Something that I am always talking to my students about is how important it is to have a good, complete, and locked up social media presence when beginning their job searches. It is of course, not only critical that they be present on different platforms in different ways, but also the types of content and people they appear to be. Online Colleges recently released an infographic that helps to outline how job seekers and employers are connecting online as well as what those employers are looking for.
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For months now there have been rumors floating around that 2012 would be the year of the Facebook IPO (initial public offering). While many users and would-be investors are chomping at the bit for their chance to own part of one of the largest social networks on the planet, others (me included) are a little skeptical. This hesitation or “wait and see” attitude is caused in large by the disappointing IPOs for other companies like Pandora, Zynga, and Groupon in 2011.
Facebook and social media have been called tools of “mass distraction”. It is a common assumption that things like social media and the Internet distract people and students from the work they need to do. But is that true? A new study is out that could make you think otherwise!
As many of you probably heard yesterday, Facebook and Skype have paired up and now you can not only chat with friends on Facebook, you can also have video calls with them!
Eager to test it out, I downloaded the software/plugin via Chrome on my Mac and my wife did the same. When we tested it out, no dice. We both received an error saying the other didn’t have a webcam setup. This, of course was wrong as we both have built-in iSight cameras in our Mac computers. After tinkering with it for a bit, I found a solution that worked for us. So if you’re having problems with your built-in Mac iSight camera and Facebook video calling, try this out:
Update software and OS
The first thing you’ll need to do is update all your Mac software. This includes running Software Update to make sure the OS is updated as well as the browser that you’re using (Safari will update with the Apple Software Update tool). Second, head over to get.adobe.com/flashplayer to make sure you’re running the latest Flash Player. Once you’re done updating, I suggest you reboot or at least restart the browser.
The next thing to do is set up Flash and Facebook permission to access your built-in iSight camera for the video call. To do this, go back out to your news feed or profile and click on Video like you were going to share a video with your friends and then click on Record Video.
Next you’ll need to give Flash permission to use your built-in iSight camera. If the options box shown below doesn’t show up automatically, right-click or CTRL click on the video window and select Settings.
In the settings box, click on the second tab (Privacy), and select Allow, check Remember, and then click on Close.
At this point, your video might come alive. If not, try reloading Facebook or restarting your computer. Hopefully though, after setting the privacy settings, you should be good to go!
Enjoy chatting with friends and family with Facebook Video Calls!
Totally agree with Shel Holtz on a lot of his points. Don’t much see Google+ as a “Facebook Killer”… then again, it is still early. Biggest problem, I agree with is that there are over 750 million people using Facebook. I’m using Google+ because I work in the biz, but the idea of reestablishing social connections on another platform when I’ve already done it on Facebook (and manage connections with lists) is really tiresome and I don’t see casual users doing it…heck I don’t want to do it. Then again… it is stil early. So will it move beyond just a Internet Marketing/early adopter hang out? Time will tell.
PR and Communications Implications of Google+ (and Other Observations)
It seems one of the fastest growing type of website on the Internet is a deal/coupon service. The biggest of these so far is Groupon but there is also Living Social, Homerun, and about 1,000 other variations. Heck even one newspaper here in Detroit is doing it.
In case you’re not familiar with Groupon and the like, they are basically websites that offer a super discounted service or product from a business local to the user for a limited time. Groupon is only one day, but other sites like Living Social, AppSumo, Zulily extended their offers for a week or more. For example, today’s deal on Groupon for Ann Arbor, MI is 62% off a round of golf for 2 with cart.
Jumping on the bandwagon of this, probably after Groupon rejected Google’s purchase offer of $6-billion, is Facebook. In April, Facebook revealed Facebook Deals. Now it is running in a few testing markets (all you lucky people in CA) and setup as pretty much a Groupon clone.
Now you might ask, if Groupon is so huge, how is Facebook going to compete? Well I honestly think they’ll hold their own and stand a chance of beating Groupon outright for a couple reasons. The biggest is that they are hitting users where they are. For Groupon, users must either navigate to the site daily or open the daily email from Groupon. With Facebook Deals, the deal is show in the user’s news feed. Before the end of the summer, Facebook will most likely roll over 700 million users worldwide. That is a lot of eyeballs to place on Facebook Deals content verse the 35 million Groupon users reported in January.
The second main reason I think Facebook Deals will beat Groupon is that sharing is automatic and very easy and obvious. For Groupon, there is a small sharing section on each deal. While it is there, it isn’t integral. Plus users will have to connect Groupon to their Facebook profile to enable sharing.
Facebook Deals, on the other hand, has sharing front and center. In addition, depending on the user’s privacy settings, if they purchase a deal, it is automatically shared out to their friends to see.
As mentioned, Facebook Deals is currently only running in a few test areas in California, Texas, and Georgia. But I believe that if/when they roll it out, Groupon is going to have some serious competition for the top “local deal of the day” website.
Social media, when you think about it, is inherently a selfish medium. Users post statuses talking about what they are doing that day. I find videos on YouTube that make me laugh, so I post them so my friends can see how obviously funny I am since I found the funny video. I write notes telling people my opinions. At the core, social media is me sharing things I personally find interesting and broadcasting information about me…since everyone wants to hear about that, right?
For people, we give grace and just assume that is how social media works. For businesses, though, we don’t extend the same courtesy. If a business is on Facebook and only talks about their brand or their products, people will hide them from feeds, unlike, or unfollow them. An ExactTarget study showed that 43% of people unliking a brand on Facebook was because of too much marketing messages.
Social media users are there to connect with friends and family, not a business. So if a business is invading into this personal world, how do they get users to connect and listen to them? Think back to what social media is… a selfish medium. If a business is to connect and engage with a user, they need to give them something. They need to provide value.
A few studies have been done over the past year in regards to this and all point to the fact that users primarily connect with businesses in social media to get something. ExactTarget, in their Social Break Up study, showed that 26% of users reporting liking a business page to take advantage of a one time offer and 24% reported unliking a page because it didn’t offer enough deals. In a social check-in study done by digital agency Beyond, they found across the surveyed early adopters and current non-using consumers that almost 50% of them would check-in to a business to receive a coupon or discount. On top of that, 99% of them do not view getting a badge or becoming the mayor (Foursquare) a good enough reason to check-in. Users want to get something and that something needs to be valuable.
What does “providing value” mean to businesses in social media? In reality, that is something for each individual business to decide. Four of the main ways, in my opinion, are:
- Entertainment – This includes great conversation, videos, audio, podcasts, etc
- Sweepstakes and drawings – The trick is that these don’t have to be huge
- Coupons and discounts – These should be a good discount not available anywhere else
- Provide rewards for actions – Use a service like SCVNGR to give things to users for challenges completed all while promoting your brand
Does this mean that every car dealership out there needs to giveaway a free car to get fans and followers? It would help, but no they don’t. Do restaurants need to giveaway free lunches all the time? It would help, but no they don’t. Businesses simply need to take a look at what they do best and figure out ways to feature that while providing a hook to social media users. The car dealer might have a car wash, so have a drawing for free car washes for the summer. The restaurant may have a free dessert birthday club, so have them sign-up on Facebook.
In the end, it doesn’t need to be super complicated or even a high-cost investment, it just needs to be something to hook a user so they will allow the business to enter their personal, selfish, social media world.
As I work with clients on developing their digital marketing plans, one of the most common questions I receive is “how many ‘likes’ should I have on my Facebook page?” I always find this question a good opportunity to take clients through the importance of targeting in social media. It isn’t the number of fans, likes, or followers you have, it’s where they are and what you’re doing with them.
On Facebook, there are some great companies to look at and follow especially when a business is looking to get started. The problem, though, is I think sometimes examples like Ford, Oreos, Skittles, and Coke, builds delusions of grandeur or unrealistic expectations for businesses. Let’s face it, unless you have a multi-million dollar marketing budget and a nationally recognized brand, you are probably not going to have hundreds of thousands of Facebook Likes. To help put numbers into perspective a bit, here are some stats from a study the Sysomos did in November 2009:
- 4% of pages have more than 10,000 fans
- 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans
- 77% of pages have less than 1,000 fans
- 35% of pages have less than 100 fans
You wouldn’t purchase a TV ad in another state…
After setting some expectations for total likes on Facebook based on research into the client’s customers and Internet users around their target sales areas and demographics, I am sometimes presented with examples from the client’s competitors who use some other services available who have thousands or sometimes tens of thousands of likes on Facebook. While initially this seems like a great thing, I typically start digging a bit to show them where these likes come from. Many times a significant amount of the likes are from users in different states or countries.
An example of this comes from a client’s competitor that is using a service that uses various social games and giveaways to increase the number of likes to the page. When looking at their latest contest, the top three players were from Malaysia, Florida, and Minnesota. The client is a local car dealer in Connecticut! Granted, having a large number of fans might make a page more appealing to gain future fans, how is having users to communicate with all over the country going to help the local dealer sell more product? The dealer would never pay for a television or newspaper ad in another country, so why market to them on Facebook?
When 5 Facebook Likes are Better Than 5,000
So when does having 5 Facebook likes matter more than 5,000 likes? It is when those 5 users are part of your target demographic. Is it hard to get those targeted fans? It can be but if you have proper listening as part of your digital marketing strategy, you’ll be able to find these customers and successfully reach them without worrying about the other semi-irrelevant 4,995.
When I first heard about RockMelt, the “social browser”, I was intrigued. When I found out that I could test a beta copy of it, overly excited would probably be a good measure of my reaction. For those of you who may not be familiar with RockMelt, basically it is a new web browser still in beta, that adds social media like Facebook directly to the sidebars of the window to make it easier to share web items through a user’s social media accounts. Overall, I think it is heading in the right direction, but not quite a tool for professionals who need the ability to use extensions as part of their browser.
Have you used it yet? What do you think?