to lose control. Allow for it all to take a bunch of time. It’s not an overnight turnaround. You have to be patient and wait for results — but social media actually works, so results will come!
CIOZone recently published an in-depth and thought provoking read in their article “Social Media in the Workplace: Boon or Bane?” The article dissects a Nucleus Research study that casts a negative light on social media in businesses — with a central finding that when employees use Facebook at work, it leads to a 1.5% productivity loss.
The article rather effortlessly contradicts many of the Nucleus arguments while pointing to a host of studies that report more favorable findings about social media use at the office. One additional curiosity raised: given the bottom line recommendation that companies block access to Facebook, the article questions the possibility that one of the the Nucleus technology vendor clients sponsored the study.
The CIOZone article goes on to cite a myriad of additional studies on Facebook and social media use that present balanced or generally positive findings and conclusions. The discussion is rounded out by reviewing the trend of the blending of work and personal life and quotes from proponents of social media use explaining how it increases productivity on the job.
Read the full article from CIOZone, “Social Media in the Workplace: Boon or Bane?
What do you think? Have you ever had to work through lunch, when a quick five minutes checking your friends updates was your only break? Do you know someone who spends hours a day on social media sites? Do you feel you need to check work e-mail when you’re not at work? Does that make it reasonable to connect with personal social networks at the office?
(Note: In case there was any question, I created this post from home.)