Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

January 17th, 2012

Trending for 2012: Facebook Customization

By Allie

Just as we predicted, one of the biggest trends for Facebook in 2012 is trending towards Facebook customization. You’ve probably seen this, without putting your finger on what it actually is. The easiest way to explain it is that business pages can use software to create custom tabs on their brand pages including anything from nicely designed pages that feature YouTube videos, contests, giveaways and even shopping carts. While this technology has been out there, it has been limited by price tag, until now. There are finally a few options popping up that are great solutions for small to medium-sized companies.

We may sound like a broken record, but we can’t say it enough—it’s not enough to just be on social media and have people ‘Like’ your page. You need to have a dialogue, not a monologue. And Facebook customization is a great opportunity for a brand to be proactive and begin building relationships with their customers.

As self-proclaimed Mashable fanatics, we knew they could offer up a great little introductory piece on best practice for Facebook tabs. Much of what they have to say is in-line with what we recommend to our own clients:

One thing the article does not mention is the fangate tab trend. Depending on how you feel, these are the pesky  default landing tabs that kindly request you to ‘Like’ the page in order to be privy to whatever exclusive goodies or giveaways that might lie behind the fangate. This is a great way to get ‘Likes” from people who are genuinely interested in your brand—but does require some incentive to get people in and keep them in. Our biggest concern with this is that you then need to have a blueprint in place to keep them interested and engaged once you get them there.

Which brings us to our next point—it’s clear that Facebook customization works best as part of a social media plan…it’s strategic. Too many tabs will just turn people away, the way too many clicks on a website might. Tabs needs to be relevant, layouts clean and easy to navigate and a great incentive never hurts. That’s why we create navigational charts for our clients on Facebook, similar to how we strategize their websites. It helps to visualize how and what you plan to communicate.

This trend is widely applicable to all types of businesses and organizations and we can’t wait to see how it transforms fan pages, especially when Facebook Timeline is introduced for brands. We have already begun exploring some great options for clients like FUZION and the New Haven Public Library below:

January 11th, 2012

Social media secrets

By Allie

You may have come across a certain person in your daily life—a social media hold-out who believes it’s all just a passing fad. One of our favorite bloggers, Jay Baer, recently published an article entitled “9 Surprising New Facts About Social Media in America” that even a late-to-the-social-media-party goer can’t ignore.

First, a little more than half of Americans have a profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace or somewhere else. That’s HUGE! Social networks such as Twitter are used less than platform giants like Facebook, but represent an incredibly diverse number of Americans—roughly 55% are white, 22% African-American, 15% Hispanic and 3% Asian. We agree Jay, a very interesting statistic.

He calls heavy social media users “super socials” and defines them as the kind of people who use social networking sites several times a day or more and estimates them to amount at around 46 million people. They make up a large percentage of Twitter’s daily users and ‘worship’ their smartphones—but really, who doesn’t love their smartphones?

The most important thing to note about these “super socials” is that they are very likely to interact with a brand online. This is done primarily through major networks like Facebook, because it is so easy to simply ‘like’ a brand and stay in the loop.

As we tell most of our clients, just being on social media is not enough. It’s what you do with your ‘likes’ that influences a customer. Jay Baer found that most consumers are influenced on Facebook, despite what they may believe. Facebook is a champion when it comes to subtly using existing online relationships to influence a user. In other words, when you see your friend checked in at Kitchen ZINC and raved about their pizza—you may feel inspired [or compelled] to try it out for yourself. See that, influenced!

December 9th, 2011

“The big 3″

By Allie

Around think creative we refer to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as ‘the big 3,’ so it makes sense that if one rolls out some major changes, so will the other two.

Lets start with Facebook. Now as you may have heard we [nerds] at think creative group have already taken advantage of the early release of Timeline for developers—and we love it. According to a number of reports Facebook has begun to roll this out to the general public so we expect to see some major changes to the way users create and share content.

Facebook also made some major changes to fanpages with analytics and general settings, including how to see who your fans are [phew, we thought we were going crazy for a minute.] and a subscribe button on websites. We also anticipate Timeline will eventually be rolled out to include brand pages, especially seeing as Twitter just announced their own major re-design and branded pages. 

Not only will Twitter users see a new homepage, activity and connection feeds and detailed searches—their personal pages have been made bigger, cleaner and have a left-sided feed. For marketers, Twitter has released brand pages for big names like American Express, Coca-Cola and Verizon.  They include custom headers, featured tweets and auto-expanding photos and videos.

Speaking of videos, YouTube also rolled out some major changes to the public. Maybe they are trying to give Netflix and iTunes a run for your money—but the major emphasis on channels means users are able to choose template styles, rent movies [no more “trendy movie”, part 1/15?] and all around create a more custom and cleaner looking page.

These are just some of the major changes we are seeing with the big 3, we expect a lot more innovation in the immediate future as they continue to battle it out for users. Until then, enjoy this awesome Mashable slideshow of the most creative Timeline cover photos. 

October 21st, 2011

Friend or Fan?

By Allie

Last spring Facebook launched its migration service that allowed users to transform their profile page into fan pages. This seemed to be a service Facebook users applauded and even felt Facebook was late in creating. However, this tool seems to me, to be a bit finicky. It only retains your photos and turns your friends into fans. Is that really helping anyone?

I suppose if you were an organization with a large number of friends, gaining them back as fans would prove to be a challenge. I still dislike this relatively new migration tool because there is just not enough information available about it. We have a client who is looking to make the switch from profile page to fan page. Making the switch is undoubtedly the right move, however, I don’t think I can recommend using the migration tool. I am in favor of just starting over.

This is mainly because I can’t, with 100% certainty, answer their number one question— will we be able to retain our unique username and URL? I searched endlessly for the answer to this seemingly common question, but no one had it! The Facebook help center only offers oversimplified answers to the most common questions. I had to seriously hunt down the discussion board topics and comments on Mashable posts to find anyone talking about it.

And all of that information was conflicting. One post said making the switch was a breeze, while the next was a panicked plea to help them figure out what went wrong. Many people said it took anywhere from two weeks to two months for their username and URL to become available again. These were just not acceptable answers.

Yes, be a fan not a friend. No, don’t take the risk of using Facebook’s new migration tool until they have figured it out a bit more. I’m anxious to see what our clients decide—and if they do choose to keep their friends and simply migrate I eagerly await my questions finally being answered.

(Oh, last thing—did you know it’s actually against Facebook policy for a business or organization to represent itself as a personal profile on Facebook? It’s serious stuff.)

October 11th, 2011

How well are you doing social media?

By Allie

When I first began talking social media with Ali, she liked to reference an Erik Qualman quote that basically said, the question was no longer if you were doing social media, but how well you were doing social media.

Social media is so engaging because it’s cheap, easy to use and reaches a wide audience. However, to get any real results you need a strategy. Aah strategy—that’s the difficult part. So yes, anyone can be on social media, but not everyone does it well.

In this earlier post, I talked about some of the challenges we face when developing social media plans for clients and would like to expand upon that here. Eric D. Wheeler, whose well-thought out blog we stumbled across, reminded us that a steady calendar of sharing didn’t matter if you’re content wasn’t fresh and relevant.

It’s not enough for a social media calendar to include when and where you are going to post, you need to include what you’re going to post. This may change depending on the platform. For instance, many of our clients link their Facebook to also update their Twitter account, (read: please keep your Facebook posts shorter, like 140 characters maybe?) so they need to keep their posts short and to the point. Then they can look at doing a blog post for more in depth conversations.

Fresh content across all platforms takes time, effort and some serious brainstorming. For one client, we have already written upcoming blog posts through December that relate to the upcoming holiday season and several of their promotions. They are uploaded to the blog account and scheduled to be published on days we have already selected. There will be of course, postings between those and I’m sure tweaking as we get closer to posting, but this ensures that we always have fresh and relevant content available, while saving some time in the long run.

We borrowed the great graphic calendar above from Mr. Wheeler and suggest taking a look at his blog post to get a better understanding of how to maximize your Facebook posting.

 

October 3rd, 2011

Don’t be ‘that’ brand…

By Allie

You know, the one who spams everyone’s news feed ten times a day with largely irrelevant material.

One of the biggest challenges we face when developing social media plans for our clients is determining the right balance between engaging users and overwhelming them with too much information.

Buddy Media recently analyzed user engagement of Facebook Wall Posts for nearly 100 of the world’s largest retail brands to determine what the best strategies for Facebook planning might be.

Here are their results to consider:

  • Wednesday is the Day to Post: Although retailers publish evenly throughout the work week, engagement rates spike on Wednesday, 8% above the average engagement rate.
  • Don’t Post Too Many Times in a Day: Facebook users engage 40% more with less than three Posts a day from a given brand. Retail brands who post less than three times a day receive a 32% higher ‘like’ rate coupled with a 73% higher Comment rate.
  • Short Posts Work Best: Posts with 80 characters or less receive 66% higher engagement. (This is good to know, especially because many of our clients’ Facebook pages link directly to their 140 character limit Twitter accounts.)
  • Questions Get Fans Talking: Although retail brand Wall Posts containing questions receive slightly lower overall engagement (‘likes’ and Comments), this type of post generates more than double the amount of comments as “non-question” posts.

So, on a scale of 1-5, 1 being great and 5 being not-so-great, how do you rank with your Facebook fan page posts?

 

September 26th, 2011

Facebook redesigned your profile, again

By Allie

While many of my “friends” are publicly expressing their angst over another Facebook profile redesign, I secretly think it’s kind of cool. In a month, when users have settled down and embraced these changes as they have in the past (see silly Mashable comic below) we may finally get a glimpse of what this means for business pages and future marketing.

A recent AdAge article says, “While the updates revealed at Facebook’s F8 conference add a suite of new tools for users to express what they are interested in — like music, recipes, TV shows and news– there is little detail on what brand pages will look like going forward.”

Wait, recipes? Cool! I am an incredibly brand loyal person (don’t even ask about the dilemma I faced as both a Verizon and Apple customer circa 2007). If the future of Facebook business pages is going to help brands better engage with their customers, I just can’t complain.

Major marketers are already planning to take advantage, AdAge says “Sony Pictures for the upcoming movie “Moneyball” plans to promote when users watch the trailer; the band Coldplay will promote when users are listening to its music.”

For now it looks like only Facebook and its direct sales team are able to take advantage of the changes. Here at think creative group, we will anxiously await our opportunity to jump in and see what these changes mean for our clients.

September 21st, 2011

It’s time to accept mom and dad’s friend requests

By Allie

Occasionally while we are going on and on about the wonders of social media, a client will interrupt us and ask “But what about the 50+ community, will they even know this is out there?” The answer, of course, is yes!

If you won’t take our word for it, how about the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project? This recent study found that not only was the adult community online and using social networks, but that they liked it!

“65% of online adults use social media networking sites, and most describe their experience in positive terms.” The word cloud below represents the most common words used, also courtesy of the study.

Other interesting tidbits include a 4% growth in users in that age group, marking the first time Pew Internet survey results recorded over 50% of adults using social networking sites. In fact, the “boomer-aged segment of internet users ages 50-64, social networking site usage on a typical day grew a significant 60% (from 20% to 32%).”

The moral of this story is don’t leave those 50+ audiences out of your social media plan. Not only do they have a significant presence on most major social media networking sites, they are its fastest growing demographic!

October 15th, 2010

Starbucks continues to lead the way on Facebook

By aliparmelee

Whether you think they are the devil or can’t live without a daily cup of java from Starbucks, you have to admire their leadership in the social media world.

Starbucks just launched their brand new Facebook app that allows people to “Give a Gift” without ever leaving Facebook. For U.S. and Canada users, we can now load between $5 and $500 to a friend’s registered Starbucks card. Holy crap. That’s awesome.

The best part is, this concept was born from their customers on their community site, My Starbucks Idea and received tremendous user support to show that people really wanted this. Just one more way to see that Starbucks understands the real value that social media can offer—creating conversations and making people feel like they are heard to offer excellent customer service.

“It’s great to bring another customer-inspired idea to life that enhances the customer experience in our coffee houses and within our digital communities. The new ‘Give a Gift’ feature on the Starbucks Card App provides a quick, fun gifting solution for our customers who want to surprise a friend on any occasion,” says Chris Bruzzo, Starbucks’s vice president for brand, content and online.”

You can read more from Mashables update here>

October 6th, 2010

Social Media + Branding Review – Updated

By aliparmelee

I gave this presentation today in Fairfield. In prepping for the discussion, I was amazed to see  how quickly things change. Here is our social media presentation that has been updated with the most current statistics.

Crazy to think that just 5 months ago we thought 13 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube was a lot…it’s now up to 24 hours of video uploaded every minute! And the demographics of who is online is definitely shifting too.

Take a look at our updated version of Social Media + Branding and let us know if you have any questions.