How Facebook Says We should Use Facebook To Market!!

There’s no shortage of blog posts and pages out there offering advice on how to use Facebook as a marketing tool. But what was news to me (just being honest) was that Facebook has a whole range of resources to give marketers advice on how to successfully use it as a marketing tool.

Facebook marketing advice, facebook guidelines, how to use facebook to market

  1. Facebook Studio:
  2. Facebook Success Stories:

In reality both of these resources are pretty similar. Facebook studio is meant to be from an agency perspective show casing successful use of Facebook to reach mass audiences and increase sales by millions of percents! There is quiet a handy feature on it though allowing you to search for campaigns based on location, category of product, and the type of Facebook feature used.

Facebook success stories is meant to provide page administrators “in-depth looks at successful campaigns, from inception to execution”. And sure, they certainly do give some great examples where big multi national companies have used Facebook well. But for the average Joe soap advertiser hoping to increase exposure and engagement and eventually sales, there isnt really a whole lot there.The success stories come from American express, At&T, Spotify, Huggies, Pepsi, Diagio, ticket master, 1800 flowers to name a few. For me as a marketer working with a very limited budget thats like saying to a small restaurant  “Why don’t you take a leaf out of Mcdonald’s book they seem to be doing quiet well” !!

Facebook marketing, Facebook big brand, facebook buduget

3. Brand Resources and Permissions Center: This section of Facebook’s guidelines helps campaign managers ensure that they are using the social network’s logos and other images properly. Nothing too exciting here

4. Facebook Demo Tool: Now this is quiet a nice little toy. It allows users to create ads and see how they will appear to others before actually going and paying money for the ads.  It works for sponsored stories and premium ads. The one thing I did find annoying though is the fact that it doesn’t self populate the demo page with your own page info even if you are logged in. Which means that you need to ad a cover photo, a profile photo etc if you want to see how your own page will look.

5.  Facebook Marketing Page: This is an actual Facebook page which you can “like” where they post tips and useful information on an ongoing basis. They just posted a link to pre- designed tent cards, posters and stickers which can be customized with your own URL to let people know about your Facebook page. Useful to hand out at events or have them in shop windows.

Facebook released some new marketing guidelines on Friday. Here’s a quick run down of what they said

  • The overall message is be short and sweet. Body copy should be no more than 90 characters, in an effort to grab users’ attention. Videos should be no longer than 15 to 30 seconds.
  • For videos, Include an eye-catching and action-oriented thumbnail to achieve high video play rates. Be engaging, but make sure the image you select relates to the video content and your brand.
  • For Photos Be engaging, since an eye-catching photo is essential to draw people’s attention. But make sure that the photo relates to the brand. Use a photo that is at least 168×128 and maintains a 16:9 aspect ratio. 
  • For questions only check the “Allow anyone to add options” box if you want to allow user generated responses and you’re positive it will result in a better post.

Path App…. What is it?

After reading about the second round of investment that Path had received yesterday I was keen to find out a bit more about the social platform I had only heard mummers of faintly in the background until now.

“The smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love”

The tagline from the minimalist website doesn’t give too much away so I had to dig deeper to find out why investors like Richard Branson and Jerry Murdoch are willing to contribute to a $30 million round of investment, currently valuing the company at $240 million.

Path was Founded in 2010 by some pretty big hitters. Dave Morin (previously Co-Inventor of Platform and Connect at Facebook), Shawn Fanning (creator of Napster) and Dustin Mierau (co-creator of Macster). What that means is that its already older than Instagram…. and it hasn’t really caught on has it?!

Path app review, what is path, path investment

But after downloading the app which is a platform built entirely for mobile use I can see what loosened the investors pockets. Path aims to be a combo of Facebook, Instagram,Foursqaure and maybe Twitter all in one. There is also a strong focus on close relationships, (rather than being connected with every Dick or Harry you went to summer camp with) with Path initially limiting you to just 50 friends. This has recently been increased to 150 friends, but the emphasis is that this is a more personal social network than others.

Users can use take pictures directly from the app and use many of the filters that Instagram has become famous for. Part of the attraction to Facebook of Instagram was its ability to take photos directly from the social platform in as few steps as possible. Path allows you to do it in three steps, which is comparative to Instagram.

Users can also check into places or add location tags to any posts they create. They can also let people know what music they are listening to providing a link directly to both listen to the song and to buy it from iTunes.

And of course comments and updates can be provided too.

What I think is key to Path’s appeal is its amazing user interface design (UI) and user experience design (UX) where ease of use and navigation features strongly. The platform itself is slick and aesthetically pleasing and anyone that I have convinced to sign up immediately likes it and wants to use it.

Creating posts is incredibly simple: click on an icon at the bottom of your screen and six buttons fan out in a quarter-circle. From here you can write whatever’s on your mind whether thats tagging where you are, who you are with, what you are seeing, how you are feeling or what your listening to. These all appear on a single screen along with your friends’ updates.

What is Path?, Path app , Path user experience

I can certainly see why, with its slick interface and focus on a smaller network between closer friends, Path is appealing. Facebook is the master of social networks, but I’m not sure that it is suitable for certain types of posts that I may want to put up. Photos on Facebook tend to be mainly of people and usually of them having a good time. Photos on Instagram tend to be of things. These arty, beautiful photos of a tree you pass feel a bit poncy and unsuitable on Facebook, yet fit in perfectly on Instagram. In the same way I think in a smaller social network letting people know who I am with and what I am listening to seems more appropriate.

The problem with Path is though that it currently has about 798 million less users than Facebook. No one I know was on it until I convinced a few of my friends to try it out and the fact is a social network is only as good as its network. But with such an interest right now on sites with design at its core like Instagram and Pinterest it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Path comes more and more to our attention in coming months.

If you are on Path let me know. My username is Barrytg! I have included a link to an excellent site about user design called Start ups this is how design works.

Also check out great blog by Shane O Leary.

Path app, What is path, path social platform, path investment

Winding Path to Success?

Chirpify – Will People Buy Things On Twitter?

With Facebook’s IPO on the horizon and the success stories of other tech companies like Google, Apple and even Netscape still fresh in our minds, there seems to be increased media attention on the latest start up’s potential tech stars of the future. I recently blogged about Pinterest, the fastest growing social platform online, and today I wanted to have a quick look at another company which has caught my eye.

Facebook IPO Social Commerce, Start Up Companies, Chirpify

Chirpify enables businesses and consumers to buy, sell, donate and exchange funds on Twitter, turning Tweets into transactions. Everyone keeps saying social commerce is the next big thing. On a basic level this means giving people the ability to purchase products directly through social media sites. This is already relatively prominent through the likes of Facebook even if a lot of these products aren’t actually real. Last year Zynga made up 12% of Facebook’s massive revenue, and that was largely through the sale of virtual components for their games.

Looking to the not to distant future though companies are likely to leverage the concept of influencers by offering people the ability to earn discounts by sharing products they like or have bought and thus encouraging others to buy them too.

Lockerz, which has received a whole bunch of funding itself over the last two years has just recently launched a Pinterest like pin board platform, where users can actually gain points which can then be used for purchases, by pinning items to their own boards.

So with these media rich social platforms all trying to coax people out of bricks and mortar stores and online to make their purchases, what hope does a company aiming to use 140 characters to get people to buy have?

There is already a certain degree of selling happening through Twitter. Brands send out links to discounted offers, or celebrities use the micro blogging site to flog their own merchandise to their followers but all of this happens outside of Twitter. People click on a link and are brought some place else where they can make purchases. The whole process isn’t exactly seamless.

What Chirpify does is to allow people to buy, sell, donate and transact directly on Twitter simply by replying to a Tweet. This is done by integrating Chirpify and Pay Pal directly with your Twitter account. Users can then purchase an item on Twitter by simple replying to a Tweet listing with the word buy. This could certainly make for some interesting drunken purchases if it is in fact as easy as this to transact.

Social commerce, buying things drunk, Chirpify

There also seems to be potential for donations and with the every tech savvy Obama camp gearing up for another election campaign, being able to get set priced donations directly from people on Twitter simply by them replying donate, seems like a huge benefit.

Another feature which I thought was cool was that it provides an easy platform for people to exchange money. For example if you and a friend or splitting a bill. One of you can simply pay the other person by directly responding to a tweet.

However the fact of the matter is that most of these things can be done already,directly through Pay Pal, but leveraging the huge user base of Twitter might just catch on.

Some start up’s get millions in funding, and the fact that Chirpify, formally known as       sell simp.ly got their first investment of just $50,000 recently, might suggest it is small scale. But with social media sites determined to do all it takes to keep users on their site rather than sending them elsewhere, perhaps…Twitter themselves might come knocking?!

Twitter interest in start ups

How Facebook Decides What Will Appear in Your News feed

What you see in your Facebook news feed is dependent on a number of factors which Facebook calls Edgerank. Similar to how Google uses pagerank when ranking pages in their search results. Realistically what this means for most posters on Facebook is that the friends that you interact the most with are the most likely to see your posts and that’s the way you would want it. However for businesses on Facebook understanding how each of your posts are ranked and how likely they are to come up in their followers wall is far more important.

This is particularly important for followers who have selected “top news” as opposed to “most recent news”. Top news displays the news that Facebook feels are most relevant to you based on usage data and interactions. Most recent will display updates from all your friends as they happen. It is worth noting that Top news is the default setting on facebook.

How is Facebook EdgeRank calculated?

The mathematical formula released by Facebook is

Facebook Edgerank = Affinity score * Weight * Time Decay

The Affinity score is a calculation for the affinity between the user and the creator of the item. Some of the measures that can help calculate the affinity are:

  • The messages being exchanged between a user and the creator of the item.
  • Number of times the  users profile was checked

The Weight is the type of the interaction between the Facebook users.  The following are some of the interactions which can considered when calculating weight (listed in the order of importance) :

  • A tag on a picture
  • Comments
  • Likes

The last and most obvious one is the Time. The older the post or update, the lower the time decay number.

So looking at each factor, all comes back to the most important factor in Social media marketing: User Engagement. The higher your engagement with your friends or fans, the higher will be your edgerank with a user. And the higher your edgerank score with a user, the higher is the chance of your update to get listed in the users ‘Top news’.

Facebook Insights Explained !!!

Status

I have just gone through a fantastic interactive tutorial for the new Facebook insights which has just been launched. By getting you to answer questions on the content you watch as you go through It gives you a great understanding of how the the application works! I would highly recommend anybody to give it a go.

One thing of note was what Facebook said about the type of posts that gets the greatest interaction

  1. Post between 100 and 200 characters (less than 3 lines) receive about 60% more likes, comments and shares than posts greater than 250 characters.
  2. Rich media content such as videos and photos have about 120% more interaction
  3. Post regularly. Your fans are more likely to engage with you if you stay on top of mind
  4. Ask for your fans opinions. Use your page as a place to have conversation. Use the info you get to get feedback on your marker
  5. ask questions using the Facebook question app. This makes it easy to get lots of information quickly.
  6. Try posting fill in the blank posts. Fill in the blank posts enjoy about 90% more engagement than other posts
  7. Give your fans access to exclusive information by liking a post. Make them feel special. Give them first look at products, or discount prices
  8. Reward your fans with deals and perks. Make these offers only available to fans
  9. Be timely. Your audience are more likely to engage with your post if it is about topics that are already in the front of their mind
  10. Localize your posts if the content is only relevant to certain fans. Use the Geo targeting feature to target specific areas

Social Network Advertising

I have just read an interesting paper on social  advertising called “Do ads work on social networks” by David Strutton of the University of North Texas. I found it particularly interesting because I have always been keen to see how the likes of Facebook, with its astronomical market value, would monetize its service.

He proposed that the success of social network advertising (SNA) depended on consumers’ acceptance. This acceptance is formed on the basis of a cost/ benefit analysis in the consumers mind. If the perceived benefit of the advertising was thought to be greater than the perceived cost, well then happy days, the consumer had no problem with the ads. On the other hand if they felt that the cost was greater than the benefit well then you have a problem.

myspace have had a huge drop off in usersMySpace’s dramatic plummet from the heights of social media stardom has been put down to multiple things. A focus too firmly on entertainment. Or simply people wanting to move onto the “next big thing”. But some people state that the amount of unwanted and irrelevant  advertisements certainly contributed somewhat to its fall.

The paper suggests that previous studies have attributed the reasons people go online to include

  • Structural reasons (simply passing time)
  • Content reasons (looking for information or entertainment)
  • Social reasons (wanting to connect with others)
I think it’s reasonable to agree that social media sites fill these needs pretty accurately. We all know how quickly time can pass when your engrossed in the likes of facebook. The same applies to both informative and entertaining content. And of course interaction with others is the whole purpose of social media.
So coming back to the perceived Cost/Benefit of advertising that we mentioned already.
The benefits fit in with the reasons that people go online
  • Can they help pass the time?
  • Can they provide either relevant information or entertainment?
  • Can they help us socialise by portraying the images of ourselves that we want to be put out there?
The costs of SNA falls into two categories
  • Privacy – The apprehension people have about the loss of their privacy. Very targeted advertisements can sometimes shock social network users as they illustrate how much information that can be gathered on them
  • Invasiveness – How much an ad effects your experience by being a distraction or irritation.
The findings of the study revealed that the most influencial element on a users attitude towards SNA was entertainment. In fact it was five times more important than any other factor! It did put in a caveat though that the ads needed to be target specific. Placing the wrong type of ad on certain peoples pages could be deemed out of context or inappropriate and increase negative feelings. The same applied to the next most important factor which was information provision. However the need to have target specific ads creates somewhat of a paradox. By using information from a users profile to place suitable content on their page, you are are risking creating negative feeling towards the ad as they may feel their privacy has be intruded.
But with Social media ad revenues expected to reach $10 Billion world wide by 2013, this is something that people in the industry are going to have to try get right.