Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Why Facebook Works

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

As the data above illustrates Facebook is a platform where the users are highly engaged – 661 page views per month for the average user. This is the sort of environment that brands love to be in because it is more likley to lead to a meaningful relationship. Also, a Facebook fan page has a third-party independent feel to it as fans can leave comments, and are providing endorsement by allowing their Facebook profiles to be associated with the products.

The combination of these factors means that Facebook fan pages are fast becoming major branding tools. See http://www.facebook.com/jcrew as an example. Digitial branding platforms are growing off the back of companys’ desire to access social media in a strategic manner. Buddy Media’s business looks like an interesting one.

Meanwhile, I am still a one fan man. Feel free to increase that by 100%!
http://www.facebook.com/pages/crowdmanage/221221204057

BMX Bruce Marler and Facebook

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Along with people like Elliot and Tyler, one of my favorite blogs that combines business with personal details is Bruce Marler’s. His missouri.me site is an inspiration to me as I work on my own geo domain. Mine is a vacation focused domain, so it will be quite different, but one day I’d love to build a consulting and services business around a geo domain in a similar fashion to Bruce.

Anyway, after my last Facebook post, Bruce has assured me that it is well worth building a Facebook presence so I will keep plugging away. But for now I’d like to give a shout out to Daniel Seyde who is my first so-called ‘fan’. Gotta say I hate the word fan in this context, as my Facebook page is about sharing ideas.

You can see how Bruce clarified things for me below. His comments section usually has some thoughtful dialogue so if you have any interest in domaining give his site a look.

@crowdmanage
What I am asking myself is why people would want to drive traffic away from their own blog onto third party Facebook when Facebook doesn’t offer any extra tools to interact with the people that you send there.

You could say that they you will attract new Facebook fans as you will appear in the feeds/on the page of those people, but I don’t see evidence that this networking effect works. Do you?

I am going to be experimenting with Facebook, but so far the site has demonstrated that it is good for connecting to old friends and selling online games that rebill you mercilessly. This idea that you get access to 350m people – does it really work? Maybe more for advertising that organic networking?

One benefit of Facebook.com/missourime is that you get a PR4 back to your site, but Facebook isn’t going to monetize off the back off small SEO-savvy companies using it for link-building.

Bruce Marler
The great thing about fan pages is that you drive people to your website that are fans to see more content, i.e. if a restaurant has a coupon special there is a chance that people are not actively going to the site to look for it, BUT if they are fans they may see a link to it posted to the feed.

On the other side, you can use a link from your site to the fan page to gain fans which means they are interested in your site, then when you post links they are more likely to be driven back to the site even if it was out of their mind.

It works.

(Yes that is Bruce on the BMX!)

Facebook Networking is Giving me a Headache

Friday, January 8th, 2010

@crowdmanage on Facebook

As you can see I have set up a Facebook page connected to this blog:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/crowdmanage/221221204057

As the spiel goes, with 350 million users you can’t afford not to be there. But I am going to suspend judgment until further investigation.

My initial frustration is that there are a number of restrictions on what you can do with a ‘fan page’ versus a personal profile. I couldn’t even use the search function without also setting up a personal profile. Although this personal profile is not directly associated with the fan page, it is the only way I can reach out to other users on Facebook to let them know about our shared interest and the page I have set up.

Of course I already have a personal profile on Facebook which I use for connecting to friends and family. To my knowledge none of them are interested in crowdsourcing, and I shouldn’t think any of my blog readers are interested in seeing photos of me intoxicated in a New York bar, or riding my bike through the Formentera countryside wearing a funny hat. So the ‘fan page’ and personal profile stay separate.

But this means that I don’t have any profile on Facebook with which I can network with like-mined people. I don’t want to use my personal details to join internet marketing groups and then have my buffoonery show up in their feeds. Furthermore, it is very fiddly to adjust privacy settings on Facebook so I don’t want to constantly adjust my settings for different types of friends.

So this means that I have a fan page, but the only way anyone will find it is if I refer them to it from another site such as this blog or my @crowdmanage Twitter account. This doesn’t make much sense because I am already interacting with people on these sites, and Facebook doesn’t offer any extra features that encourage me to direct them to it.

Another problem is that there is no easy way to synch your Twitter updates with a fan page. There was an ap that did this, but the designer took it down as it was unreliable. The only option I know of right now is the Selective Twitter app which will sync updates to your fan page so long as you end them with the #fb hashtag.

An alternative is to set up a group, but you come up with the same issue. As Mashable wrote, “Groups are also directly connected to the people who administer them, meaning that activities that go on there could reflect on you personally.” The Mashable article covers all the differences between group and fan pages.

Right now I am not sure what I will do. Maybe I should start a group using my personal profile, and just decline friend requests from the people in the group. Or maybe I should just forget about having a Facebook page for discussing crowdsourcing. When I look around at my peers such as Elliot’s Blog I don’t think that it is really adding much for him to have a fan page – take a look at the page he set up a year ago. With Elliot having such a vibrant blog with rich comment threads I guess that this fan page is surplus to requirements.

I see what Facebook is trying to do – push genuine profiles onto the web to encourage higher quality interaction. It makes sense and I am a big fan of Facebook Connect. But on the other hand Facebook is a great tool for sharing some intimate moments with close friends across the world, and it seems to me that you have to compromise this if you want to make the best use of Facebook for networking purposes.

I’m not going to give up though – I will investigate and let you know if I can make Facebook work for me.

Buy my Snakeoil

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Ah, the lure of affiliate marketing. There is nothing that I would like better than to spend $5m a year on AdWords and collect $6m in revenues. I’d be so satisfied that I wouldn’t even feel the need to write a blog telling people how I did it. But of course that is how most of the ‘super-affiliates’ actually make their money, and why not when folks like me have a tendency to read the dream rather than live it!

Anyway, one of the uber affiliates in my feed reader has recently been publishing some interesting posts about his use of Twitter. With companies now lining up to pay for sponsored tweets it seems that this is the new holy grail, and instead of running PPC, I am going to tweet myself rich. Or not. Anyway, Jonathan Volk published the results of his sponsored tweets, and it turns out that it costs advertisers 42 cents per click for him to send out a sponsored tweet. Not too shabby for reaching the make money online crowd that make up Volk’s followers.

What interests me is that Volk has 16,000 followers yet he is averaging less than 50 clicks on a sponsored tweet, or 0.3%.  This follows Anil Dash’s recent comments that most of his 200,000+ followers have zero interaction with him.

I think the most valuable type of Twitter account for advertisers is one where there is high levels of interaction between followers and the account. I have accounts I created for web sites with over 1,000 followers that are essentialy worthless since I used auto-follow tools.

My guess is that the conversion ratios from Volk’s click thrus don’t match that of Adwords and thus the 42 cents may not be such a bargain. However, luckily for tweeters companies have proved over the years that they need to spend on advertising even if it doesn’t work, so maybe I should look at registering some of my accounts for sponsored tweets. I am not talking about @crowdmanage here as that is my account for using Twitter as is should be used – for a genuine dialogue and exchange of ideas.

If you were an advertiser what sort of characteristics would you want the Twitter account to have?

The Monetization of Social

Monday, December 7th, 2009

social-media-monetizationA recent article on TechCrunch describes the current situation succinctly, “Social seems to be the future, and Facebook just may do to Google what Google is doing to Microsoft (ripping apart their core business), if they ever find the right way to monetize it. Social graph monetization may be the next huge wave of revenue growth on the Internet.”

Who knows where Twitter will come in all this? By opening its API it has made massive strides, but I can’t help feeling that it is letting many monetization opportunities pass by. Shouldn’t Twitter be trying to keep Sprouter, StockTwit users etc. on the main platform by giving them the tools they need?

And while we have ringside seats to the rise or fail of social media, Google is going to be busy shifting us to cloud computing. Meanwhile over in Seattle Microsoft has Bing and the X-Box!

Things can change quicky. I still remember when Yahoo! was my homepage and I used MySpace. Maybe in a few years I’ll be using Bing and subscribing to Microsoft online for my software. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see how it all plays out, and what impact the monetization (or failure of monetization) of social media will have.

If I had to invest my entire net worth in these tech players today and rely on it for a pension in 30 years, I would go for a balanced portfolio of Google (50%), Microsoft (30%), Twitter (15%) and Facebook (5%). How about you?