Archive for category Social Media Marketing

Facebook – a place for the old and boring

A few weeks ago, I decided to go cold turkey with Facebook and removed the app from my phone. And I can honestly say that I haven’t missed it one bit.

I guess, like a large majority people, that without even noticing, Facebook had become a big part of my life. Every bored minute I had, would without doubt end up with me looking at Facebook. Whether I was sitting in traffic, waiting on a bus or sitting in a cafe, I would have without doubt navigated my way to Facebook.

To this day I’m still unsure what the draw was for me. Was it that I felt I would miss out on something or that prior wood gear about something before me – I’m really not sure.

What’s probably more surprising is that I’m not the only one tuning out of Facebook. It turns out that teenagers are also no longer interested in being part of the Facebook world. One such teenager recently wrote an article about how she and none of her friends have joined the Facebook revolution.

But this is no surprise to the People at Facebook, they know all about this trend amongst teenagers apparently. Yes, they however believe it is easy to explain. Teenagers they say, are more interested in being easily able to share content via apps such as Snapchat and instagram, and the restrictions imposed by Facebook for teen users is just making it harder for them to share.

I’m not convinced at this response at all. Facebook for me has become a place of utter dribble from middle aged men and women who want to share information to make their dull lives look amazing to people they hardly know.

If I think back to that time long ago when I was a teenager, the last place I’d want to be, is around adults. I certainly wouldn’t want to be around people who like to broadcast to the world how great their other half is, or a long story on the latest, saddest story they can find on the internet. Nor would I want to be bombarded with the type of music my Mam or Dad danced to when they were teenagers.

No, I would want to be as far away from an adult as I possibly could so that I could say what I want, when I want and without a judging adult looking over my shoulder.

Teenagers see Facebook as somewhere their Mam, Dad, aunties, uncles and even their grandparents hang out, hence they turn to somewhere that the old generation have yet to hear of. Facebook just isn’t cool anymore.

How Facebook will fix this is hard to see. It could spell disaster for them in the future of they don’t figure something out.

Facebook is a long way from dying, but could the writing be on the wall? Only time will tell I guess…

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Should we all start to Flattr?

No it’s not a typo, Flattr is a new online business set up by some of the people behind the infamous Pirate Bay. The idea is that people will offer a micro donation to the content publisher by clicking on the Flattr icon on the content they have shared. For example, if I was to have a Flattr button on this page, you could click it, just like you would the “Like” option in Facebook and I would receive a share of a donation you are happy to part with on a monthly basis. So for example, let’s say you set your monthly “means” as €2 per month and you clicked one “Flattr” icon, that content ownwer received €2. If you clicked 2 links, your €2 would be shared evenly between the two parties, each receiving €1.

There is where I see the major flaw in this system. At the moment, I have absolutely no intention of giving money to the content providers of the blogs, news sites or whatever that I regularly visit. Now possibly, if made easy to do (which Flattr in fairness is trying to do), I would be happy to donate a small amount of money when an article is really worthwhile to me. If in that rare that something really adds value, I would like to donate my money. But not having the option as to how much to donate would pretty much annoy me. I would much prefer the ability to set a donation amount for each item I click. Rather than wasting €2 a month on possibly one article, I would be in complete control of the money I am spending and where it goes.

So far there have been a few content providers who have made a few hundred euros from this system which is still pretty much in beta mode. Here is one guys story – http://tim.geekheim.de/2010/07/02/flattr-zweiter-streich/

Flattr is an innovative idea and a nice way of helping content creators make money from their content – but with their current model, I find hard to see the masses jumping on board and offering money for nothing! I look forward to seeing how well this does in the future.

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What’s the Buzz with Google Buzz??

Google have yet again started rolling out a new application with stealth for the last couple of days. Users of Gmail are gradually being presented with a new screen when they login to Gmail. Rather than being brought directly to their inbox, they are shown a page promoting their new “Buzz” service. “No sign up required” the message happily proclaims.

But what is it and why would I want it?

Basically, Google Buzz is Google’s take on a Twitter styled system. I guess you could say it has everything that Twitter doesn’t. Do we really need another system like this? I’d have to say no, but it is a great way to get people engaging online. For example, Facebook brought in a similar system last year and it’s use grew substantially. Twitter still lags way behind Facebook in terms of users, but it’s simple system is appealing to a lot of people. People new to Twitter will probably feel that Google is trying to rip off Facebook, but that is not the case.

So where does this leave Twitter? For months there were rumours that Google was on the verge of buying Twitter – but it never it just never materialised. Most people within the online community expected it as a fact, rather than something that was about to happen. Personally, I can’t see Google buying Twitter now that it has built it’s own system that is very similar (or a complete rip!) with a lot more features.

It will be interesting to see if this has an effect on Twitter if any at all! One things for sure, Twitter will have to start working extra hard at trying to build a revenue model for the site as it doesn’t look like anyone will be interested in buying them now… unless of course Microsoft want a piece of this! :)

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Facebook gets tough on promotions and competitions

Facebook announced changes to their Facebook Promotion Guidelines last week, which are likely to affect a lot of businesses currently using Facebook to promote their brand. If you’re planning on running a Facebook promotional campaign in the near future – make sure you read the new guidelines thoroughly.

The new rules state that you ;

  • Cannot run a competition without prior consent from Facebook
  • Cannot run a competition where entry is based on becoming a fan of the business’s Facebook page
  • Cannot run a competition where entry is based on posting a message on Facebook. whether status update or comment
  • Cannot notify winners of the competition through a Facebook message, chat or posts
  • Cannot request that people sign up for a Facebook account in order to enter a competition
  • Must include the following note (or similar):
    “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to [recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for [disclose any way that you plan to use the user's information].”

This is just a taste of what the new guidelines include, you can see the full set of guidelines here http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php.

From the list above, you can quite clearly see that running a small competition on Facebook isn’t as simple as it used to be. How many businesses that will adhere to these new rules is yet to be seen, but I’m quite sure a lot will have second thoughts about a campaign. In fact most of the business pages I know of, would quite regularly be in breach of these guidelines. It’s hard to see any of these companies adhering to these guidelines, they’d probably just stop using Facebook for running these competitions entirely.

Looking into the guidelines in detail, it looks as though the Facebook are really only trying to protect themselves rather than stiffle the huge surge in businesses using Facebook to promote their brand. I can only imagine what kind of emails they are getting from Facebook fans who wrongly assume that Facebook themselves are in some way related to the running of these competitions and promotions.

It will be interesting to see how many businesses adhere correctly to these new rules and more interestingly, what will happen those that don’t.

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Facebook for Business

Facebook, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

There was a time when everyone believed that having a blog was one of the most critical elements to web success. In fact even today, I still have clients who have been informed by “buzzword driven web experts” that they must have a blog or else they are doomed to failure.

The problem with this was that a lot of businesses, for one reason or another, just aren’t suited to having a blog. Many businesses have only now realised that after many hours of painstakingly hard work, trying to create relevant and unique content on a regular basis is a lot harder than they first thought or were lead to believe. Never-mind the fact that they probably never once saw even a small return for all this hard-work they had endured. And just when all the “buzzword driven web experts” had convinced you to get a blog, they now have a brand new buzzword for you… Roll up “Social Media Marketing“…

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Social Media Marketing, but yet again I see more and more businesses who want a Facebook or Twitter presence without even understanding how they should engage with this new medium. And that’s exactly what it is, a new medium. Therefore nothing is proven just yet, but it’s clear from others success that Social Media Marketing with sites like Facebook and Twitter is a simple and cost effective way of marketing your business online.

So, how do you get on this Social Media Marketing train? Well why not let’s start with Facebook. Facebook has over 1 million users in Ireland now, so it’s very likely that many of your customers have a Facebook page or at least know someone who does. That fact alone is enough to make me believe it is a medium you simply can’t ignore!

To get you started, here are my top tips for getting your Facebook for Business strategy up and running:

  1. Create Your Business Profile Fan Page
    Even if you haven’t decided what you plan to do with your Facebook campaign just yet, get your business profile page up there as soon as possible. If you have a Facebook account already, it’s pretty simple go here http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and follow the instructions.If you are new to Facebook, it’s probably best to familiarise yourself with how it works and how you engage with other users. Sign up for a personal account and start adding your friends. Follow other businesses so you can see what their Facebook strategy is.One key point to remember is that you should NOT use your personal profile for your business. You should only use “Pages” for business  and “Profiles” for personal use.

  2. Claim Your Vanity URL
    A vanity URL is a Facebook website address with your name attached to the end, for example, our business vanity URL is www.facebook.com/2bscene. The sooner you can claim your “vanity URL” the better to protect your brand. Irish business will need 25 fans of your business fan page before they can obtain theirs. To gain your first 25 followers why not ask all your “friends” from your personal Facebook profile?  

  3. Synchronise with Twitter
    If you already have a Twitter account, you can synchronise your posts with Facebook. You can do this both ways, for example, if you post a message on Twitter, it can automatically appear on your Facebook fan page and vice-versa. Personally I would suggest the latter. Facebook is a lot more personal than Twitter. Twitter is a public networking medium, whereas Facebook is very much a personal circle of friends network. The last thing a Facebook user wants is their Facebook homepage to be bombarded with messages from your Twitter account.

  4. Include Links to Your Profile Where-ever You Can!
    Fairly self explanatory. If you want people to know about your business profile page… tell them!! You should include links on your website, blog and even email signatures!

  5. Engage!!!
    Like every other Social Media Marketing option, it’s all about engaging and socialising with your fans or followers. If you can think of your Social Media Marketing profile as one big networking event. Talk to people, ask questions, respond to their questions, give free advice etc etc. But again, be careful at how many updates you post. Try keep your interactions to a reasonable level, maybe one or two interesting posts a day.

There are certainly many businesses that are much better suited to Facebook than others – but with enough thought and planning you should be able to find an angle that suits your business best.

To give you an idea of how others are using their business pages to great effect, I have put together a list of some good ones below:

  1. Ben & Jerry’s
  2. Pizza Hut
  3. Victoria’s Secret
  4. iTunes
  5. Starbucks

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