I loathe the word “engagement” as it is used in the social media world. As I said at both SMX and PubCon earlier this year, “engagement is the new ‘synergy’.” It’s obnoxious. It’s a buzzword. It’s annoying to hear. It’s even more annoying to say. The other thing about engagement? It’s likely affecting your social media strategy and you don’t even know it.
The last two times I’ve been a part of the SMX conferences, I’ve spoken about this very thing and the response has been incredible. The point I am trying to make is that getting your audience to interact with your brand is a wonderful thing – if you do it right. But many brands are getting it very, very, wrong and in doing so, are tainting the valuable (free) data they receive about their audience from Facebook.
Facebook marketing is a relevant tactic in social media marketing campaigns when it provides value to the consumer as well as the brand. Take a second, re-read that sentence, and then proceed. The brands that play in the Facebook space well are the ones who understand this core concept. They realize that by creating content that elicits interaction from one of the most qualified samples of their audience available (and free!), they can make powerful decisions with regard to whether or not a product should go to market, A/B testing on marketing said product, crowdsource ideas for future products or promotions, et al.
So many brands, however, throw anything up on the wall to get comments or feedback without even thinking about how they are tainting their own data pool. Some of my favorite and most beloved brands as a consumer have fallen into this trap and it breaks my social media-loving heart. I’ve recently discovered the most awesome Facebook page known to man. Sift through some of the examples below and see if you’re making any of the same mistakes.
Last month I was pleased to be a part of SMX West, a digital marketing conference hosted by the fine folks of Third Door Media, Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. This time around, I had the pleasure of participating in two panels. The first centered around tactics to supercharge Facebook engagement and Twitter reach, one of my favorite topics about which to speak. The second panel, however, was something new at SMX, and something so well received by the audience that I cannot imagine the conference organizers won’t continue include the session going forward.
The panel comprised of nine speakers from various panels from throughout the conference, all of us instructed to pull out five minutes of key takeaways and present them in rapid succession. It was truly a pleasure to present with so many amazing industry icons like Marty Weintrab of aimClear and Jennita from SEOMoz, not to mention my favorite authority on Google+, Mark Traphagen from Virante!
The result was an info-packed 45 minutes followed by some great Q&A by the crowd. That is exactly why I love SMX conferences – the panels are comprised of amazing thought leadership that can help you grow your business and make high-impact changes to your digital strategy, but the people in the audience are highly invested in talking with you, too.
Yesterday, SMX released the video snippet of my five minute presentation. We hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear your comments and questions!
Customer service is hard. Just walk down the hall to the CSR “wing” and listen in to a couple of calls throughout the day. Customer service on social media platforms, however, adds a whole new level of drama to the experience simply by taking place in a public forum. Social media marketing allows for a direct line of communication, hitherto unavailable to the common consumer, and it’s public- suggesting that the user holds great leverage over the actions of the brand. Sometimes these public posts are legitimate inquiries regarding products/services. Sometimes, however, users just want to stir the pot. Here are a couple of guidelines to follow when determining whether or not intervention is necessary.
Here are three tricks of the trade when managing customer service on social networks:
1) Don’t feed the trolls. This cannot be mentioned in community management/customer service class enough times. As University of Central Lancashire lecturer Claire Hardaker so eloquently points out at the bottom of this infographic, the only way to combat trolling is to ignore it.
2) Elongate the conversation. This simple practice will weed out the trolls after your first or second response (trolls are too busy for an actual conversation). A good way to do this is to institute a character limit on yourself in your responses. You won’t be able to provide the full detailed resolution in your first 100 characters, which will allow you to carry the conversation over multiple comments during the resolution process.
When responding to legitimate inquiries (read: not trolls), always include a question to finish your response. 90% of the time (strong estimate) you, or the customer, do not know what the inquiry actually is. Don’t assume that the customer is entirely familiar with your product or your brand. This simple practice will cover most bases when managing your page; extracting all details, determining validity of the claim, showing personal attention in a public forum, etc.
3) Assume a “first name basis” with everyone. Always use the inquirer’s first name in your response. You will surprise yourself at how disarming something this simple can be, and the respect given will show throughout the conversation. It is not recommended, however, to use your own first name when representing the brand publicly. Use initials publicly, and your first name when responding in private messages.
Incorporate these three tricks today, and your community will silently thank you!
Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day! Being a community manager is a tough job. You are on the frontlines as an advocate for both the brand and the consumers. Dealing with issues, complaints, and positive and negative experiences can be tiresome. Having to post original, clever content on a daily basis (at least) can get difficult. In honor of Community Manager Appreciation Day, I’ve created a list of the top 5 ways to be a wonderful, fantastic Community Manager!
Looking at the community as a party, the community manager must act as the perfect host. As a host, the community manager must make sure everything is running smoothly, maintain conversations, and solve any problem that comes up. Party hosts must acknowledge all of their guests just as a community manager must acknowledge all their fans/followers/commenters. While a community manager does not need to make sure the chips and dip don’t run out, it is important to make sure there is always new information being shared with the community to encourage them to return.
Be a Bodyguard
While working as the community manager for a brand, it is very important to protect the brand’s online reputation. It is easy for negative comments to spiral out of control if not dealt with immediately. Acting swiftly when dealing with reputation issues is always the best method. Community managers are not only charged with protecting the brand’s reputation, but also protecting the community. Community managers are wonderful advocates for the brands’ fans. Having a direct line to a company’s consumers provides a great opportunity to notice any problems that may need to be brought to the attention of the management team. When working on issues between the brand and a community, it is important for the community manager to stay unbiased and work towards a solution for both parties.
Always Stay Cheerful
When dealing with a community of outspoken individuals, it is easy to lose your positive outlook and let negative comments get you down. Don’t let it happen! Keeping a cheerful, positive attitude is a wonderful way to turn a negative experience into a positive one. Keeping yourself positive will make it easier to work out solutions and problem solve. When managing communities, it is important to not let negative comments or experiences get you down. Having a friendly, cheerful community manager is a great way for community members to feel comfortable in sharing their experiences. I’m a big fan of exclamation points!
Being creative and “thinking outside the box” is one of the most attributes of community managers. Creating and posting clever, informative content on a daily basis can get difficult. A community manager needs to get to know his/her community. By knowing what types of posts will do well and what won’t do well, you will have the ability to set up a content calendar of successful posts. Unfortunately, the only way to get to know your community and what they will respond to is through a lot of trial and error. By “thinking outside the box”, community managers are able to share information and engage with their community in new and fun ways. Who doesn’t love a good “Caption This” or “Fill in the blank” post (when used as part of a content plan)?
Being patient is without a doubt, the hardest attribute listed here. When dealing with a community, it is often easy to get overwhelmed by community members who spam the page or continuously post about the same issues over and over. The key to being a patient community manager is having the ability to stay positive with both the community members and the brand. Being a community manager means having a strengths in both listening and working towards solutions.
Being a community manager is a tough job but with a good attitude, a willingness to help, and some creativity, it is also very rewarding. Solving problems and turning negative experiences into positive experiences are the things that community managers live for.
Now that you know what it takes, go thank your Community Manager for all of their hard work!
The Republic of Philippines (hereafter Philippines) is a beautiful archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Due to its sunny and tropical climate, the country attracts many tourists even though there are numerous earthquakes and typhoons every year. The nationals, known as Filipinos, also love entertaining, singing and social sharing.
Google just opened an office in Manila on Jan 23, 2013 as they value its digital economy and tech-savvy population. The number of internet users in the Philippines is 33 million, which is almost a third of the nation’s population (103 million). Filipinos use internet to study, shop, search for ideas and jobs, and connect to the world. Internet access is mainly via computers at home or at an internet café.
Philippines is the fastest growing market for smartphones in South East Asia. Only 9.8% of the population have an internet access on their mobile device and 23.1% of mobile users subscribe to a broadband service (Oxford Business Group, 2012). However, mobile penetration was over 100% at the end of 2012. A study by Mobile Monday reported that Philippines is a mobile-centric country, along with Indonesia and India. Overall, the smartphone market offers a huge potential for marketers in this country.
Social Media Capital in the World
Social network penetration has reached 95%, with a significant contribution from Facebook which is now the number 1 site according to the Alexa traffic rank. The number of Facebook users is 30 million, the 3rd largest in the South East Asia (Social Bakers, 2012), and Twitter has 9.5 million users (KabayanTech, 2012).
The dominance of Facebook has made other local social networking services revamp their business. Friendstar was the most popular social networking platform in 2008. However, they redesigned and re-launched the site in 2012 as a social gaming platform. Friendstar currently has about 100 million users and 40% were from Philippines (Inquirer Technology, 2012).
YouTube outperformed in 2012 as 54.5% of Filipinos viewed YouTube videos (Tech Wire Asia, 2012). Out of the total audience numbers in Philippines, males occupied 54.4% share while the age group of 21-30 had 44% share. Online music videos were the most viewed and shared video type on YouTube. Filipinos also love to create their own videos singing karaoke and share them with friends.
The year of Fun and Pride in 2012
The Department of Tourism in Philippines successfully conducted a campaign in 2012, under the slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines”. The campaign went viral and many people uploaded both fun and beautiful photos of Philippines and attaching memes such as “Angry Birds. More fun in the Philippines”. Even during the monsoon season, Filipinos had a sense of humour; photos displaying people relaxing or swimming on a flooded street were shared online and you can see some examples here.
I had a little concern on what Filipinos actually would think about this campaign. A marketing specialist from Philippines said, “Filipinos are giving their piece of mind and showing testimonials on reasons why it is more fun in the Philippines…I have seen testimonials whereby negative situation (i.e. flooding) can turn out to be a fun experience for others. As mentioned, I think it’s the attitude of the Filipinos that makes us unique because we can easily adapt to whatever we are faced to – negative or positive.” (MA.Pia Patricia Arciga, a Marketing & Communication Specialist at B&V Water)
In December 2012, Filipinos showed great enthusiasm in supporting Janine Tugonon online, who was the first runner-up at Miss Universe 2012. Filipinos were very proud of her and extremely excited to share their happiness on a Filipina being judged the 2nd most beautiful woman in the world through social media channels. Janine Tugonon actively responded to her followers on Twitter. Religion is an important aspect for Filipinos as 82.9% are Catholic (Mundi, 2012). One of her tweet highlighting her appreciation for God’s grace had 575 retweets and 436 favorites at the time of this writing. The Filipinos’ beloved boxing champion Manny Pacquiao boosted discussion on Miss Universe 2012 since he lost in his boxing match. Filipinos wanted to turn their sadness from the match into happiness and celebrate the achievement of Janine Tugonon.
Going forward in 2013
As the Philippine general election in 2013 is scheduled for May 13, the first half of 2013 will be full of discussion on political debates on social media channels. Additionally, the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign will continue in 2013 and the online spillover effects can be expected in other South East Asian countries.
The number of internet users in Philippines will rise up constantly and social media channels will become more crowded. To step into the Philippines market, you need to acknowledge a) internet users in Philipines are already experts on technology and social media and b) the cultural sense that Filipinos consider religion to be important as well as understanding how to find happiness in their lives. Being humorous and sharing hope would make your marketing strategy more successful in Philippines.
Whenever Facebook gears up to make an announcement, the tech press goes absolutely ballistic with predictions. Not all that different from a telenovella, the predictions are over-the-top with drama and speculation. In the case of the most recent January 15 Facebook announcement, most tech press seemed to think that the announcement would be something related to search or something related to mobile. In the end they’re all right, even if a bit off.
Today Facebook announced the Beta release of Graph Search, a new way of searching. Before I launch into the list of changes and how they will benefit the Facebook experience of both users and brands alike, it is important to address a few things:
- Facebook Graph Search will not replace traditional search or SEO or take down Google.
- Facebook Graph Search will only show results that were visible to others in the first place (read: They are well aware of privacy concerns and no, your privacy settings are not changing)
- This is a beta product that will take years to refine, but has some big implications for marketers and users
- Rollout is effective today, but starting with just hundreds of thousands of users, not millions.
What is Graph Search?
Facebook has 1 billion people, 240 billion photos, and 1 trillion connections. Yeah, you read that right. Graph Search is a way for Facebook users to find photos, places, recommendations, people, interests and events that are relevant to their lives. In an average search engine scenario, such as Google, users have to type
keywords and keyword combinations that make sense. With Google+, a network that I believe will have significant impact on consumer behavior in 2013 and beyond, relevancy and social signals are increasingly more important. With Graph Search, Facebook is allowing its users to find information that is qualified for them – think of it as being a mash-up of Yelp + Bing
How Do You Search in Facebook Graph Search?
Graph search is centered around four use cases: people, places, interests, and photos. When you and I search something like “Apple” via a search engine, we’re going to essentially end up with the same results. The concept, and reality, behind the Graph Search is that when you and I search “Apple,” we’re going to get entirely different results that are focused around our very specific networks of people, places, interests, and photos.
Here are some example queries demonstrated at the press conference:
- Friends who live in Palo Alto, California – returns all friends in that location
- Photos of me and Priscilla Chan – Returns the photos tagged of Zuck and Priscilla, with the photos with the most likes and comments ranking highest
- People named Chris who went to Stanford and are friends with Lars – If you meet someone in real life and you want to connect with them online, you can potentially find them this way
- Indian restaurant in Palo Alto liked by my friends who are from India – This would return qualified recommendations of Indian places I might like in that city.
- TV Shows liked by doctors – Discover new entertainment
- Music liked by people who like Mitt Romney and Music liked by people who like Barack Obama – common search result? The Beatles!
- Movies my friends like – will return not only the movies they like, but video trailers of said movies as well as television shows
How Does Facebook Graph Search Impact Marketers?
While it’s still early, this new way of searching means that marketers will have more insight into their competition than ever before. For example, I could search “hotels liked by Mercedes owners” and figure out which luxury hotel chain is a favorite – and perhaps if there is a potential partnership with like-minded brands.
Location based review services, like Yelp, FourSquare, and even TripAdvisor to an extent, will still play an important part in digital strategy, but should expect to see some traffic decline as people start adapting to finding the recommendations via Facebook itself instead of logging into those third-party sites with Facebook Connect. This means community managers will have to not only work on taking care of the Timeline and comments, but will have to actively monitor other areas of Facebook to help manage reputation, as well.
I personally am not the biggest fan of Facebook, but I love the idea of being able to get personal recommendations and reviews in one place. I love the idea of being able to search past photos or plan future travels via the search functions (and without having to visit 8 – 10 websites to get what I am looking for).
Speaking of how Graph Search impacts location-based social – have you updated your Facebook Places so Facebook Nearby is ready to go? If not, stop reading and do so now.
One of my favorite possibilities is how this search function opens up social to so many new departments. For example, if you’re in HR, you can search for “insert job title here” that are friends with current employees. Nice, eh?
Forthcoming Facebook Graph Search Features
Expect Instagram to play a part in the photo aspects of Graph Search, but not for some time. Right now, this test is only available in English and via Facebook on the web, but Facebook is planning to launch versions in other languages and on mobile in the near future. Also, if search results on Graph Search do not yield
anything specific within a user’s network, Microsoft Bing will supplement the results with a traditional search engine results page (SERP) right in Facebook.
When questioned about whether or not Facebook would work with Google, it wasn’t ruled out, but Zuckerberg noted that Microsoft was much more willing to work with the privacy concerns of the Facebook community than Google at this time.
What other ways will Graph Search impact businesses and Facebook users? Your thoughts and predictions are most certainly welcome!