Altimeter Kicks Butt Again: Facebook Page Marketing Tips

Great post out this week from Jeremiah Owyang and the Altimeter Group, all about Facebook Page Marketing. Facebook & Facebook users are continuing to evolve and become more sophisticated on the platform, which means that brands who are just getting started with Facebook pages, or are doing the same thing they’ve done for a year or two, need to start playing catch up, and quickly.

I couldn’t embed the report directly into my blog, but here’s a link to 8 Success Criteria For Facebook Page Marketing: Jeremiah’s post (w/ embedded report)

Jeremiah and his team identified 8 criteria to determine success for marketing on Facebook.

  1. Set Community Expectations
  2. Provide Cohesive Branding
  3. Be Up to Date
  4. Live Authenticity
  5. Participate in Dialog
  6. Enable peer-to-peer interactions
  7. Foster Advocacy (give value & a reason to share)
  8. Solicit a Call to Action

When I see a list like this, I put my work front and center in my mind while reading through each item, as a way to grade myself. Thankfully, I feel like we’ve been successful at most of these steps, but certainly have room to improve going forward. Some are easier to cross off the list (setting up your expectations, providing consistent branding and updating the page regularly are low hanging fruit), while working your way down the list might require more effort, sweat & tears, and getting others on your team involved to do them well.

Which items on the list do you feel are most important for a brand to do well (even if its easier to do)? What do you find you struggle with the most (either yourself or inside your organization)?  For me, it’s 3 & 5 for the first — and 5 & 8 for the second.

Thanks again to Jeremiah, Alan & Christine from Altimeter who published the report and gave me something else to measure myself against.

Six Steps for Setting Up Social Media Strategy

I went through a “101” call a couple weeks back and it brought back the reminder of that, while some of us do this social media stuff 24/7, most marketers and small businesses are still just getting started figuring out what to do with their Facebook profile/group/page,  YouTube channel/video, Twitter thingy. A lot of people I talk to are hesitant to even set up social media profiles because they’re sure there won’t be much time to learn about how to use them effectively — much less actually see a return on their invested time.

I made a few notes while listening to these concerns and questions and afterwards followed up with the group with six steps to getting started with social media. I wanted to share it here too, to help you start building your toolbox.

Six-Step Process for Organizing Social Media Goals & Strategies

  1. Set your objectives for using social media. There are no “wrong” goals, as long as they tie into your other business objectives. Some objectives may include driving sales, raising awareness, creating online buzz, connecting with your friends/fans/customers or using the channels as additional outlets for marketing.
  2. Determine the resources you can dedicate to social media. If you have a team, great. One person, great. One half of one-half of a person’s time, sure. Just make sure that you’re allocating the appropriate amount of resources that are in-line with your overall business objectives.
  3. Decide what social channels help you achieve the objectives you’ve set and align with the resources you have available. You don’t have to have a presence on every social media website to be successful. PGA TOUR player Stewart Cink only uses Twitter, but he does so really well and is the most popular golfer on Twitter. Each channel (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) is unique in how the users engage, who uses it and even where its more popular. Pick the channel or channels that will reach the people you want to reach, fit with the resources and content you can produce and the outcomes you want to achieve.  [Hint: the Groundswell Social Technographics Profile Tool is a great resource to help you identify who & what your audience is doing online.]
  4. Don’t reinvent the wheel just for your social media profiles. Use the content you’re already producing for your website & newsletters (can go into Facebook notes, videos, photo galleries, etc). Make your social channels another extension of your plans for marketing, communications & digital efforts.
  5. Use insights from Facebook (Page Insights) and YouTube (Insights), as well as third-party sites like www.tweetcounter.com and TwitAlyzer.com to track your growth and successes. Hootsuite.com and Bit.ly let you track clicks on links posted on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. Measure everything and use the data to back up your gut instincts about what goes well or not as good as expected.
  6. Try new things! and share your successes or hardships so we can create a better community to help each other.

What do you think? I welcome any comments, challenges or additional tips that will help others get more comfortable with starting out, or resetting their goals for using social media to connect.

How much do you trust your Facebook friends?

I’m not a huge fan of the “Facebook is evil” posts that get tossed around when Facebook makes changes that rile everyone up (Beacon, News Feed, etc), but I just discovered one bit of info that I feel I should share. Facebook has a loophole where even if you opt out of sharing your information, your friends can share a lot of YOUR personal info via Facebook applications or other websites.

This feels like Facebook is telling me, “We see that you don’t want to share your personal info to friends & users outside your networks. BUT we still want to give it to our developers and partner, which pay us the big bucks. So, we’ll ask your friends to supply this information, under the guise of “making the experience more social“.

To change what your friends can share, click on Account in upper right hand corner. Select Privacy Settings. Click “Applications and Websites” and select “Edit Settings” button across from “What your friends can share about you”. (Or use this link). I unchecked all the boxes (see the default, below), but encourage you to do what seems appropriate for you.

People who are unhappy with Facebook’s track record of openness are starting a “Quit Facebook Day” on May 31st. I’m not advocating for a mass exodus, but am also starting to wonder about how the benefits of using Facebook are changing. In the past couple months, Facebook has loopholed around my personal privacy preferences, un-personalized my own Likes & Interests (which really ticked me off), and become even less transparent while advocating openness from their users. I’m considering what to do with my personal Facebook profile, though I’ll never leave the site completely because of my job. As long as I’m on Facebook, I’ll be dedicating as much time within “Privacy Settings” as I do checking out my friends’ photo galleries from weddings!

Are Promoted Tweets Worth Your Buzz?

Even before Twitter activated “Promoted Tweets” this afternoon, I received emails asking about its implications for the golf industry. I’ve done some reading today and tried to answer the questions, knowing though that we’ll learn more about Twitter’s intentions and results in the coming weeks. I thought I’d share some of that here on my “social media” blog to help freshen the content (hopefully this will be a reoccurring thing).

If Promoted Tweets is something you are thinking about exploring in your next marketing budget, and your company isn’t called Starbucks or Virgin Atlantic, you might be ahead of yourself (and the game) at this point. Early on, Twitter promotion seems like Phase 2 step, executed after a successful and exhaustive Facebook campaign to build fans around your brand.

Currently the promoted tweets are only appearing in Twitter search results, on http://search.twitter.com. I have not actually come across a promoted (paid-for) tweet yet. But when doing my preliminary searches, I noticed that Twitter was promoting the top three most popular and retweeted (reposted) updates using my search term (in this case “promoted”). Once I refreshed the page to see the new results, the promoted tweets disappeared. Not sure if this will be the behavior going forward.

The “resonance score” that Twitter will use to determine the impact of promoted messages (and ultimately, the duration) is an interesting concept. Mashable and the NY Times compared to Digg.com’s model, which takes user feedback and interaction with ads to determine the price and longevity of their run.

Initially, there may be value to brands looking to get in front of a message or firestorm by ensuring their messaging is front in search results (similar to appearing on the top of Google results). However, the golf community on Twitter is relatively small and once messaging is passed through the key voices, it doesn’t have to go much further to be heard. (Example: I saw probably 10 tweets from golf writers about Lee Westwood wearing a red shirt Sunday at The Masters. Didn’t take long for everyone to know, before he appeared on the telecast)

I would say for now, efforts to building a fan community around your branded channel should be your priority for growing your audience or marketing to them. Those core fans are the ones who will be spreading your messages for you, especially around a new product launch or tournament time. In the rare case of an exclusive opportunity that extends beyond the golf realm, that may warrant another look into extending promotions onto Facebook and/or Twitter. For now, though, I don’t believe promotional tweets should be considered in your marketing budget next month. Let’s allow the big brands experiment and see some results before dedicating budget and resources to another shiny tool.

But understand that the social world moves quickly…and by the end of summer, I may be singing another tune.

Tweet the Rainbow

 

Would you make Twitter your homepage? 

How about using Flickr photos tagged with your brand name as official company images or take what someone has written about your company history and products and use it as official brand language. 

Sounds a little crazy, right? Or it might be intriguing, but you know that suggesting it at your next marketing meeting may get you tossed out the window like the Bud Light guy in that Superbowl commercial. 

The folks at Skittles (parent company MARS) are only throwing one thing out the window — and that’s the traditional approach to brand websites. Log onto www.skittles.com and 2 bright red widget boxes pop up on your screen. One is a verification and disclaimer (T&C) clause that you have to accept. This is interesting. They’re attaching their online brand to user-generated content, yet MARS Inc. is not responsible for what you might see. 

Just a heads up: Any stuff beyond the Skittles.com page is actually another site and not in our control. This panel may be hovering over the page, but SKITTLES® isn’t responsible for what other people post and say on these sites. Click the box below to acknowledge that you know SKITTLES® isn’t responsible for that stuff.

After you accept, that leaves one box cemented on your browser window, with six tabs at the top. The new homepage for Skittles.com is the Twitter search stream for thh keyword “Skittles”. Clicking on any Products link pops you to the Wikipedia page. Same for Pics (Flickr stream), Videos (YouTube channel — only 3 videos, but that’s another topic), and Friends (Facebook Fan Page). Chatter takes you back to Twitter search [is this a sign that the “Home” tab may be changing?] and Contact gives you a feedback box on the only page that looks corporately owned. 

skittles-videos

A few questions I had after my first glances at the site: 

  • How much monitoring is going to take place on all these channels? It didn’t take long for slurs and negative statements  to show up on Twitter search (aka homepage), and we all know that anyone can edit a Wiki, post pictures to Flickr or become a fan on Facebook and post/tag rogue content. 
  • Why would someone leave a feedback email when they can post to a homepage instantly in 140 characters? I would assume the same person that gets those emails is also reading the Tweets. 
  • How will Skittles recieve, measure and respond to the Tweets, good and bad that are being posted? #Skittles has been a trending topic all morning, and the site just went up. 
  • Also, if a brand is going to base its homepage presence on Twitter, shouldn’t it own its own Twitter handle? As of 10AM (ET), @Skittles had 1 follower (and a profile pic of a LOL Cat), @SkittlesCandy was being squatted on by a concerned fan, @SkittlesUSA and @MARSInc weren’t in use yet. 
  • What do we call the new Skittles online presence? It’s not a true website. Portal, widget, application, channel, presence are all more appropriate descriptions of their new initiative. 
  • Will the new efforts make an impact on sales? @PRSarahEvans posed this question to Twitter in a TwitPoll . Early results showed 63% of responders say Skittles makeover does not make them more likely to buy Skittles. 

The “who owns your brand” discussion is a popular one within social media circles, and I expect the Skittles initiative to spark another round of it. But I’m mostly curious to see if Skittles.com will change or be modified before the buzz dies down. 

One last thought – I’m not against the new Skittles web campaign. I think its a fresh approach that maybe didn’t consider all the corners (or they did, but don’t care). Skittles and MARS have taken the “everyone owns a pice of your brandmantra and acted literally. They’re telling consumers “what you say and do about us is better than what we can tell you”…although this also has the feeling of “we’re saving thousands in web development dollars”. Skittles deserves Kudos for their unique approach, but I don’t expect to see it copied soon.

Get busy and learn!

I’m creating a new list of places to educate yourself about social media, social networking, digital marketing, PR 2.0 and whatever else you want to call it. This list is in the spirit of #followfriday on Twitter (which I’ve been tagged in but never reciprocated, sorry!) and in response to questions about where to find more about social media. This is by no means a comprehensive or final list — there is no easy way to rank the 900+ people I follow on Twitter and the (seemingly) 100+ blogs and emails I try to stay up with. (I’ve even avoided going back to Tweet Deck b/c I think it’ll take a day to organize all the people and keywords I’m following!)

I attempted this last year, in the form of my favorite PR blogs. In the [near] future, I hope to publish more specific lists for those of you interested in just social media, sports marketing, golf-industry, young professionals, corporate examples or something else. For now, though, here’s a list (mostly from the top-of-my-head) of where to start if you want to get busy and start learning.

Who to Follow on Twitter:

(tip- if you haven’t already, get to www.twitter.com and sign up. Follow these people and follow the people they are following and talking to. Follow whatever interests you, say hi to a few people along the way and make Twitter usable for you.)

What to read, whether on the site, in email or your RSS reader:

I’ve left off a ton of people who are probably just as deserving of a shoutout. Feel free to nominate more sources of wisdom and knowledge in the comments and I’ll update this list accordingly.

SMC Jacksonville Chapter Launch Tues 2/17

Calling all social media types (and those interested) in Jacksonville to the chapter launch of Social Media Club JAX. We will be launching the club next Tuesday, February 17th, 6:30 – 8:00 PM at the Pablo Creek Regional Library. (click for map)

This will be the first open gathering of Social Media Club Jacksonville for everyone interested in joining the club. The plan is that it will be an informal meet-up to introduce the goals of  Social Media Club, talk about what the Jacksonville chapter can look like, and a way to meet like-minded people in the community.

From the founders: Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells started Social Media Club (SMC) in July 2006 to help people find all the relevant communities of interest in which they want to participate. We want to help you explore your personal and professional passions by helping you connect with a community of your peers based on both geography and areas of interest. We want to ensure that the world of Social Media does not become an echo chamber of self-reinforcing thoughts, but is instead fueled by diversity of opinion and perspective.

If you’d like to learn more about the Social Media Club parent organization, visit socialmediaclub.org. The  About page and Our Tag Line give really good background to the principles of why SMC is rewarding for everyone involved.

Social Media Club JAX is for everyone with an interest, everyone is welcome! To RSVP for the meeting, you can tweet to @smcjax, comment on this post, add your info to the wiki or email us. Also, if you have ideas for what you’d like to see, let us know or bring them with you to the chapter launch. Hope to see you there!