Tag Archives: Facebook

Google+ hits a wall?

According to this article, Google+ traffic is falling.

No surprise here.  Personally, I’ve found it to be rather boring. Perhaps its because many of my friends aren’t yet on there, or maybe because the few people who are aren’t particularly active, but whatever the reason, I’ve found it to be much less engaging than Facebook or Twitter, despite the fact that it’s sort of a hybrid between the two.

Will it pick up? Probably, Google basically runs the internet. Then again, maybe not, who knows?

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Facebook takes over the Internet

If you’re reading this, you’re probably on Facebook. Almost everyone is these days. As such, you’ve surely noticed the FB now allows you to connect to almost everything on the Web. From news stories, to University sites, you can now “like” or comment on almost anything.

As Facebook looks for ways expand its value online and increase its overall exposure, you’ve probably already come across something like this  (from an article on CNN.com):

On the one hand, this is a very interesting strategy, as it further unites the online world. By being able to share and comment on virtually anything with ease, it really creates a strong sense of community.

On the other hand, it further destroys the myth of online anonymity and privacy. Obviously you don’t have to comment on something if you don’t want to, but by utilizing your Facebook profile in this manner, you’re no longer hiding behind an avatar or screen name. It’s really you, out there for the world to agree or disagree with.

Personally, I’m undecided how I feel about this development. I do enjoy the compatibility it provides as we move ever closer to total Web integration. Additionally, I like that people can’t hide behind their screen names to make hateful and/or incendiary comments for their own sick amusement.  But I also worry about over-saturation. For example, do I really need to know how one of my acquaintances feels about the European Union’s stance on immigration or the Raiders’ draft class? Probably not. If this new Facebook integration crosses into that territory, it may become more of an annoyance than a useful tool, but I suppose that still remains to be seen.

Crime fighting goes digital

In a sign that everyone is finally joining the social media revolution, even the police are using social media tools. Police in Wichita, Kansas have launched their very own social media network that includes a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Youtube channel. Featuring public safety information, as well as information about crimes, the Wichita police department is using social media to help cut down on crime.

While Wichita isn’t the first city in the country to create a program like this (Boston, for example, has been doing this for some time), it is leading the charge in the Midwest, a surprising turn considering the conservative, reluctant-to-change attitudes that prevail in this part of the country. (And yes, I write that from experience.)

According to an Associated Press article on the subject, the Wichita police department realized that younger people are spending less time with traditional media such as television or newspapers, and instead are increasingly turning to online media to gather information. By acknowledging and utilizing this information, the department is able to reach out to an otherwise ignored section of the population.

Where social media and conventional marketing meet

I’ve seen a lot of posts out there on the Web discussing the marketing implications of social media and how companies can utilize tools like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube to their advantage. The general consensus seems to be that while social media and marketing strategies can at times overlap, there is a line dividing the two.

According to Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents:
“Marketing is a discipline with lots of emphasis on channel thinking, on campaigns, on message shaping, on control and covering all the bases. Social media is a set of tools that permit regular people access to potential audiences of shared interest.”

Both of these are important part of a company’s public image strategy, and each plays an important role. Brogan stresses that marketing is used primarily to influence consumers, whereas social media provides a forum for consumers to give and receive feedback.

But what about that middle area where the two overlap? While it’s easy to define some things as either social media or conventional marketing, there seems to be a gray area as well. With that said, what is acceptable marketing for social media platforms?

Much like social media provides a platform for people to find one another, it also provides a platform for marketers to find consumers. Of course, most people don’t join Twitter to be sold to, but if company’s social media specialists are effective, they understand this. It has been demonstrated that people will follow corporations if it proves to be beneficial. That is, if the company provides significant value, whether it be through improved customer service or online only specials, people will pay attention.

A good example is @pizzahut. Utilizing Twitter to their full advantage, Pizza Hut uses its corporate account to inform more than 21,000 followers of specials and promotions, as well as directly address customer dissatisfaction. Business sense says that a redressing of grievances is good for placating unhappy customers. Plus letting followers know about specials is an effective nudge towards some of them opting for pizza tonight.

Another good example is Chipotle. With a Facebook following of more than 500,000 followers, the burrito chain has mastered the art of marketing using social channels. They allow fans to post to their wall, start discussions and share their experiences. While it’s not marketing in the conventional sense, I dare you to read that page and not crave a Chipotle burrito.  It’s extremely subtle, yet incredibly effective. Constantly updated, with rapid feedback from the company, this is how other companies should approach social media.

In summation, all marketing is a conversation. Whereas traditional marketing is a one-way conversation, social media is a round-table discussion with potentially millions of participants. As such, it’s oftentimes necessary to completely rethink marketing strategies when utilizing these platforms. On the other hand, there is definitely something to be said for conventional strategies. Each has their place, but that’s not to say they can’t overlap. The best strategy: keep an open mind. Keep an eye on what other companies are doing, and note their successes and failures.  And above all, don’t be afraid to experiment. This entire approach to marketing is so new, not even the so-called experts know how things will shape up. All any of us can do is offer our best guess.

The negative side of social media

In case you’re not a sports fan, there was  a well-publicized fight between members of the football and basketball team yesterday at my alma mater, the University of Kansas. Not surprisingly, the national media, and especially fans of our rival schools, had a field day with this. An area of particular focus was the Facebook status updates of sophomore point guard Tyshawn Taylor.

Tyshawn Taylor

Unfortunately, this young man neglected to consider the consequences of his social media interactions.

I really can’t break down the situation any better than my friend Bear Goodell did on his blog, so I’ll let you read it directly from him.

That’s about right

Socialven

I stole this from my good friends at Feasting on Life