Category Archives: Facebook

On Facebook and the Death of Etiquette

Let’s face it.  Etiquette is a lost art.  Forget “interruption marketing” for a minute and think about how people interact on a regular basis.  New technologies change that behavior as people seek to leverage the convenience they provide.

  • When the phone was invented, an etiquette had to evolve on how to greet a new call, what’s an appropriate time to call, how to converse without interruption.  (Lots of room to improve here still – I can’t understand why politicians don’t have to follow the “do not call” list rules, but that’s another story).
  • Email etiquette arguably doesn’t exist – in a business context, companies have a culture around when people turn to email and when they don’t.  Email between friends and family has a broad range of what’s “socially acceptable,” but over time people at least develop a sense of when people will reply and why.
  • Two years ago, no way I’d tell you that it would be acceptable to converse via text message/SMS with grandparents.  Same with instant messaging.

In each of these small examples, the communication is mostly 1:1.  Email can be broadcast 1:many, but it’s deliberate who the communication goes to – you select email addresses to include.  Enter the world of Facebook, where the communication paradigm is different.  We have 1:many as the default – post once and share with many, who consume the content (status updates, photos, videos, links) at their leisure.  Forget that most people don’t have a common understanding of what they see in the News Feed and why.   The barrier to communication is low – it’s easy to share a picture or post given so many ways to share, from mobile to desktop.

Sometimes people forget that the communication medium isn’t important – the content of the message is, along with the dynamic.  Is it something that should be shared 1:1 or OK to share 1:many?   Making that choice with the context to understand the medium is crucial in relationship building – for businesses or individuals.

I recently asked some folks on Twitter and Facebook about etiquette, and heard many bizarre stories.  From the unexpected sonogram photo to first hearing of a family death, people are choosing Facebook for the wrong type of communication at the wrong time.   Have an example to share?  Do you thing Facebook etiquette is a lost art or a lost cause?

Photo credit: fdmount via flickr

How Twitter and Social Networks Can Make History

ideaEvery once in awhile a video comes along that inspires thought and challenges assumptions.  This video of internet guru Clay Shirky speaking as part of the TED series is no exception.  From the advent of the printing press to modern community platforms, Shirky uses stories from China, Iran, the Obama campaign, and other political uprisings to demonstrate the power of Facebook, text messaging and Twitter to make a real impact.  This is worth the watch.

(Thanks to David Armano for sharing this on Twitter.  Feed subscribers please click through to see the video).

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Facebook is the Gateway Drug of Social Media

FacebookaddictionNew joiners to Facebook go through phases – understanding privacy, etiquette and addiction.  But what happens when they settle down?  The functionality of Facebook is a “lite” version of many other social technologies many have come to know.

Facebook is growing strong, recently passing the 175 million members mark.  I’ve seen many folks go from skeptic to addict in recent months.  My parents are on Facebook.  My neighbors are on Facebook.  My high school class is now mostly on Facebook when 6 months ago it was the exception.  My CEO, clients and colleagues are on Facebook.  Campers from summers in the late 80s and early 90s when I was a camp counselor are on Facebook.  Facebook dominates dinner conversation with friends, and Facebook regularly freaks out my wife when people she talks to know what I am up to.

Take a look at what people are doing in Facebook after they get through the initial connection streak:

  • The “25 things about me” meme is one of a dozen different types of viral “notes” going around.  Isn’t this a form of blogging?  I doubt many would claim the “Blogger” title though.
  • Over time, more people seem to use status updates more.  I don’t have any scientific data to back this up, but I’ve noticed people slowly adopting using the status update for a funny anecdote, what’s for dinner, a victory potty training moment.  The status update has many similarities to Twitter.
  • More people are posting and sharing links, photos, and other content.  Enter (arguably) easy to use versions of Delicious.com, Flickr and Friendfeed.

acpromFor these reasons I think Facebook is an easy “gateway” for those who don’t use those other tools day to day and are building their communities – and it may even encourage more adoption of Twitter, Friendfeed and other tools down the road (especially with their integration to your News feed).  All of these features add up to introducing core social media technology functions to the average Joe – who also happens to own a scanner and is sharing pictures of me from my senior prom.  (The mullet was all business in front, party in the back, I swear).

Did Facebook introduce you or people you know to social media?  How’s it going so far?

Photo credit (above): escapetowisconsin via Flickr

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A Quick Snapshot of Old vs. New Media

In late October, I got a first hand glimpse into how the web is taking on traditional newspapers.  While in Dallas for Forrester’s Consumer Forum, I was grateful to be invited to drop in at the offices of the Dallas Morning News to talk about how retailers are using Facebook.

A Somber Scene

At first glance, the floor where most of the reporters sit is very much like the stereotypical movie sets.  I expected Perry White (Jackie Cooper, in my head, anyways) to come screaming out of his office at any moment.  The major differences:  PCs everywhere instead of typewriters, and most of the desks were empty.  I visited them on a Monday – the prior Friday they had been through a series of layoffs, and the mood was somber.  As the paper takes on challenges brought on by Web 2.0 and the shift of advertising online, ironically a blog solely for former employeers of the paper cropped up and has some very passionate people engaged. 

Challenges for Traditional Newspapers

Three major challenges for the paper are apparent.  First, the cost of advertising.  Simply put, ads cost a lot less and are far more measurable online.  This directly competes with ad revenue for the paper, and was a deciding factor in the recent Chapter 11 filing at the holding company that owns the Chicago Tribune and LA Times.

The second challenge is the proliferation of other media sources.  I heard the phrases “reading blogs” and “did you see the blog post” several times.  The lines between traditional media and new media are blurring and anyone who can publish a story could conceivably trump a reporter at a paper.  Clearly reporters are paying attention.  The lines are blurring between official reporters and passionate folks who like to write.

A third challenge for newspapers is really understanding the digital channel.  I’ve seen recent discussion on Twitter with Bryan Person and Aaron Strout around how newspapers don’t understand search engine optimization (SEO).  Both have pointed out examples of articles in Boston papers where the authors failed to include links in the online version of the story to either personal blogs or corporate web sites.  “Sharing the link love” is a key piece of making the digital channel successful and accessible through search. 

Understanding a Slice of New Media

The main purpose of my visit was to discuss my agency’s recent study on retailers using Facebook.  Several big name retailers, including J.C. Penney, are in the Dallas area, and the retail reporter for DMN was trying to get a better understanding of Facebook and other tools.  I spent a couple of hours with her explaining how Facebook works and gave her a demo of Twitter (thanks to many connections there for helping out).  It was clearly an eye opening experience for her, and we reviewed what several local-based retailers were doing with Facebook fan pages.  The net result, including much of her hard work looking at viral marketing, interviewing a variety of sources and adding insight to what the companies are doing, is this well-written piece published Tuesday called, “Retailers find Facebook friends in hopes of finding sales.”  No doubt the folks who are reporters are talented in their research and writing – she did an excellent job tying in the recent viral successes of J.C. Penney and Victoria Secret’s Pink brand to our discussion on retailers using Facebook pages.

Clearly the Dallas Morning News is getting the digital channel – the page where my article lives had (as of my last view) advertisements for Ford, Cars.com and Netflix.  The article also had the ability to share via social bookmarking sites and allowed comments.  Unfortunately the article had no link here or to our agency’s site, Rosetta.com.  But 2 out of 3 ain’t bad right?

In the end this was a real world microcosm example of how the old media industry needs to adapt in order to thrive.  Thanks again DMN for including me in the article and I hope we both continue to learn from the experience.

Photo via IMDB.com

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Study: 59% of Top Retailers Now on Facebook

Opportunity Knocks

In May of this year, Rosetta, the agency I am working for, published a study showing that 30% of 100 of the top online retailers had a Facebook page set up.  In the last five months since the original survey, there has been a substantial uptick to 59% – including pages added by Best Buy, Kohl’s and Toys ‘R Us.  This should not be a surprise and should continue to serve as a wake-up call.  Facebook has reached over 150 million users world wide, and Facebook fan pages are quite frankly, an easy way to set up a presence on the platform.

Use Caution, Plan Carefully

I have to caution retailers who just jump in by setting up a page.  Facebook is only one sliver of the overall social media space, and it’s very important to have an online strategy that embraces social media as another marketing channel. Here’s a quote from yours truly in our release on the study:

“It’s important that retailers don’t just slap up a page because everyone is talking about Facebook. An effective presence requires that you carefully consider what your customers are looking for, what you would like to communicate, and what role a fan page should play in your overall online strategy.”

I had an opportunity to talk further about this with Albert Maruggi on his Marketing Edge podcast yesterday going into further examples on how retailers can be using the Facebook page as a way to “start small” in social media and adjust to grow.  Here is the podcast – take a listen and let us know what you think.  Thanks Albert – you make this type of work a lot of fun.

Hot Topic

Facebook is a hot topic to cover right now.  Here are some other examples of where our study has been picked up – I’ll try to keep this post up to date with helpful links.  If you are interested in a direct copy of the study please don’t hesitate to contact me via the channels on my blog or comment.

Press and blog coverage for the Rosetta October 2008 Facebook Study – thanks to all for including our study:

Facebook pages are just one indicator of retailers looking to embrace social media to engage customers.  Do you think they will be successful?  Have a favorite fan page to highlight?  If your company has a page on Facebook I’d love to hear your story – I’d also love suggestions on how to improve the study for the next round.

Putting Your Social Network To Use

Over time, social networks become a place to accumulate contacts.  I’ve used LinkedIn for nearly five years, and tools like Facebook and Twitter have become part of a daily ritual.  Do you interact with those folks regularly, or is it a virtual rolodex accumulating dust?  Do you watch on the sidelines, or really engage?  I’ve written before about how I scrutize connections on social networks – I like to keep both Facebook and LinkedIn contacts to people I know or have interacted with in a meaningful way.  I’ve also discussed how social media can enhance real world relationships.  With little effort, we each can make these network connections more personal and useful.

Recently a friend contacted me about a potential job opportunuity at one of my clients.  Of course I’d be will to pass along a resume and make an introduction.  We started talking, and I suggested to go through my LinkedIn contacts to see if there are other potential folks she would be interested in talking to.  She was very appreciate of the help, which took a quick conversation and an email to make happen. It’s not difficult – so why don’t we do it more often?

Take a few minutes and think about the last time you helped someone out leveraging your social networks.  Bryan Person wrote a great post this week about how often he mentions himself vs. others in his posts on Twitter.  While social media and networks can be a great personal promotion vehicle, there is definitely a sense of contributing to help others that makes the networks meaningful.

I’d encourage you to take a moment after reading this and reconnect with someone in one of your social networks.  Personally, I like to connect dots to help folks – there’s some satisfaction from being able to leverage social networks to help friends out – either professionally or personally.  Some small examples:

 

  • I have a friend who is an entrepreneur and connected him to a reporter on Twitter who was writing an article about the same industry.
  • I noticed a contact changed jobs on LinkedIn, working for a company that our agency partners with, and reached out to her to see how things are going and share our experience in working with that company.  This helped her understand her company’s partner relationships and we may be working together on a future project.
  • A friend’s Facebook status read “I’m heading to Hawaii…” and I sent her some restaurant recommendations from our honeymoon trip many years ago.

These small interactions make your social network more relevant, meaningful and worthwhile – and one day those folks may come around and “scratch your back” too.  How can you help someone out?  Share a useful link, introduce a relevant connection, recommend a resource.  You’ll get more from your social networks than just “people watching.” 

How did your social network last help you?  Have a good story to share?

 

Photo credit: 7-how-7 via Flickr

Top 5 Reasons Social Media Requires Commitment

Commitment Social Media is a commitment.  It's not something individuals or businesses can dabble in and expect to be successful.  Here are some top ways that I've found Social Media to require commitment.  Chalk this one up to both lessons learned personally and bordering on the obvious to folks who have been leveraging social media for awhile. 

1. Blog Frequency

Best practice often suggests that while maintaining a blog, the author(s) should post new content 2-3 times a week at a minimum.  This keeps readers engaged and setting a regular pattern will keep them coming back.  For anyone whose main responsibilities have nothing to do with blogging, it can really be a challenge to keep up.  There are lots of strategies, from keeping a queue of posts and topics drafted, to scheduling regular time to dedicate.  What helps most of all is having an author or authors who are passionate about the topic.  Those folks will find a way to make it work, but long term dedication is a major factor in a blog's success.

2. Personal (or Professional) Brand Management

Once you have a blog, a twitter account, an account on Friendfeed, etc – you need to keep up with those who comment and respond.  It takes time to search twitter results for posts with your name buried in the middle, blog posts and other tools for people to keep up.  I sometimes stumble across a valuable response to a comment I made days earlier and regret not addressing it right away or capturing the RSS feed for that comment train.  A great aspect of these social media tools is that the information lives on, but much of the conversation takes place in a short time.  You can miss a window to participate with the primary group if you don't take time to keep up.

There are lots of free tools to leverage for this, including search.twitter.com, Google alerts and Technorati among others.  Our agency recently partnered with Radian6, a social media monitoring package.  I'm still learning about it, but so far I would compare it to robust web analytics packages – with a major advantage that you can gain insight not just to your own brand, but competitors.

3. Ubiquitous Content

The beauty of RSS is the distribution of content.  Social networks are proliferating.  New blogs are cropping up, and new tools are adding to the way we can share information with each other.  Frankly, there is so much valuable information to digest it's hard to keep up with it all.  There also is plenty of less than valuable content to sort through.  I use Google Reader and at times feel like I have to declare "feed bankruptcy" and mark everything as read, and I'm sure I miss valuable content in there.  Imagine if everyone you know had a blog, was connected to you on Friendfeed and was on Facebook.  Even apply this just to your company, or your industry.  Would you be able to really keep up with all of the content?

4. Relationship Building

I mentioned before that I use LinkedIn and Facebook regularly and recommend scrutinizing your social media connections.  These are great tools to keep up with friends and colleagues, but also to build relationships with contacts from networking events, business meetings and other settings.  Setting up a profile is a one time event for the most part, but truly using these tools to build upon relationships takes effort and consistent usage over time. 

5. Participating

Regardless of whether you have a few dozen or a few hundred connections, tools like Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and others require dedication to participate in conversations, answer questions and 'consume' the media.  Uploading and tagging photos, booking trips on Dopplr, checking out events on Upcoming…  When you start to interact with other folks, there is almost an informal contract you sign jumping in to participate.  You license people to reach out to you and they expect a response back, otherwise they may move on.  It takes a long term commitment to get the most out of these tools.

When people ask me for advice about social media, I often start with, "It's a commitment – are you ready for it?"  What other ways do you see social media needing commitment?  A logical next question – what advice do you have for folks trying to balance the commitment with everything else they have to do?

Photo credit: eschipul via Flickr