Facebook Graph Search

On January 16th, Facebook announced and introduced their new feature– the graph search. The graph search is basically an advanced search within the Facebook platform. It includes being able to search for people, places, interests, etc. However, this search only includes items within your own “social graph.” And the results? Similar to that of the general Facebook algorithm, you will see what is most relevant to you.

What’s most interesting/useful about this feature is that the language you use to search can be very specific. For example: “restaurants my family likes.” What I wonder is how, exactly, this will impact brands and companies on Facebook. Cara Friedman, from likeable media, writes “Ratings of local business and restaurants will expand to all brands. It will be even more important to be likeable and ask fans for ratings to ensure that your brand is ranked high organically on search. People can also search others based on their likes. This is an easy new way to find your brand and can creatively be put into content to encourage people to search for you. It is clear that this is Facebook’s attempt to create a “Google Killer.” While it seems that it is limited on the surface, Facebook’s intent is clear to develop their search to eventually become the default, given the personal relation to its users.” We’ll have to see if this stumbles or succeeds…what do you all think?

It’s only in beta right now, but you can sign up here: https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch.

Read more about Graph here: http://newsroom.fb.com/News/562/Introducing-Graph-Search-Beta

Are You Pinterested in This?

As Mashable reports, Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. Not only is it capturing amazing stats, but the site is a new form of social media that we haven’t seen before– and it is both smart and pretty.  Instead of links, we have photos/images. Instead of categorizing items in a list, we have virtual boards. And when you view someone’s profile, you see a beautifully organized, image-based representation of that person’s interests. While Chris Brogan argues that Pinterest catches more of the female demographic than the male sector, I am tempted to say that 1) I doubt that will hold true for too long and 2) who cares?! It still works as a social media outlet that helps marketers on all sides. In fact, in addition to the aesthetic pictorial representation on the site, I’m also fascinated by the multifaceted marketing dynamic.

There is the product. When I say ‘product’ I’m referring to the photo that the user loves enough to pin on one of their boards. This can be anything from a blouse you see on J.Crew or a book you want to read/have read to a poster print you have hanging in your office or want to hang in your office. When the user pins this to the board, that person become personally connected to the brand of that product. The brand then benefits from this pinning because any one of the the user’s followers who sees the pin, and says, wow…I really like that blouse, too…and proceeds to click on it gets directed to the J.Crew website. While this is great for the brand/company on the other side of the pin, it also creates more design demand. You’ve got to have a strong design element to your website if you want to be on Pinterest.

Then, there is the brand that gets on Pinterest as a user. When J.Crew gets on Pinterest, what do they pin? While they are not currently on Pinterest as a user (you’ll see their clothes pinned everywhere–no surprise there), what would be smart to pin from a marketer’s perspective? Sure, why not put more of their clothes on the site, but they could also show those products coming from companies they’ve partnered with like New Balance, Timex, Sperry, Ray Ban, etc. Or, how about from an institution/school like the University of Virginia: what do they like? They could pin their paraphernalia, published faculty books, images from events, football games, the surrounding town, restaurants– all of these things bring students to the UVa website. Not many companies/institutes/brands have hopped on Pinterest to create a profile yet, but I think it would be a smart thing to do. Not only do you create a diversified portfolio of the products and personality of the brand itself, but you create a personal following– your fans do not just ‘like’ your company, they follow you and pin your products on their walls. The marketer can even see what specific products are getting the most visual attention.

What do you think about Pinterest?

Best Practices on Twitter: Playing the Game Right

Having solid best practices on Twitter is the most important aspect to creating a solid social marketing strategy. While it seems obvious, I find that this is something commonly overlooked when creating and implementing campaigns.

CONTENT

  • Be grammatically correct in your tweets.
  • Keep Tweets specific to your campaign and subject goals.
  • Keep your content dynamic: post links to different kinds of articles, videos, lectures, events, songs, images. Change it up!
  • When Tweeting events, put location first in at least some of your tweets and last in others.
  • Engage your audience with a strong, consistent voice.
  • Re-Tweet followers’ posts if interesting (RT).
  • Mention other Twitter account you appreciate @.
  • Use the hashtag for all keywords (1-3 per Tweet) #.

TIME

  • Create an editorial calendar to help you plan the workflow and content for Tweets.
  • Keep your Tweet schedule consistent. For example, do not Tweet every day for two weeks and then disappear for one month.

 READING

  • Listen to what your audience is talking about. This will help you shape your Tweets. Remember, Tweet what they are interested in, not what you want them to do for you.
  • Reply to people who tweet at you (Use the @mentions link and search for your username without the @ symbol).
  • Re-Tweet content that interests you. You can do that directly on Twitter or using your favorite Twitter management applications.
  • When you re-Tweet, check the link in the to make sure it works before you re-share it.
  • Use Twitter lists to organize the types of conversations going on. For example, you might put prospective students in one list, faculty on another list, companies on another list, etc. Click a list to see only the tweets by the people on that list
  • Offer links (URLs) to your Tweets that point to the company/organization you are working for, links to videos, etc.

*Note on providing links: Links must be shortened as they are often character-heavy (and you only have 140 characters per Tweet!) I suggest you use bitly.com. Simply copy and paste the link into the window and click “shorten.” It will provide you with a shortened link that you can use in Twitter.

WHAT NOT TO TWEET

  • Do not Tweet a link without any other text. You must provide context for links.
  • Do not Tweet with a Commercial-like tone.
  • Do not Tweet the same message more than once.
  • Do not Tweet opinions – or at least, strong opinions.

Social Media Puts on a Serious Face

I admit: I have not always thought of social media as a marketing tool. Years ago, social media simply meant playtime. You want to procrastinate, sure, log onto facebook. I still see  the college students in my classroom, clicking away as I attempted to lecture about why academic writing is so important. I couldn’t win against social media; it was my enemy. However, a few years ago, I worked as a Communications Assistant at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art. We were preparing for the reopening of the building – the first time the Museum would be open for the 35,000 U-M students and the Ann Arbor townies in years. Sure enough, one of my colleagues recommended we use Twitter and Facebook to update our fans and inform perspective art enthusiasts. The reopening was a huge success due, in part, to our social media strategies.

After working at two start-up companies as an Online Marketer, I can barely imagine what marketing would be like if social media were entirely excluded or ignored. Yesterday, I came across an interesting article (thank you to Twitter and its professional development abilities): Amy Jo Martin’s To Monetize Social Media, Humanize It. Martin discusses some of the overwhelmingly popular assumptions that frown on social media as if it’s a clown wearing a big red nose. As she says, “Put it this way: If I gained a follower every time a CEO rolled his eyes at me when I said ‘Twitter,’ I’d be Lady Gaga (11.2 million followers).” Arguably, the word “social media” is misleading; while some use this medium as a media for entertainment purposes, marketing specialists have used it as a rather remarkable tool, and, given its success, should be taken seriously.

Martin compares social media to a telephone, though I would dare compare it to a televised conference with countless cameramen: Anyone can talk the talk, walk the walk; anyone can join the discussion. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, offers the capacity for a high volume audience, and even better, a high volume response. However wonderful that may sound, a social media platform is not a game to see who is the loudest; (who yells at a televised conference, anyway?) Social media is about offering remarkable content, as authors, Dharmash Shah and David Scott say in their book, Inbound Marketing . It’s about value. As Martin would agree, it’s about humanizing your brand, exposing real, genuine people and promise. That’s what I love about social media as a marketing tool. Finally, companies, institutions, ideas—you name it—have a face, a personality, a meaning that is communicable. It’s stronger than any old logo. We’re no longer distanced from our work; we’re not just a body or a task checked off. We are the idea, transformed and exposed as the idea. I think it makes people better, companies—better. We are forever attached to our actions, our campaigns, our strategies. And thus, we must trust our actions, campaigns, strategies, and others will, too. We are our brand, and the brand is us.

Please, join in the discussion! Thank you for reading.