Thursday, July 09, 2009

Doing the Facebook Fandango

I was very active on a particular graphic design forum for many years. About a year or so ago, I was busy with this and that and didn’t check in as often as usual. Then I started to notice that others seemed to be dropping off, too. “Hmmmm,” me thinks, “Where’d everybody go?” It didn’t take too long to find them all hanging out on Facebook.

I had set up a Facebook account a while back at the request of a friend who felt I needed to be on it. Frankly, I didn’t pay too much attention. My ears perked up, though, when all the forum folk started showing up and the name, “Facebook,” was popping up all over the place. My ears perked up more when I read the following:
"According to a recent study by Aberdeen Group, top companies are using social-networking sites like Facebook to achieve improved interaction with customers. The study revealed that companies that use social-networking websites are 17 times more likely to improve customer satisfaction than companies that don’t use the sites."

Source: Using Facebook for Business Networking By Kevin Gaul
Here’re some other interesting factoids to know and tell, straight from the mouth of Facebook:
  • More than 200 million active users
  • More than 100 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day
  • More than two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college
  • The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older
  • More than 1 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 5 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide)
  • People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are almost 50% more active on Facebook than non-mobile users
Why ... why I do believe this Facebook thing deserves further deliberation, thought, study, scrutiny, observation and whatever other words I can find in my handy thesaurus. It also likely deserves some action if you’re not already onboard. But, odds are, if you’re reading this, you’re already facebooking (I’m not sure if that’s a word, but, hey, it works).

Like Twitter and social networking in general, the peeps need to know the lingo. I won’t bore you with a list of Facebook terminology. I found a blog post that will do it for me. Actually, it’s quite humorous. Enjoy.

Sure, Facebook is all nifty, neato and keen to keep in touch with friends and maybe even family. You can become a thoughtful type by adding birthdays and reminders, play a bunch of mindless games, share book info and more. You can even send a gift, although I’ve yet to discover why one would drop some dough on a picture of a cake or a red-eyed Terminator head. But alas, I guess it’s the thought that counts. Beyond those, Facebook apps include calendars, photo and video sharing, groups and a marketplace along a lot of others. Actually, thousands when you start poking around. There are also loads and loads of Groups for every intriguing interest.

Facebook for business is a little different story ... and a different name. People have profiles. Groups have members. Businesses have Pages. Pages have fans. Facebook is a great vehicle to keep in touch with those fans and provide some useful content for them to digest. You can also buy ads (similar to Google Adwords), promote events, engage your fans in discussions and also integrate YouTube content. Plus, Pages allow you to have multiple administrators to share the love ... and the maintenance workload.

The fine folks over at HubSpot have an excellent resource for businesses seeking to leverage the power of Facebook – The Facebook for Business Marketing Kit. Yup, the name kind of says it all.

Facebook, like other social networking sites, is all about building and nurturing relationships. A strategy for Facebook is much the same as I wrote in my previous Twitter entry. The trick is to give things some thought and have a strategy. That will help ensure you don’t go on a Facebook binge.

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posted by Neil at 10:01 AM 0 comments

Monday, July 06, 2009

Jumping On The Twitter Bandwagon

I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon just a few months ago. Like many, I didn’t get it. I didn’t really care that so and so was eating a ham sandwich or that what’s his name was watching this or that on television. But, as I followed more folks, I came to see some real value to help keep one on the radar screen.

With something along the lines of five to ten thousand people joining Twitter each day, there’s a lot of opportunity to get the word out, learn some new, useful stuff and meet some interesting folks as well. Plus, Twitter can give you pretty easy access to high-profile people in or out of your current marketing arena. It a great way to connect on a personal audience with a larger audience to share thoughts, ideas and resources. Also, you can post tweets from your mobile phone.

Before you take the plunge, it’s a good idea to poke around and get a feel for things. You’ll want to get a handle on tweetspeak too. Here’s a link on Mashable to get you started. They also cover 99 Essential Twitter Tools and Applications.

At first, I tweeted from Firefox using Twitter’s plain ‘old interface. Then I tried Power Twitter. Neither one really yanked my chains. Then I discovered TweetDeck. TweetDeck lets you post and reply to tweets, retweet, conduct searches, filter tweets, create groups and more. Swell stuff. It’s an Adobe AIR desktop app and really enhanced the whole Twitter experience for me. Here’s a good tutorial for getting up to speed with TweetDeck.

As with all things marketing, it’s good to have a plan and a strategy. Give some thought as to what you’re trying to accomplish. Perhaps it’s to connect with some movers and shakers in your industry and niche. Your goal might be a speedy way to communicate new offers or services. Lots of tweeples use Twitter as p.r. distribution vehicle by sharing links to their articles, news releases, events, etc. For others, it’s simply a way to keep their visibility up by tweeting and retweeting links to useful stuff for their followers.

Speaking of followers, it’s important to remember that Twitter isn’t about sheer numbers. It’s more a quality than quantity thing. It’s also not about direct selling. People tend to find that annoying. Consider it a marketing tool, not a sales too. They’re different things.

As I mentioned, I’m still a Twitter newbie. Here are my plans:
  • Identify movers and shakers and follow them.
  • Follow friends, business associates, clients, colleagues, writers & reporters
  • Check out who they’re following to see if there might be some good connections.
  • Set up a file of useful, relevant links and resources for future tweets
  • Use TweetDeck to scan tweets and retweet interesting tweets (Boy, was there a lot of “tweet” in that line or what?)
  • Use TweetDeck to post to both Twitter and Facebook
  • Try to find that app that also posts tweets to LinkedIn
  • Use TweetLater or other app to schedule tweets for down the road
  • Add a link to my Twitter account in appropriate locations
Lather, rinse, repeat.

Next up – Facebook.

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posted by Neil at 12:09 PM 0 comments