Posts tagged "Facebook"

Facebook is not ‘Social Media’

Catchy title, right? Let me explain.

I received an email the other day from a good friend and associate that was passing on an article titled ‘Doubts remain for social ROI‘ and I thought I would dig in a little bit on this topic. First of all, I thought I might find some interesting statistics on how social programs were faring for different industries, brands, etc. Instead, the article singled out activity on Facebook Pages as the source of data to prove the lagging ROI on ‘Social Media.’

What’s the big deal? After all, Facebook is Social Media, right?

Read more…

Does every new technology have to be a ‘killer?’

Recently, there have been several devices, applications, technologies, etc. that have been released that were dubbed ‘killers’ in their category, and I wanted to take a moment to analyze this phenomenon.  Why must these new tools ‘kill’ the existing tools in order to be relevant?  Is this just a case of the media, tech bloggers, etc. gone awry with the hype?

Here are a few examples to demonstrate what I’m talking about:

Google Nexus One, Motorola Droid – ‘iPhone killers’
Facebook Titan – ‘Gmail killer’
Google Buzz – ‘Twitter killer’

and an oldie, but goodie: Facebook – ‘MySpace killer’

For a moment, let’s just imagine that you are one of the millions of happy people that are using the latter mentioned platforms.  Do you welcome the thought of your beloved technology, application, etc. being ‘killed’ by a new entrant to the market?  If you’re an iPhone user or developer, do you welcome the idea of that platform being trounced by a competitor? Or how about Gmail users?  Do you welcome the idea that Facebook Titan could roll in and crush Gmail?  In some cases, new entrants enhance the offering that exists and making things better for everyone, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Maybe I’m just growing weary of the constant barrage of new tools that seem to be trying to take down the market leaders that people are happily using currently instead of figuring out ways to incorporate them into their new offering.  On the other hand, I welcome tools that help aggregate the vast volume of information that’s floating around out on the social web.  Google has the potential to provide some real value here if they play nice.  I was encouraged by an article I read this morning on the Salmon Protocol that Google is developing currently that would allow comments to flow in real time between the original source out to aggregators, thereby reducing redundant data and allowing a more seamless experience for users.  Right on!  That sounds like a step in the right direction.  I’d love to see more of this kind of improvements to the social graph for everyone.

The reality is that companies don’t always have to kill off a ‘competitor’ to be successful, but they do have to offer something of value that doesn’t exist already.  It’s not enough to just build a ‘me-too’ app and pressure people into using it.  Frankly, that’s what Google Buzz felt like to many people due to the way it was released.  Looking back at some old rivalries such as Microsoft vs. Apple, which has been going on for decades, history teaches us that there is room for multiple profitable players in the market.  In fact, competition is the main driver of progress, so let’s celebrate this competitive spirit!

Think about it – do we really want any of the tools or applications that we use today to be killed off by a big monolithic corporation?  Personally, I like my iPhone, I like Facebook, I like Twitter, and I like MySpace (although I don’t use it as much anymore).  I’ll keep an open mind about any new technology, but I’m much more apt to be receptive if the new tools help me with the volume of social data I’m already processing and not try to pry me away onto another platform or service or abandon the tools that are working for me today.

What do you think?  Is this just media hype or are there underlying motives behind some of these moves?


photo credit: iStock Photo

Does every new technology have to be a 'killer?'

Recently, there have been several devices, applications, technologies, etc. that have been released that were dubbed ‘killers’ in their category, and I wanted to take a moment to analyze this phenomenon.  Why must these new tools ‘kill’ the existing tools in order to be relevant?  Is this just a case of the media, tech bloggers, etc. gone awry with the hype?

Here are a few examples to demonstrate what I’m talking about:

Google Nexus One, Motorola Droid – ‘iPhone killers’
Facebook Titan – ‘Gmail killer’
Google Buzz – ‘Twitter killer’

and an oldie, but goodie: Facebook – ‘MySpace killer’

For a moment, let’s just imagine that you are one of the millions of happy people that are using the latter mentioned platforms.  Do you welcome the thought of your beloved technology, application, etc. being ‘killed’ by a new entrant to the market?  If you’re an iPhone user or developer, do you welcome the idea of that platform being trounced by a competitor? Or how about Gmail users?  Do you welcome the idea that Facebook Titan could roll in and crush Gmail?  In some cases, new entrants enhance the offering that exists and making things better for everyone, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Maybe I’m just growing weary of the constant barrage of new tools that seem to be trying to take down the market leaders that people are happily using currently instead of figuring out ways to incorporate them into their new offering.  On the other hand, I welcome tools that help aggregate the vast volume of information that’s floating around out on the social web.  Google has the potential to provide some real value here if they play nice.  I was encouraged by an article I read this morning on the Salmon Protocol that Google is developing currently that would allow comments to flow in real time between the original source out to aggregators, thereby reducing redundant data and allowing a more seamless experience for users.  Right on!  That sounds like a step in the right direction.  I’d love to see more of this kind of improvements to the social graph for everyone.

The reality is that companies don’t always have to kill off a ‘competitor’ to be successful, but they do have to offer something of value that doesn’t exist already.  It’s not enough to just build a ‘me-too’ app and pressure people into using it.  Frankly, that’s what Google Buzz felt like to many people due to the way it was released.  Looking back at some old rivalries such as Microsoft vs. Apple, which has been going on for decades, history teaches us that there is room for multiple profitable players in the market.  In fact, competition is the main driver of progress, so let’s celebrate this competitive spirit!

Think about it – do we really want any of the tools or applications that we use today to be killed off by a big monolithic corporation?  Personally, I like my iPhone, I like Facebook, I like Twitter, and I like MySpace (although I don’t use it as much anymore).  I’ll keep an open mind about any new technology, but I’m much more apt to be receptive if the new tools help me with the volume of social data I’m already processing and not try to pry me away onto another platform or service or abandon the tools that are working for me today.

What do you think?  Is this just media hype or are there underlying motives behind some of these moves?


photo credit: iStock Photo

Marketing that inspires

Now that 2010 is underway, I thought it would be nice to take a moment to acknowledge some great success stories, or at least success stories in the making.  There have been several programs that I’ve run across recently that grabbed my attention, and each of these can provide us with lessons in how we approach marketing in 2010 and beyond.

Disney
The other night I was with friends when a commercial for Disney came on that highlighted their promotion where they are giving away theme park tickets to people who volunteer for selected charitable organizations.  I’ve been thinking a lot about causes lately and how they can impact customer perception of brands, so this really resonated with me.

Of course, there are detractors that claim Disney is bribing people into doing service work and it’s not truly an altruistic gesture.  I see the glass half full here.  Disney is taking a stand and making it clear that they support service to the community and are rewarding those who are willing to give up their time and service for the greater good.  I believe this is a great example of aligning corporate values and goals with the bigger needs out in our communities.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

Domino’s Pizza
I’ll go ahead and say right now that I’m not a fan of Domino’s, or of pizza delivery as a whole, however they have made an astounding leap forward with their business recently that comes on the heels of an embarrassing PR fail back in 2009 (you may recall the YouTube video fiasco where employees of one of the local franchises made a video of some pretty gross things happening in the kitchen).  Most interesting about the Domino’s approach is that they actually LISTENED to their customers and ADAPTED to the reality of the situation (a lot of people didn’t like the pizza).  Instead of making excuses or paying for celebrity endorsements to make up for the lack of taste preference, they turned their whole business on its end and actually re-worked the recipe for their pizzas!  Watch the video that shows how and why they did it.  It’s a remarkable story, and this really gets to the heart of how the entire organization should be involved with ‘social’ – not just the marketing/PR/Customer service departments.

I wrote about this back in 2007, and it’s wonderful to see a major brand putting this kind of thinking into action.  As Amber Naslund recently cleverly articulated on her blog, when brands suffer a setback, it’s important to circle back around and determine what happened and why, but most importantly to ‘get back in the saddle’ and commit to understanding where it went wrong and to doing better next time.  Excellent metaphor here, and clearly one that Domino’s ‘gets.’

Pepsi
By now, I’m sure everyone is well aware of Pepsi’s daring move to pull out of Super Bowl advertising in 2010 and redirect that money into the Pepsi Refresh Project, which is a cause-based initiative that’s being promoted via social channels.  This is a bold statement from Pepsi, but it reinforces the idea that brands are finding new ways of connecting with their end-users outside of broadcast advertising.  Think about the incredible potential Pepsi has to connect with people and truly align the brand with their values.

I believe we’re going to see a lot more of this type of thinking in 2010 and the years ahead.  Let’s face it – Pepsi can’t advertise their way into market leadership.  Coke is too far in front.  What they can do is connect with people in a more meaningful way.  Will it work?  We will have to wait and see.  In the meantime, I’ve got to tip my hat to Pepsi for taking this approach.

Eight O’Clock Coffee
This is another example of a legacy brand that has really stepped out of the mainstream and taken a fresh approach to social media.  Denise McVey, who runs the Eight O’Clock Coffee Facebook page is interviewed in a video that shows people how to get started on Facebook.  Pretty cool, because the focus isn’t on the coffee or the brand – the focus is on helping the customer solve a problem.  I’d bet the target demographic for the brand is a bit older than the median Facebook user, and I’m sure there are plenty of their customers who would welcome a guiding voice to walk them through getting started on Facebook.  And if that’s not cool enough, you also get the added bonus of getting to know the person behind the brand on Facebook – love that!  Kudos to Eight O’Clock Coffee and their agency, S3 for this!

I’ll leave it at that for now, but I plan to share examples like these more often as 2010 gets into full swing.  Hopefully these spark some creative thinking for those who are planning their own social programs.

What about you?  What are some examples of programs or campaigns that you think are worth sharing?  Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

photo source: iStockPhoto

Is Mark Zuckerberg Drinking the Social Kool-Aid?

Facebook Open Letter

Is Mark Zuckerberg opening up and drinking the proverbial social Kool-Aid finally? I saw something earlier for the first time that I can ever remember since becoming a Facebook member – a prominent message/open letter from the Facebook founder explaining some upcoming changes to the service BEFORE they are implemented. How many times have we seen Facebook implement changes unexpectedly only to watch the entire community go into a meltdown over it? Is Facebook finally getting the fact that if they involve the community during the stages leading up to a change, they will likely encounter a lot less resistance? I sure hope so.

FB-Open-Letter-LikeThis is one of the things that I think MySpace did a better job of, frankly. I remember quite often seeing notices from Tom on my home page explaining changes to the service or feature set. There was some comfort in knowing that we were all connected and even the founder of the site had an open discussion with the community. In some respects Facebook has operated more like Apple and less like Google or Dell in that respect – you’ll take what we give you and like it, dammit! 😉 Luckily, like Apple, Facebook usually gets it right in the end. But it is nice to see a different approach being taken. I’m sure we all remember many a fiasco when Facebook made unexpected changes in the past. Beacon comes to mind. So does the News Feed actually. And of course, the debacle over the rights to content on the site.

Bottom line – by keeping the community up to speed and making it prominent on the home page, they are sending a signal that they are listening and adapting to the reality that the huge user base is not to be taken for granted. As Brian Solis points out in his latest blog entry, there are signs that some of the crowd that were early adopters of Facebook are losing interest and spending less time on the site. Facebook must pay attention to this and respect the changing needs and desires of this dynamic audience. If you have a couple of minutes, I recommend you check out Brian’s post – there is a lot to chew on in the post and in the comments. This is a great topic for Marketers as they look forward to 2010.

What do you think? Does the open letter signal a shift in Mark Zuckerberg’s attitude toward engaging the community?