Tag Archives: facebook Blog

Facebook’s Newsfeed

Businesses have gone to great lengths to setup Facebook ‘pages’ and get ‘Likes’ in order to expose prospects and customers to their goods and services. This is what marketing is all about. But understanding how to use these mechanisms to get results reliably can be daunting. In this area of marketing we have little control, or so it seems. The following article from TechCrunch helps illuminate the workings of Facebook’s Newsfeed — the stream of posts users see when they’re on the service. If we have a better idea of how our content is being handled, we at least have a shot at producing posts that are deemed valuable and therefore shown to the people we want to reach.

The article has a lot of great information, and there’s even a section that will be updated whenever Facebook makes changes to its algorithm. It’s well worth reading, but I’ll cut to the last few paragraphs, which provide guidelines for the kind of content that does well, and should help all of us create better posts with more reach to help achieve our business goals online.

The best tactics for appearing prominently in the News Feed end up being quite straight-forward: share things that are interesting, authentic, and resonate with your audience. That typically means visually compelling media, funny or emotional content, and important news that’s fascinating to a wide audience … [People] just want to be stimulated. Do that, and Facebook will share what you have to say.

Read full article: http://tcrn.ch/2cfw5B3

The Power of Big Data

Tech companies are just scratching the surface of what they can do with Big Data. An enlightening article describes some of the power that comes with recording the daily lives and activities of hundreds of millions of people. In a 2012 experiment Facebook learned how it could alter the moods of users. Google routinely runs about 20,000 experiments per year involving users. Facebook even learned that it could motivate people to get out and vote — not inconsequential given that it can filter out individuals’ political persuasion. That experiment involved over 60 million people! Where else but online can a sample size that large be assembled, without their even knowing it …

Facebook and much of the rest of the web are thriving petri dishes of social contact, and many social science researchers believe that by analyzing our behavior online, they may be able to figure out why and how ideas spread through groups, how we form our political views and what persuades us to act on them, and even why and how people fall in love.

It’s likely researchers would like to figure out a whole lot more, given the magnitude of data available. Makes one wonder what interesting things they’re doing that are not being disclosed.

Read full article: http://nyti.ms/1z86m1O

Retail on Facebook. Is “F-commerce” All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

There’s been nothing but hype around Facebook’s upcoming IPO. Hundreds of millions of users, mountains of personal data, brands dying to repurpose their ad dollars online. This is going to be huge! Isn’t it?

I don’t know. I’ve never thought much of Facebook as a business. It’s great as a social network. At least it was before it became so complicated that I can’t in good conscience recommend that anyone use it. Not that it’s not good for communicating with friends and family, or customers if you’re a business. I use it every day for those purposes. But I’m also willing to check and reset my privacy settings whenever FB changes things, which is often, and I don’t give them any data beyond what’s necessary to converse with people. But I can’t expect most people to be as mindful as I am. And if they’re not, they’re just falling into FB’s data trap.

And then there’s the matter of how bloated the app has become. It’s more like using MS Word now than a cool social tool. Who can understand all the features? Do I subscribe, follow, post, write a story? Why is the button I used to do something yesterday gone today? And why do posts always seem to disappear? Do average people understand any of this? Maybe this obscurity all works to FB’s advantage, keeping people in the dark as they provide more and more data while blithely using the site?

Anyway, the issue here is business, and the fact is, people don’t go to FB to shop — they go to connect. Yes, they learn a lot from their friends, including new things to buy. And brands do their work of chatting up (if not completely annoying) customers, offering sales and specials back on their own sites. But how is ‘F-commerce’ doing? Well, many brands have opened up storefronts on FB itself, but some are closing them just as quickly. According to a recent article,

“There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop, but it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”

Apparently FB’s offer of connecting and communicating with friends isn’t going to automatically turn into a commerce goldmine. Is this a surprise? People go to FB to talk, not buy. Maybe finding and purchasing things is actually a lot easier and better on Amazon or Google after all. Once the IPO smoke clears, the next sound you hear may well be the latest bubble bursting.

Read full article:  http://linkd.in/y5rcW7

Facebook’s Emergence as a Video Platform

Social phenomenon Facebook is now climbing the ladder as a video delivery service according to a recent article on ClickZ:

“As traffic to Facebook continues to grow, the social network is beginning to emerge as an important stakeholder in the online video space. According to online measurement firm comScore, the number of users viewing video on the site has been growing consistently over the past twelve months, and it could end the year with the second greatest reach of all online video providers in the U.S., second only to YouTube owner Google.

Data from comScore’s Video Metrix service suggests the number of unique U.S. users viewing video content on Facebook has grown from 13.3 million in April 2009 to 41.3 million in April 2010, representing year-over-year growth of almost 211 percent.”

One of the disrupting effects of Facebook is that people are using the service in lieu of other websites they’ve typically used in the past for functions such as email, IM, photo sharing and  now video sharing. Small wonder that FB execs are trying mightily to find a way to “monetize” this activity.

Read full article: http://www.clickz.com/3640570

Why Facebook Can’t Be Google

Facebook’s recent privacy policy woes stem from a fundamental flaw in understanding their own platform. So an excellent post by blogger Adam Fields appears to point out. Though phenomenally popular, FB is in dire need of a business model. Their hope, like Google’s, is to leverage the huge amount of data they accumulate from their 400MM+ users to make money selling advertising. However, these users are trusting FB to keep their data private — or at least only be used in ways they approve. Additionally, users want control over the data they provide, and they want those controls to be easy to use and stable, in the sense that the privacy policy doesn’t change every few months.

The fact that FB wants to make users’ data more publicly available, and therefore useful to advertisers, forms the basis of the conflict they’ve created with their users. The crux is that FB data is social in nature as opposed to Google’s which is public. Public data is more useful when more people know about it. Social data, however, has inherently much less reach because it’s purpose is not widespread consumption, but the limited social circle for which it’s published.

From Fields’ post: “social sharing isn’t the same as public sharing. When I write something in a public forum, I want as many people as possible to read it. In that kind of  forum, Google can make more money if more people see it, as can Facebook (which is why Facebook is trying to turn their entire platform into a more public one). This is at odds with what the users want for social, which is controlled sharing among a very small group. There is certainly an aspect of making new friends and extending one’s social circle outwards, but the object here is generally to share only inside that circle, and people tend to resist being forced or coerced by the platform to share more widely.”

Hijacking user data appears to be a bad strategy for FB, unless it can persuade users to give up their current ideas about privacy. And just as FB can never be Google, Google will find it difficult to become a social platform like FB because the nature of the data at the heart of each is just different.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/bOnk5t

The Three Most Important SEO Factors

In the current economy, SEO (search engine optimization) and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and the like) are all the rage. Justifiably so. But for the most part, people are interested for the wrong reasons, ie: many tend to think it’s a free or cheap way to making big money on the Internet. Yes, it’s far cheaper than most traditional marketing methods, but  it’s far from free! In fact, a solid commitment of time and financial resources is required for success in these venues, just as it is in any other worthwhile arena.

Still, there are many things that a website owner can do to improve their search rankings — if not become “number one on Google,” as the spam pitches promise. And some of the easiest to implement can also begin providing marked results. That’s the point of this article from ClickZ.com, which shares three simple but effective SEO tips that you can put to use right away.

1: Use Your Key Phrase in Your Title

2: Use the Target Key Phrase in the Body Copy

3: Cross Link Your Pages Using the Target Key Phrases

Sound interesting? Check out the entire article for details, try the techniques and then see how your site does in Google over the next several weeks.

Full article: http://www.clickz.com/3636405

Why Is Facebook Important?

The Facebook phenomenon continues. According to a recent ClickZ.com report, FB’s unique visitors in January 2010, at a total of 133.6MM, was second only to the mighty Google. Indeed, throughout 2009 FB’s unique visitors climbed at a record pace through June, then leveled somewhat, but rose nonetheless through the remainder of the year to surpass Yahoo (132MM unique visitors in Jan 2010) and pull up snugly behind Google (147.8MM). (ref: http://www.clickz.com/3636533)

Why is this important? The numbers above represent people who are using FB every day. These are not people who merely signed up, or have accounts that lie dormant. What’s even more interesting is the amount of time these active users are spending on the site. “Data from Nielsen says that U.S. Facebook users now spend an average of seven hours per month on the site. The time spent on Facebook in January grew by nearly 10 percent in a one-month period. Meanwhile, the average time spent on Google (GOOG) dropped 17 percent to around an hour and a half.” (ref: http://bit.ly/aETMUK)

Why are people spending so much time on Facebook? They are building their networks, connecting with friends and family, keeping in touch, etc. But much more importantly, they are using the site to do things that they used to do on several other sites or with software on their desktop computers. This includes chat, commerce, posting photos and videos, and even email. Why go to other sites when almost everything you need, and all the people you want to share things with, are right here?

Which brings up the final point: With upwards of 300MM registered users (depending on whose numbers you believe) almost everyone is now at least part of the site. Odds are more likely than ever that if you want to find/connect/communicate with someone you’ll find them on Facebook. And where there are people, there are markets.

Clearly, in the Internet age markets are moving online. Now that people are so readily available and active on Facebook businesses must move with them. But “going on Facebook” requires learning the values, rules, behavior and mores first. Businesses that successfully do this will find they have the best advertising possible — in fact, the only advertising that will succeed in the not-too-distant future, and that’s word of mouth (or more accurately, “word of mouse”). With everyone connected we’re all going to need our customers to be our sales force, because they’ll be very quick to tell others the story about how well we’re serving them.