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

Facebook Pages Just Got Better!

As a Social Media Strategist, I find this update particularly useful as I’m attempting to align efforts and ease the workflow process among users of Facebook Pages. As many of you probably heard, Facebook changed its Admins limitations and capabilities. Now there are new ways that the manager, content creator, moderator, and yes, even the advertiser can interact and control a brand’s Facebook Page.

Mashable posted a comprehensive and easy-to-understand chart that I’d like to point to:

Prior to this Facebook Page revision, admins all had the same abilities and limitations. Now that these roles can be defined and segmented according to the needs of the Page, I think this will simplify and streamline many of the user efforts to help them achieve their goals more efficiently.

A few questions for you all: How might this impact your current Facebook Page strategy? Will you continue to use third party tools such as Hootsuite? Comment!

Branding Facebook Pages

As many of you know, Facebook Pages began to look different at the end of February. The new visual dynamic appeals to many — including brands. With that in mind, I want to share with you some tips on how to improve your Facebook Page for brand development.

What does your cover look like?

Your cover photo is one of the most prominent images of your Facebook Page; it sits at the very top of your page and serves as a kind of introduction to your brand. What does it look like? Choosing the right image is crucial to your branding. The image should represent the larger picture of your brand.

Do you have any custom tabs?

With the option to create up to 12 tabs displayed beneath your cover photo, it’s something to take advantage of. Each tab displays a representative icon for its function. For example, photos are…photos. Photos is, by default, your first tab on your Facebook Page. Because only four of the possible twelve appear on the main screen, I suggest using those tabs you deem most important to your brand presence– what do you want your target audience to look at first? How do you want to organize what will be their options to interact with your brand?

Integrate Facebook and Twitter!

If you Tweet, connect Twitter  from your profile settings. You can display your tweets in your timeline.

Content Must be Good Writing. Exciting Writing.

As always, don’t undermine the importance of good writing. Content should always be fresh. Don’t leave a photo or video hanging without any context. Include a snippet of text that has a call to action.

Here is a recent article from Mashable that you might find interesting!

What are your Facebook Page branding tips?

Facebook Vs. Twitter

Facebook vs. Twitter: A Tug O’ War Challenge?

Facebook and Twitter are both excellent social media tools for companies to spread brands, develop relationships with customers and businesses, and generate leads. But how do we know which site is best for which campaign?

eMarketer recently reported that 6x more people use Facebook thanTwitter. If this is indeed accurate, should companies pay attention to it? And what does it mean for marketing efforts?

Before we can answer these questions, let’s first consider where social media budgets land for using these tools. Zoomerang points out that companies’ use of social media is gaining momentum and creating a surefire way to get the most bang for the buck. As the chart below suggests, 44% of SMB decision-makers use social media.

They also point out that SMBs are twice as likely to use Facebook as they were Twitter. Emarketer comments on these reports:

“Though Facebook is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its product offerings and capabilities, businesses are sticking with the basics to drive performance: 51% of US SMBs found wall posts the most effective marketing tactic, even though only 16% of US consumers said they had interacted with a brand on Facebook.”

Interesting. because I’m going to argue that while this may be true now, the future of social media will grow more intricate and ask that the marketer do more— i.e not only rely on “the basics,” such as wall posts.

Continue reading

Social Media’s Role: Consumer vs. Marketer

Social Media’s role has grown increasingly important for all types of companies, firms, institutions, and self-branding communities. According to The State of the Media: The Social Media Report, Americans spend 22.5 percent of their online time on social media sites. Compared to games (9.8 percent) and email (7.6 percent), we cannot deny that social media has taken over the large world o’ interwebs. In yesterday’s article, Report Details Rise of Social Media in The New York Times Stuart Elliot points out that this report “makes social media the NO. 1 specific category and the No. 2 category over all, behind ‘other’ ways Americans spend time online, among them perusing adult content, visiting retail web sites and reading about subjects like sports and health.” Ok, so it’s proven that yes, social media sparks interest and woos in many. Continue reading

+1+1+1+1 = What?

I would never say that I’m entirely mathematically inclined, but I would like to think that I have the capacity to conquer addition and subtraction. +1+1+1+1 = Your Online Presence, Your Search Results, hopefully– The Answers you’re looking for.

Google+ has been a popular topic on various LinkedIn group discussions and on Twitter. However, one point that most discussions have overlooked is how Google + will change the way search engines perform and how it will impact your own website/company.

+1 is Better Than a Thumbs Up; It’s a High-Five

In fact, you can hear the clap echoing all over the internet

Similar to Facebook’s “like” button, which features the thumbs up icon, +1 is also a button you will see next to your search results. Google explains, “+1 is a public action. Anyone on the web can potentially see that you’ve +1’d content.” So, yes, when you click the +1, you should know that your name will recommend that link.

As a writer, I’m thrilled.  Google+ is helping to weed out the bad writing. This means that creating remarkable content is even more important than before. Accompanying any content is a decision that could impact the company’s online presence. If the reader likes your content, there is a direct way for that reader to attract his/her friends/colleagues. But this has nothing to do with schmoozing. It’s all about what shows up on the page. If the site/content is poorly done, it’s possible to become lost in the shuffle of other mediocre sites.  Put your effort into creating engaging content that Google+ users will share and +1. I suggest adding the +1 button. From a marketing angle, the more Google+ users can endorse your site, the better. Clearly, the +1 will influence your search results as it fuses social networking with the searching process. According to Google’s +1 FAQ:

“+1’s from friends and contacts can be a useful signal to Google when determining the relevance of your page to a user’s query. This is just one of many signals Google may use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, and we’re constantly tweaking and improving our algorithm to improve overall search quality. For +1′s, as with any new ranking signal, we’ll be starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality.”

This said, the question of search quality will be linked to your friends’ interests. The question becomes what friends do you trust enough to follow their reading habits and recommendations.

+1 me!

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.