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.
Don’t get me wrong… I love Twitter. I like reading tweets, connecting with others in the social media industry, and seeing links to really great content. It’s because of this that I put up with the “Fail Whale” frequently yet continuing using Twitter. For someone to yet “see the point” or to use it, dealing with site errors and overages could mean the difference of them becoming a user or just trying it and walking away.
Twitter, I love you… but if you can’t work out all the kinks in your reliability, I don’t see you moving past 10%-15% usage for the adult Internet population in the US.
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?
There are some pretty amazing tools available on the Internet. One of the great things about them are many come completely free. This includes services like Google Docs, instant messenger, WordPress hosted blogs, and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Of course, one of the biggest problems with these services is they are free…which means you have no control.
I was recently reminded of this when Facebook quietly removed a very simple feature they were beta testing. The feature was the ‘unsubscribe’ button that allowed a user to choose a point in a conversation on Facebook to stop receiving notifications when there was further action. Nothing super life changing and the change won’t make me stop using Facebook. It did remind me, though, that in the end I have no real power to fight back against the decision. If I was a paying customer, I could always file a complaint or request a refund. Since Facebook is free, technically they can change anything they want, whenever they want, without notifying you or even asking your permission. They technically could get bored with the idea and just stop Facebook.
Now I’m not suggesting that one day Facebook will close and shut off their service, but they could. Imagine if Google decided they wanted to charge $2 per year for people to use their service? With other search engines lacking in results performance and the cost only being $2, they would make a fortune. Or what if they decided that it wasn’t in the company’s interest to host documents for free via Google Docs anymore? How many documents do you or your business have on there? How much do you rely on Google Docs for your business to function?
I have people ask me every now and then why I don’t use Google Calendar. It’s not because I think Google is going to steal all of my appointment information (though I suppose they could), it’s because I don’t want to come to rely on a service that might go away, be changed into something I don’t want, or a charged service without my permission, input, or a refund. My calendar is stored on my personal computer and I sync it across all of my devices using software that I paid for. My blog is hosted on my own web server that I pay for (granted it is on The WordPress CMS – technically open source, so that is my justification). My email comes from my own domain.
Does this mean I’ll make my own Facebook or Twitter program? No. I love using them to connect with interesting people. I’ll probably use the next really cool free Internet tool that comes out as well. For things like file and photo storage, Internet VoIP service, website hosting, email, and backup, I feel much safer knowing that when it comes to changing the features, privacy policies, or access to the service, it happens when and how I want.
Don’t take free services for granted, because one day, they very well could be gone.