Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Facebook’s Subscribe: The Death of Fan Pages, or is it?

Facebook’s introduction of the “subscription” feature for profile pages has blurred certain lines between profile and fan pages for many individuals seeking to leverage social media to build their own personal brand and on-line presence.  This is particularly true for many sales people, agents, etc. who are looking to use Facebook as a way to communicate with customers and prospects.

Facebook fan pages were originally created for brands like Coke or Walmart and expanded out to be used by celebrities, organizations, places, and many others.  Many individuals who wanted to interact with fans, prospects, and customers also began to create fan pages since it was an effective way of separating their personal Facebook activity from their business or public Facebook presence.  In addition, fan pages provided lower barrier to entry in that it did not require the page to “approve” each follower / fan / friend.

Facebook recently introduced their subscription feature as a lightweight way for an individual to share his updates with a larger audience.  Similar to fan pages, a follower does not need approval from the page to access updates and the news feed.  To many, this seems like an easy way to create a fan page like public news feed without the trouble of creating a fan page.

So, is the subscribe function right for you?

Let’s start by comparing the three options:

 

Unless you have 5000+ private friends, a standard Facebook profile page will most likely meet the needs for your personal Facebook activities.  You can even start to segment your friends and updates (e.g. friends, family, work, etc.).  While you should almost always assume that anything you post on Facebook could be made public, it’s the best way to keep your political rants, shopping and listening habits, and pictures of your kid from being easily accessible.

 

Enable Subscribe

Some issues and thoughts with the subscribe functionality.

  • Most individuals prefer to control who can view their personal updates and information.  If you are using the “public” news feed on top of your personal profile to communicate with friends, you need to be continually thinking whether the post is for public or “friend” consumption.

Facebook Status Update

 

  • For those that are using it to build their personal brand, you’re missing out on all the benefits that come from a Facebook fan page – most notably reporting, targeting, and the ability to promote and advertise your page.  If you DO decide at a later time to create a Fan page, you’ve now got to go through the process of trying to get your subscribers to like your new fan page.
  • Some die-hards have taken the approach of managing both a subscription page AND a fan page.  See Mari Smith’s Fan Page and Profile Page for an example.

 

MariSmith1

Mari's Fan Page

Mari2

Mari's Profile Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The biggest challenge this creates is the need to create yet another stream of content for your fans.  Do you post the same content to both?  You may already be managing your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Blog, etc. feeds.  Ask yourself what the incremental value will be for yet another feed.

Finally, there is a growing group of individuals – sales people, agents, employees, customer service representatives – who are looking to Facebook as a way to communicate with prospects and customers.  These people are particularly concerned with separating their work and home social streams and some may look to the subscribe functionality to meet that need.  There is an argument to be made however, that the dangers to be caused by possibly overlapping personal and work newsfeeds is even greater and could end up damaging either the employee or the company they represent.  Fan pages for each employee in conjunction with a well designed social media management platform (SMMP) such as One To One Global’s MessageMaker solution can provide a variety of benefits both for the employee as well as the brand or organization.

As you’re looking to leverage the power of social media, like anything else you’ll find that the tools and features available all have their respective pros and cons.  Before you blindly enable a new feature within your Facebook settings, be sure you understand the privacy impacts as well as your goals and challenges with that public news feed.

 

 

The Best Mobile Applications For Sharing Video

One of the things I love about my iPhone is the ability to quickly take decent quality video and share it.  The iPhone does a good job at this out of the box, but there are many video sharing apps out there that provide more flexibility, ease of use, and leverage social media sites to share your creations.   To help you select the best one, I’ve created a segmented list of apps based upon how they can be best used.

As part of my research in writing this article, I created a good one page table comparing the apps and their key features.  If you’re interested in downloading this PDF, please CLICK HERE.

1. GOAL:  Privately share with a single person or a few people.

If you take quick private videos that you want to share with only a few people (e.g. a video e-mail) or perhaps videos that haven’t been edited enough to share to a public crowd, the easiest thing to do is to use the iPhone’s e-mail client (here’s a quick Lifehacker article on how to send video if you’re new to this).  You’re limited to less than a minute, but it works across almost all clients and recipients.

Unstreamed Options

If you want to send the physical video file to someone (as opposed to the streaming options I’ll show below), I’ve found a few good notable apps to make things simpler and more powerful.

VideoMail (RECOMMENDED) :   A great inexpensive app to fire up, create an video (or an audio or picture) message and easily send to people.  It has quality and length default settings and keeps track of the people you send messages to.

MediaSend:  If you’ve got multiple pictures or videos that you want to send to someone in one e-mail, MediaSend is useful.

 

Streaming Options

When you send an e-mail with a physical copy of the video attached, you’re always limited to both your e-mail provider, spam filters, and your recipient’s e-mail filter.  That’s why using services that store your video file on-line and stream it to your recipients is so beneficial.   It’s also easier to further share or post messages if you want to at a later time.

KinKast (RECOMMENDED) :   One of the best free video sharing apps out there.   The UI is intuitive  and very well thought out.  It’s one of the few that let’s you easily record and share a video (with no file size or number of message restrictions) to an individual (as well as the social media sites).   The free version only stores messages for 30 days and has ads, but it’s a must have.  For $5/month you can remove the 30 day restriction and the ads.

Qik:   I was one of the early users and lovers of Qik – had it running on my Palm Treo years ago.  Qik has gone through many changes since then – most recently being acquired by Skype.  The unique thing about Qik is its ability to share LIVE video as well as video chat (similar to Facetime).  The video sharing is not as strong as Kincast’s offering – either free or paid.  Qik’s free product is limited in that you can only store 25 videos of unlimited length.  For $5/month, their premium service allows you to store unlimited videos.  I believe that Kincast wins this battle unless you like live streaming.

 

Thwapr:  Thwapr is another option for privately sharing hosted videos.   The videos are limited to 5 minutes long, but the service is free and you can store unlimited videos.  While it can share via Twitter and Facebook, it’s unique capability is that it can share via SMS (text messages) – without using your personal SMS messages.  It doesn’t have an easy way to share via e-mail – one of the product’s big shortcomings.  I had spoken and provided feedback on the app earlier this year to the senior management at Thwapr – great group of guys –  but they seem to be currently more focused on their business offering.

 

2. GOAL:  Share videos directly to Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube

One of the easiest ways and most common ways that people share video is to post them to Facebook or YouTube.   The nice thing about both of these is that you can use privacy settings at either these sites to define who can actually view your message.   For example, see this article on how to do this with YouTube.  I’ll also group Twitter sharing into this section since it’s the next most established social media site and people often use it for video sharing.

To be clear, our objective is to quickly take a video and post it to one or more of these key social media sites.

Shozu (RECOMMENDED):   This inexpensive app ($.99) and web based service allows you to very easily post photos, videos, and text to all your favorite sites with one click.    Handles Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and MANY more.    A very easy to use and flexible app.

PixelPipe:  Very similar to Shozu, but their iPhone app that I have been using for a long time has mysteriously disappeared from the AppStore as of 8/2011.  Supposedly, they’re coming out with something new, but there isn’t any detailed information on what they’re doing.

TwitVid: (RECOMMENDED):   An excellent free app to easily post videos to both Twitter and Facebook.   I wish this app would give you the link to the video it created so you could send the video via e-mail or text – but you have to go to the web site to find that iink.

qTweeter (RECOMMENDED):  For those with Jailbroken iPhones, I’d recommended taking a look at qTweeter.  It’s a great application that you can quickly open, write an update/tweet or record and send a video to Facebook or Twitter.

 

3. GOAL:  Share videos to A Specific Group Of People (private or public)

Beyond Facebook, there are many applications and networks that have been specifically designed to allow you to host and share video with a group of people — often with better tracking, quality, and a video blog look and feel.

Posterous (RECOMMENDED):   Posterous and Tumblr (see next) are very similar.  Both allow you to create a public or a private stream/blog that includes video (as well as audio, pics, text, etc.).  Between the two, I like Posterous’ UI more and the fact that you’re not limited to video length.  In addition, Posterous seems to integrate better with Twitter and Facebook.

Tumblr:  Very popular self-blogging site with strong video sharing capabilities.   I do like that it allows a single password protected blog (instead of forcing people to sign-up to view a private stream).

SocialCam (RECOMMENDED):  Next to Kincast, I think SocialCam has one of the best user interfaces for video recording and sharing.  In addition to being able to host and share videos via the SocialCam site, it easily allows you to share the videos to Facebook, Twitter, Posterous, Tumblr, DropBox, e-mail, and SMS.  My only complaint is that it doesn’t address the need for private sharing very well – if someone is following you, they can see all your videos.  With a minor change to simply allow for videos not to automatically show up in your ‘stream’ this would be great.

Vlix:  A decent alternative application.    While it limits you to only 60 seconds per video, the sharing options are powerful (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) and it also includes some cool video editing and basic opening / closing titles for personalization.   Allows for public and private video feeds as well.

Tout:  Think of Tout as Twitter for video.   It’s similar to Vlix, except now the videos are limited to only 15 seconds.   What makes Tout interesting is that they have some celebrities using it including Jeff Probst, Mitt Romney, Dana White, and others.  The 15 second limitation is interesting, but even listening to Probst’s Tout’s, he was often getting cut off mid sentence.

 

Summary

While I’d love to have a single app to use for all things, it really does vary.  My top favorites from the list are VideoMail, Kincast, qTweeter, Posterous, and SocialCam.  If I had to pick one, I’d go with Kincast.   A discussion on video editing on the iPhone will have to be addressed another day!

Please download and play with them and tell me which ones are your favorites (or why you hate mine).  Please also let me know if I’ve missed great ones that you use.  Happy sharing!

Justin Bieber: A Social Media Case Study

As a 43 year old father of a 2 year old boy, I’m not exactly in the target demo for Justin Bieber.  I even listed Mr. Bieber (tongue in cheek) as one of my Top Ten Reasons Why Twitter is Stupid.  When my wife asked me to rent his new movie Never Say Never, I decided to try and earn some husband points and watch this monstrosity.

I admit it, I liked it!

Surprising, although I still don’t love the music, I really did like the movie.  The kid is very likeable and it’s wild to watch the sheer insanity of thousands of 13 year old girls losing their minds.  The movie also does a decent job of marketing him as a “down to earth” 15/16 year old trying to balance his super celebrity status and his desire to still be a teenage boy.

The Power Of Social Media

As a social media addict, I loved the sub-story around the power of social media for Justin.  Justin was just starting out – singing on the street with a guitar case in front of him and entering small talent competitions – when he decided to start uploading some of his videos into YouTube.  When a music producer named Scooter Braun saw these videos, he felt that the talent was worth investing in and started working with him.

Initially, the record labels simply didn’t see how they’d market him and passed on the opportunity to sign him (whoops, big mistake).  As a result, Scooter was forced to take an alternate route – leveraging social media and Justin’s willingness to sing almost anywhere.  A relatively short time later, he had over ten million views on YouTube and was signed by Usher.  After his single “One Time” and debut album “My World” was released, he had over 100 million YouTube Views. Continue reading

10 Tips to Make and Run a Killer Facebook Page

Today’s guest blogger is Chris Tompkins (@chrisgomedia), CEO and Founder of Go! Media International.   I thought this was a good basic article for those looking to create an launch an effective Facebook Page.

Do you need a Facebook page? Yes! Here are some reasons why:

  • Branding: Facebook pages are a wonderful way to develop your professional brand on Facebook without taking away from your own PERSONAL profile. This allows you to have the best of both worlds without hurting your brand positioning.10 Tips for Creating a Killer Facebook Page
  • Target Market Communication: You are able to connect and speak directly with your target consumers right on your page!
  • Feedback: It is a wonderful place to post items that you want to receive feedback on, survey or just have your audience kick around an idea to see if it would work.
  • News feed Visibility: Again, this is a main reason why Facebook Pages are powerful. Anyone who connects to (or “likes”) your page, will see your updates on the main screen when they log into Facebook. This is very powerful!
  • Professional Promotions Hub: This creates a main hub where you can direct people that are interested in your product/service. It is also great to put on your email signature, email blast, suggest to friends and much more.

And that is just the beginning! But instead of persuading you to jump in….how about I just give you some great tips on how to do it yourself.

Here are 10 tips for effectively launching your Facebook Page:

  1. When you are asked for a picture, make sure to use your logo or your logo incorporated with your product or service. Make sure that your web address is visible!
  2. Have videos? Upload them and promote them DIRECTLY on your page.
  3. Fill out the “Info” tab to the full extent, packing it with information, keywords and website links.
  4. If you have a range of products, in the “Photo” tab, create photo albums around your product ranges and in the caption portion give links to click and purchase.
  5. Make sure that your blog feed is connected to your page so that all new entries will be automatically sent there. If you don’t want to automate that, every time you update your blog, make sure to post a link on your Facebook Page wall.
  6. Do not link it with Twitter! Not all of your “tweets” will be suitable for your Facebook Page wall, and sometimes you will forget they are linked. I suggest staying away from this. Also, it can look lazy.
  7. When you are posting to the page, don’t constantly “sell” or “push” things are your audience. Make sure your posts contain something that is either educational, engaging or entertaining.
  8. When you are happy with how the page looks (and all of the information is COMPLETELY filled out) suggest it to ALL of your Facebook connections. Even ask your friends to suggest it to their network.
  9. Consistently monitor and update the page. A good solid page should have at least one update per day and all comments responded to.
  10. Use the “Discussions” tab to create questions that you want your target consumer to answer. This is good for customer feedback, development of new products and much more.

But remember…this is just the beginning. There are lots of wonderful applications, custom Facebook Pages (created using FBML) and much more! Hopefully these tips will help you get started on your way to being a Facebook Page success story!

What Social Media Must Learn From E-Mail

Article first published as What Social Media Must Learn From E-Mail on Technorati.

Most e-mail marketers will agree that “batch and blasting” the same e-mail message to a single list is not nearly as effective as segmenting your lists and sending targeted or personalized content. While it does require more planning and work, this effort will pay off in:

  • More opens, clicks, and sales
  • Reduced cost (assuming you’re paying per delivered e-mail)
  • Fewer un-subscribes

It’s an obvious thing. Send me valuable information that I want and I’ll read it. Send me stuff that has no applicability to me and I’m going to ignore it and probably you. What’s interesting is that most companies only have a single Facebook page or a single Twitter account creating a “one size fits all” approach to their customer base.

Let’s look at a few examples: Continue reading

Does Size Matter? (In Social Media Analytics)

When I worked for AOL on their AIM instant messenger product, we used to have parties every time we’d reach a new subscriber milestone – 50M users! 60M users!! Sadly, this was before the dot com crash when companies were being hyped based upon the number of users (even free users), not the amount of revenue brought in. This feels very similar to people beating their chests in social media – where there is ongoing pressure to “have the biggest list in town”.

Still, today’s reality is that social media managers and CMOs are being told to measure and justify their efforts – ideally to translate those large lists into real dollars and ROI. Many social media management platforms now include analytics tools to to capture key social media statistics (re-tweets, mentions, likes, demographics, etc.). In addition, new services such as Klout, Empire Avenue, Peer Index, and others are surfacing to further benchmark, track, and compare what you’re doing.  (See my 2011 extensive Twitter Application List for others)

As people continue to take different approaches toward building a social presence, it’s interesting to see how these different approaches are evaluated by these benchmarking services. Continue reading

Why Are Direct Sales Organizations Shooting Themselves In The Foot With Social Media?

You have a sales team, right?

They have friends, peers, and prospective customers all linked together via their social network – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc..

So, why are you not empowering, encouraging, or at least allowing your reps to leverage tools like social media to spread the word of your solutions and products.

These friends and followers are the low hanging fruit for your company. Continue reading