this is a guest post by Sundeep Kapur, his website is www.emailyogi.com, he’s also a Digital Evangelist for NCR.
Year over year the amount of content available on Facebook has increased dramatically. More brands are beginning to leverage this channel and while the number of consumers on Facebook continues to grow, it is going to get harder for brands to attentively engage consumers. Here are some key points highlighted in this report.
Successful brands need to focus on increasing interaction effectiveness with their consumer base. You do this by increasing the frequency of exposure, paying close attention to what is being discussed, and focused advertising.
Interactions with consumers will occur as you post and more than 70% of the interaction occurs within the first hour. So keep up your efforts on posting more often and monitoring right after you post versus posting and “going to bed.” Also, a post with a “question” tends to drive increased interaction.
Don’t forget that advertising does work. Your engagement rate can go up by 21% to 43% by knowing what to say, when to say, and of course how you say things on Facebook.
Brands have a significant opportunity to leverage social. The key to success is to understand how much of the social data is public, how to collect the data without alienating the consumer, and how best to quickly use the data that is collected.
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.
Let’s say you run a business making websites for dentists. You might buy the keywords “dentist”, “dental marketing” and “dental websites” on Google. In between the consumers who are looking to get some cosmetic dentistry, teeth cleaning, or other procedures done, there is a sprinkling of dentists who are looking for marketing help.
Depending on the term, it could be 90%+ of these searches not being relevant, and at $5-10 a click, that’s a lot of irrelevant clicks to pay for to find a winner, even if that winner will pay you $10,000 for a new website.
The biggest problem with B2B is that when someone types in “dentist”, you don’t know if they are a dentist or if they are looking for a dentist.
The die-hard PPC folks will argue that you’re just not choosing the right keywords (go for more specific terms), don’t have enough negative keywords (exclude anyone searching with city terms—since these are likely consumers), or you’re not writing specific enough ad copy (supposedly, consumer won’t click on your ad if your title is “Hey Dentists!”) While these comebacks are true, they are missing the big point.
In B2B marketing, you must target WHO the user is, not WHAT they are searching on.
In search, you don’t know who the user is, but you have a clue by the nature of their search terms. In social, you know WHO the user is and you’re catching them before they search.
STEP 1: Isolate the Target
So while you can get a ton of consumer traffic by targeting “dentist” in Google, when you interest target “dentist” on Facebook, you’re targeting by job title and profession. Try it. In fact, try a number of job titles and see just how many chiropractors, teachers, plumbers, administrative assistants, and marketing managers there are out there.
Voila! Now you’ve pinpointed all the dentists, dental assistants, students studying to be dentists, retired dentists, and folks who have a dentist fetish—all of them on Facebook. Now narrow down to the specific target you want by age, location or even specialty—maybe you want to talk to just cosmetic dentists in California.
Add in lateral targets—magazines they read, associations they’re a part of, and so forth. You can read more about micro-targeting here.
STEP 2: Get Your Testimonials and Trust Signals
You probably thought I’d next talk about ads, which is what most people do. Nope, in social people don’t search—they are interrupted with banner ads. You can focus on ad copy in Google PPC because people are actively looking. In Facebook, you have to gently nudge people to take a look at you and momentarily distract them from spying on their friends, or whatever they happen to be doing on Facebook.
So you need distraction-worthy content, which comes in the form of what their friends are doing. If that potential dentist client of yours is perusing through what her friends did yesterday, she might be persuaded to click on news where those very friends are talking about your business—maybe how they used your software to get more traffic to their website, streamline billing operations, etc.
When you have a TON of testimonials (across Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on), paired with content that you’ve published in major outlets, paired with positive things that other reputable organizations have said about you—then it’s more likely they are coming to you versus you coming to them. Some people call this “inbound” or “pull” marketing because you’re leveraging that prospective friends to do the selling for you. Because, despite your Harvard MBA and years of business experience; sorry Charlie, they trust what their friends have to say more.
Ideally, get this content to live on your website or Facebook page, although this is not completely necessary. Let’s say that you wrote some compelling article in an industry journal. Send ad traffic directly to that site so you can leverage their trust. If you wrote your article correctly, the by-line (about the author piece at the end) will have a line or two about what you do. And if you did a good job creating real value in that article, as opposed to selling, they’ll contact you. No need to scream at them or place popup windows in their path—they’ll find you.
Step 3: Turn Your Ads On
You wouldn’t have a grand opening party without first making sure your place has plenty of food and drinks, right? In the same way, make sure you have the compelling content from Step 2 before you start advertising. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money.
Take the interest targets that you set up in Step 1 and pair it against the content you have in Step 2. Think about WHO you are talking to, not WHAT they might be searching on. For example, if they are a dental hygienist, what content is most compelling to them? What if they are a receptionist—what might they find interesting? You’ll find that you might not have super relevant content for everyone. That’s okay—you’re just testing at this stage. Later you can mix and match what combinations work best.
Note that this is NOT landing page optimization, which is more superficially about elements that comprise the landing page—the image, the size of the button, the headline, and so forth. We’re talking about the whole lead gen. lifecycle—creating a clear path between the targets, what we say to them, and what we want them to do. That last piece is the landing page—to get them to call the phone number, fill out the form, watch the video, etc.
Step 4: Run the Math
Set your Facebook campaign budgets low, perhaps $10 a day. Use the default CPC bids, since you don’t need to get into the nuances of how bidding works—this is not Google. What you care about is your Cost Per Click and conversion rates. CPC divided by conversion rate is your cost per lead, by the way. We created a calculator for your use, in case you are rusty on first semester statistics:
This is B2B, so your cost per lead could be over $100. Maybe you’re at $2 a click and 1 in 50 clicks results in a phone call. Maybe it’s a lot more because you’re selling something that costs thousands, so that a hundred dollars is an acceptable price. Or maybe you’re competing in New York City, where the price is exorbitant from all the advertisers that overlap one another from poor targeting.
Whatever the case, if you’re doing this on Facebook, you have to be prepared for seemingly negative ROI for the first few months. Why? Because we are catching people well before they are searching, so it could be months before they want that new website, CEREC machine, billing system, or whatever it is you’re advertising. With Google, the conversion timeframe might be that same visit. This is unlikely in your case, unless your product is an impulse buy and also under $100.
Some final thoughts:
We are often asked a common set of questions, so let’s address some of them here:
How big should my interest target be? You don’t need a thousand ads—just a handful that target just the people that you want to hit. If your interest target is over 10,000 people, then either you’re doing something wrong or your audience is nationwide.
Do I need new landing pages for Facebook? Probably. Video is what converts nowadays, so you probably need to fix your other landing pages while you’re at it. Camera shy? They aren’t choosing you for your good looks, so get your Flip video, some good lighting, and film a 2 minute intro. Say what you’d say if that dentist was sitting right in your office—don’t be “fake” or talk like a newscaster.
Will BlitzLocal do this for me? Sure, if you have at least $10k to spend in fees, not counting advertising budget. If you’re a dentist, we require only $2k a month in total (labor plus ad spend), since we’re targeting just one region and because our dental campaigns can be replicated. If we have to build something that is not reusable across many clients, then we have to charge more for it. We are not the cheapest game in town.
Do you offer free articles and training? I would love to use your service, but cannot afford it. Sure. Send a note to email@example.com and we’ll send you some of our internal training materials. You can also post a question at facebook.com/blitzlocal, where others can see and benefit from what you ask.
About the Author:
Dennis Yu is Chief Executive Officer of BlitzLocal, a Webtrends partner that builds social media dashboards to measure brand engagement and ROI, specializing in the intersection of Facebook and local advertising. You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, his blog, or good old-fashioned email at firstname.lastname@example.org. BlitzLocal is a leader in social and local advertising and analytics, creating mass micro-targeted campaigns. Mr. Yu is an internationally sought-after speaker and author on all things Facebook, and has been featured in National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur Magazine, CBS Evening News, and other venues.
this is a guest post by Sundeep Kapur, his website is www.emailyogi.com, he’s also a Digital Evangelist for NCR.