March 27, 2012

It is Time to Switch to Timeline on Facebook

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 9:16 am

Those of you with brand or business pages on Facebook, attention: at the end of this week, your page automatically gets switched over to the new Facebook Timeline format, whether you want it to or not. Do not sit idly by and let the change happen without taking actions to optimize your page for Timeline viewing. There are too many great things about Timeline not already being using it:

  • Large cover photo
  • Pinned stories
  • Ability to star or hide posts
  • Larger photo formats
  • Ability to build the company history in a timeline format, highlighting key milestones

And if you need more convincing: A researcher reports that brands are getting an average 46% more engagement with Timeline. These are great opportunities for building a more engaging and interactive presence on the social network to new fans and to those fans that visit your page. Though a cautious reminder from last week:

  • If you don’t get your fans to like and comment on your posts, they’ll stop seeing them in their news feeds due to Facebook’s EdgeRank system.
  • Most fans never return to a page after they like it.
  • Most posts by pages are seen by less than 10% of their fans.
  • Many fans will never see your welcome tab.
  • When fans create new posts on your Facebook page, other fans don’t see them.
  • Posts from pages with 10,000 fans reach 30-40% of their fans.
  • Posts from pages with 100,000 fans reach 20-30% of their fans.
  • Posts from pages with 1,000,000 or more fans reach 10% of their fans.
  • The 1% Rule: only 1% of people will do what you ask them to do online.

You can check out the guide that Facebook offers here. And Mashable’s guide is here.

March 26, 2012

Today’s Highlights, 2.26.12

Filed under: Daily Highlights,Personal — Emily Reeves @ 4:55 pm

A few things that I enjoyed and made today a good day.

{Quote}
“Curiosity equals intellectual hunger and creative restlessness.”

{Article}
Don’t Build Products. Build Platforms.

{Website}
StumbleUpon
(why, oh why, have I never used this site before?)

{Tweet}

{Shoes}

{Occurrence}
A friend had her baby and named him after my brother.

We Are Storytellers

Filed under: Marketing — Emily Reeves @ 3:38 pm

As marketers and communicators, at the heart of what we do is storytelling. We forget this sometimes, but regardless of channel–broadcast, print, digital, or across all of them–we have to engage our audiences in a brand message, or story, to build their interest in what we are selling.

In this recent TED video about storytelling, filmaker Andrew Stanton shares the elements of all good stories. Great food for thought.

What is an Interest Graph?

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 3:08 pm

Created via Storify.


March 22, 2012

Technology Is About Discovery

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Marketing,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 11:23 am

I’ve been hearing that word a lot lately, “discovery,” as it relates to new technologies and how digital technology adds to our daily lives. We’ve been sharing online now for sometime, and we’ve talked a lot about engagement and creating opportunities for conversation. But “discovery” really is at the heart of all of this, we just haven’t talked about it that way. Until now. And companies are taking that idea of “discovery” to new levels by creating features and tools that explicitly embrace discovery.

Location

Location sharing is not going away, but it is evolving from the actual “check-in.” Rather than just announcing where we are, we want apps to help us discover new places, new things about places we already know and people we might want to know about us. One of the great quotes I heard at SXSW about location was:

“‘Place’ is a layer cake of qualities about that place.”

It is so true and that is just from a user standpoint. And the apps are starting to deliver that to us; as a recent article mentioned, Foursquare is evolving with its “Explore” and “Radar” features, and at SXSW we heard a lot about several new “ambient location” apps that run in the background of our phones to notify us when something or someone interesting is near.

From a marketer standpoint this is awesome because we can program the delivery of specific information about our businesses, track how locations are being used and learn more about those that are visiting so we can ultimately improve services and communications.

Shopping, Designing, Collecting

Pinterest is quickly becoming a top traffic driver to retail sites worldwide as people are discovering products they never knew existing and seeking out a way to find and buy them online. This quote from a recent article sums up the “discovery” aspect of Pinterest nicely :

“Essentially, Pinterest excels at something that’s very hard to do on the web — help people discover new things. If you can name what you want, after all, Amazon and Google are pretty good tools for helping you find it. But what if you don’t know what you want? Social-networking sites have helped businesses influence people, but they are imperfect. People use Facebook and Twitter to talk to each other, not necessarily to discuss things they might want to buy. In contrast, Pinterest users are more often in a shopping mindset when they are using the service. If you’re keeping a pinboard called ‘Spring handbags I’m considering,’ there’s a good chance you’ll click through and make a purchase.”

Again, from a marketing standpoint, this is awesome: “As more people spend more time pinning [they are] revealing to marketers the kinds of hobbies and objects they covet…”

How do we embrace and apply this trend in digital strategy and communications?

We must think beyond how and what to share and add a layer to our filter that asks: what can we help people discover through our communications?

March 21, 2012

Book Review: The Like Economy

Filed under: Book Review,Marketing,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 7:08 am

The Like Economy, by Brian Carter is subtitled “How Businesses Make Money with Facebook.” The crux of the book is that if you build a relevant fan base of those who are open to your message, then craft your message appropriately for conversions, you can drive sales of your product or service.

While this book had a huge focus on Facebook advertising (I felt a bit like I was in a 250-page sales pitch to use Facebook advertising), the book did have some fascinating statistics on Facebook, great advice on analytics and measurement, interesting comparisons of Facebook to email and Twitter, several general marketing 101 pointers, and a lot of ideas and direction on content generation. And all of this stuff made the Facebook advertising selling parts of the book tolerable.

The bottom line: you can get as many fans as you want through advertising on Facebook, but they won’t see your posts if you don’t deliver engaging content from the first day they fan your page. And here is why:

  • If you don’t get your fans to like and comment on your posts, they’ll stop seeing them in their news feeds due to Facebook’s EdgeRank system.
  • Most fans never return to a page after they like it.
  • Most posts by pages are seen by less than 10% of their fans.
  • Many fans will never see your welcome tab.
  • When fans create new posts on your Facebook page, other fans don’t see them.
  • Posts from pages with 10,000 fans reach 30-40% of their fans.
  • Posts from pages with 100,000 fans reach 20-30% of their fans.
  • Posts from pages with 1,000,000 or more fans reach 10% of their fans.
  • The 1% Rule: only 1% of people will do what you ask them to do online.

I recommend picking up the book to learn more about how to use Facebook as a marketing tool, though I don’t necessarily agree that Facebook advertising is the only way to drive fan “likes” to your business pages.

March 20, 2012

Beautifully Designed Data Encourages Connectivity

Filed under: Culture,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 7:27 pm

You’ve heard of Nicolas Felton by now: the designer who got curious about various data points of his life over the course of a year, compiled them and designed them into infographics for an annual report of his life. The New York Times wrote about him. Facebook hired him to design the new Timeline profile pages. And as a result, he has been sitting 15 feet away from Mark Zuckerberg for the last year working to improve interactions on Facebook:

“The biggest thing that’s different is that Facebook is not about human-computer interaction,” says Cox. Most designers in the computer industry have focused on helping humans interact with machines. But Facebook is about human-to-human interaction. “We don’t want people to remember their interactions with Facebook,” says director of design Kate Aronowitz. “We want them to remember their interactions with their friends and family.” Cox calls this “social design.” “It’s more like designing a plaza or a restaurant,” he explains. “The best building is one where the people inside get it and work together and are connected. That connectivity is created by how everything is arranged.” ~ Fast Company

Data in social design. Brilliant and beautiful.

Paper Notes/Digital Notes

Filed under: Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 4:56 pm

Every once in a while I come across a product that I love so much I have to share it. Today, I want to tell you about my Livescribe pen and notepads. Or, as I like to call it, my magic pen. Nothing starts a conversation in a meeting like my magic pen. I get asked about it in almost all meetings with new people, and with good reason: it is really cool.

Livescribe is a smart pen that records your handwritten notes (when used with their special notepads) and then syncs these notes to a desktop app on your computer. When you want to have an audio recording of a meeting, the pen can also do that – you simply point to the command on the special notepad and it starts recording. The really cool thing about this is that it syncs the audio with the handwritten notes so when you are reviewing the playback you can actually see what was written at the same time as hearing what was said. Or you can just tap a specific word in your notepad and the audio starts playing what was being said right when that word was being written.

The desktop app is smart too: I can search for words in my notes and the app mostly recognizes my handwriting and pulls all the pages with that word or words highlighted in the search results. This is tremendously handy.

And it seems like Livescribe is constantly adding to its capabilities. Through the desktop app or through the pen itself, you can send selected pages to Evernote, save as a PDF on your computer, or send to your mobile device to be accessed via its app, Pencast Player (available in Apple’s App Store). All of these are helpful for sharing your notes with the audio embedded.

There are also apps you buy to add on to your Livescribe pen and desktop app, things like handwriting to text conversion tools, games, and education. I haven’t had the need to try these things out, but if you find one that you love, please let me know.

March 19, 2012

#SXSWi 2012: The Five Major Themes

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Social Media,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 5:15 pm

I keep getting asked about the one coolest thing I learned about at SXSW. The problem is: I didn’t walk away with one cool thing that I can hold up as THE find of SXSW 2012. Instead, I heard several themes woven throughout the many, many sessions I attended over the five day conference that we can apply to our clients’ digital presences and make us all better communicators with more engaging content in those digital spaces. Here are the five major themes that I heard:

Theme #1: Content and/or Content Curation

Brands and agencies are looking more like publishers every day. This is because in digital spaces, we need to pull consumers to our messages rather than pushing our messages out as we can with the more traditional media channels. We need to generate content or be excellent content curators to give our consumers a reason to engage with us in those digital spaces.

Theme #2: Storytelling

Stories can be told with words, photography, video or data. And they can be told and shared across many different channels, giving the audience a different way of experiencing and engaging with the stories. Narrative is what helps people remember the message. Narrative gives them an opportunity to experience a product or service before they buy. As we are crafting our narratives and writing our stories, we need to also think about how these can be shared across a variety of platforms; we should create in a way that is super flexible so that the content can be molded to go anywhere.

Theme #3: Discovery, Exploration, Customization

Given the amount of data that we are sharing with our mobile apps, our social networks and our web browsing, these services can now start customizing the content they share with us, making relevant recommendations based on our profiles, habits and location. Google+ is socially annotating our search results with friends’ activities and recommendations and garnering an uptick in click-through rates of 5-10% as a result. Foursquare is making recommendations for places we should visit based on our check-in histories and where we are standing at that moment. New location apps are popping up left and right to connect us with people with similar interests that are nearby, to inform us about locations that are nearby or to help us control our environments with approach to geo-fenced locations. It is fascinating and only serves to improve our experiences, save us time and help us find things we might not otherwise have discovered.

Theme #4: Using the Right Tools

No, you should not use Pinterest just because it is the latest, greatest social media tool out there. It seems like obvious that communicators should be (1) setting objectives for digital and social, (2) then measuring all decisions and messages up against those objectives before releasing tactics into the marketplace, (3) considering who the target audience is and where they tend to congregate, and (4) looking carefully at the competition and setting out to do something different. However, with as much conversation as there was around this topic and these steps, it is instead obvious that many communicators are not following this process and instead jumping into channels with little thought, other than just to be there to be there.

Theme #5: Observation

One presenter put it this way: “Look at what others are doing and riff off what they are doing well.” Another panelist described creativity as being made of three elements: copying, transforming, and/or combining what has already been created. Both get to the same point: nothing is new, but we can make it better and differentiate. Pay attention to what is happening around you in the digital spaces and learn from it.

March 16, 2012

Facebook Content Tips

Filed under: Social Media,Tips — Emily Reeves @ 9:23 am

We get a lot of requests for “quick tips” for Facebook. This is such a general question that it is difficult to answer; it depends on the business and what the business is trying to achieve through use of Facebook. Though the best approach is to think through (1) the brand message, (2) the target audience, (3) the competitive landscape and (4) how success will be measured, and then craft a custom approach to strategic messaging and execution that is truly on-brand and differentiating, for those that need some very general “quick tips” for engaging content/posts on Facebook, here you go:

  • Conduct quick testimonial interviews with your clients/customers with audio, video or written words and share these on Facebook. Be sure to embed the link to that person’s profile with the @name so that their networks are also exposed to the story. Set a schedule for doing this (i.e., once a month) so that followers start to look for the content on a regular basis.
  • Use a lot of photography, especially “behind-the-scenes”-type images and personal perspective photos; anything that followers couldn’t experience on their own. Photos tend to generate a lot of interest. Set goals for the number of photos you want to post on a weekly/monthly basis.
  • Engage your fans/followers by regularly using the Facebook “ask a question” tool to poll them about your business, their preferences or a timely event.
  • Create custom messages that mention key Facebook users/pages in the posts (be sure to embed the link to that page/person profile with the @name) that are relevant to them in an effort to start a conversation with them. These posts will automatically notify them of your post and they are therefore likely click through to investigate and ultimately respond to you, exposing you to their followers/networks as well.
  • Profile of employees and customers. People love to learn about other people. And social channels are all about sharing personal information. The profiles can take a multimedia approach: video, audio, photography, text. Profiles should call out the local efforts and outreach of employees and customers. Using customers will also help drive the social channel follower/fan base as they will reach out to their friends and families to share the profile.
  • Pay attention to what is getting shared, liked and commented on. Do more of those things.
  • Respond to comments.
  • Learn the ins-and-outs of the new Facebook Timeline for pages. Here are a few: select a great cover photo, “pin” a different post each week that you feel is the best story/post for that week and star great posts, hide those that are not garnering as much interaction.

Always ask yourself: would I be interested in this content and want it to show up in my Facebook news feed? If not, don’t post it.

March 15, 2012

15 Favorite Random Quotes & Facts From #SXSWi

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 2:31 pm

In no particular order:

  • There is such a thing as internet addiction. It is a defined clinical disorder.
  • If a Google search ad is socially annotated, there is a 5-10% click through uptick.
  • Presenters love to use the word “magical” to describe technology.
  • “Keep your head on a swivel.”
  • Most popular power song on Nike+: “Eye of the Tiger.”
  • “Our phones are like Mary Poppins’ bag: bigger on the inside than on the outside.”
  • Presenters referring to those outside SXSW as “muggles.”
  • “I can’t sail around the world in a broken tea cup.”
  • The average academic article is only read by seven people.
  • There are 250 million photos uploaded every day to Facebook.
  • “Geek plus storyteller = relevant data analysis.”
  • “‘Place’ is a layer cake of qualities about that place.”
  • “I thought Highlight was a prank. It blows privacy concerns wide open. I thought they were trolling SXSW. But it is real and there is something is liberating about just letting it all out.”
  • No-mo-phobia = fear of losing mobile phone.
  • Women speak 7,000 words a day while men speak 2,000 words a day.

March 14, 2012

Online Advertising Can Be Good

Filed under: Advertising,Digital Strategy,Online Advertising — Emily Reeves @ 3:38 pm

Too frequently our online advertising is thought of as an add-on to the campaign and is simply a hastily executed version of the television or print with little thought as to how it will be experienced differently online. Google has set out to show us that great “traditional” advertising can be great online when approached still with the same overall message and brand objectives, but with specific thought about the way a user can experience and interact with that message in the digital space. With Project Re:Brief, Google found iconic advertising and its creators, then worked with them to develop online versions of the advertising that are truly amazing.

So far, Google has released the Coca-Cola and Volvo ads, complete with a video documentary of the process and step-by-step descriptions of how the ads work through the technology. It is inspirational and educational. Check out the full site: Project Re:Brief.

(Thumbs up to Mr. Stone for sending this my way.)

#SXSWi: The Word Cloud

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 1:44 pm

Want to see at-a-glance what I blogged about during SXSW 2012? Here is a word cloud from all my SXSW blog posts this year:

Games as Practice For the Real World #SXSWi

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 1:26 pm

There is a misperception that spending vast amounts of time staring at a screen means that a person is withdrawn, antisocial and perhaps socially awkward. At SXSW this week, this topic came up a few times.

In a session with Nike and EA Sports, the representative from EA Sports said that video game players learn strategy and skills from playing the video game version of a sport and that this actually makes them better on the field or on the court. He noted that many professional sports players are creating “moves” on video games as a test before using them on the field or on the court. And soccer coaches are actually requiring that their players play Fifa video games to learn the strategy of the sport.

In a session about Digital Divas, the presenters talked about the average age of social gamer is 43 years old, and she’s a woman. And these are not reclusive, lonely and sad women. These women are more social offline too:

“Female online gamers are more social than their non-gaming counterparts. Forty-one percent socialize at least once each day in person compared to 31% of non-gamers. They’re also more active on social networks, with 88% of gamers socializing online at least once each day compared to 71% of non-gamers.” ~ Mashable

If games are practice for the real world and help to educate and help to develop a certain level of comfort with a topic to the participants, there are many opportunities for us a marketers to help consumers learn about our products and services through gaming that we are not yet leveraging.

Women Online: Facts & Figures #SXSWi

Filed under: Social Media,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 1:17 pm

Here are some random facts and figures about women and their online behaviors. Interesting stuff.

Digital Divas are about 25% of the female population. A Digital Diva is defined as:

  • More social
  • Competency with technology
  • Buy more technology (they own 7.8 digital devices, average woman owns 5.6)
  • Spend more time online (intensity)
  • Moms represent a disproportionate amount of Digital Divas
  • Skew younger

Women are more likely than men to buy three out of the top four consumer electronics. They also spend more time engaging with the technology than men.

Women are more likely to experience no-mo-phobia: a fear of losing the mobile phone. The most likely reason they worry about this is they worry about losing the photos stored on the phone.

Adult women play more games than than all of men (55% compared to 45%). Average age of social gamer is 43 years old, and she’s a woman.

Women speak 7,000 words a day vs. men who speak 2,000 words a day.

Men connect online to hunt. Women connect online to gather. Women’s number one reason to log on is to connect to others, men’s number reason is to research how to do things.

Men congregate online. Women communicate online.

Women are driving 62% of all Facebook activity.

Women turn to Facebook first to recommend products and services. Moms in particular are very active on Facebook with brands.

When women are looking for a product recommendation, this is where they go and in the order they go there:

  1. Facebook
  2. Retail site
  3. Blogs

Men want to talk about brands. Women want to talk with brands. A man’s instinct is to inform and impart knowledge. A woman wants to engage. This is basic human nature and true all the time about how the genders engage in the world.

Men want brands to give them knowledge, to be informers and teach them something. Women want the brands to connect them with people.

Where do women start their online purchase journeys? Google. 58% of women start navigating towards a purchase through a search engine. Where do they go from there? 67% of the 58% then go directly to a social network, specifically the brand’s Facebook page. Then half of those go to the retail page. What are they doing on Facebook? Getting smart before the cart, learning about new products, researching what others say about the brand, confirming what they thought about the brand, and crossing brands off their consideration list.

What drives women to like a brand on Facebook?

  1. Deals and steals/discounts
  2. 55% for customer service
  3. 29% for the opportunity to contribute ideas for new products and services.

Facebook “likes” create evangelism and foster loyalty. These are the people that will fight back against the critics online.

Women like an average of 8.1 brands on Facebook and are becoming more selective about the brands they like, but we don’t know why.