- Online Marketing
Facebook is working on a revamped search engine that users may prefer over Google.
ZoomFacebook already has a search engine. It’s that white search field at the top of the site most of us typically use to find other members. Yet it’s seemingly capable of searching for basically anything thanks to Microsoft’s Bing, producing results within the Facebook blue-and-white environment. It’s a crude tool, and functional to a degree, but it’s no Google to say the least.
Will that change? Probably not in a Google sense, but Facebook hired on former Google engineer Lars Rasmussen to turn Facebook’s search around. Originally he co-founded mapping software company Where 2 Technologies, sold it to Google in 2004, and then helped create Google Maps.
After that, Rasmussen created Google Wave with his brother Jens (who still resides at Google) which soon came to an end thanks to a lack of consumer interest. He jumped off the Google bandwagon and landed in Facebook’s arms in 2010 after a personal pitch from Zuckerberg himself.
Now unnamed sources claim that he’s currently leading a team of about two dozen engineers to overhaul Facebook’s search engine. The goal, as reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, is to help users “better sift through the volume of content that members create on the site, such as status updates, and the articles, videos, and other information across the Web that people ‘like’ using Facebook’s omnipresent thumbs-up button.”
There’s no intention of taking Google head on, but as indicated, Facebook is taking a different route to search. A better search engine would mean that Facebook users wouldn’t have to leave its pages at all, or open a different tab and use Google. It would also open the door for Facebook to sell relevant, profitable keyword ads alongside results, just like Google and Microsoft.
“Search is the best form of monetization on the Web by far, and they are leaving that on the table,” says Doug Leeds, chief executive officer of search engine Ask.com. “From a business perspective, you have to think about going into search.”
Remember all that fuss over Google not being able to access Facebook information? This may be why. Instead of crawling across the entire Web and ranking each page, Facebook’s engine would instead crawl through its immense database of user input, from “liking” the best articles, rating recipes, to pointing out shopping deals. Rather than looking outward, Facebook’s search would look inward, relying on user input.
Gil Elbaz, CEO of data-crunching startup Factual and co-creator of the business that became AdSense, sees a treasure trove in Facebook’s pool of user data. “Over time, this will let them build a powerful structured search engine,” he told the paper.
Today I read a great article on social media examiner, and off the cuff I didn’t think the implementation of timeline on a business profile would have that dramatic of an impact. After looking at the changes in the article, I had to rethink my logic process. Take a look at the article below. The link to the complete article is at the bottom.
Facebook pages are changing. And that means your business strategy will need to change.
In fact, Facebook has made many new changes that will impact anyone with a Facebook page.
These changes emerged from Facebook’s fMC 2012 Conference.
The overall message was that Facebook is looking at pages as a “mission control” point (which is where the MC comes from in the conference title).
Here is an overview of the changes and how brands can take advantage of some of the new features.
Obviously one of the biggest changes that we all knew was coming was the cover photo. No more photo strip across the top. You now have one large image to showcase your page. This image must be a minimum of 399 pixels across to be used as the cover photo. But you can have a photo cover designed to take advantage of the extra space you get. The cover photo maximum dimensions are 850 pixels by 315 pixels.
One of the biggest restrictions is the fact that you can’t have any calls to action in your cover photo. You can’t tell people to like or share your page or have any contact information at all, including your web address, phone number or mailing address. Get the full details about cover photos here. These restrictions will require some creativity in drawing attention to your business without some of the methods that have been used in the profile pictures recently.
The profile picture size has been changed to 180 pixels by 180 pixels. It appears next to every post in the news feed as a 30 pixel by 30 pixel picture. The profile picture is best used for your logo or other eye-catching picture without a lot of words.
One of Facebook’s mantras during the conference was the way we tell stories with Facebook. To help you tell your stories, the pictures and videos are now larger and more eye-catching.
You can also highlight a story (by clicking the star icon in the upper right of a post) so that it spans all the way across the Timeline as shown in this Lexus post with a video.
You can also pin the story to the top of your Timeline for up to a week. To do this, click the pencil icon in the upper right of the post and select Pin to Top.
Another thing you can add to make your Timeline more interesting is Milestones. You can tell people about big events in the life of your brand or company.
All you need to do is click on the line that runs down the middle of your Timeline and select Milestone. Then you can fill out the information as shown.
Because the posts from your fans are in a separate area, your Timeline is now more focused on your story.
People may be spending more time reading your Timeline rather than just coming to your page to ask a question. The more visually engaging you can make your Timeline, the better.
One of the biggest changes is the removal of the default landing tab.
Applications are still available and if you have created a custom welcome tab or added any other special application, it hasn’t disappeared.
You now have 12 applications you can showcase and only the four applications that you move to the top row will appear prominently. You cannot change the position of the photos, so technically you only have three applications that you have control over in that top row .
To move your apps around, first click the down arrow next to your top row of apps to display all of your apps. Next, click the pencil icon in the upper right corner of the app. Then select the app that you would like to swap positions with. As mentioned, you cannot change the position of the Photos app.
Many people are lamenting the disappearance of the default landing tab, but the new app buttons give us an opportunity to be creative. You can change the photo that appears for the app and you can rename the app to give a call to action as shown on Holdren Design’s page.
To change your app photo, again display all of your apps with the down arrow button next to the top row of apps and click on the pencil icon. Scroll down to the Edit Setting selection and from there you can add a custom tab image.
This week, Facebook announced a major change to how brands – including small businesses – can use Facebook to share their stories on the site. Facebook Timeline has been rolled out to individual user profiles, but now, businesses will also have the new look on their pages. As of this week, businesses can turn on Timeline; otherwise the changes will be automatically rolled out to all pages on March 30. But before you turn on Timeline, it’s important to understand all the changes that are coming.
So, what does Facebook Timeline for brand pages mean? We tuned into Facebook’s recent live marketing event on what’s new with Facebook for brands, so here’s a rundown of some of the major changes you’ll see.
Updated Layout, Experience, & Page Content Types
The first thing you’ll notice when visiting a business page using Timeline is the new look and feel, characterized by the use of two images featured prominently at the top of the page. There is also a new layout for business information and page apps, a new interface for content posted to the page, and new types of content that can appear on your business Timeline.
Here’s an overview of these elements.
Cover Image – This is a large, banner-style photo that is prominently featured at the top of your page. This 851 x 315 pixel image is intended to set the visual tone and identity of your page and should showcase the life of your brand. For example, a cupcake shop might show a colorful photo of a display of cakes or pastries in this image. One thing to keep in mind with the cover image is that you cannot add promotional text such as offer information, business hours or locations, or other calls to action. This type of content should be displayed in the “about” section of your page or in a status update.
Profile Photo – This image is a small, square image that is basically the profile photo for your page. This photo will show up as your business image when fans see content posted in their feeds. Facebook recommends to use your brand logo within the profile picture, and to keep it simple. This image will be displayed as small as 30×30 pixels in some portions of the site.
Updated About Section & Placement – The “About” section has a new placement below the cover image rather than in a sidebar. This will showcase a business description for brands or the address and contact information for local businesses. It links to a more in-depth About page containing more details about your business.
Page App Placement & Changes – Next to the “About” section is a place to feature different page apps your business may be using. This is also where the number of “likes” a page has is displayed. A local business can use page apps like maps, videos, events, and offer landing tabs to promote content that’s not displayed directly on the Timeline. Four app modules are featured on the page, along with a dropdown so users can easily navigate to other apps.
Another change related to apps is that you can no longer select a tab or app to be the default landing page whenever a Facebook user visits your page through the site. However, you can still link visitors to your apps or landing pages from places like your website, emails, or even from Facebook ads.
Timeline Content Layout – The content posted to your page also has a new look and feel that’s similar to the Timeline look that has rolled out to user profiles. The layout is two columns of content that are divided by a line, combined with the ability to outline historical content in the format of milestones, like company founding, product launches, and other interesting company information. A floating timeline shortcut allows users to navigate easily to prior years to learn more about your business and see old Facebook activity from your brand.
Content Types – Now, the content shown on your page Timeline will also be different from the previous iteration of a brand’s wall. The default setting for content shown on your Timeline includes your page’s posts as well as posts from page fans and random users (those who have not “liked” your page but mention your business in a post). Plus, your page will pull in content about your business that has been posted to user’s Timelines, not just posts added directly to your own Timeline. Brands do have the ability to adjust this default setting under the “manage permission” option and can select an option that only allows posts from the brand and its fans to show up on the Timeline until the post has been reviewed by an admin.
Friend Activity Feature – There’s a new place where “friend activity” is showcased on your page. Previously, this was a sub-tab, but it’s now front and center, just below the About section of your page. This feature will show visitors to your page the activity their Facebook friends have taken with your brand, such as likes, check-ins, and other brand-related content activities.
New Content Labeling & Feature Options
In addition to these look and feel changes, there are also some changes with how Facebook admins can interact with and feature content on their Timeline.
Pinned Content - A page admin can now pin a native post to the top of their page so that fans can see the featured content above the fold for up to seven days, or until new content is pinned. Only one post at a time can be pinned at the top of the page, and the pinned content is marked with an orange flag.
Allowed Content – Page admins will be able to mark content posted by users to the page as “allowed” content, allowing it to appear on the brand’s Timeline.
Starred Content – You’ll also be able to mark content as “starred,” which will feature that prominently on the page in a double-wide layout, bringingit more attention on your page Timeline.
Back-dated & Milestone Content – Now, brands will be able to back date content in order to post items to the history of your brand’s Timeline, along with the ability to designate some types of content as “milestones” which will be featured prominently in the Timeline interface.
New Private Messaging Option Between Fans and Brands
Another new feature Facebook is launching with Timeline is the ability for fans to reach out to your business privately through a message that your brand can respond to privately. This enables a user to initiate a private exchange with a brand for a variety of purposes. Messages may only be initiated by users or fans, not from the business; however, this opens up a new opportunity for customer help, inquiry, and support.
New Admin Panel & Reports
In addition to these changes, the admin panel and reports for Facebook page administrators is also changing. This feature will aggregate all the data about your page and its performance together and is also where you will be able to access messages from your fans. This panel will feature details about users who like or tag your brand in a post in addition to the new “likes” your page has received so you can easily look at who your new users are. Also, the Facebook Insights information will all be available from this admin panel.
GitHub: Software description: a software to manage books in the computer (C#). →
Forbes posted another great article on Social Media Trends. I thought it was a must read for business looking at embracing social media in their advertising programs this year.
2012 is primed to be the year of social. In particular we can anticipate a blitz of publicity around social business. But social media too still has room to surprise. Talking with a group of people recently including Lloyd Armbrust at OwnLocal and Tom Smith of Global Web Index(and reading his blog) I picked out four megatrends that will shape social as it truly comes of age.
The growth of the transmitter ecosystem
Facebook, Twitter, Google have brought many more people into the online conversation. They’ve pretty much minced the barriers to creating online content – which is also good news for brands that are smart enough not to throw too much money into too many channels.
But another part of the story is that more channels create a larger need for content. Many millions of those people now active online are not, however, content producers. They are sharers and curators.
We have a content discovery challenge and we have curators to manage it. The importance of their role is on the rise.
But does this mean we are migrating from a peer-to-peer conversational network, to a more top down one, where we become increasingly dependent on those curators with large follower groups? Does that make Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus top down networks?
Tom thinks so but I have my doubts. Blogging too was very top down and I sense, by way of contrast, a strong peer culture in Google Plus.
Around the time Facebook became famous a well known blogger told me – why do I need Facebook? I know how to set up a website. The answer of course is that Facebook, then Twitter and now Google Plus provide you with the tools to communicate and the audience to talk with. Bloggers had to go out and find that audience and it was uphill for those who came even slightly late to it. There is no uphill in 2012 but there will be a growing role for the transmitter ecosystem.
The age of global
When American broadcaster ESPN wanted to extend its remit outside North America, it bought cricket blogging site cricinfo. So now a major US network is big in a sport that Americans don’t follow in a country half a world away.
One of the most telling examples of a new emerging global culture can be found in a sport. When website cricinfo set up initially it was a placid English affair. But cricinfo pioneered live blogging of cricket matches and began to make the web relevant to sports fans without national boundaries or national broadcasting rights getting in the way. The site eventually found a market in India where cricket is treated almost like a religion.
Separately, PlayUp is now building out the social network for global sports fans, more of which tomorrow. One of the beauties of cricinfo, and the same applies to all sports, is that reporters can follow and report on the tweets of celebrity sports people or tweet themselves from the training ground or nightclub. When English players misbehaved in New Zealand during the recent Rugby Word Cup it was global news immediately. A club bouncer uploaded CCTV footage to YouTube. Content is instant, continuous and pervasive. There is no reason why a national boundary or national broadcasting rights should exclude me from engagement.
In the start-up community even Silicon Valley start-ups now want to hire talent from wherever, as long as it’s the best. Nairobi and Instanbul are, along with numerous other cities, start-up hot spots attracting American and European interest. The start-up is suddenly a global culture.
There’s a new internationalism that segues with what is happening in the economy: more global, multi-polar, more equal – see this thread on Google Plus which discusses whether Google Plus is responding quickly enough to this desire to engage with global audiences. People care about this new globalism whether it arrives at their desk through sport or business or fashion or food. We need to work out how to become global online citizens.
Huge Props to Sarah Kessler for the article posted to Linkedin. To have the documentation on how people view a personal profile but even more than that, the advertisements on Facebook lends to the impact paid inclusion on Facebook could provide your business.
When potential dates, employers and friends glance at your online social profiles, what do they see? EyeTrackShop, a startup that runs eye-tracking studies for advertisers, helped Mashable find out by applying its technology to the profile pages of popular social networks.
The study used the webcams of 30 participants to record their eye movements as they were shown profile pages from Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Klout, Reddit, Digg, Tumblr, Twitter, StumbleUpon and Pinterest at 10-second intervals. What participants looked at on each page and in what order is recorded in the images below.
It’s not a perfect study. Thirty is a small sample size, and what draws attention on a profile likely varies depending on the content displayed. But we’ve hazarded making a few observations:
Take a gander at the results of the study in the gallery below, and let us know your own observations in the comments.
Google+ is growing a lot now that it’s open to the public. It’s worth noting, but there is a much bigger picture in the social media competition conversation than Facebook users vs. Google+ users.
Do you use any Google product? If so, you should be counted as a Google+ user. Tell us which Google products you use in the comments.
We’ve often seen stories in the media about how people sign up for Google+, but rarely post. The important nugget of information that often goes unnoticed, however, is that this is generally in reference to public posts, and Google+ VP Product Bradley Horowitz talked about this in an interview with Wired.
“We’ve found there is actually twice as much private sharing as there is sharing that’s visible to everyone on the Internet,” he said. “That’s why sometimes it looks like people sign up and then don’t come back. In fact, they’re sharing with small groups of people that they trust and love. It’s just not publicly visible. So there’s this sort of dark matter that the public can’t see.”
Let’s not forget that one of the main things people found appealing about Google+ from the onset was the Circles sharing concept – the concept of having more control over who sees what. You’re not supposed to see every post from everybody. This isn’t Twitter (despite the ability to use it that way).
In fact, this concept was so well received that Facebook knew it had to have similar options, which it recently launched.
Horowitz also noted that Google has plans to address the issue of people who are not engaging or visiting Google+ enough, though he didn’t go into specifics. Perhaps the main point to take away from that interview is that Google+ is simply Google – a point I have brought up numerous times, I might add (even before Google+ was launched).
Essentially, the point is that Google as a whole – it’s portfolio of products – is the network. Your Google account, regardless of whether you use Google+ itself, makes you a user, because it’s all connected, and will be connected in many more ways as time progresses. Google+ – the streams, circles, hangouts, etc. are simply features of the greater Google social network.
In Horowitz’s own words, “Google+ is Google itself. We’re extending it across all that we do—search, ads, Chrome, Android, Maps, YouTube—so that each of those services contributes to our understanding of who you are.”
There you have it. WHO YOU ARE. I would say it’s about who you are on the web, but those lines are getting blurrier by the day. Take Google Wallet, for example. If this becomes as widely adopted as Google hopes, you’ll be using it to purchase physical goods at physical stores on a regular basis. This isn’t just bout online identity. It’s about identity.
I’m not saying we’re going to be giving up our driver’s licences or social security numbers anytime soon, (although Andy Rooney might think that’s a good idea). But we are going to be using our online identities for more than just web-related tasks and fun.
Google+ is one of many gateways Google has for users to enter the Google universe and have that Google account available as their identity. Google has a tremendous advantage over Facebook in those terms. So many products. So many gateways. With Facebook, you’re either a Facebook user or you’re not. With Google, you may not be a Google+ users, but you may be a Gmail user or a Google Docs user or a YouTube user, etc. It’s all one in the same.
That’s not to say that Facebook is going to lose any ground here. Facebook already has 800 million users. That’s just ridiculous. Facebook has taken a very different path by essentially focusing on one product – the social network (and the platform around it), but they’ve done it better than anybody. They’ve done it so well that just about every brand needs to be involved in one way or another, whether it’s simply having a page or building apps, connecting content, logins, etc.
Facebook did things right when they needed to and blew every competitor in the social network space out of the water, and despite numerous feature additions, redesigns and other changes, there is no indication that it will be losing its spot in the social network chain of command.
Social media sites have spent the better part of the last year drastically focusing on how their users can turn fellow users into customers.
Using digital advertising platforms are critical. The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed recently that U.S. online advertising grew by 13.9% in 2010, reaching a record US$25.8 billion, as Fox Business reports. Globally 10.2% of the US$79-billion invested in online advertising next year will be in the social media space. Perhaps the most interesting of all these developments is the advertising that is not recorded amongst: growing number of businesses using social media as a free tool.
Small businesses once faced prohibitive barriers such as the high costs of using media outlets like local television networks and radio, which had little guarantee of reaching a target audience. It’s no surprise there has been an estimated 35% growth in Facebook ads in a single year. When businesses are not spending money, they are likely investing time, energy and ideas in generating interest. So how to you ensure you are effective and not simply present for the sake of it? Saving on costs and actually generating profit don’t go hand in hand without a couple of basic fundamentals to one’s strategy.
Russell Rothstein, the Founder and CEO of Sales Spider warns that while social media can create the buzz you are looking for, that in itself may not necessarily always translate to a better bottom line for your business.
The omnipresence of social media is undisputed. That it is the marketing tool for small business owners and entrepreneurs is also undisputed, given that those who are using social media are primarily engaging in social media through company pages (75 percent) and status updates (69 percent) on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.
You’ve heard about what social media can do for you, and maybe even seen some of your peers gain from it but need more statistics and proven case studies to understand that the social media mantra will provide benefit to your business and is not a passing trend.
Blogging is Social Media too!
Says a media consultant-“I was recently hired by a company as a marketing associate and my job is centered around social media. I spend my days creating brand awareness by twittering, blogging, and searching. I agree that it is worth small business owner’s time, but it is also worth large business owner’s time! Social media marketing has proved to be successful and it is free or close to it. Every company, big or small, should be investing their time.”
The Social Media Small Business Model
If you are looking to use a social media such as Twitter to explode your business online, then as a small business owner you will have to rethink your marketing parlance. The theoretical and conventional dictates of marketing outline the four Ps: product creation, pricing, market placing and promoting for optimized returns.
PLANETwebfoot, a social networking software company, said that “Our business has found social media to be tremendously helpful in terms of drumming up business and connecting with current and potential customers. You are right Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be very useful, but the use of niche social networking sites can also be incredibly useful.”
This is a a great collection (article?) of Facebook data. Some of it seems very common knowledge, and some of it is an eye-opener. If you are using social media, keeping track of internet properties, or just want some great trivia information this article is for you.
Bank Of America Merrill Lynch (BofA) released a big report on the way Americans are using Facebook and other social services.
We’ve assembled a bunch of cool Facebook charts from the report.
The key takeaways from BofA:
BofA surveyed 418 U.S. consumers under the age of 50 and says survey participants “roughly resemble” the U.S. population.
Image: BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
Image: BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
Image: BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
Image: BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
I have said it over and over again, you can’t Willy-Nilly social media, this article gets right to the point that Social Media with a plan is in no way free, or easy. If you start into the article, please read the entire article. Social media needs to be viewed as branding and is a very slow process. Social media is not designed as a direct response medium.
There is no denying that Facebook has changed the very nature of engagement on the web. So, it is no surprise brands are looking to Facebook as a new, potentially fruitful channel for reaching consumers- as they should. So why haven’t marketers put more significant resources into Facebook advertising and fan pages? The answer is in the numbers.
Consider this: 1 million Facebook fans only generate 826 likes and 309 comments per post, according to data from social-media brand monitoring platform Simplify 360, which examined “50 Facebook fan pages with a random mix of brands from all over the world from consumer brands, to sports teams, to celebrities” (Starbucks, Lady Gaga, National Geographic, Red Bull, Mashable, etc.).
There’s a big ugly spreadsheet-like chart in the post you might (or might not) want to glance at, but one blunt take on the data is that the average “response rate” to a Facebook post is .00085 and the best is .0035. To put that in perspective, the average direct mail (DM) response rate to prospects is just over .01.
As one commenter wrote,”OK. That is nice, but what about the number of ‘likers’ who actually buy something?”
Yeah, good point!
Consider a typical DM response of 1% that generates 10,000 orders at, say, $50 per order. If the cost of putting out 1 million direct mail pieces is $410,000 (to cite one recent real-world example I’m familiar with), that’s an example of direct mail being profitable — not by a huge margin, but definitely worth the effort. Also, these new customers have a much higher likelihood of rebuying, where the real value starts!
Which gets to why social-media marketing can seem so seductive: It’s “free”! Well, not actually free from a human-resource management or planning or project-maintenance perspective, but a lot of marketers conveniently forget about all that stuff because, hey, if you’re not spending money on printing and postage, that’s great, right?