In 3 days in Toronto, Canada, I’m excited to moderate a panel on this topic, as part of Socialize Toronto, a conference on monetizing social media.
The geeks will talk about the Don’t Be Evil Toolbar, made by Facebook and Twitter folks. Or maybe the components of EdgeRank– the relative weightings of likes, comments, and posts. No black magic, complex formulas, or more software to have to master. But here’s what really matters– more newsfeed exposure and traffic.
So here it is in plain English based on actual research we’ve used on brands large and small:
Post when your particular users are most likely to be online– not a generic rule of thumb. Hint: look in your web analytics to see, or consider when your TV shows air, stores are open, and customers are shopping. If you’re the NFL, you better be running Facebook ads when the Super Bowl is on to capture when fans are talking.
Run Sponsored Post Story ads to amplify your organic postings. Odds are that only 5% of your fans are seeing your posts (the larger the page, the lower) and then only a percent of that are engaging with you (clicking like or commenting). The newsfeed is so competitive now, jammed with so much stuff, that you have to run ads now if you want to play. Sorry.
People who are browsing Facebook are not interesting in shopping for Tide in the 150 ounce family size jug right then. But they are interested in something funny and perhaps a discount for later. So don’t spam them with your product offerings, sales, and traditional banner ads. Give them something worth sharing– look at your stats to see what is shared the most and do more of that.
Do not apply SEO methods to Facebook– any more than you’d wear swimtrunks to a wedding. Don’t try to stuff your keywords in your posts, page titles, or other content. People don’t search on Facebook, they navigate.
Actions speak louder than words– if you don’t build an open graph app that has actions (read, watch, listen, cook, etc…) you will get drowned out of the newsfeed. Posting alone carries little weight without ad amplification. Hey, Facebook is going public in June 2012 and they have to demonstrate revenue, right?
Google+ is a lame social network right now– lots of Google users, but no traffic. Forcing users to click on +1 is not a strong strategy for brands yet. Maybe that will change in 6-9 months, if Google can apply social relevancy to their products.
We have an all-star line up for our panel, who will likely disagree with what I have just said. Be ready for an interesting panel!
The BlitzLocal team attended the Facebook Mobile Hack event in NYC on January 18th and took some notes on the newest updates to the mobile platform.
Read here to see what the Facebook engineers had to say, and hear what has worked for several case studies.
Intro: Facebook Platform for Mobile
How has the web changed since the early days?
Facebook tagging (social)
Not focused on rendering the best graphics, but social aspect
200 million people playing games on Facebook Platform
The rise of mobile
Across all levels of mobile devices
350M users of Facebook mobile
Twice as engaged as desktop version
Social + Mobile
Friends, Newsfeed, search, notifications, requests, bookmarks
Photography, websites, music, communication, games, books
Web Apps (HTML5) Development: Matt Kelly & Vikas Gupta
How to facilitate sharing with friends
Problematic when sharing over different types of devices
Apps don’t exist across platforms
Hard to share content between them even if apps exist
How can Facebook fix this?
The social channels
Requests: user to user direct messaging
Make sure they are super fast! Almost real-time
News Feed: one to many sharing with friends
Posting, view on wall, view on news feed
Open Graph: Lightweight, seamless sharing
Wherever your app lives or works, Facebook distributes properly so there are no holes.
Gives users a specific spot to get back to your app
Mechanism for engagement
Native facebook for iPhone
Use credits to monetize apps
Build social from the ground up
Search, login auth, directed to app
Social apps work everywhere
iPhone, laptop, android, ipad, android tablet
HTML5 works across all platforms
Native App + Open Graph: Aryeh Selekman & Christine Abernathy:
iOS and Android + Facebook platform
Open Source Native SDKs
Developer app settings
Fields to configure iOS and Android apps
Linking and app distribution works appropriately if these fields are filled out correctly
Single Sign On (SSO) login without typing
Login with facebook button
Understanding Native Distribution
If an iOS or app exists, all requests/News Feed Stories/Timeline stories will link directly to native app (or apple store if not installed)
On android, requests/News Feed Stories/Timeline stories wil only direct to your mobile web app
5 Best Practices
1. Build a mobile web app
HTML5: distribution on m.facebook.com on all webkit enabled touch browsers
take advantage of SSO capabilities
2. Implement SSO
3. Implement requests for app discoverability
Rate now, invite friends, send requests
4. Leverage existing friend graph
Promote activity and interaction
Push notification through native channels to let you know your friends joined
5. Get your app on timeline
Open Graph and Mobile Apps
One API – distribution to ticker, Timeline, newsfeed
Allows you to define what people do in your application
Reading, listening, watching, etc.
4 Steps to get started using open graph
1. Define your actions and objects
2. Design your Timeline aggregations
Pictures, maps, represent actions and data that people send through
3. Markup and expose your objects
Everything represented by underlying URL
Where do objects live
4. Publish actions
Native Distribution for Mobile Apps
Case Study: PhoneGap
Embed a chromeless browser in a native app
Create a bridge between the browser and the native code providing access to native APIs
Write a web app
Package the web app with the native code and deploy to devices
Write once debug everywhere
HTML, JS, CSS included in an app package
HTML loaded on file:// URI scheme, no cross domain request restrictions
Engineering wise, approach is simple to extend to new platforms
iOS, Android, BB, webOS, Symbian, Windows Phone (mango), Samsung Bada
HTML5: write native code easily, scale like an app so width is design width – no pinch zoom etc
CSS3: webkit transformations
Facebook, Linkedin, Walmart use case
Continue polyfilling HTML5
Case Study: Washington Post Social Reader
Coding for the futures
Everything you write effects possible futures
Architect for the foreseeable futures
Short term futures
Building mobile second
Use mobile to rethink boundaries
Roll mobile learning back into the webapp
Case Study: Thuzi
Social by design
Send invites, RSVPs
Share great offers with my friends
Provide reviews of the experience
Capture the moment for a special occasion (Timeline)
Local by design
Dining is a local experience
Find a local restaurant
Invite friends, redeem offers, find out what’s happening
Native by design
Want to ensure you have access to the newest native APIs
Want to have the fastest app possible
Want to guarantee formatting correctness
More choices for monetization – iAds, etc
Many existing open source libraries and blog posts and tutorials
Are not dependent upon plugins or other 3rd party series for push notifications
At the Webby Awards, we are constantly monitoring social networking platforms to bring our fans our unique view into the ever-changing landscape of what’s happening online, in order to provoke and inspire by highlighting some of the most innovative work and trends on the Internet. One such trend that we’ve come across is what we call the “Golden Age of Complaining.” In this culture of dissatisfaction, everyone is an instant critic. Consumers are taking to platforms, such as Twitter, to air their disappointment with brands that have done a disservice to them.
Brands and companies have understood the importance of communication with their customers. Traditionally, in a somewhat antiquated means of communication, chagrined customers would call a 1-800 number or write (if you were even less technologically inclined) to express their displeasure with a company. With platforms such as Twitter and Facebook that allow for instant response and timely interaction, good brands and companies have created accounts on these sites that are staffed full-time by a customer service representative.
1. Responding requires a high-touch and thoughtful approach
Some great examples of brands that have taken to Twitter are:
American Airline’s @AmericanAir
– Cable providers:
Time Warner’s @TWCableHelp
– Motor companies:
Engaging customers about their complaints is one of the best ways to retain brand loyalty and encourage their continued use. That being said, there is a right way and a wrong way of communicating with customers. There are two basic categories in which complaints fall: 1.“[brand] sucks” and 2.“[brand] help” – and knowing which to respond to is important. If a Twitter user merely tweets, “@Delta, you truly suck”, how is a brand supposed to respond? There is nothing in which to engage them with. However, if a Twitter user posts “@DeltaAssist traveling with an infant and had a confirmed seat on window but got moved to aisle”, it is Delta’s duty to respond to this customer.
However, one to three tweets should be the maximum for exchanges online; after that, the conversation should be taken offline by exchanging contact information. Sometimes, the problem can be resolved in just one tweet – for example: “@DeltaAssist: I’m sorry about your seat, please DM your confirmation # so we can check your next flight for you.” This takes care of the situation head on without going back and forth.
We’ve also noticed three great ways brands are responding to their fans on Twitter:
1. Take advantage of over-share
If you’re in NYC, you’ve probably eaten at a food truck or three. The great thing about many food trucks is their ability to be mobile – they are restaurants on wheels! Brands such as the Souvlaki Truck have created Twitter accounts to monitor what they’re fans are saying about them. We recently tweeted to the @SouvlakiTruck recently about missing their food – they used to be right around the corner from us – once they saw our tweet, they responded by offering a care package to be sent to our office. The following week we were all dining on their delicious Greek food. And because they were tuned in, the Souvlaki Truck was able to be proactive and garner 60,000 impressions from our tweeting our appreciation.
2. Reveal the human side of brand
Recently, one of our interns tweeted to his colleague that we were out of sweet potato chips and hummus. Another great brand @PretzelCrisps, took it upon themselves to offer their snack as a viable alternative that goes great with hummus. They engaged him and asked for mailing address. Sure enough, that afternoon, bags upon bags of Pretzel Crisps were dropped off at our office. By revealing themselves as real people behind the social media platform and not just an automated bot that responds, the Pretzel Crisp brand was able to create a relationship with a new customer.
3. Create personal interactions
One particular brand that has an interesting campaign on Twitter is Jell-o, which launched their “Pudding Face Mood Meter” in an effort to gauge America’s current mood. Jell-o is tracking tweets that contain smiling and frowning faces and are taking the opportunity to tweet to those users that tweeted frowning. While they are cued in to the collective American feelings at a current time, they are not making the interaction personal. It seems more insincere to tweet to someone who is having a bad day: “here, have a coupon for a free Jell-o pudding” as opposed to engaging the user if it’s appropriate to your brand message. This misguided effort to connect with new fans and the connection between the brand and the message they wish to convey is not obvious.
The few things we’ve learned from the culture of dissatisfaction are:
1. That even though consumers are increasingly venting on Twitter and Facebook, certain brands are proactively transform complaints into praise.
2. Brands can strengthen their existing customer relationships and create new ones by engaging the right way.
3. As long as you make it a good story – the word will spread itself.
Guest author David-Michel Davies (DMD) is Executive Director of The Webby Awards & the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. He also serves as Chairman & Co-Founder of Internet Week New York. DMD has appeared on CNN, Fox News Channel, and Good Morning America to discuss Internet trends and news, and he has lectured to audiences at a diverse mix of conferences and companies including Interbrand, Microsoft and the Institute for the future.
Fast food establishments have been locked in a grueling social media war for several years now. A quick look at fan counts would suggest that McDonalds, thus far, is the victor. But the truth is others are catching up quickly (several competitors like Taco Bell and In-N-Out Burger are already beating McDonalds in fans per location) and McDonalds is constantly being forced to adapt and brainstorm new ways to keep customers engaged and coming back.
One of their latest attempts to capture their fans attention is a game on their Facebook page called “The Quest for the Golden McRib.” The Quest is no simple or cheap flash game but a highly interactive set of challenges that incorporates Google Maps and real world McDonalds stores. The game has loads of content and the mix of challenges will appeal to hardcore gamers as well as casual ones. When the gamer successfully completes a challenge they receive a collectable badge that they can either keep tucked away or post it to their wall to brag to their friends.
The social aspect of this has huge potential to revolutionize the way we Facebook. Gamification has begun, and you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of it over the next few years as others seek to diminish or negate the marketing edge of their competitors. Although The Quest is ultimately a rather silly game; (elves with butterfly wings and pirate hats, rapping eagles, etc.), games on Facebook are still in their infancy. You can see that advertisers are contemplating new and unique ways to keep their brands fresh in consumers’ minds. Ultimately, this is a win-win for everyone: the advertiser gets to speak directly to the consumer who is being entertained, as opposed to being forced to watch a commercial. As gamification is further utilized and perfected, expect games to become even more compelling, common, and social.
Blake Beier is an Analyst with BlitzLocal, and a big fan of games.
Didn’t get a chance to check out the Trada Webinar on making Facebook ads work for you? No worries! Here at BlitzLocal, we watched and learned, and took some notes for you. They started with an educational slideshow about the different types of Facebook ads, and finished by answering questions from the chat window. Here are our notes, and some additional article links for extra information.
The Bottom Line: Facebook Ads are the most versatile, targeted way to advertise online, and they have incredible reach.
Challenges with Facebook Advertising
You have to hire a graphic artist to make all the ad creatives
Connections: The number of individuals who liked your Facebook page, RSVP’d to your event, or installed your app within 24 hours of seeing your ad or sponsored story. Basically, a connection is a conversion.
Unique Reach: The number of individual people who saw your sponsored stories or ads.
Social Reach: The number of people who saw your sponsored stories or ads because their friends liked your page, RSVP’d to your event, or used your app.
Frequency: The average number of times each person saw your campaign’s sponsored story or ad. This is helpful for measuring ad fatigue.
Basic Ad Formats
“Like” ad: Links to tab on Facebook page
Event ad: Links to event
Application ad: Links to application
Standard ad: Links to specific URL
Page “Like” Story: Mary-Jane likes your page, Page “like” Story lets Mary-Jane’s friends know about the like
Page Post Story: You published a post to your page’s fans. Page Post Story allows this post to show up in fans’ news feeds
Pages Post “Like” Story; Alex liked one of your page posts in the last 7 days. Page Post “like” Story lets Alex’s friends know about the post like
App Used and Game Played Story: Lauren played/used your game or app. App Used/Game Played Story tells her friends about this action
App Share Story: Hayes shared a story from your app in the last 7 Days. App Share Story lets Hayes’ friends know about the share
Check-in Story: Lisa checked in or claimed a deal using Facebook Places. Check-in Story lets Lisa’s friends know about it.
Domain Story: Mike liked/shared content from your website or pasted a link from your site to his wall. Domain Story lets Mike’s friends know about this action.
The complexity and potential of targeting on Facebook
There are so many ways of targeting that it can be confusing
Age, likes, interests, birthday, apps, education, timeline content, friends, event RSVPs, fans
When choosing targets, focus on two things:
Narrowing your audience
Demo and Geo Targeting
Geography: Country, State, Province, City or Zip targeting
Demographics: Gender, Age, Birthday, Relationship Status, Language
Workplace and Education Targeting
Workplace, Education, Preferred Language
Likes and Interests Targeting
Favorite TV Shows, Movies, Books, Music, Hobbies, Religion, Political Views
Thinking outside the box – Let’s say you want to sell golf clubs
Nick (who plays golf) is an obvious target
Barbara doesn’t like golf – but she likes the Palm Beach Country Club
Chaz doesn’t have the word golf anywhere on his profile, but he plays golf for a living: he’s a sales guy!
Try the obvious targets, but Facebook’s best advertisers use non-linear thinking to target ads.
Campaign Organization Tips
An “Account” in Facebook is similar to a “Campaign” in Paid Search
A “Campaign” in Facebook is similar to “Ad Group” in Paid Search
Warning: Don’t create campaigns with many different targets and ads. Keep your campaigns small.
Do not put all segmented target groups in one campaign – as your ads are competing within the campaign.
Prevent ad fatigue, or banner blindness by changing ads frequently
As soon as CTR trends down, submit new content!
What is a good CTR?
What images work best?
Logos traditionally don’t work well
Images of people are effective
Format design keeping small size in account
What is a preferred or optimal frequency?
Keep it small!
6,7,8 is bad
Any issues with click fraud?
There is a department at Facebook dedicated to click fraud with a sophisticated monitoring team.
More difficult to produce in Facebook than in search where you can just search to make a specific ad appear.
How will timeline affect ads/business pages?
Fans much more likely to take some type of action than non-fans.
Targeting workplaces is a great tool for B2B marketing.
What sort of company uses page post story? How breaking should the news be? What types of posts work best?
Entertainment, news businesses using these most effectively
Have emotional connection so people will click
Is there advertising on Facebook mobile?
In testing, not released to general public yet.
Notes taken by BlitzLocal Analyst Matt Prater
Graphics obtained from: http://www.slideshare.net/TradaPaidSearch/facebook-ads-you-can-make-them-work and www.facebook.com.
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In 3 days in Toronto, Canada, I’m excited to moderate a panel on this topic, as part of Socialize Toronto, a conference on monetizing social media.