Friday, February 27, 2009

Understanding Your Personal Brand

This isn’t a subject I often write about. It’s interesting and important, but there are people like Mitch Joel who are much better at it. In this difficult economic age, many of us ought to be following this important topic.

A few days ago, however, my friend Linda Netherton sent me a link that I couldn’t resist--thanks, Linda! It's fun and interesting and I want to pass on to you. It's an Online Identity Calculator. Not surprisingly, it’s a tool developed by consultants who have written a book and do training on the subject of building your personal brand. You'll get a polite email from them, but the results of the calculator are worth it.

The calculation takes only a few steps and the result is fun. I’m not showing you mine, because I’m all over the web as a result of books, so I’m going to get a high score by definition. What’s funny is that there’s a Stanford historian named Mary Louise Roberts who is active also, so you can well imagine that our name search results get all mixed up. Point is that you need to keep an eye on these things.

So try the calculator, see how you score, and see if it meets your stated goal. If not, what should you be doing to bring your score into the quadrant where you want it?

It’s important to pay attention to the advice of the experts, to keep an eye on what’s being said about you with Google Alerts, and to manage your personal brand as you would your corporate brand!

That’s good advice any time. It’s even better advice when the economy is putting so many jobs in jeopardy!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Monitoring for Monetization

There are two common themes in most writing about marketer use of social media:

1. It’s difficult to monetize
2. Managers are afraid to trust their brands to the social media environment.

Glam Media has come up with a creative way of monetizing, in this case a widget, by developing an environment that managers would find comfortable. Here’s the widget and here’s what the Venture Beat blog said about it

Glam’s entertainment editors decide which users are allowed to tweet in the stream and culls those who post what it feels are inappropriate comments. This way, Glam says, advertisers can get comfortable with the conversation. As a result, Glam has been able to sell sponsorship of the Oscars widget to Aveeno, a woman’s beauty brand (see its branding [below] on widget).

There was, and still is, a lot of activity around the Oscars on the Glam Entertainment page. If you couldn’t get a ticket to the Oscars, and didn’t want to sit home in front the the TV and Tweet, you could attend an advocacy event sponsored by Leeza Gibbons, Olivia Newton-John and others, promoted by a video on the Entertainment page. The purpose was to encourage philanthrophy, apparently not to support a specific cause. It seems to have been a great success; all the tickets were sold and it looks like a great party! In the promotional video on the Glam site Leeze Gibbons thanks Aveno for helping with the event, so they obviously got a sponsorship package with the widget being one part.

Glam is a fascinating site, highly engaging to young women. If you stop to think about it, they’ve essentially created multiple channels for reaching their target audience in the context of a multichannel site, their print publications, and offline events like the one on Oscar night.

But back to my original point. We have to create safe social media environments in which marketers can comfortably engage participants with their brands. Monitoring is a solution that seems to have worked in this case. I looked around a little, and I didn’t see any complaints about not being permitted to Tweet or having a Tweet not published. The registration is now disabled, but I’m willing to bet there were terms of use that set clear expectations when viewers attempted to register on the widget.

All in all, it looks like a successful experiment. I’m not sure whether it can be precisely replicated in other contexts, but it certainly provides social media food for thought!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Identifying and Measuring Social Media Behaviors--Part 2

As I suggested yesterday, I’ve been struggling to organize the chaotic world of social media metrics into a comprehensible framework. While working on this I ran across thought-provoking material from comScore.

The report, “How Online Advertising Works: Wither the Click” is the result of a controlled study of exposure to online display advertising. Among other interesting findings, it makes the point that there is a long-time lift in website traffic from exposure that is not measured by mere click-through. What’s even more fascinating is that they found a smaller lift in traffic to competitor sites. When you stop to think about it though, isn’t that what shopping is all about? Do you necessarily buy in the first store you go into?

A follow-on post by comScore CEO Gian Fulgoni considers question of whether advertisers should buy ads on a CPM or a CPA basics. The answer continues to be “it depends” and it has implications for both publishers and advertisers.

This was all lead-up to preparing a presentation on social media metrics for my class tonight. I’ve got a start on a framework and some examples. There’s undoubtedly a lot more in both areas, but it’s only a 2-hour class!

Seriously, I've uploaded the presentation to Slideshare (you may need the new version of the Flash player) and I’d love your feedback. Do you think I’m on the right track? What would you add? delete? Do you have other great DIY sources for social media metrics?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Identifying and Measuring Social Media Behaviors - Part 1

One of my students just linked to Rick Liebling’s “Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements” post on our class blog. Thanks, Scott! That adds another perspective to Overdrive Marketing’s Social Media Map, Brian Solis's Conversation Tools, about which I've written before, and Robert Scoble’s Social Media Starfish, which I use in the social media course. They’re all useful to those of us trying to keep track of the social media landscape.

Look up periodic table in Wikipedia if you need to—I did. However, I was especially interested in the list of social media behaviors:

Sh = Share
Mt = Monitor
Fr = Friend
Cv = Converse
Cu = Customize
Li = Listen
En = Engage
Di = Dialogue

I tried to do the same thing recently with both a premise and a context in mind. The rather simple-minded premise is that marketers are using social media in order to get people to do something, either in the social medium itself or by driving them to the business’s website. I say that having seen the many studies that show that marketers believe they are using social media for branding purposes. I don’t deny the usefulness of social media in branding. However, the context is one in which there are multiple types of marketing/branding effort--both online and offline, both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 efforts.

Again, a simple-minded argument. Corporate (or non-profit) social media programs should be measured only in terms of behaviors that can be directly traced to the program. Using marketing research to try to tease out the effects of online/offline, 1.0/2.0 may be necessary from time to time at the corporate marketing level, but it makes no sense try to measure the branding effects of single social media efforts. It costs too much and by the time results become available the world has moved on.

That perspective makes it possible to separate behaviors that take place in the social ecosphere from those that take place after the person has reached the website. This is my list, similar to Rick Liebling’s, but not quite the same:

Behaviors in the social ecosphere:
Number of visits, impressions (eyeball measures)
Friends, fans, favs (followers of all kinds)
Install apps (widgets, etc.) offered
Click through to website
Pages: how much time spent, “heat maps” for content, etc.
Video: watched, partly/completely
Share content
Promote content (Digg, Reddit, etc.)
Number of incoming links

Behaviors on the website
Number of referrals from social media sites
Register for site services
Download—white papers, videos, podcasts, etc.
Rate products
Other content cocreation (photos, videos, written content, etc.)

All the behaviors on the website have the usual metrics problem of multiple visits and the necessity for behavioral tracking to determine, for each conversion, whether the initial referral was from a social media site. That takes some effort, but it’s actually much easier than it was in the world of mass media.

And that’s where I was going with all of this. I’ve been trying to organize the complexity of social media metrics into some sort of coherent framework for my students. I’ll share that effort with you tomorrow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

McKinsey on Web 2.0 Success

For a long time I’ve worked with McKinsey consultants on a non-profit board. I admire their work and I admire the content of the McKinsey Quarterly. When I first started reading it, you

either had to be a customer or to know someone in order to get access to it. It has interested me to watch as they moved onto the web and gradually made more valuable content available there. I get their emails so I don’t miss anything.

Several days ago I got a newsletter and was immediately attracted to “Six Ways to Make Web 2.0 Work.” The article is a summary of what they’ve learned from numerous surveys of middle and top level managers who are finding their way into the Web 2.0 economy. They make six main points about how to make Web 2.0 initiatives work in your organization and, in the article itself, they give examples of each. They are worth reading. Here are the six rules for success:

1. The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top.
2. The best uses come from users—but they require help to scale.
3. What’s in the workflow is what gets used.

4. Appeal to the participants’ egos and needs—not just their wallets.
5. The right solution comes from the right participants.

6. Balance the top-down and self-management of risk.

Their focus is mostly on internal and B2B uses in this article, although the admonitions fit B2C environments as well. The B2B evolution from automation to collaboration is highlighted in this chart. The focus is on workflow and improving productivity, and that’s very important.

What’s also fun to watch is that McKinsey is following the advice it gives. The next day I got another email from McKinsey. It encouraged me to participate in their Web 2.0 initiatives. As I’ve often pointed out, Web 2.0 initiatives are not “build it and they will come.” They have to be nurtured and promoted, both of which take effort from employees.

They also understand the importance of using multiple channels and making their content visible. When you go to the site to read the article, notice a widget you can download to put McKinsey headlines onto your website or blog. That not only provides additional fresh content to your visitors, it allies you with a respected brand. What’s not to like?

Look again at the six success factors above. They are all management—not technological—factors. In fact, the article makes the point that Web 2.0 tools often represent “a relatively high overlay” in terms of technological investment.

This article represents yet another call for managers to encourage strategic Web 2.0 initiatives and to manage in ways that offer opportunities for success. Without management commitment, Web 2.0 initiatives are doomed to failure!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Want To Go To Mardi Gras?

Earlier in the week I saw Tom Martin’s column in Ad Age. He invited everyone to join his Tweet stream from New Orleans over the last great Mardi Gras weekend leading up to Fat Tuesday. Too good to ignore, right?
I read through the comments where people were asking him if he was up to something besides a boozy weekend. The answer is obviously that he is, but he won’t say what until it’s over. According to the profile on his blog Tom is currently the president of Zender Communications in New Orleans, so I think we can safely assume it’s something advertising related.
He started Twittering early this morning and he’s busy already. You can follow along if you like.

And therein is the point, for now at least. I’ve resisted setting up a Twitter account, thinking “do I really need this?” Well, if I wanted to follow Tom and see what he’s up to I had to 1) establish a Twitter account and 2) find Tom and follow him. Right now he has about 1,400 followers, over 700 of whom are following at the moment. I didn’t start soon enough to see how many followers he’s added since his Ad Age article on Tuesday, but I’ll bet it’s substantial and that he’ll add more over the weekend. I did find out that my daughter was online while I was doing this; nice to know what she’s up to!

If you’re a teenager or young adult who just wants to keep up with friends, you’re probably not reading this anyway. If you are a marketing professional who, like me, is trying to figure out this stuff, why don’t you get a Twitter account and follow along? Once you set up a Twitter page and follow Tom, you’ll get his Tweets. If you want his pics of the big event, follow him here.

You won’t really learn any other way—and if you aren’t already on Twitter, like me, you can’t learn any sooner than if you start now!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Now It's a Twestival!

Marketing Charts had a good summary yesterday of the recent Pew Report on Twitter use (get the full report here). Marketing Charts says it’s 10% of adult Internet users and Pew says 11% of them use Twitter or a similar update source. A little rounding error between marketers is not significant—Twitter has become a phenomenon.

So I was interested when C.C. Chapman used my Facebook page to invite me to a Twestival last week. I’ve been watching from afar; it seems to be the first Twitter effort of this kind in support of the non-profit Charity:Water.

This is a personal timeline:

• I saw C. C. Chapman’s post on my Facebook page via his Feed on or about February 10. It was interesting and unusual, so I clicked through to the Boston page.
• I checked out the main site. At that time, it was inviting people to the event. It has since been updated with results.
• I found out that David Karp from First Giving was going to use it as a case history in my social media class last night. He did a great job and the students were intrigued by this application of a tool that, interestingly, few of them use. (Wonder if that’s changed since last night. . .)

• When I opened my email this morning, there was a message from Scott Harrison of Charity:Water. The content was a report on a particular well project; he does a great job of bringing home the value of contributions to his charity. He had a thank-you and update on the Twestival at the bottom.
• According to what I see there were 199 cities besides Boston that held Twestivals on February 12. That’s reach!

The people I know who were involved are part of the social media community, as I’m sure are many I don’t know. They are connected; they communicate. If you take a look at the Twestival site, you’ll see that they also know how to build a website to support this kind of global activity.
This is all food for thought. The word spread on the Internet; people attended live events around the world; Charity:Water raised at least a quarter of a million dollars. This was done with a lot of volunteer effort and some corporate sponsorship.

It used multiple social media channels (including eBay—see the Auction button; is that social?); it engaged a lot of people who actively communicate.

Probably few organizations—either non-profit or for-profit—can entirely replicate this. But they can look and learn. And one important thing to keep reminding ourselves is that no one channel reaches everyone these days. Neither does random effort. It takes a lot of work, a lot of expertise to pull off something like the first Twestival. And it helps if you have a huge network of contacts!

So go forth, and keep building your networks!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Customer Retention Communities

Social networks offer a great way to reach out in an attempt to acquire new customers. Meaningful social networks also offer an avenue to create bonds with customers that lead to retention. Peppers and Rogers recently published a good white paper on the subject (download here). I was initially struck by this chart which gives an excellent set of reasons about why social initiatives fail. Their reasons are worth serious consideration.When I reread the report, I realized they had several good examples of using social media to deepen customer relationships. They mentioned Fiskars and the scrapbooking community they had set up around a group of paid brand advocates. I have reservations about paying for social community participation, so I decided to check it out. I found a number of approaches worth thinking about.

First, their home page. This manufacturer of high quality hand tools clearly understands its market segments. They have a site for each segment, and once you’re there, you’re there. It’s actually a bit hard to get out of one and into another, but that’s a marketer’s perspective, not a customer’s. On the scrapbooking site I checked out the link for the Fiskateers and found that they are actively and pointedly recruiting customers to act as advocates. Ok, they are transparent about it, and, according to Peppers and Rogers, their visibility has gone way up, so it appears to be working. Transparency rules!

But I’m a gardener, and that’s the part of the site that interested me. What I found is a site built around Project Orange Thumb; I don’t understand why the thumb is orange but it’s an impressive grant program that supports community gardeners. What is even more impressive is the interconnected community they’ve built up around the project. There are events and a whole series of community blogs. There are “friends,” all of whom are master gardeners and likely paid for their willingness to connect their own sites to and in some cases to provide content for Fiskars. The community gardeners are passionate enthusiasts that Fiskars has gathered around their brand with a grant program that is not only clever marketing, it’s an example of a corporation doing good in the community. Explore for yourself, keeping in mind the word “interconnected.”

Oh, by the way, there’s a product page on each site. When you get there, it’s hardly an afterthought. There are detailed product descriptions, and I think I may need a couple of items for my summer garden. What I’m most impressed with, however, is the way the site puts the emphasis on the community activities. There are no blatant sales pitches.

I should probably point out that Fiskars is known as a superior brand—tools that last a lifetime. Could they do this with a brand of mediocre to poor quality? I very much doubt it.

That in no way detracts from the fact that Fiskars has a social media strategy—Peppers and Rogers’ first issue. It’s a strategy built on understanding of the interests and passions of distinct market segments. Their social media strategy supports those interests and activities; it doesn’t push product.

Fiskars has a traditional marketing strategy in traditional media. They sponsor gardening shows on TV, they advertise in gardening magazines and they have an effective distribution strategy that reaches specialty retailers. And they clearly get it in terms of the difference between traditional and social marketing.

That’s a growing proposition!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Video - The Beat Goes On!

Every time I ask a group who has recently watched television programming on the web, I get a substantial show of hands. A lot of them are thirty-somethings, so I don’t find it too surprising. I was, however, a bit surprised when I saw the headline in the WSJ Online recently saying that older viewers were being attracted to Hulu—long form video, especially entertainment programming. It turns out that “older” is 25-44 instead of the more traditional 18-24 video demographic, but it does point to a slightly different audience for time shifting by watching television programming on the Internet. Here’s a glimpse of today’s most popular on Hulu; it’s an interesting mix of program episodes and SNL snippets.
The growing power of online video is highlighted in ComScore’s December 2008 video report as published by Internet Retailer:

• 78.5% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
• The average online video viewer watched 309 minutes of video, or more than 5 hours.

• 48.7 million viewers watched 367 million videos on (7.6 videos per viewer).

• The duration of the average online video was 3.2 minutes.

• The duration of the average online video viewed at Hulu was 10.1 minutes, higher than any other video property in the top ten.

The networks post their own videos and Marketing Charts recently reported the online stats for top programs. Almost 1.5 million unique viewers for Lost—amazing!

I’m still chewing on the “older” part of the WSJ headline, so I looked at Quantcast. The demos for Hulu are fascinating. The 50+ boomer group is represented, but the 12-17 virtually not at all. Jeremiah Owyang, who tracks the social media activity of the boomers, has often repeated that while they do consume social media content, most do not create it. That makes it easy for social media marketers to miss the activities of boomers on their platforms, so care should be taken.

Back to long-form video sites; who can you reach? Profitable, “older” demographics seems to be the answer.

The even more provocative question is the one asked in the WSJ article. Does this represent the real convergence of the television and Internet channels? If so, what are the implications? More “made for the Internet” programming, perhaps with emphasis on audiences that are slightly older than the general “YouTuber?” A long, slow downhill slide for television, as it continues to lose desirable eyeballs to the Internet?
Or have we not seen the full implications yet? Stay tuned to your favorite Internet video channel to find out!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Conversation Tools

A former student sent me this graphic from Brian Solis; thanks, Arun! It was originally posted on Flickr last fall; it was recently honored as one of the best search marketing posts of the year. It is reminiscent of the Overdrive Social Media Map that I posted earlier. It is, however, more narrowly focused and represents another useful framework for organizing social media.

The point of the Conversation Prizm is to, first, listen and then to embark upon a conversation with your target audience. Sound familiar? That’s the approach I was pushing in the conversational marketing seminar back in November.
The list of tools keeps growing all the time, and thanks are due to the people who try to keep us abreast of what exists.

That should allow us, the users, to spend our time concentrating on how to integrate social media into our marketing/marketing communications strategies in an effective way!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Women of a Certain Age on Facebook

You may have noticed the story on Marketing Charts yesterday about the rapid increase in the number of women 55 and over on Facebook. The stats come from Inside Facebook, a site you should track if you are interested in marketing on Facebook. They are consistent with more general stats from eMarketer (February 9, 2009) that show rapid growth for a broad “adult” demographic.

If any of us had any doubt that social media are not just for the kids, this should put those doubts to rest. My question was why women over 55 are rushing to Facebook. I don’t find any clear answers to that question, although I did find a commenter on one blog post that pointed out that it’s easier to use than MySpace. I’ve argued all along that Facebook is a somewhat more civil environment than MySpace, one in which older consumers may feel more comfortable. Perhaps both are true, but that doesn’t give a solid answer to the question.

I wondered if the predominance of women over men on Facebook was a hint. Women outnumber men in every age category—that’s interesting. Is it the ability to communicate easily on Facebook that draws women? I think so. Is it the fact that men have sports networks to occupy their time? There may be something to that also, but women have special interest networks—health, family-oriented etc.-- other than Facebook too.

A very few marketers are beginning to see ways to take advantage of the presence of women and their predisposition to communicate. A good example is Dove’s Pay Beauty Forward app. Basically it allows a user to send an e-flower to another Facebook user. Note that for each e-flower Dove contributes a dollar to its Self-Esteem Fund. That’s a nice touch, and it ties this marketing effort back to the long-running and highly successful “Real Beauty” campaign. It is all nicely integrated and that may be part of the reason 12,726 e-flowers have been sent since the app launched last year. I imagine you’ll have to be signed into Facebook to explore the program, but it’s worth the effort. Be sure to see the "what is pay beauty forward" screen; it's hard to link to.

Ok, so women of all age groups are on Facebook. Can you use it to reach your target audience? Use Facebook’s targeting tool to find out.

But that’s not the biggest challenge. Can you come up with an app that engages and provides value to your target audience? And, oh yes, it has to support your brand promise! Notice that I’m not defining customer value here; there are a range of possibilities from entertainment to philanthropy to communication. The challenge—both strategic and creative—is to come up with something appealing and to execute it in a way that’s at home in the Facebook environment and attracts your target audience.

Most of us are not very far along that road. How to increase our understanding? “Participate on Facebook and/or other social networks” is the answer I keep giving. That’s the “listen first” rule.

With a certain level of understanding, you then may want to talk to members of your target audience about how they are using social networks. Does anyone know of a marketer who is using a social network to talk to customers about how they use the network?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The One with the Twitterview

Writing in Ad Age last week, Pete Blackshaw reported on his first “Twitterview.” The content was fascinating; I’ve reproduced one segment below in case it has gone subscription-only by the time you read this. Can you believe the federal government, aka HHS, is replying to concerns about peanut butter and salmonella via Twitter? That responsiveness alone is grounds for total shock.

How it came about is also interesting. Pete Blackshaw wrote a post on his blog in January suggesting that the government should use social media to respond to the entirely valid concerns of citizens about the outbreak. According to Blackshaw, “Shortly thereafter, some ostensibly random dude named Andrew P. Wilson pinged me on Twitter with a heads-up that the Department of Health and Human Services is making headway on that very issue. Not only that, he said that on that very day, HHS started a social-media team.”
Then he goes on to report the Twitterview he conducted with Wilson a few days later. Here’s a snippet. He has another piece of the interview on a succeeding blog post, so you can get the idea. (Note that on that post there’s also a good chart on brand credibility, which ties into yesterday’s post.)

This is clearly a new subject—Twitterview, I mean. Even Google didn’t recognize it; kept asking me if I was looking for “twitter view.” But in spite of that, I found an interesting post from Dennis Stevenson who conducted his first Twitterview back in the summer. His process was interesting. He wanted to interview an artist about creativity. He sent out a tweet to his network; he knew some artists were members. One replied in short order, they set up the parameters of the interview by email and phone, and the interview was conducted and transcribed. There are lots of links on the blog post if you want to follow in more detail.

However, the basic point is clear. Andrew P. Wilson was following something that uncovered Pete Blackshaw’s blog post—a Google Alert on some key words perhaps? I’d like to have learned more, but the one dead end I ran into was looking for Wilson’s personal blog. Searching by blog owner is pretty unproductive, unfortunately. But Blackshaw blogged, Wilson was alerted to his interest in social media in government, got in touch, and the rest is Twitterview history.

Stevenson’s process was different. He looked within his own Twitter network for someone to interview on a particular subject. He got together with an appropriate person and communicated via Twitter.

So this is another productivity tool—a useful interview without travel, conducted on a free platform. It may not be appropriate in all circumstances but it looks like it could be useful in many cases.

Does it also bring up a broader issue? What other existing platforms can we—we being primarily business people—use to create new productivity tools? Creativity in the use of existing platforms—and perhaps the creation of new ones—is in order. Watch for--and share--bulletins from that front!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Can Your Corporate Blog be Trusted?

Because it represents your brand, your business blog needs to be trustworthy. A widely-quoted report by Forrester puts corporate blogs far down on the trustworthiness scale; (download the Forrester report here). I’ve written about creating a trusted corporate blog previously, but a new article on Marketing Profs makes it worth returning to. It’s a subscriber-only article; let me give you a quick summary.

According to Kimberly Smith, writing for Marketing Profs:
• Provide real value for your readers
• Be transparent to a fault
• Be direct and write in an engaging, personal style
• Welcome reader involvement. That requires moderation and a policy to guide it; I’ve written about that before also.
• Make it clear that it is an official corporate blog and what the policies are.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that many blogs that appear to be “corporate” are actually personal blogs and have the required disclaimers. Which is the right approach for your company? Or should you encourage a mix of “official corporate” blogs and personal blogs from corporate executives? Both, in fact, have value.

If you are pondering these issues, you might want to invest in Marketing Profs Smart Tools: Blog Marketing publication. It gives some step-by-step guidance that could be helpful. I’d suggest that the first recommendation is the most important; “Define blog objectives and profile your blog’s target audience.”

Your corporate blog is a communications tool, and it must be planned and managed like one. You have to build trust in the information it provides, just like you’ve worked to build trust in your brand.

But I keep asking—can you afford not to communicate with your customers? to communicate directly and without filters and artifice? That’s the way the world is moving. More important, I’m willing to bet that it’s the way the expectations of your customers are evolving. If you doubt that, ask them!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Facebook, Advertising and Revenue

You may have read the article in Ad Age on Tuesday that talked about Facebook’s continuing quest for ad revenue. It touted a number of types of “engagement” ads. I decided to do an inventory of my own page, groups, etc. to see what I could find.

First, I simply looked at Facebook’s advertising page. All that is offered on the public self-service page is Facebook Ads, small text or image ads with targeting options. There’s an interesting feature though—you can add “social actions” to your ad. That brings it into the social sphere, but I’m not sure how the URL of the DIY blog connected to Meredith or the Dave Matthews band, neither of whom I have any known connection with. Nor do I know how this aspect of the ad would change over time. But it is social!

Events. Because of the nature of my Facebook Friends, I get event invitations all the time. An interesting one is from C.C. Chapman who is drawing attention to a Charity:Water event. It’s a Twestival; if you can’t figure that one out, visit the website. When you do, notice that there’s a Connect to Facebook app on the Twestival page. Good connectivity.

Become a fan. I don’t do much of this, but it’s obvious why products, services, organizations, etc. would want you to become a fan so they can communicate with you, right?

Comment on a video
. I didn’t really expect any videos with comments on my page; it’s just not the sort of thing I do. However, I checked my inbox and found that Sheldon Muddle, who has a site called Carib Life Central, had sent me a message about a video, on which I can comment. Check it out, but be sure your volume is down low.

Send virtual gifts. I don’t do this either, but it was pretty easy to find. Interestingly enough, it was the first fee-based service I found. At $1 per 100 credits, it doesn’t look as if Facebook is going to get rich on this app fast.

Poll within ad. Career Builder, as part of its Super Bowl program, invited viewers to vote on who would win the game and see the results on Facebook. The Cheezhead blog does a good job of explaining the process and points out that Facebook could make this one self-service if it becomes popular.

That’s Ad Age’s list of the “engagement ads.” I found another example or different type, I don’t know which, on my own—not very active—page that I would add to the list. It’s the Sponsored ad by Dell which encourages me to Wiggle into Social Media by “fanning” Dell’s Social Media for Small Business blog. That’s at least interactive—I’d call the way Dell is using it engaging. I got two different versions of the Dell ad while I was going back and forth and a different ad later appeared.

If you look back over this list of sever different ad formats for Facebook, only 3 of them Ads, Sponsored, and Gifts give Facebook a revenue stream. The others are essentially apps, free to corporate or individual users.

I long ago described Facebook as a metaphor for Web 2.0. Both its successes and its struggles mirror what’s going on around the world of social media. Monetization is one, but certainly not the only, issue.

It seems to me that Facebook is a good place to see a lot of things that are going on in social media. Have you made your Facebook page yet? Are you seeing other marketers doing interesting and potentially useful things there?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Great Big Interactive Billboard

I was looking for things other than Super Bowl reviews ad nauseum when I found this video on Ad Age Digital. It’s a new twist on old themes; interactivity and media integration.

When you watch the video you’ll see this quick screen that says you can play it on Facebook. That also caught my attention, so I looked for the game itself. What I found is the Jumbli site, which appears to be a Clear Channel microsite. Ok, the point is to text as fast as possible?!? If you look at the site live, you’ll see current updates on who’s winning. I’m underwhelmed, but others are playing the game.
I also checked out the, or probably one of the, Facebook pages. This one describes AT&T as the exclusive sponsor. There are a lot of phone ads, so someone is placing ads on Facebook. More to my point, there is a listing of Jumbli Events and lots of writing on the wall and other Facebook messages. AT&T seems to be replying to its customers on the page. Good for them!

The game itself seems to me to be silly, but it would be a great time waster on the subway, for example, if you are so inclined. Silly or not, marketers need to take note of the fact that people are playing a mobile game like this. Even more, marketers need to note that this type of interactivity brings people to other media and stimulates other kinds of interactions.

Media integration, in a way that’s engaging to consumers—that’s the key message!