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The Microsoft Cool Factor

Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

The Microsoft Cool Factor

Posted on: November 9th, 2012 by Access Computer Technology

While the long lines waiting outside Apple stores around the country and the buzz around everything Apple would lead most to think that Apple is cool and Microsoft is not, the winds may be changing.

In the Huffington Post Technology vertical today, Jason Gilbert writes that Microsoft is entering a new stage of “cool.” Here’s what he has to say:

Hang onto your pocket protector, Mr. Clippy: That is at least a partial implication of new findings put out by the consumer sentiment firm YouGov, which found Microsoft’s public approval rating — its “Buzz score,” in YouGov’s parlance — surging as of late. YouGov spokesman Drew Kerr said in an email that Microsoft “is experiencing one of its best consumer perception surges of the past 21 months,” thanks to the positive reception of ad campaigns for the surprising Surface tablet, the ambitious Windows 8 operating system and the stalwart joke-punchline Bing search engine.

Against all odds, a hipster exodus to Microsoft might be afoot.

Microsoft advertisements do, indeed, seem to be skewing younger and cooler. A song by indie favorites Eagles of Death Metal (no, that is not a misprint) was featured in the first TV commercial for Windows 8, and the dubstep insta-classic “Too Close” by Alex Clare soundtracks a well-choreographed Internet Explorer ad in current rotation. Microsoft went with a speaker-blasting in-house composition for its Surface tablet that sent YouTube commenters a-squeal.

Windows8

It’s the kind of musical smarts that Apple mastered in its initial run of iPod ads being used to tinge the first impression most Americans have of Microsoft’s entire line of services and hardware. Cool points: Microsoft.

This musical reinvention accompanies a design revolution at Microsoft, too. Windows Phone, Microsoft’s little-used operating system for smartphones, has won heaps of praise for its layout and freshness. So, too, has Windows Phone’s big brother, Windows 8, as well as its most well-known banner carrier, the Surface tablet. Even Internet Explorer — once a microcosmic representation of all that was ugly, overloaded and unintuitive about the Windows operating system — has been cleaned up and is earning applause from critics.

Clean, innovative design is dominating Microsoft in a way that it — clearly, desperately — never had before. Cool points: Microsoft.

If YouGov’s numbers are correct, all that design work and Pitchfork-friendly musical curation is paying off with the public, at least in terms of perception. Whether it pays off in the literal sense — profits, product adoption, rise in stock price — is still in the offing.

Indeed, Microsoft’s rising consumer approval arrives at a precarious time for the company, one in which its decades-long grasp on personal computing seems to be slipping away to rival Apple. Worldwide PC sales are slipping as consumers opt instead for tablets, mostly the iPad. Smartphones, too, are a rising personal computing device, and Microsoft has yet to gain a meaningful foothold with its Windows Phone operating system. With the mega-launch of the last-ditch Windows Phone 8 platform occurring in November, current Windows Phone market share still sits below 5 percent. Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, consistently loses hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter, despite some recent gains against rival Google.

Microsoft remains profitable, of course: Sales of PCs running Windows still bring in tons of cash, and recent major acquisitions of Skype and Yammer have been lauded as good moves for the company. But while profitability has long been stable, public appreciation has not. Apple was always the critical and customer darling, Microsoft the behemoth, unfeeling corporation.

But after nearly a decade of public idolatry and Microsoft-bashing from tech critics and young people alike, we may finally be seeing a thawing of that dominant dogma. Between its overzealous patent litigation, botched handling of the iOS 6 Maps transition and somewhat stagnant design progression, Apple has turned some people off over the past year (see: any article on Reddit about Apple). Microsoft may be in a position to win over those jaded, discontented former Apple fans and take the crown of cool from its longtime rival.

That’s a big, huge, so-many-contingencies-and-variables “maybe,” of course. And, too, all of this appropriation of “hip” music and aesthetic pleasantness may be deemed as too little, too late, to sway the opinion of an America who still associates Microsoft with TI-83 nerdery and Dilbert-ian office drudgery. But maybe — just maybe — if Microsoft sticks to its design-forward revolution and commitment to user satisfaction, it might just find itself winning over some honest-to-God fans, and not just the cubicle-types who are forced to use its software at the local business complex.

Facebook For Small Businesses

Posted on: May 23rd, 2012 by Access Computer Technology

Here’s a great post from Jason Mollica on the Social Fresh blog about how Facebook can help small businesses:

We’ve all heard that social media can help grow your business and brand, financially.

But say you are a Mom and Pop coffee shop in a small town.

Why would you want to use Facebook?

Why NOT?!
Small town businesses can use social media to grow their customer base. I work with these types of businesses and their owners often do not see the connection between social and more foot traffic.
Let’s be honest, there are still many businesses that recoil when they hear the words Facebook and Twitter.

These five tips can be effective when talking to any small business. What can social media do for them?

1. Helps a business re-think their marketing strategies

While advertising in a local newspaper is great, you are only reaching a small portion of your audience.
For example, you could spend upwards of $1,000 for just a half-page ad. Take the money you would spend in print and go global.
Granted small businesses may not have the money to hire a full-time social media manager. They could, however, be looking for a consultant to offer assistance.
Take Sweet Sixteen Cafe in Lockport, N.Y. They have a simple, but effective website and use their Facebook page to entice customers to come into the store.

2. Recommend a YouTube or Flickr page

I recently worked with a tourism group to allocate funds from unnecessary advertising into the purchase of a small HD video camera and a digital camera.
This allowed the group to take photos and video without spending thousands. It helped generate more business for the town and encouraged additional tourism dollars.
We established a YouTube page and will be putting more photos on Flickr. Giving potential visitors and customers an idea of who you are and what you stand for is key to personalizing the experience.
Who wouldn’t want to see a video of what your the area looks like during the holidays or showing a smiling customer enjoying something in your store?
If you keep at it, Youtube can also be a great search opportunity, helping potential customers find your business in a visual and engaging way.

3. Understanding the changing business climate can save money AND business

Not only do you need to understand what you are telling your clients, you need to understand their business.
We can tell prospective and current clients how the tools work, but if we don’t know how they will be effective for their business, what’s the point? In this economic climate, there is plenty of uncertainty.
We need to provide examples of certainty. The money saved now, can go a long way to turning a profit, as Lake Effect Ice Cream in Lockport, N.Y. has shown.

4. Give your business a personality

I have a small boutique inn as a client. You could read all the great amenities that they have on a website, but it has been Facebook that has allowed us to explain who they are and how they treat their customers.
Their followers regularly interact with them now, even telling them when they plan to come back. When a guest stays with them, they often mention how they feel part of the “Brookins experience” because of how the inn “talks” to them on Facebook. The return guest rate has gone up to nearly 95%.

5. Most importantly… it’s a perfect customer service tool

If that’s the one thing you can stress the most, do it. Businesses want to make sure their current customers are taken care of. Mom and Pop type-businesses aren’t any different. As a matter of fact, it probably means more.
Exceptional social media customer service, to go along with terrific in-person service, will go a long way to building social capital AND business success.
What are some tips you give small businesses for social success?

 Image source: BigStock.com Shopping carts and shoppers

How to Monitor Your Twitter Feed

Posted on: February 22nd, 2012 by Access Computer Technology 3 Comments

One of the best ways to know if Twitter and other social networks are working for you is to monitor your social media activity on a regular basis. Most of the monitoring tools are free and Dream Grow social media has done a great job of reviewing 48 social media monitoring tools. They have divided them into two groups. Group A are the services that Priit Kalas of Dream Grow uses regularly and Group B includes social media monitoring tools that he doesn’t use regularly but could be of interest to you.

Group A

seesmic 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Seesmic

Twitter account: seesmic
Seesmic is a suite of social media management and collaboration tools that provide everything to build their brands online. Seesmic has applications on every platform, including mobile, and a marketplace of third-party plugins. Seesmic gives you social media monitoring, updating and engaging in real time.

hootsuit 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
HootSuite

Twitter account: HootSuite
Monitor and post to multiple social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. Create custom reports from over 30 individual report modules to share with clients and colleagues. Track brand sentiment, follower growth, plus incorporate Facebook Insights and Google analytics. Draft and schedule messages to send at a time your audience is most likely to be online. HootSuite has the dashboard for your iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android.

postrank 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
PostRank

Twitter account: postrank
Postrank has two tools. The PostRank Analytics (https://analytics.postrank.com/) gives you insight about your sites engagement scores and. Social engagement analytics covers over 20 of the top social networks. Find out who are your influencers, which content drives engagement, what posts are most impostant. And the best part is that you can also monitor your comperirors. You can connect PostRank with your Google Analytics to get even better results. PostRanks top ranked content (http://www.postrank.com/main) helps you to find most important blogs on any topic, use it to monitor your competition

socialmention 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Social Mention

Twitter account: socialmention
Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content into a single stream of information. It allows you to track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors over one hundred social media sites.

socialpointer 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
SocialPointer

Twitter account: socialpointer
SocialPointer is a real-time social media marketing platform for marketing agencies and individuals, It enables them to track, monitor and respond in real-time to relevant social mentions and user conversation. SocialPointer lets you monitor, listen, respond and engage.

socialseek 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
SocialSeek

Twitter account: socialseek
Get all the latest tweets, news, videos, photos, and more on any topic you want in one place. There’s a Socialseek site for everything and you can even make your own. I found some of the news sources other tools missed.

twazzup 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twazzup

Twitter account: twazzup
Twazzup is real-time news platform. It allows you to filter the news out of live Twitter content. It’s useful for understanding who are the influencers on a given topic and what are to trending sources.

twittercounter 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
TwitterCounter

Twitter account: Twitter
Twitter Counter is the number one site to track your Twitter stats. Twitter Counter provides statistics of Twitter usage and tracks over 14 million users. Twitter Counter also offers a variety of widgets and buttons that people can add to their blogs, websites or social network profiles to show recent Twitter visitors and number of followers.

wildfire monitor 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Wildfire Social Media Monitor

Twitter account: wildfireapp
Measure your performance. Glean insights about the growth of your social media fanbase on the leading social networks. With daily tracking, you have visibility into growth trends small and large. Gauge your social media success against others in your industry by comparing your follower bases across the leading social networks. Alert system will inform you of meaningful trends and activity that’s relevant to your social presence.

Group B

addictomatic 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Addictomatic

Twitter account: addictomatic
Addictomatic searches the best live sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. It’s a tool to keep up with the hottest topics, perform ego searches and get info on what’s up, what’s now or what other people are feeding on. You can personalize your results dashboard and keep coming back to your personalized results dashboard for that search. News pages provide the latest headlines on topics such as entertainment, politics, shopping, sports and more.

blogpulse 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Blogpulse

Twitter account: blogpulse
BlogPulse is an automated trend discovery system for blogs. BlogPulse applies machine-learning and natural-language processing techniques to discover trends in the world of blogs. Different searches include basic, advanced, trend, URL and conversation tracker.

boardreader 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Boardreader

Twitter account: boardreader
BoardReader allows users to search multiple message boards simultaneously, allowing users to share information in a truly global sense. Boardreader is focused on creating the largest repository of searchable information for our users. Users can find answers to their questions from others who share similar interests. Our goal is to allow our users to search the “human to human” discussions that exist on the Internet.

boardtracker 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Boardtracker

Twitter account: BoardTracker
Discover the influencers, monitor and protect your brand and reputation, find and engage your customers and critics. BoardTracker is a forum search engine, message tracking and instant alerts system designed to provide relevant information while ensuring you never miss an important forum thread no matter where or when it is posted.

cotweet 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
CoTweet

Twitter account: cotweet
Free version is for individuals and organizations that manage a small number of Twitter accounts and need only basic features to engage and manage their conversations. Free version includes scheduling, conversation history, email notifications containing your latest mentions, team collaboration tools and access to Twitter follower profiles.

facebook 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Facebook Search

Twitter account: facebook
Facebook search is notoriously bad and will not find much, but if you have nothing else to do then give it a shot. It relies heavily on your social graph so the results you get may not be meaningful for your target audience.

google alerts 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Google Alerts

Twitter account: Google
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (blogs, news, etc.) based on your searches. Enter the topic you wish to monitor, then click preview to see the type of results you’ll receive. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include: monitoring a developing news story and keeping current on a competitor or industry.

google blog search 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Google Blog Search

Twitter account: Google
Whether you’re looking for Harry Potter reviews, political commentary, summer salad recipes or anything else, Blog Search enables you to find out what people are saying on any subject of your choice. Your results include all blogs. The blog index is continually updated, so you’ll always get the most accurate and up-to-date results.

google trends 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Google Trends

Twitter account: gtrendz
Trends allows you to compare search terms and websites. With Google Trends you can get insights into the traffic and geographic visitation patterns of websites or keywords. You can compare data for up to five websites and view related sites and top searches for each one.

howsociable 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
HowSociable

Twitter account: howsociable
Free monitoring tool for measuring your brands or keywords using 32 social networking sites. HowSociable provides a simple way for you to begin measuring your brand’s visibility on the social web.

icerocket 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Icerocket

Twitter account: icerocket
Blog Tools, create your own Trend Graphs with the IceRocket Trend Tool. Enter keywords to see mentions trended over time. Trend Tool, enter items to see mentions trended over time. Enter up to five queries under Trend Terms. Type in the label you would like associated with each query under Display Labels. Search tool for blogs, web, Twitter, Facebook, news, and images.

klout 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Klout

Twitter account: klout
Klout’s mission is to help every individual understand and leverage their influence. Klout measures influence in Twitter to find the people the world listens to. It analyzes content to identify the top influencers.

mentionmap 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Mentionmap

Twitter account: asterisqdataviz
Explore your Twitter network. Discover which people interact the most and what they’re talking about. It’s also a great way to find relevant people to follow. The visualization runs right in your browser and displays data from Twitter. Mentionmap loads user’s tweets and finds the people and hashtags they talked about the most. In this data visualization, mentions become connections and discussions between multiple users emerge as clusters.

monitter 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Monitter

Twitter account: monitter
It’s a twitter monitor, it lets you monitor the twitter world for a set of keywords and watch what people are saying. Just type three words into the three search boxes and within seconds you’ll start seeing relevant tweets streaming live.

nutshellmail 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
NutShellMail

Twitter account: NutshellMail
NutshellMail lets you organize, monitor, and interact with all your social networks from a consolidated email digest delivered directly to your favorite inbox on a schedule that you choose. Nutshellmail supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Ning.

omgili 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Omgili

Twitter account: omgili
Omgili Buzz Graphs let you measure and compare the Buzz of any term. The Buzz is the percentage of the term out of the total number of discussions Omgili covered on a specific date.

quarkbase 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Quarkbase

Twitter account: quarkbase
You can find out how good a site is, get comprehensive website details, discover competitors and analyze them. One can call Quarkbase ‘whois on steroids’ or ‘imdb for websites’, which provides detailed website information like people, traffic, similar sites, social comments, description, social popularity and much more.

samepoint 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Samepoint

Twitter account: samepoint
SamePoint.com tracks millions of conversations, taking place across in blogs and social media sites. SamePoint converts discussions into web pages, or permalinks, and organizes them within a tag cloud. SamePoint can serve as the nexus where the conversations meet, providing a single place for all discussions on a specific topic.

sharedcount 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
SharedCount

Twitter account: yahelc
Track your shares, likes, tweets, and more. Enter a web address of a page and find out how much it has been shared in different social networking and bookmarking sites. Currently includes Facebook, Twitter, Digg, LinkedIn, Google Buzz and StumbleUpon.

socialoomph 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
SocialOomph

Twitter account: socialoomph
Schedule tweets, track keywords, extended Twitter profiles, save and reuse drafts, view @mentions and retweets, purge your DM inbox, personal status feed — your own tweet engine, unlimited accounts.

steprep 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
StepRep

Twitter account: steprep
StepRep provides an overview of the conversations people are having about your business online. Anytime your business is mentioned, anywhere on the web, you’ll hear about it. Sources are scanned continuously to bring you the most complete and up-to-date data on how your business is perceived. The data is broken down and analyzed in reports that can help you target your marketing and increase your online customer engagement.

surchur 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Surchur

Twitter account: surchur
Surchur is the ultimate dashboard to right now. The surchmeter shows you how popular a keyword is on different sources: surchur, blogs and twitter.

technorati 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Technorati Blogsearch

Twitter account: technorati
Search Technorati and note the authority and rank of the blogs listed in the results. Authority measures the site’s standing and influence in the blogosphere. Rank shows what position this authority gives the site. It is not a very good tool for lesser known blogs as it misses a lot of great sites.

tinker 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Tinker

Twitter account: tinker
Tinker helps you stay on top of your favorite events by showing you the latest buzz from Twitter and across the social web. Create or follow an event stream by choosing a keyword. An event could be anything: the Oscars, a new iPhone release, a movie premiere, a book launch, or a Superbowl party. Tinker also lets you search for the top news, topics and places people are talking about.

tiptop 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
TipTop

Twitter account: twittiptop
TipTop Search is a Twitter-based search engine that helps you discover the best and most current advice, opinions, answers for any search, and also real people to directly engage and share experiences with. A search on any topic reveals people’s emotions and experiences about it, as well as other concepts that they are discussing in connection with the original search.

topsy 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Topsy

Twitter account: topsy
Topsy is a real-time search engine. Topsy indexes and ranks search results based upon the most influential conversations millions of people are having every day about each specific term, topic, page or domain. Topsy’s algorithms identify influencers for any searchable criteria, using these influence calculations to rank results. It displays results for related terms and articles, trending topics, identifies experts (influencers) and shows you trackback pages for everything in its index.

trendistic 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Trendistic (formerly Twist)

Twitter account: trendistic
Trendistic allows you to track trends on Twitter, similarly to what Google Trends does for Google searches. It gathers tweets as they are posted, filters redundant ones and compiles the rest into one-hour intervals. This way, it shows how the frequency of one to four-word phrases fluctuate over time. The result is a visualization of what’s popular Twitter users. You can enter a phrase in the search box to see how its frequency varies over time, or several different topics separated by commas to see how they relate: try comparing “skype” and “microsoft”(http://trendistic.com/skype/microsoft), to see how powerful it can be.

tweetbeep 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
TweetBeep

Twitter account: tweetbeep
Keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, anything, with hourly updates. You can keep track of who’s tweeting your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL, Great for online reputation management, catching all your @replies and @mentions.

tweetpsych 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
TweetPsych

Twitter account: TweetPsych
TweetPsych uses linguistic analysis algorithms (RID and LIWC) to build a psychological profile of a person based on the content of their tweets. The service analyzes your last 1000 tweets. It works best on accounts that are operated by a single user and use Twitter in a conversational manner, rather than simply a content distribution platform. Created by Dan Zarrella.

tweetreach 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
TweetReach

Twitter account: tweetreachapp
TweetReach measures the impact of social media conversations. Use it to understand how many people were reached by tweets about a topic on Twitter.

twendz 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twendz

Twitter account: waggeneredstrom
The twendz Twitter-mining Web application uses the power of Twitter Search, highlighting conversation themes and sentiment of the tweets that talk about topics you are interested in. Using the twendz application gives a glimpse into what’s on people’s minds and their emotional reaction. Mining Twitter conversations alerts you to brewing trends, conversation topics and points of view.

twitalyzer 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitalyzer

Twitter account: Twitalyzer
Analytics for social relationships. Twitalyzer knows who is in your social network and where they live, allowing you to be more targeted in your outreach efforts. Twitalyzer provides Twitter’s most robust benchmark reporting, ranking Twitter users ten different ways. Authored by Eric T. Peterson author and blogger.

twitrratr 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitrratr

Twitter account: twitrratr
Twitrratr built a list of positive keywords and a list of negative keywords. It searches Twitter for a keyword and the results are cross-referenced against adjective lists, then displayed accordingly.

twitter grader 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitter Grader

Twitter account: grader
Twitter Grader lets you check the power of your Twitter profile compared to millions of other users that have been graded. Just enter your Twitter username and you’ll get an instant grade and report. It looks at a variety of factors including the number of followers, power of those followers and the level to which you are engaging the community.

twitter search 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitter Search

Twitter account: twitter
Use Twitter Search if you need to find out what’s happening in the world beyond your personal timeline. Twitter Search lets you search, filter, and otherwise interact with the volumes of news and information being transmitted to Twitter every second. Twitter Search helps you filter all the real-time information coursing through our service. Advanced Search allows you to create your queries using many advanced operators.

twitter stream graphs 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitter StreamGraphs

Twitter account: JeffClark
A StreamGraph is shown for the latest 1000 tweets which contain the search word. You can also enter a Twitter ID preceded by the ‘@’ symbol to see the latest tweets from that user.

twitturly 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitturly

Twitter account: twitturly
Twitturly tracks the URLs flying around the Twitterverse and provides a real-time view of what people are talking about on Twitter. When someone tweets a URL, Twitturly applies it as a vote for that URL. The more votes a URL has in the last 24 hours, the higher it ranks on Twitturly’s Top100.

whathashtag 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
WhatHashtag

Twitter account: whathashtag
WhatHashtag is service that allows you to find the most used Twitter hashtags for the keywords you enter. Search for the keyword and you will automatically get the most popular hashtags used worldwide to discuss your topic. The result retrieves the last 1.000 tweets related to your keyword, and orders hashtags by frequency of use. Using WhatHashtag you will gain visibility when tweeting your opinions, being read beyond your followers in the most effective way.

whounfollowedme 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
WhoUnfollowedMe

Twitter account: whounfollowedme
Who.unfollowed.me is a service that helps you track your unfollowers, in real time, without waiting for a DM, or email. It allows you to check your unfollowers on your schedule, every 15 minutes, without waiting for an email or a direct message.

Analytics and Insights for Personal Facebook Profiles

Posted on: September 7th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

We do a lot of research on the analytics of Facebook pages by reviewing the Insights section that Facebook provides. But we were thinking… wouldn’t it be great if Facebook provided Insights for personal Facebook profiles too?

As we looked around the Web to see if any third parties were offering such analytics or if Facebook was hinting at a future announcement about personal Facebook profile analytics, we came across this interesting blog post. Kevin Warhouse of StringCan Interactive blogged about this exact innovation. Here’s what Kevin had to say:

Facebook Insights and Analytics are a fantastic tool for businesses and brands using social media to engage with fans. They provide great insight into how users interact with your page and can help indicate what content is best received. While there is no doubt how powerful these tools are for businesses, wouldn’t it be great to see these same resources available to personal profiles on Facebook?

In a previous post I have covered the many tools within Facebook Insights that can help you set goals and measure them for your business page. I think that the majority of these tools such as Inline Insights, Page Views, and Demographics also have great potential value for personal accounts. Wouldn’t you like to know more about your friends and followers as a whole and be able to better determine which content you post from your personal account is best received?

Often it seems that my friends on Facebook will read links or watch videos that I post and not comment on them. It would be interesting to see what content is really preferred despite what the comments and likes may say. If I was able to see information about how each status update, picture, or link was interacted with I would know what my friends are most interested in me sharing.

In the days before Facebook had taken off to be the social sharing center it is today, MySpace used similar personal analytic metrics that allowed users to see how many views they had received on their profile or pictures. While Facebook does not currently offer any sort of personal analytics like this, the desire from users is certainly still alive. There are already many successful third party apps and websites that can calculate certain metrics such as who your most active friends are and what your friends demographics look like. These apps and websites stand as a clear sign to me that Facebook users are interested in having access to this kind of data on their personal profiles.

Facebook is all about connecting people and allowing them to share the things that are important to them, but recently they have taken a turn towards creating a more valuable and customized experience for users. By monitoring activity and spotlighting the content that individual users are most interested in and find most relevant, Facebook has created a more personalized environment for people to be social. Facebook already has algorithms in place to calculate top news for each individual user based on the amount of likes and comments you post on your friends updates. I think there is a great possibility that moving forward this will be taken to the next level by integrating the users total interaction with pages beyond just likes and comments.

It really would be helpful to know just how active ones Facebook profile was and the type of interaction taking place on the profile. Imagine how we could use that type of analytical information.

Biggest Facebook Fan Page Mistakes

Posted on: August 17th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

Brian Carter of AllFacebook.com clearly has his finger on the pulse of Facebook marketing. In fact, we’d even call him the guru of Facebook Pages.

This past spring, Carter delineated the top seven biggest Facebook fan page marketing mistakes. There’s a lot that businesses can learn from these mistakes. Here’s the list (drum roll please!):

Fan Page Mistake #1: Assuming People Go To Your Fan Page (Versus Seeing Your Posts In Their News Feed)

Most people, if they ever go to a fan page, only go there once. Some highly interactive pages get more visitors, and you can bring fans back to the page or to specific tabs with posts or ads, but usually fans see your page’s posts via their news feed.

One of the biggest surprises to me, in teaching Facebook marketing to many audiences, was that most business owners don’t understand how people use Facebook:

When you log on to Facebook, what you see is your news feed, and this is all Facebook is, to most people.

Your news feed doesn’t contain every post from all your friends or all the pages you’ve liked.

You can change your news feed to show more, or everything, or the most recent from everyone, but fewer than 10 to 20 percent of people do this.

If you have a Facebook page, all your fans do not see all your posts. The fans who have liked or comment on your page’s posts will see more of your posts.

If you’ve done a poor job getting people to interact, you may need to rehabilitate your fan base by paying for sponsored stories.

This is also a good reason to look at Facebook Groups, because every time any Group member posts or comments, everyone gets a notification.

Fan Page Mistake #2: Expecting Welcome Tabs To Get You Lots Of Fans

Reveal tabs, aka Fan Gates, are very popular. Some people think they possess magical powers. But they don’t help most businesses very much because:

For a welcome tab to get you fans, you have to get non-fans to go to your Facebook page, because only non-fans see the pre-like version of a fan gate.

If you have a website with a lot of traffic, you may get a significant number of people who do this by clicking on a Facebook icon from your website.
If you use a like box to get fans on your site, these new fans will never see your welcome tab.

If you get new targeted fans the cheapest way there is (via Facebook ads), most of these like the page by liking the ad, so they also never see the welcome tab.

See that big circular diagram from the last mistake? Notice how many fans go to the actual page? That’s the percentage of people likely to see your beautiful welcome tab. Actually, less, because once they’re fans, they’ll go straight to the Wall.

Fan Page Mistake #3: Overestimating Apps and Tabs

Some people also seem to think creating a Facebook app is a magical move that will create all kinds of buzz and engagement. While this may be true for big companies who can get mass media coverage for deploying a clever new app, for most companies this the long way around to less results.
The Facebook app’s fatal flaw is the ominous opt-in page that requires you to share your Facebook data with the App. I can’t find any authoritative percentage of how many people bounce away from that page, but anecdotally, I know the number is high. I only became more willing to allow once I knew where to go to remove App access from my account. But this extra step means at least 25 percent and maybe as many as 75 percent of people who go to try an app will not carry through with it.

What that means is- you spend all kinds of money and time programming a new app (and programming efforts, especially if you’ve never been involved in one, are always more money and time than you expected), and may come out with less results than if you just use the incredible tools Facebook has available.

Think about it, if 100 percent of users already interact with posts and pages and groups, won’t you have a better chance of getting engagement by using those, than by using a weird new app that they have to give up privacy to opt-in to?

Fan Page Mistake #4: No Budget For Ads To Acquire Fans

As discussed above, the cheapest way to get targeted fans for your page (fans who are likely to be good customers), is with Facebook ads. The power, depth and precision of the Facebook ad platform is unrivaled and historic. And you can get fans for anywhere from 1 cent to $1.50, depending on your niche and parameters. You can’t get email subscribers that cheap anywhere, and this is the same kind of owned media.

But so many companies go to ridiculous lengths to avoid spending money on ads, or they just don’t have ad spends in their paradigm. They use a ton of time on roundabout tactics that yield fewer and less qualified fans. They forget about the cost of the employee time required to do so. And then when their fans don’t produce a return on investment, hey wonder why. Well, because you went cheap and you didn’t get good prospects. That’s why.

Fan Page Mistake #5: Posting In A Self Centered Way, Not Trying To Get Likes And Comments

You’ve seen it on hundreds of corporate blogs: post after post about them, them, them, and few comments, if any. Comments from sycophantic employees who want their company to look good. You can see it on Facebook pages too: me, me, me posts, and very few likes and comments, especially compared to the fan base. Your actual active fan base is about 100 times the number of likes and comments you usually get. How does that compare to the number of fans you have?

You would think by now that everyone would understand the lessons of web 2.0; push and pull, conversational marketing, etc. But no. So many marketers have never learned to care about what their audience cares about. You can’t communicate effectively until you know your audience. You can’t get responses if you don’t ask for them. You can’t get enthusiasm until you stimulate it.

And if you don’t get responses, you become invisible.

Fan Page Mistake #6: Not Optimizing For Impressions And Feedback Rate

If you don’t have a metric for every stage of your marketing, you simply can’t optimize your tactics for that stage. Your goals for the fan page should include:

Visibility to as many of your fans as possible, calculated by dividing post impressions by your total fan base
Responsiveness to your posts, calculated by feedback rate, which is the total number of likes and comments divided by post impressions

If you aren’t getting at least a one percent feedback rate, you probably are missing the mark in connecting with the bulk of your audience. Think about what passions and interests your fan base has in common, and speak to those. If you used Facebook ads to grow your fan base, you should know exactly what interests comprise the bulk of your fans and which ones were most passionate (measured by ad CTR).

A couple of caveats: I haven’t seen pages with more than 100,000 fans get one percent feedback rates, but I also don’t see pages that size using best practices in post content. Also, for pages of any size, when you post blog posts or sales-focused discounts, the clicks to your website or blog aren’t counted in this feedback rate. In those cases, a lower feedback rate is acceptable, if you’re getting sales and ROI from your efforts.

Fan Page Mistake #7: Over-Selling and Hard-Selling Without Conversing Or Arousing Desire First

This is very similar to the “me, me, me” selfish mistake discussed in #5.

Think about the typical conference. There’s a reason they have a separate area for vendors: The selling approach doesn’t always jibe with the conversational focus of the main part of the conference. And similarly, a fan page is a bunch of fans who typically are fans of something besides your offering. What they’re fans of is related to your offering. You have to continue to fan the flames of desire around that passion. My rule of thumb is to engage, converse and stimulate four times as much as you sell. Go for 80 percent interaction, 20 percent selling. There’s a wisdom to this that goes beyond Facebook.

Why does Corona sell relaxation and the beach rather than just show people drinking beer? By reaching beyond features and benefits to sell the dream implied by the offering’s benefits, playing with follow-through, focusing on the vision beyond, companies knock the ball out of the park.

Conversely, companies that focus on themselves and selling immediately end up disappointed, much like the college freshman looking for a one night stand. Not knowing the value of romance, he ends up rejected and alone. There’s a reason why it’s called foreplay and there’s a reason that flowers are a billion dollar business.

Brian Carter is CEO of the Facebook Marketing Training Company, FanReach, a social media trainer, and Facebook consultant.

Why Are They Still Printing the Yellow Pages?

Posted on: August 9th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

When I walked into the office today, I started laughing. There sitting on a table was that thick yellow brick. It was the Yellow Pages.

We use “The Yellow Pages” as an example of old media — that thick book full of super thin yellow paper containing ads. Businesses from law firms to chiropractic clinics still pay expensive monthly fees to display their ads in the Yellow Pages even though most people waste little time in moving the Yellow Pages from their front porch to the recycle bin.

We use the Yellow Pages as an example of old media because that’s the old way of marketing. In the old days, there were not many choices for businesses that couldn’t afford park bench ads or billboards over the highway. And there was a time when the Yellow Pages were actually kept next to the house phone and used to look up numbers and decide which plumber to call for the leaky faucet. Today, Facebook pages, Google Ads, Twitter feeds & Yelp listings have replaced the Yellow Pages. New media advertising is inexpensive and has a much better return on investment (ROI).

Maybe we’ll keep that big yellow book around just as a reminder to clients of the marketing medium of a bygone era and how much more effective their marketing campaigns can be in the 21st century. Or maybe we’ll use it to prop open the door every once in a while.

Follow Access Social Media on Twitter at @accesscomputer and like us on Facebook

Businesses Need to ‘Get’ Social Media

Posted on: August 2nd, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

 

Alexis Dormandy writes in The Telegraph about businesses still not quite “getting” social media:

Ticketmaster estimates that every time one of their customers posts on Facebook that they’ve bought a ticket, their friends spend an additional $5.30 with the site. When last year’s Google conference was taking place, they tweeted the morning of the conference: “100 tickets left, 550 bucks a piece, use this promotion code”. 11 minutes later they tweeted, “Sold them, thank you.” That’s $55,000 in sales with one tweet in 11 minutes. E-commerce sales are expected to top $1.4 trillion by 2015. And IDC estimates that in five years, 10-15 per cent of total consumer spending in developed countries may go through sites such as Facebook.

Given the overwhelming evidence that social commerce works, why are big businesses so slow to take advantage? Could it be because senior marketing directors don’t understand it and don’t want to admit it?

Your typical 40-year-old marketing director would have left school in 1988. More than likely their last maths lesson was when they were 16, and they were glad to see the back of it. Computers weren’t even available at school then. The brightest graduates interested in marketing studied English, foreign languages, or history.

The fast trackers went into advertising agencies to do planning and account management. Life was a lot of fun and not a computer in sight. I recall being phoned by an account director friend the night before a big pitch asking me to “explain again how a percentage works”. She was an Oxbridge graduate and it had been 9 years since she’d last had to do any maths.

Our 40-year-old marketing director probably spent four years at an agency, before going to work on the client side. They spent the 1990s pulling together billboard campaigns, debating what they could say with the Advertising Standards Authority, agreeing joint promotions with other big businesses, and sponsoring celebrity sportsman. Life was still a lot of fun.

They turned 30, the dot-com bubble came, and a small number of the more enterprising ones became entrepreneurs. Most kept rising up their businesses, learning to take eighteen months to launch a consumer product, and working with retailers to plan their Christmas sales nine months in advance. The really good ones rose to the top and had teams to look after all this stuff for them.

And all the while, those computers and the maths they thought they’d avoided at school were catching up with them.

Ten years ago marketing meant spending millions on a TV campaign that would be seen by 10m people of whom maybe 200,000 bought something.

Then Google came along with Adwords and let you “buy” customers on a cost per click (CPC) basis – you agreed to pay a certain amount per customer, and Google connected you. Marketeers had to learn about search engine optimisation, paid-for-search, and affiliate sales. Most of them didn’t.

Then Facebook came along and transformed things again. Now you only need to target 5,000 people, and they in turn influence 20,000, who influence 200,000.

Marketing has become all about analytics and maths and measurement and making targeted investment decisions on a daily basis. It’s about data – lots of data.

It requires totally different skills than the senior marketing director spent the last twenty years learning. But the guy who didn’t want to do maths is still making the decisions, and he can’t admit that he doesn’t really understand sponsored stories or Open Graph or hashtags.

The limiting factor in the adoption of the internet and social media by businesses is not the technology, it’s the people in charge.

Most large consumer businesses have someone responsible for social media. They are 26 and have a job title like Community or Social Media Manager. Because they are 26 and they work in a large business, it’s difficult for them to change the way things work. They can see that it’s costing four times as much to get a new customer on TV compared to Facebook, that paid-for search isn’t cost effective, and that the marketing agency is clueless online, but they can’t do anything about it.

I’ve got some good news for those Social Media Managers: you may be exasperated today, but you’re about to inherit the earth.

Why Your Business Needs Facebook Fans

Posted on: July 26th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

The Single Most Powerful Reason To Get Facebook Fans
By Jon Rognerud (jonrognerud.com)

The number one reason for Facebook Fans Revealed
Lots of materials emerging on Facebook every day now. It’s exciting.

From setting up a new profile, optimization of Facebook for search engines (SEO), adding pictures, videos and how to communicate with your fans and ‘likers’. This also includes basic human (one-to-one) communication strategies, how to elicit better/more responses from your audience, how and where to share personal and business-centric information, tools to help you structure an optimal Facebook experience for yourself and others.

Of course, a profile is only part of the journey to Facebook success (defined broadly) for business success. You must also seriously take a look at how to setup and manage fan pages, including different ways to drive traffic there. That of course include paid advertising as well. It’s not uncommon to get traffic for 1c these days, depending on skill-level and marketplace positioning. Some markets, and in the B2B marketplaces, you may apply more of the ninja-like approach, but it’s still doable. Imagine targeting a specific company and/or officers.

However, everybody is focused on getting fans. That’s good, but do you really know why you need fans? What’s the most important reason to get fans to YOUR Facebook world?

It is clear that that while there are pros already doing well with Facebook, the vast majority does not. Different, valuable training programs are becoming available, but this will not useful if you don’t understand the reasons for doing it.

In a sense, it’s back to basics: have a plan in place, and don’t think of traffic or efforts as a one-time event.

Here are the common reasons for receiving Facebook likes/fans:

1) Social Credibility
If people come to your page, and many others have liked the page before them. They have a reason to do the same. It’s social proof. Testimonials and validation is key. People are real. You can see if your friend is a friend too – it’s like “hey, Bill has been here, I better do it too”…

2) Free Status Messages
When you post a message, it goes across the network of friends – and those impressions are free. You might pay for 20,000 impressions at $10.00 normally, but you get it for no cost (except your time). You can obviously scale this up. You get the idea. That’s exciting, but that’s not all.

3) Viral Marketing
People that get excited to share things on their own accord, and with their messages, URLs and pictures, and can be very compelling from both a Facebook and user experience. Things can move very fast.

These 3 above are great reasons, but still not the most important.

THE number one reason to get Facebook Fans:
When somebody fans your page – you can target them with a specific ad that reminds them that you are in business. Any time! And for a very low cost! They are already in your circle of “trust”, so to speak.

So, you get the benefit of hyper-targeting and the ability to display low cost ads, change messages (on pages) for events, seasons, special promotions, helpful training, etc. Imagine having 15-20,000 ads being shown for less than 10 bucks (marketplace and ninja-skills depending).

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