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November 19, 2010

The Facerape

I have never been faceraped. However, your daughter most definitively have. As a parent you are completely unaware of this. Your child will most definitively not tell you. It happens every day. It is an old behavior that has now spread to an all out epidemic. It happens in schools, in libraries, in public restrooms, in the sanctity of your home. Faceraping is the new black and you better be aware of it.

Naturally, Facerape has nothing to do with any raping at all. Not physically at least. The word Facerape started surfacing when people were taking advantage of a friend’s lack of judgement… or more exactly, inability to log out of Facebook when leaving the computer.

The idea of a Facerape is to post something embarrassing on your friends account when they have left their computer unattended for a second. It can be everything from “I’m taking a shit” to worse things like “I’m getting married”. The worst kind of Facerapes has to do with the “relationship” status.

When someone indicates they are dating someone on Facebook, there is a public message sent out to all their friends. It is one of those messages that gets really high attention and always sparks a lot of dialogue. All joy!! You’re in a relationship.

However, the worst Facerape I’ve seen was when a person used a friends account and ended the relationship with the other person on Facebook. When doing so, a post is made to the wall of all of that persons friends saying “person x is no longer in a relationship”. This is horrible!! Think of all the common friends and how they react. “Why didn’t I know?”.

All in all, the Facerape is a quite funny cultural behavior that Facebook has brought about and a quite nice thing for a friday.

November 17, 2010

Social shopping, and making Facebook the Unbeatable Affiliate online

I got an idea the other day. It wasn’t the most original idea, but it was worth noting and thinking about for a while. The idea was about how bad social shopping is today. Seriously, it is horrible. There are so many good websites out there, but none which help us with our co-ordination problems with regards to shopping.

What is shopping anyway?

Now, when thinking about improving shopping, we need to go to the core of what good shopping really is. Good shopping is all about getting stuff we like. There are basically two ways in which we can get stuff we like. Either we buy it or we get it for free. There are also two social dimensions. Either we buy it ourselves or we get it from someone else.

Also, shopping requires some kind of interaction. Either with some kind of shopping system or with some kind of person. Most of the time, shopping is social. Regardless of where we shop, we usually have to interact with other people to do so. Even if that means ordering something online. We have to send our information to someone who takes care of it and sends us the stuff. Deep down we go through these social processes because  we have a built up desire to get something. Either because we just want two seconds alone time with the beautiful cashier, or because our taste tells us that we need the specific product.

Our taste is influenced by our social setting. This is where social shopping is today. Facebook, review websites, social media companies, blogs, comments etc. have helped us make better purchases on websites by allowing us and other users to interact with these products and platforms. The interaction leads to a better understanding of the product and thus increases or decreases our desire to buy it. We become better consumers by understanding other consumers insights of the products we are about to buy.

Facebook in particular has its way of bringing this social selection process closer to you as you are able to see who in your network likes or dislikes some kind of product if that vendor has integrated Facebook with their shopping experience.

Good for the vendor, not for the user

So far, so good. Or is it? Does this kind of solution actually solve any kind of problem for me as a consumer? Yes, it does make me better informed, but does it really help me make better choices? There are several studies which show that it actually does the opposite. By putting the purchase process into a social context it can effect my likelihood of increased poor judgment. Thus the likelihood of making irrational decisions increase as I conform to my social context.

Naturally, this offers great opportunity to the vendor or corporation making the sale. However, it doesn’t solve a problem for me as a user. As one of the key ingredients of any success online is to solve problems or create habits, I see this way of social shopping as passing.

So Jesper, what is the current social shopping experience going to be replaced by?

So I started thinking. The shopping process includes a lot of co-ordination problems. Especially when it comes to making purchases, and especially online purchases.

  • I need money in the bank at the same time as I try to buy
  • I sometimes don’t know what to buy as I am buying it for someone else
  • I might be shopping at completely different places than my friends and thus they will never know what I like
  • I need to know if my purchase is the best one possible and my own network might be limited due to lack of data

How can we solve a co-ordination problem for shoppers so that they can get a better experience getting stuff they need?

Today, we shop from websites we go to. My idea is based on the foundation that we let the products come to us. I know.. this is very much in line with the theory building about social objects and is really not that original. But hold on for one second… I actually have a suggested solution here as well.

Social Shopping through Facebook, solving a co-ordination problem

Let’s use Facebook as the example here as it seems like everyone has an account there these days. Let’s say that Facebook were to create a function called “The Vault”. Let’s say that this Vault allowed us as users to add products we meet at online stores, that we feel a desire to buy. “Add to vault“.

Let’s say Facebook offered vendors/companies/producers to add their products and prices to the open graph. (yeah… they actually do this already, but it is not used this way) Let’s also say that I would get a listing of similar products next to the one I have selected in my Vault based on the likes, dislikes and reviews of everyone in the whole world. Let’s say, for a second, that this Vault allowed me to actually get the best deal available for the product that I really desire.

Now, let’s say for a minute, that our friends got access to our vault. And let’s also say that I’ve added a Porche convertible as one of the products I really desire. Come the day of my birthday and Walter, Martin, Petrus and Emil doesn’t know what to buy me. Let’s just ponder on the possibility of Facebook adding the functionality where each one of my 873 friends could donate 10 bucks each to my gift. I know… we’re not close to a Porche yet… but we are pretty close to a really nice trip to the Bahamas.

Let’s give me the opportunity to either use their donations/gifts towards a down payment of the Porche, or perhaps, check them into buying a trip to the Bahamas which was second on the list of desires I have.

Now, let’s get greedy. Let’s say I could create a campaign out of my desire to get anyone in the world to make donations to my Vault wish list. Let’s say that I would be able to add a widget to my blog where people could contribute with a bit of cash just because they think I am an awesome guy providing all these tutorials for free and they want to help me repair my ugly looking apartment walls. Let’s say they would be able to do this… wouldn’t that make the shopping experience soooo much more social? Wouldn’t that be the essence of social shopping. Not only helping the vendors/sellers get their stuff more attractive by putting them into a social context, but also by giving me the means to actually purchase really expensive things… 😀

Making Facebook the Unbeatable Affiliate

Now, I am not yet done. Cause there are some bi-products of this system. Hypothetically, I could have some real friends that I see on a regular basis. Let’s say I was planning a trip together with them and that I was the organizer of the pack. Now, usually I have to pay all the money and then wait patiently for my friends to come along and give me the money 6 months later. But not with the Vault. In the Vault I could enter my desired journey. Then travel agents would outbid each other. The best possible offer would then be accepted by me and my friends through the “Vault co-ordination of payments”. Each one of us would then pay for our part of the trip separately. Easily.

This would in an instant make Facebook the unbeatable affiliate out there. They would be able to make CPO deals with all companies in the world and deliver REAL customers and leads to basically any vertical at all. That’s a pretty bold statement. But think about it for a second. I’ll give you some examples.

Let’s say I want to play poker with one of my friends. Facebook is built partly on challenges such as the “Poke” and “throw a sheep”. The functionality would be used for the challenge. Then a thousand poker rooms would add their offer of added value to these two users. They challenger selects a poker room. They deposit through their Vault account. Poof – out to play!

Let’s say I want to get insurance for my kids as I know they don’t have any as they spent my generous donation on booze instead of taking care of themselves when they went of to college. Let’s say there is an app that allows me to pay for my kids insurance policy through Facebook. I don’t have their current health data, but they do. I pay, they post the needed data and accept.

And so it goes on…

This is making the shopping experience social. Not only put into a social context. THAT is what social shopping should be all about.

Over and out!

(By the way, if you’re a Facebook person reading this… I have more where this came from… equally unoriginal and simple… yet still highly profitable ideas… just send me an e-mail and we’ll chat about it. I’ll trade my ideas and plans any day for open access and a test environment where I have no rules… 🙂 )

November 15, 2010

Facebook’s new E-mail to be Rolled out

As you have probably already heard. Facebook e-mail was launched today. It includes some problematic areas such as lack of integration and possibilities for developers to fully utilize it. However, all in all this is a good step towards renewing e-mail, something which Google tried and failed with in their Google Wave project.

I suggest you read the rest of the articles and enjoy the video above. I really should be covering these news first hand, but I simply don’t have the time right now. I will try to feed you the second hand smoke I manage to breathe though. As soon as the Facebook e-mail goes live I will test and try it out in order to make it more accessible to you and show you ways in which you can use it in your business models.

November 3, 2010

Facebook Local Deals

As if you didn’t already read all the blog posts about it. Local Deals have been announced by Facebook. What a shocker… hehe… perhaps not. But however expected the launch of this product is, it is really cool that they are actually doing it. They are connecting the offline to the online in a way which Google Local Business center never will.

Facebook has gotten one thing right from the beginning. You need critical mass in order to get something to work online. You need to make it a click thing, not a type thing, and more importantly, you need to offer an incentive to the mob you are going to capitalize on.

So what will Facebook Local Deals mean?

Basically, Local Deals on Facebook allows you to send push messages to people who check into your store through a mobile device whilst near or inside the store. It will give you the opportunity to offer them a deal on the spot. It will mean a lot to loyalty marketing, very little to attracting new business beyond the most savvy users out there. Yes, there is economy in it, and yes you should definitively get on the train right away. However, you should probably not put your complete marketing effort into this area alone. Local deals have been around forever, and the fact that you put them into a mobile device does not change that.

However, what it does change is the way you can greet your regular customers in the store. Especially big retailers will have a great opportunity to explore here. Think about it. Most of your employees do not recognize the regulars. They simply cannot as the regulars are too many or the employees work random shifts, so they don’t get to know the returning customers.

Here, the Local Deals on Facebook makes perfect sense. If someone checks into your store more than three times a week, or more than the average, then give them a reason to continue doing this. Offer them something such as access to a special area, invitations to events and previews or simply give them a simple discount offer.

The big ones will have problems as well

Which the small ones won’t, and here is the real paradox in this release as the big ones won’t update their existing systems to capitalize for real on this new opportunity. It will be deemed too costly. However, a local entrepreneur might just send out a request on freelancer.com to get a simple crm system up and running so that he or she can tie their local promotions to a coupon or a promotion code.

Cause it is not until you do tie it to some kind of purchase situation that it actually makes sense. This is also why it will not be as beneficial for recruiting new customers. Inflation in supply of offers will take the advantage away over time and thus loyalty will be the only thing that makes sense. Tied to an offer… such as a coupon.

Cause the abuse might otherwise be massive

Just imagine what you would do if you would get free stuff from all the places you could check into on your way to work. Simply walking down the street checking in everywhere just to get invited to the next cool event simply won’t make the cash flow for businesses.

It might give them some kind of opportunity to hand out the deal for the day such as “meat about to expire for 50% discount” or hand out real time offers to people who check into a complimentary or competing store down the street.

Competition will be fun

Cause the really cool thing will be when you are allowed to tie your messages to competing business locations. What if you could go “hey, you, if you pop over to me instead I’ll give you a 10% discount”. Now that would surely be of high value to both you as a business owner as well as a customer.

And yes, it will be added spice for creative campaigns

Just think about how much fun you will be able to have. Perhaps not fun that pays, but fun that’s simply fun and brings a smile to the face of your customer. As you know I kind of don’t like that kind of advertising, but still, it is fun and so it should be used as a gimmick if needed. I sure as hell will put it into the toolbox as soon as it becomes available over here.

So… the verdict

Without having tried it I feel like it is an excellent idea and although it wasn’t as unexpected as some might want it to be perceived, I am sure that we will see a lot of it in the near future. Hopefully in combination with the possibility to add bar codes, in store positioning and other such great tools to display what’s on offer this week. In other words – love it already! Sort of makes me want to work at Facebook 🙂 (I didn’t say that…) haha…

November 1, 2010

Facebook User Accounts and Suggested Solutions

There is a challenge with the current setup for Facebook user accounts. Today, users are only able to have one account on Facebook, if they are not to break the guidelines. For many businesses this creates a problem as employees do not want to use their private accounts for work administration on Facebook. They especially don’t want to start e-mailing with clients, as this gives privileges to the people they e-mail too which is not always in their or the businesses best interest.

Who wants to share their recent nude dip with a prospect client? Who wants to share images of their children with complaining customers? Who wants to share address information with someone who is REALLY pissed off?

Well, no one does and no one should have too. I write this post aimed at trying to reach people at Facebook able to fix these things. I understand their intentions with ONE user profile, ONE real person. It is in line with the future of a transparent web where we do no longer hide behind aliases. But for now however, we need to solve this problem in order to give business a place on Facebook. Business is not a bad thing in social networks, they can work as good enablers in many situations. So please, let us work towards giving them some kind of way to bridge their management issues.

As most businesses I have talked to experience this problem, I suggest we start here.

1. Masking User profiles in certain situations

Let’s begin with the most difficult solution and make it easier as we go. The masking of profiles would allow the user to mask their profile with different sets of permissions depending upon who they were talking too. This option would be administrated from the privacy settings of the user profile.

A set of scenarios would be set up for each privacy permission and different user profile images and names would be able to surface for different masking. Let’s say I want to speak with someone that I do not know, then use this image and this nickname. If I talk to my friends, use my real name and real image. Etc.

This would allow for business employees to get some privacy although they are working through the page or in any other place available. This would also work as developer settings for applications. Today, developer privacy is something neglected by Facebook, something which needs to be taken seriously in the future as we might now want to put our names on all applications we build. You know… some things we just do for the money to get by… but we might not be very proud of them… hehe…

2. “Reply As” functionality

Simple selection where Facebook page admins always have the possibility to reply as the page where ever they are on the Facebook platform. Can be added as a drop down hover over the reply icon.

Just as the segmented Page updates is a hover drop down of the reply field today.

3. Connecting accounts

Instead of deleting multiple accounts, a user should be able to connect all the accounts he or she has created for herself. This way Facebook would know who the “real user” is, just as a user selects a primary e-mail address, they should be able to add a primary Facebook profile. In combination with the Reply as functionality above, this would give us the freedom to incorporate less socially correct discussions and business models onto the Facebook platform such as online dating and gambling. (perhaps nothing Facebook or legislators want, but which the users are asking for)

4. Virtual dialogue places between company entities and people

This solution builds on the page type Facebook released the other day where you can list how you are connected with a specific person. Ie. you can view the complete history of events, comments, dialogue, messages with one person. My suggestion is that these page types could be used for admin of dialogues between page users and page admins.

That way you could tie a role to the specific user so that he or she could reply as a certain avatar, but get notified to replies in their personal profile. This is just like masking a user, but tied to a certain dialogue/relationship page. Similar to view privileges on a standard CMS platform. If you are admin user, then you see other user. If you are user, then you see admin user special avatar.

5. Ask/Reply privately from/to pages

There should be an option for page admins to reply to a comment made on a Facebook Page privately. This means that if a user asks a question that the page admin is not comfortable replying to openly, then they should be able to hit the “reply privately” option and answer the user.

Users should be able to ask privately as well. This way, the user is able to ask more freely and the page admins will be able to answer a wider range of issues.

As they reply through the Page interface, they are able to reply as the Page itself giving the page admins the privacy they need.

Other

So please let’s discuss this and find a solution rather than not doing anything at all about it. Christian, Mark or anyone else at FB? I’ve got people from your server networks reading this blog both in the UK and in the US so… whoever has the position or ability to move this further within Facebook, please do! I’m just trying to find a solution here.

August 19, 2010

Facebook Page Tactics on Turning a Facebook user into a buyer

You might be one of those companies who have currently created your social media strategy. Somewhere in it, you should have some lines about how to leverage Facebook’s technology from two perspectives.

  1. How can I work on the Facebook platform
  2. How can I leverage the value of user data derived from Facebook

You must remember that Facebook is a technology and not a network in itself. Just like the fact that you aren’t guaranteed a lot of visitors, buyers or other success just because you choose EPiServer or WordPress as your CMS. You need to do good stuff in order to do well.

First something about transparency and content

In your strategy you will probably have some sentences about transparency and that social media is about sharing valuable content. This is good, but we have to elaborate on this a bit for it to make sense business wise. You shouldn’t be transparent about everything, and you shouldn’t create any kind of content, just because your users find it valuable.

What level of transparency do you need?

Let’s start with transparency. What users expect from you, especially if you are a product brand, is that you are transparent about your intentions. Your goals and ambitions with your social media investments shall be public and easily accessible by the users. Also, you should make sure that you are transparent on the full promise you can deliver on with your products. If you are using child labor or if you are engaged in some kind of tax fraud, this is not the time to let it out there. You should probably get it sorted and change your business ethics instead.

The transparency of intentions sets the users expectations at a reasonable level. They know why they connect with you and they know what kind of communication they can expect to get out of you. All you have to do after that is to stay true to your promise. In some companies this is difficult as the bosses tend to neglect reason when they see a nominal number. You should make sure they understand, and are in compliance with the promises you make, before you start being successful. Otherwise things will/might turn really ugly. When it comes down to it, you will take the blame, so make sure your boss is there to make the promises with you in the beginning.

Is remarkable content really necessary?

Secondly, we have the question of “remarkable content”. Your primary objective is to find a funnel that leads to a billing relationship with all your fans as soon as possible. This is important to remember. If you give away stuff for free, people will expect this in the future as well, and thus you will have little success in driving business if you don’t set the foundation for this right away.

On Facebook, you are not allowed to give offers in the news feed, so you need to find another way of utilizing your Facebook page in order to drive sales. One of the best ways is to create a weekly coupon. People love coupons. I don’t know why, but they simply do. I can tell you that you will have a million times more success putting a weekly coupon on a Facebook page tab than you will if you put an online offer with a direct link on the same tab. Make an image of a coupon, create a button that reads “Claim your weekly coupon”, and then watch it go.

Naturally, you connect your coupon with special permissions that post to wall and collect all the user data through an application. Just imagine the possibilities with a “Jesper just claimed his weekly coupon on xxx.com” (don’t go to that site by the way… it was just an example… bad one perhaps.. ). It would surely go viral.

What I mean with this is that your content surely has to be good. But good content doesn’t have to be a purple cow. It might as well be a good offer, or an offer placed in a setting that makes it relevant.

But let’s get back to the billing relationship.

So how about that billing relationship?

Every week I hear social media prophets talk about remarkable content as though it was the easiest thing in the world to create. Most of them are talking about creative content. Such that make people go wild. But think about it. How many times a week do you do something just because you think wow? How many times per month do you buy something because you think wow? How many times a week do you connect with a new person because you think wow?

Most of the times you don’t. Most of the times you do stuff that you normally do, buy stuff that you feel you need, and connect with people that you think might be able to benefit your social or work needs in some way. Of the three things stated above, I would say it is the connection phase that has the greatest need for a wow-factor. But it is not to say that you have to create that remarkable sensation of storytelling success every time you share some kind of content. Especially not if you have been transparent with your intentions from the beginning.

But let’s get down to the tactics.

Facebook page conversion funnel

When I think of launching a new Facebook page I think of three steps. I will only go through one tactic in each step of the process.

  • Persuasion to join
  • Persuasion to share
  • Persuasion to buy

These steps can be taken on site or on Facebook. Why I split it into these three stages is because it gives me clarity when I work and helps the client understand at what stage they are in the process.

If you need some insights into persuasion it basically states that you set up a goal, then you think of three or more reasons as to why a person shall want to walk the line to your goal. Then you find three facts that support each reason. Almost like building an essay. Each paragraph has a statement and at least three facts to support the statement. Here is a pdf that gives you a good matrix for when you work with this.

Now, this is what social media allows. Especially when working in social network environments. It allows dialogue, and thus you can make a statement and then use the facts in the dialogue to support it. Don’t give it all away at once. By doing that you will induce more dialogue, debate and be able to tell who is ready to move onto the next step in your conversion funnel.

Persuasion to join

Let’s do this with an example. I create a Facebook page and my primary goal is to get fans. I decide that I should buy a social ad from Facebook in order to grow quickly.

What’s great with the social ad is that it includes the facts you need in order to convince people that your page is the right choice. First of all you have the headline where you can make the statement of your goal. Then you have the text where you can make the statement of reason. Then you have the “social circle” that gives the user the final persuasion to join in compliance with theories of conformity. If some of my friends have joined, then why am I not in it already?

Perhaps a simple tactic, and there are much more sophisticated ones such as building a challenge or charisma app, but I’ll save those examples for my book… hehe..

Persuasion to share

Secondly, you need to get them to share some information about themselves. You do this through an application where the user grants you special permissions to your Facebook data. Now, this is more tricky than it sounds as you have to provide them with quite a persuasive argument in order to make them join. Either you can do it like Amazon did it:

  • Goal: Connect your Amazon account to Facebook
  • Reason: Improve your amazon shopping experience
  • Facts that support the reason: See what your friends buy, get suggestions related to your network, ie. more relevant shopping experience.

In their case they put some security stuff in there as well. That’s natural as they are the first to do this kind of advanced integration, but the sense of security can be accomplished with some symbols as well (such as https or verisign).

If you do not wish to do it like Amazon and utilize the user data on your website outside of Facebook then you should probably have a look at some of the more fun and creative applications. Here you can have a look at what Burger King did with the defriend campaign or perhaps what FarmVille is doing. Two really strong ways to get special permissions from people. I strongly recommend you have a look at what Amazon has done though as I believe it will be the future of online business. It is highly persuasive in the phase of creating buyers to actually have an integration set up on your website. Otherwise you might loose the social stimulus and guarantees for your shop visitor when they are IN your online store choosing between several goods.

Persuasion to buy

Last but not least you have the persuasion to buy. Now this is what people forget about social media. Building value and equity is only half way there. You need to get the billing relationship going as soon as you can. You need to start giving offers, news and such information related to your business goals – making more money – as soon as you connect with the person. I do not agree with people who say you cannot sell through social media. I’ve seen the contrary several times and so, I believe it is a matter of poor tactics rather than lack of possibilities.

Anyhow, once you have the user data, the rest is a matter of fishing. Put on a fat worm on the hook and kick back and relax. If you get one person to bite, you will get the rest to follow. I am going to introduce something called aggregated conversion rates in my book about viral marketing. This concept builds on that you only need a very low conversion rate in big networks such as e-mail or Facebook in order to get great results. A conversion rate of 1% in a network where people have an average of 100 people makes your viral campaign infinite. It will go from one person to the next, to the next and then to the next.

Anyhow. Again… Once you have the user data you can choose between running your buyers persuasion on Facebook or off Facebook. Either you do like Amazon and use gift/birthday notifications via e-mail, together with social circle persuasion once on the website.

  • Goal: buy a book (or several)
  • Reason: This book is probably something you like
  • Fact: So many of your friends rated the book top notch!

Another way of building a persuasion to buy, getting back to the coupon, is to create a survey on your Facebook page where you poll what people want to buy from you, or what they are interested in knowing more about. Then you base your weekly coupon on the findings you get from the survey.

  • Goal: Buy my stuff
  • Reason: Because this specific thing is the hottest stuff right now
  • Facts: Because 90% of the Facebook page fans says so

Conclusion & disclaimer

So these are some tactics on how to build a buying customer out of a Facebook user. Think of persuasion and what type of way you can persuade your fans into moving along the ladder towards becoming a returning customer. If you happen o be at Dialogkonferansen in Strömstad next week I will elaborate on this in my session. Getting nervous as I usually speak in front of specialists and not marketing directors.

Naturally there are a million ways to build your customer base through Facebook. The above statements should be seen as inspiration and are not guaranteed to work for each and every business. I take no responsibility for what you do with my advice and if you decide to invest in any of the above be sure to consult me or someone else first so that you don’t make a mess of things. Add me to Skype: jesperastrom or just give me a call if you need clarification.

Possibly related posts:
August 4, 2010

Facebook SPAM as the Killer App

There are quite a few of us that have received wicked posts from friends lately on Facebook. They have amazing titles such as “The worlds greatest…”, “99% of people cannot…”, “Get iPhone 4 for free…” etc. Naturally, some of us know that this is SPAM and don’t click the stories, accept the extended permissions and give the application access to all our user data.

Sadly, we all have our days and I made a blooper yesterday that could have been costly, hadn’t I realized my mistake quite soon. This is SPAM that might cost you a lot if you are not eager to protect yourself and your privacy. The spammers are out to get access to your data through the OpenGraph. They use the data to achieve several goals where the most prominent is to generate content on other websites as the private profile data and discussions are hidden for Google. Thus unique content.

The applications work like viruses. Once you are infected, you become the carrier and thus spam your friends walls with messages. As the messages come from our friends, we are kind of likely to click the story as we trust the carrier. Sort of like an STD.

I will not go into how they do it in this post as it might inspire others to do it as well. Considering most of the readers of this blog come from areas of the world, creatively seeking methods to bend the rules, I will keep that to myself for now. What I will post though is how you protect yourself if you feel like you might have accepted an application or you see that you have spammed your friends.

There is virtually no way of protecting yourself if you continue clicking links in Facebook. Until they come up with a durable solution though (as I am sure they are looking for a solution as this might be the REAL killer app otherwise) – this is what you should have a look at to protect yourself:

1. Go to application settings

2. Go through the list of applications that have access to your personal profile

Be sure to look at both tabs on the dialogue box that appears.

3. Remove the applications that you don’t use or don’t recognize completely.

4. Do this process at least once per week, at best, once a day

I think that’s it for now. I’ll get back to you later with more updates if this continues. It has been there for a while now, but it is accelerating as we speak so I just wanted to make you aware of it.

Cheers,

Jesper

July 28, 2010

Facebook Questions – The WAR with Google is head to head

Facebook just released news about Facebook Answers. They say that:

Today we’re introducing Facebook Questions, a beta product that lets you pose questions like these to the Facebook community. With this new application, you can get a broader set of answers and learn valuable information from people knowledgeable on a range of topics.

I suppose the publishing and speed up process of this beta product is a result of the news being released today that Google is partnering up with Zynga and other Games producers to develop games for some new platform that Google will launch in a while. I would love to work at one of those companies right now. When WAR is on and competition is fierce I excel like a… I just love the sensation of competing.

Facebook Questions will be available from your normal status bar:

Facebook Questions

The whole point is that you can ask any question you like and get real time answers from all your friends, but also from their friends. Thus you will reach outside your normal sphere of contacts which are your closest 250 people. I am sure we will se some creative spamming done in this area. hehe..

You will be able to add polls or images to your questions. You will be able to tag it with a specific topic so that people with that interest will be able to see it in a more promoted space. I am sure Facebook will develop experts functionality here as well so that people can develop status within certain fields of expertise.

They will also develop a kind of directory of questions and answers and you’ll be able to follow a flow of questions and answers.

Anyhow. More about Facebook Questions can be read here.

July 28, 2010

Amazon connects to Facebook – A new era begins!

A lot of us have been talking about it. Very few clients have dared to implement it. Perhaps not that surprisingly, Amazon launched their facebook connect integration yesterday. It is perhaps the best eCommerce integration I have seen and it is based upon Amazons normal way of presenting offers, but with a twist.

You do not only get the recommendations based upon what you have bought. You get recommendations based on what others in your network have bought. This is perhaps an even stronger sales argument. Previously the recommendation was “People who have bought this book, also bought”. Now they can use the recommendation “Person x an y in your network bought this book as well when buying that book.” They have also included a gift recommendation area which is so good that it almost makes me cry out of joy.

Amazon Facebook Connect Integration – how it works

A user is promted to log in.

On the right side there is the option to connect to your network on Facebook.

Then you go through the sign on process to connect your two accounts. If you want to do this on your own website it is important that you pay notice to the copy here. They are answering the most common worries amongst Facebook users and privacy advocates. It is extremely important to put another step into the connection process just as they’ve done here. They both answer the Why should I? and the Do I dare? questions.

Now the juicy stuff can start to happen. As you log in you get your friends in a list. You get the ones with a birthday on top and you get a couple of other suggestions beneath. Click the image below to enlarge it.

  • Popular Among Your Facebook Friends
  • Birthday and Gift Suggestions for Your Facebook Friends
  • Recommendations Based on Your Favorite Music on Facebook
  • Recommendations Based on Your Favorite Movies on Facebook

This is really how eCommerce and personalization should work with regard to social networks. Imagine the implications on your margins this could have if you use the OpenGraph API to suggest packages of products based on networks to your site visitors.

  • Imagine if they have added that they like a specific artist, and you can offer them the same deal as that artist likes.
  • Perhaps 5 people in a specific persons network have bought one specific camera? Then perhaps that’s a good thing to tell the visitor about.
  • If a person has bought product A but all their friends bought product B as well, then an integration as the above could help out with suggesting this to the person
  • If someone has a birthday and they have bought stuff from your store to other friends, you should be able to remind those receivers that they can return the favor once it is the first persons time to have a birthday

The extensions of eCommerce in a social environment are limitless. You will earn loads of money and since you don’t have to maintain the database/CRM yourself, as it is hosted, managed and updated by the users themselves, you don’t have to worry about your investment growing old either. Data has gone from being an asset into being a common good. It is what we do with the data that creates value or doesn’t create value.

July 27, 2010

How to Get Indexed and rank in Facebook Search

This is the second post in the summer school edition. For most people, search is synonymous with Google, Yahoo or Bing. In fact, this is what most SEOs are talking about when creating strategies for search. How to rank in search engines which sole purpose is to display search results.

However, searches are being conducted all the time. The difference between standard engine search and social search is that social search is created through spontaneous interaction rather than contextual belonging. Think of it this way. Any update we post on facebook, twitter, wordpress etc. could be seen as a search query. We are posting our thoughts, our questions or some other resource that we want to share with the rest of the world. We search for content consumers with our content sharing. At best, we anticipate that this post will induce some sort of reaction. This reaction is generally spontaneous and based on what we manage to trigger in the people who see our post.

So. If we consider all posts, updates and entries of media into the web as a search query. What used to be static content, becomes dynamic and social objects of data that are searching for context and people to like them. As the social web allows for human interaction, this is the most logic elaboration of the content, links and people components that the web consist of.

Facebook Search

This post however, will be about something more down to earth than the philosophical question of what the web is about. This post will be about how to rank in Facebook Search.

There are basically two ways in which you can rank in Facebook search.

  • With a Facebook Page
  • With a standard HTML page on your website

Ranking with groups, applications etc. follow the same theoretical ground so you should be able to use this knowledge if you’re running those kind of campaigns as well.

Ranking with a website, page or group in Facebook Search

When Google started out ranking pages they constructed a metric called PageRank. This PageRank was dependent upon how many people had referenced a specific page and what words they were using on the linking page. Thus, it was no longer as important to cram your website with a specific keyword, but it became more important that other people used that important keyword on the page that they were linking from. Even better, if they used that keyword to link to you.

In the world of Facebook, they are also using a sort of validated PageRank to index their pages. We generally call these links “fans”. Facebook has changed the button name from Become Fan to Like or Recommend. The fact however remains that Facebook has created their own type of PageRank where they index and rank different online resources – personal profiles, facebook pages, groups and applications – based on how many fans they have that are related to you.

The last part of the above stated is probably the most important. It is not the nominal number of fans on a page or in a group that makes your page rank. It is the social closeness of the page to the searcher that makes it rank. It is important to understand this concept, especially when optimizing your ad campaigns for Facebook pages. You cannot just create a facebook campaign based on keywords, but you have to move your campaign between different demographics, acquire some members until you start ranking in that demographic, then move on to another one. The more successful you are in analyzing how many fans you need in a certain group of people in order to rank as number one, the more successful your growth will be in Facebook Search.

This means you shouldn’t spend all your money becoming number one. But you should spend your money on acquiring the right people to put you as number one, making you show up to all their friends and friends of friends when they search on related topics to you.

Thus, ranking anything available on Facebook is a question of acquiring the right kind of fans. In order to rank your webpages as groups, pages and community pages on Facebook you need to make them into social objects. These social objects shall be given the OpenGraph properties so that Facebook can add them in the right way.

Adding your website to the Open Graph – create social objects

Below is a video on how to add your web pages to the Social Graph by including the OpenGraph protocol on your pages. This will take you approximately 30 minutes to do if you know what your website is about. If some of you don’t, call me!! hehe…

This is the code that you should be adding. You can look at the source code of my website. I have written a stand alone post on how to add the “Like” button which you can find by clicking Like Button for Facebook. You can find the rest of the OpenGraph protocol source code here.

<html xmlns:og="http://opengraphprotocol.org/schema/"
      xmlns:fb="http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml">
  <head>
    <title>The Rock (1996)</title>
    <meta property="og:title" content="The Rock"/>
    <meta property="og:type" content="movie"/>
    <meta property="og:url" content="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117500/"/>
    <meta property="og:image" content="http://ia.media-imdb.com/rock.jpg"/>
    ...
  </head>
  ...
</html>

The most important fact you need to pay notice to is that this does not make your pages rank. The liking does. Not the inclusion. I have no idea on when Facebook will actually start ranking more pages, but here is a ranking example of how TripAdvisor have managed to start ranking in Facebook search.

  1. Search for TripAdvisor
  2. On top should be the TripAdvisor page
  3. Click “Pages” in the left hand menu
  4. Your search result will look different from mine but somewhere you will find a snippet that looks like the one below with a web address in it

In this search result it is the second snippet.

  1. Click the link
  2. Watch how Facebook redirects you to a “normal” web page and not a standard Facebook Page

These types of rankings can be obtained by integrating your web platform with the Facebook OpenGraph protocol and adding a like button to your website.

Link Values from Facebook

What the Facebook OpenGraph integration also give you is a load of links to your website from Facebook profiles. That is if you are successful in getting people to like your content.

As most of the info pages are public on Facebook and as they are being crawled by Google, this must help you a lot with your standard SEO work. Remember that you can probably build a great microsite network by integrating all your micro websites in the OpenGraph protocol. Just a thought … hehe…

SEO tactic for Facebook

So, as your strategy shall basically come down to “creating compelling/extraordinary content” you should really focus on the tactics. The tactics are the difficult and fun part of working in Social media. The strategy is the dull and boring part of the work. As I said, all it comes down to is virtually – hire great people, who are social and can create great content, be transparent in your intentions and always treat others like you want to be treated. If you do not know, ask the community to help out.

I guess that’s what my next post shall be about.

//Jesper