What Interests You? Facebook’s New Interest Lists

The Wall, The Newsfeed, The Ticker, The Timeline.  Facebook is constantly updating, changing, and making things “better”.  Well, different, anyway.

Their newest “addition” is called “Interest Lists”, and they are a “whole new way to keep up with stuff you care about and tidy up your experience on Facebook.”

Now, you have been able to organize your contacts into lists for some time, and you can control what gets shared with which list.  But this is different.  This is going to affect how we consume information, not contribute.

Facebook Interest Lists allow you to group content by category, for easier viewing.  Interest lists can contain both People and Pages, and can be created by anyone, for any topic.  Facebook feels that this will create a better flow of information and allow us to see the content that is most important to us.

But, what does it do for my brand?

Great question, and at this point there is no clear answer.  It is a great way for you to create lists around your business, and for people to look at your business as a thought leader.  Check out this example list, by Jon Loomer, called Facebook Marketing.

This could also help your EdgeRank score, as long as you are generating engaging content (if appropriate, make sure to include your company on the list).  After creating the list, make sure to share it with your friends and followers.  And, of course, make sure the list is public so that others will find it should they search on the topic your using.

But, the major downside to creating and using these new Interest Lists, is the fact that when a brand or person is put on a list, they are not notified.  There is no way to tell if you are on one right now.  In addition, if someone subscribes to a list that your business is on, they would have no reason to visit your Facebook Page to “Like” you for updates.  The updates appear right within the “Interest List”.  The other side of this is that your status updates may be seen by more people that have never heard of you before, thereby increasing your reach.

Why create these lists? 

Facebook will have you believe that these lists will streamline and enhance your Facebook experience.  After all, you will see only the information that “interests” you.  I’m just not so sure.  As of now, I get most of my news from friends and family from my newsfeed.  In addition, that is where I follow brands that I am interested in and enjoy connecting with.  I don’t want to go through the trouble of switching between the news feed and the interest lists.  It’s not convenient, and I may miss something that is important.

So, what is your take on these new Interest Lists?  Will you use them?  Will you create any?

Author:

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.

Sources:

“Social and Mobile are Eating the World” – Inbound Marketing Summit 2012

It was with that quote that Inbound Marketing Summit NYC began, on a crisp, clear February day.  Inbound Marketing Summit, or IMS, is a 2 day conference, combining digital, social, and mobile marketing, and it made its first foray into NYC with this year’s conference.  Unfortunately, I was only able to attend Day 1 of this incredible conference, but wanted to bring you my thoughts on it.

With speakers ranging from Chris Brogan, Laura Fitton, Trip Kucera, and Barry Libert, we were provided with cutting-edge content and real world case studies from some great companies, including Nike and Alure Home Improvements.

The morning began with a keynote speech from Barry Libert, Founder of OpenMatters, where he discussed how Nike has radically changed their marketing strategy, and is going where the customers are – social and mobile.  It was eye opening, when Libert spoke about degrees of separation, and how just one degree of separation could equal 11,000 people!

This led right into Trip Kucera’s talk about the hidden sales cycle, and how companies are using social media for demand generation.  Kucera is a senior research analyst with The Aberdeen Group, and discussed how the best-in-class companies are integrating social media with existing channels, and how they are much more likely to be listening to their customers than the average businesses.

In addition to case studies of some of the biggest companies, we learned the 7 Rules for Content Marketing from Allen Bonde, CMO of The Pulse Network (the IMS Sponsor).  These rules include:

  1. Teach – Make content educational.  Think in episodes;
  2. Tap experts – Use thought leaders, whether from your community or not;
  3. Totally easy – make it dead simple to subscribe to the content, to share it, and to contribute to it;
  4. Translate – Repurpose each piece of content;
  5. Takeaway – make sure there is a clear message and clear call to action;
  6. Track – analyze how users consume, and share your content, and encourage link building; and
  7. Think Transmedia – bridge the on-line and off-line worlds.

There were also panels on Email Marketing, which included panelists from Constant Contact, Sprinklr, and The Pulse Network.  But the highlight for me was the appearance of Chris Brogan, whose afternoon keynote, Cultivating Visibility: How to Amplify the Human Digital Channel made every great speaker even better.

I will admit, Chris Brogan is an idol.  He is one of the idols I was talking about (although not mentioned by name) in my article, Our Idols are Only People.  I have read just about everything he has written, and am a long-time subscriber to his blog, and he brought that same brand of irreverence to the IMS.  We got to listen to him speak about how we need to make our customers the hero, and we do this by sharing their stories, since they really don’t care about us.  We learned that we need to cultivate visibility, since attention is currency in this new medium.  And by cultivating visibility, we earn leverage with our supporters.

Finally, he synthesized what had been said all day, that we must reach people where they are.

To me, IMS was a great success, and I look forward to next year, when they promise that it will be bigger and better!
Did you get an opportunity to visit the Inbound Marketing Summit?  What did you think?  Who were your favorites?  What could have been done better?

Author:

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.

Resources:

Timeline for Pages – It’s Happening!

I’m not happy.  I thought I would get that out of the way.

Facebook, on February 29, 2012, introduced us (as was expected) to the new pages format.  They have recreated the Timeline feature, that was not well received, on our Business Pages.  It’s happening, and there is nothing we can do about it.

New Facebook Timeline – EsquireTech Solutions    

Old Facebook Page – EsquireTech Solutions

So, what does this mean for us, the small business owner?  First, here are some of the negatives:

  1. Default landing tabs are gone.  That’s right.  All that hard work creating your beautiful landing tab is wasted.  They are still there, within the Application slider, but you can no longer set your fans to visit that first.  Although they do show as an app (see below), so people can click on them.
    1. Research has shown that custom landing tabs increase engagement by allowing an immediate call to action.  This function is now lost.
    2. The page is now organized similar to personal Timelines.  Your Photos, Likes and Apps are located at the top of the page.  Photos will always show in the first spot, but you can change the order of everything else, allowing you to decide what is to be seen.  However, you can only show a maximum of 12 apps, so be careful in your choices.
    3. We can now use the greater “Cover Photo” real estate to showcase our company or product.  But wait, the following is not permitted:
      1. Price or purchase information;
      2. Contact information that should be within the “About” section;
      3. References to Facebook elements, such as “Like” or “Share”; and
      4. Any calls to action.

What do I like about it?

  1. The ability to pin your favorite post to the top of the page.  Just click on the pencil icon, and you can pin the post (or delete it altogether).
  2. The ability to message fans directly.  That’s right, you can initiate private conversations with your fans, and those messages will appear right within your admin panel.
  3. The ability to go back, through the Timeline, and add events or milestones to your company’s history.
  4. Can upload pictures to use for your featured apps, enabling you to turn them into dedicated calls-to-action.

As I said at the beginning, I’m really not happy about these changes.  And, I’m not sure how things will change over the next 30 days (the new format is opt-in until March 30, 2012), so things may very well change between now and then.  I’m also not sure how companies that built their business, and reputation, on Facebook Landing pages will handle this.  It will be interesting to see how companies like Lujure, Tabsite, Pagemodo, and others will adjust to this new reality.

To help us cope with this change, Facebook has set up a complete video tutorial, which can be accessed here:  http://www.learnfacebookpages.com/.

Let me know what you think of the changes.  Do you agree with me?  Have you already changed your page over?

Author:

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.

Sources:

Direct Mail is Dead. Long Live Direct Mail

As you all know by now I am a major proponent of social marketing, and actually run a business that depends on it.

To stay abreast of all the latest information and social media sites, I read every book and attend just about every webinar around.  I have participated in two separate summits offered by Social Media Examiner, one on Facebook and one on Social Media.  For anyone that hasn’t attended one of their summits, it is a series of on-line seminars offered two days a week over several weeks, and features some of the greatest names in social media, including Jason Falls, Chris Brogan, Scott Monty, and Mari Smith.  So, when Social Media Success Summit 2012 was announced, I gave serious thought to attending.  But my schedule really wouldn’t allow me the opportunity to attend all the sessions live, so I passed.

Every e-mail I receive from Social Media Examiner has a reference to the summit, and I have received several targeted e-mails from them specifically talking about their latest summit.

So imagine my surprise when I received a direct mail postcard, offering me (as a past attendee) the opportunity to save 67% on their newest summit “if I ACT NOW”.

Wow.  A social media powerhouse has sent me a direct mail piece telling me to “act now”.  I couldn’t believe it.  But, there it was, plain as day.  An advertisement, sent through the U.S Mail, for a virtual social media conference.

Does this throw everything I have learned (much of it from Social Media Examiner) about social media out the window?  Does this mean social media really doesn’t work?

Deep breath.  Count to 10.

So, what does it mean that one of the biggest social media companies is resorting to direct mail?  Simply that social media is not the be-all and end-all of marketing.  It means that any good marketing plan MUST include a mix on on-line and traditional marketing.  It means that you need to reach yor clientele any way you can.

It means that direct mail is not dead.  It means that there may be other ways to reach your audience.

Before beginning any marketing plan, whether it’s social media or traditional, you need to evaluate the best ways to reach your customers.  You need to ask yourself, who your audience is, what you know about how they receive their marketing information, and whether they are a demographic that spends a large percentage of time online or are they more likely to be receptive to print advertising.  And you need to understand that you should never put “all your eggs in one basket” to get your customers to “act now”.

What methods do you use to reach your audience?  Have you been successful with social marketing?  Traditional marketing?  Both?  Let me know.

Author:

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.

Resources:

Foursquare: The Loyalty Program You’re Not Using

There has been a lot of discussions lately about Pinterest and its meteoric rise to fame, Facebook and the Timeline, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  But, no-one ever talks about Foursquare, and how it could be used for your business.

Case in point:  I presented to a networking group on Facebook pages recently, and at the end, after everyone had left, the owner of the restaurant approached me, complimented me on the presentation, and proceeded to ask how I could help him.  We spoke of Facebook (he isn’t there), we spoke of Twitter (he isn’t there), we spoke of mobile text marketing (not for him?), and we spoke of Foursquare.

But it was his response to my Foursquare questions that got me thinking.  When I mentioned it, his immediate response was, “I tried it, and it doesn’t work.”  My initial response was one of astonishment.  Really.  It doesn’t work.  This surprised me.  It surprised me for the following reasons:

  1. There are over 10 million users
  2. Checking in at local businesses over 4.7 million times
  3. No cost-of-entry for the loyalty program

So, I continued the conversation by asking basic questions regarding his use of Foursquare, including how he advertised it (a sign on the door), what he offered his clients for checking-in and being the Mayor (nothing).

So, it didn’t work because there was no reason for it to work.  There was no incentive.  There was no offer.  He didn’t give any of his already loyal customers a reason to share that they were there.  And, after all, isn’t that the reason we want them checking in?  To share with their friends where they are eating?  To share their experience?

So, let’s re-evaluate his Foursquare efforts, and actually use it as a loyalty program:

  1. Every check-in gets a free soda
  2. Every 5 check-in’s gets $5.00 off their bill
  3. The mayor gets a free appetizer

But, in order for this program to be very effective, it needs to be coupled with other advertising.  A Facebook page needs to remind people to check-in.  Their current print-ads need to remind their customers that there are offers available on Foursquare.  A sign on the door needs to remind people to check-in.  No marketing can occur in a vacuum.

And, I know that it works.  I know it works because I go out of my way to visit the Yogurt Crazy 10 miles from my home, simply because they offer me a $5.00 discount after 5 check-ins.

And because American Express gave me $10.00 off my bill at a local hamburger restaurant.

Have you used Foursquare as a loyalty program?  How has it worked for you?  Let me know in the comments.

Author:

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.

Sources:

Picture courtesy of Foursquare

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers

%d bloggers like this: