Seriously, the Beatles have sung it so many times that anyone that sees the title can probably hum the tune to it. However, marketeers still do not seem to be able to understand that it is the truth. Especially in this age of social media. Money cannot buy you love. However hard you try. And lately we have seen many trying. Over the past weeks, Shell has often turned up in my Facebook timeline. They are talking about how wonderful they are. How much they care about the world and the environment. And only a day or two ago they posted the oil companies’ equivalent of the old boys game “who’s got the biggest”. (See image.) This morning I was greeted by the results of all their money spent. Three of my friends have liked their page. Pathetic.
So, I went to take a look at their Facebook page. It is a site describing Shell in all its glory. Like the sites of so many large companies, you could call it a corporate display of narcissism. The subjects adressed are Shell, and Shell alone. If they address any other subject, it is solely from the Shell point of view. Where working on a less pollutive environment has become about the Shell eco challenge. And even regular oysters are turned into a Shell product. To be honest, it does not matter how many dollars you spend on Facebook marketing, the general outlook does not trigger me to be a Shell fan. And it shows. For a company with over 90,000 employees and almost 500 billion in revenues, a mere 2.5 million Facebook fans should not be something Shell is excited about.
I could understand if you, and Shell, would come up with the argument that its business is fuel. Nobody loves fuel. It is something you put in your tank whenever you want, wherever you are. And that is a reasonable case to make. However, that whole process changes when you put love in it. When you love your customers. When you talk to them. When you address the things that they feel are relevant to them.
I know the comparison with coffee is going to be a big step. But for many, coffee used to be like I described fuels. At some point in time you will be craving a cup. You need it and you bought it whenever you want and wherever you are. And then Starbucks came along. They made buying coffee a rewarding experience. They put the love in it. And if you go to their Facebook page, you see that they care for their customers. This morning when I went to their page, they had just used a customers’ picture as their cover photo. They talk to their customers and address their issues. They even allow their customers to vent their thoughts towards Starbucks. When I visited their page today, there was someone who posted about how Starbucks does not support the military. And 107 comments below the post where from fans defending their shop and setting the record straight. Why? Because they love their shop and their coffee. The 33 million likes prove that point.
If you want to be on Facebook, remember one thing. It is never about the likes. It is about your attitude towards your customers and potential customers. Because your Facebook Page (or your Google+ page, or any other social network page or account) is not about YOU, it is about THEM. And if you remember that, your likes will come. Because they care about you, because you care about them.
Yesterday, Michael Sippey wrote an extensive blogpost on the new Twitter API on the Twitter developers blog. It talks about delivering a consistent Twitter experience as its main motivation. But in between the lines, there seem to be secondary goals. Goals of a much more strategic nature that can influence the way we are using Twitter across the board.
Naturally, the blogpost starts off with changes to the authentication process (security) and the new way in which rate limits are set. (Those limit the amount of requests your application can make through the Twitter API.) And that is al good and nice. It is pretty positive news, as it promises improvements for all of us. However, then it turns towards changes to the developer rules of the road. And this is where it gets tricky. For one, everyone now has to adhere to Twitter’s Display Guidlines. Those determine that a tweet should look the same regardless of where it is published. Which will influence a lot of the third party clients we now use to send and receive tweets. Beyond that, every new application needs to be certified by Twitter, giving them control over the whole channel. In other words, you might have an awesome idea that you can build on the back of Twitter, but if the boys at headquarters believe it is not in their best interests, you might never gain access to the Twitter API.
One of the most interesting decisions by Twitter is where they require developers to work with them directly if you need a large amount of user tokens. It is all brought in the most positive way possible, but in the end, this is where the restrictions for third party apps come into play. If you believe you will ever need access for more than one million users, you need to work with their developer team. But if you are building something that captures the home stream for a user, you need Twitter’s permission to build it if you expect it to go over 100,000. Obviously they say they will not be shutting down applications, but they do state that you can no longer grow beyond that 100,000 users point without their permission. Clients that currently have over 100,000 users can grow to twice their current size, before they too need to go to Twitter for permission to grow bigger.
This smells like control. But it gets worse. They then get into the ecosystem story around the whole thing. And at the end of that, they more or less publicly state that services like Storify, Favstar.fm are in a quadrant that they do not want to have third party apps in. So are pure Twitter clients like Echofon and Tweetbot. And that is where control really grabs a hold of Twitter HQ.
Is it imaginable that Twitter wants to go the way of Facebook? I believe so. Between the introduction of Twitter Cards and the limit to the way you can use Twitter, this seems to aim to keep the customer solely at Twitter’s website and official apps. For those of you who have not heard, Twitter Cards is more or less a preview of links posted as you would see on Facebook and Google+. Obviously, Twitter already added photo sharing last year. If you combine that with having to go through the Twitter site or specific applications for use, then you are in control of a platform that allows better advertising hence more income. Also, you might keep more people on your own service than moving towards Facebook’s timeline, as they get all their information bundled at one place just like Facebook.
Personally, I am not a fan of this approach. And I doubt whether it strategically is a good one. Twitter grew on the back of the third party apps that allowed easy access in the way people wanted to use Twitter. In fact, the way users have used Twitter, has never really been the way in which it was planned by Twitter in the first place. And that is what made them big. Twitter only wanted single sided statements online. Users wanted conversations, users invented hashtags and retweets to facilitate those conversations. Twitter has picked up on some of them, but has overruled others.
This is going to be an interesting race. Twitter has a huge following, but will it stay with Twitter as it apparently tries to grow into a network that can rival Facebook and Google+ etc. for the users’ attention? Specifically as Twitter seems to always ignore the users’ requests and follow a slightly different course. What are your thoughts? Let me know.
Facebook is a marketeers wet dream. 850 million people and they are all waiting for you! Or are they? Lets just pop your bubble. They are not. In fact, they are waiting for you just as much as they were waiting for door-to-door encyclopedia salesmen and dinnertime telemarketers. Encouraging thoughts? Read on. There is hope.
Remember your website? Remember how you pushed it over the past ten years? It became your online home. And it still is and should be. As well as you need an office for your company, you need a website as your official online presence. Not a Facebook page. That is like stating that you are a very serious brand, but your corporate offices are housed in the local bar. So, if you are a serious brand, you put your website on your commercials, posters, business cards etc. Not your Facebook page. As 96% of the people who like you on Facebook never come back to your page. Bring the interaction to your site.
Yes, be on Facebook and integrate Facebook, but don’t push your customers away from you and onto Facebook. Just this week I saw a re-launching butter brand and one of the worlds’ largest mobile phone manufacturers advertise with just their Facebook URL. And lets face it, that is not going to work. Because, who would you rather relate to? A re-launching packet of butter, or your friends who are sending you messages. Right. At your own site you do not have to compete with your customers’ friends. And you don’t want to compete. Simply because you cannot win. Regardless of how fantastic your brand is.
If you have read my previous post on Facebook, you might be inclined to think that I would advice any company against being on Facebook. But that is not the case. In fact, I strongly believe you need to be on Facebook.
In my previous Facebook post, I used analytical data from several sources to determine that only 0.4% of your Facebook fans actually visit your Facebook page and that only 0.02% of your Facebook fans visits one of the tabs you put on your Facebook page. However, there is a much more important reason to be on Facebook and even to gather likes on Facebook.
People spend a a great deal of their time on Facebook. They come there to share with their friends. To talk. To hang out. Basically, they are not spending time with Facebook, they are spending time with their friends. That is the reason why commerce on Facebook failed, but also why branding works.
“It was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.” That was the feeling why large retailers closed their shops on Facebook. And that is a great analogy. As Facebook is very similar to hanging out at the bar. People share stories, jokes, have fun, play games, exchange thoughts. People are there together. Nobody walks into a bar to buy a suit and neither will someone go to Facebook to do the same.
However, they do talk to the sales manager of their favorite store at the bar. They will exchange stories, ask questions and point others to him. And that conversation is usually what will get them back in the store the next day. That is the power of Facebook. Building that relationship.
Six things to do on Facebook?
Not just a company account. Build your presence based on your people and gather them to be the pillars of your Facebook page.
Talk to your visitors and your fans. Be genuinely interested in who they are, what they care about and what you can do for them. Not to push a product, but to build a relationship.
There is a reason why people like you. There is a reason why they like your page. Find out why. NEVER assume you know! Rule of thumb, if you have not asked and they have not answered, you do not know.
Once you have found out why people like you, you can be relevant to them. You can share with them what they care about. There is a fair chance that they are not interested in you pushing your products. Keep that in mind. But the only way to find out, is to ask!
If you are relevant, you can become sharable. That is the point where you communicate such good content to your fans, that they actually want their friends to know about it.
The key to it all. You have to be available. People need to be able to talk to you and get an answer. Not just your biggest customers, but everyone. Because it is like that bar scene. If you only talk to your biggest client, none of the others in the bar feel pulled towards you. Even though you might be offering something they want. If they feel ignored, they will ignore you.
Ok, here it is: Facebook is not the holy grail in communicating with your customers. It is not even a nice place for ecommerce. And it is not just me that says this. There are actual statistics that say the same thing. Read on to find out why.
Before I start this, let me get one thing straight with you. I like Facebook. It is the biggest social network where people spend most of their time. We already knew people spend one out of every 7 minutes online on Facebook. Now, new statistics show that visitors in January spent 405 minutes on Facebook on average. So, a great place to be.
But that is where it ends. A great place to be. And the main reason is that that is what people do on Facebook. They are. They are with their friends, they talk, hang out, joke, play and all that. Commerce is rarely on their mind when they are on Facebook. Something that has been demonstrated last week when American retailers Gamestop pulled the plug on their store on Facebook after JC Penney and Nordstrom already closed their Facebook stores. “There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts told Bloomberg in a telephone interview. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”
Data from startup PostRocket agrees with the conclusions of Sucharita Mulpuru and gives extra insights into what is happening at Facebook. One of the biggest misconceptions on Facebook has to do with people liking your page. For most marketeers the reasoning goes something like “Hey, we’ve got 4 million fans, so those are people who are ready to buy our stuff.” However, data from BrandGlue indicates that 96% of the fans will never return to the Facebook page after they have liked it! And keeping in mind that a lot of page likes are gathered by advertising on Facebook, most people will never have visited the page in the first place. But assuming that all of your 4 million fans have, only 160,000 people will ever visit your Facebook page again.
Now we get to the PostRocket figures. Through their analysis they have found that the number of Facebook page visits amounts to 0.7% of your fan count. In our example that would give our page 28,000 views. Through the same analysis it was found out that a Facebook page only gets 0.4% of its fan count in unique visitors. In plain English, only 16,000 of our 4 million fans visit our Facebook page on a given day. A good e-commerce site like Gamestop (who had 4 million Facebook fans) brings in around 180,000 visitors every single day. That is over eleven times more!
But it gets worse. Facebook points your fans to your wall. Which means that if you want to sell anything to your customers, you need to install a tab application in Facebook. Data shows that non-landing tabs on Facebook pages only get between 1% and 10% of the page visitors. And the 10% is only reserved for ridiculously well performing tabs offering a direct discount or a super interesting deal. For the sake of argument, lets just take the average. Based on the 16,000 unique visitors we calculated before, only 800 unique visitors will actually be visiting the store (or another tab) on your Facebook page.
Long story short, on average only 0.02% of the fan count of your page will actually be visiting the tabs you created on your Facebook page. Can your situation be different? Of course it can be. Is Facebook a lost cause for companies? Certainly not. But you need to keep in mind that people are not on Facebook to buy. They are on Facebook to share and to hang out. That means that creating a good ecommerce site will easily beat your efforts on Facebook. Just something to think about.
Yesterday, Google announced that they will now make Google+ much more of a search companion than it was. Google will introduce a “personalized search” button you can click to see who of your friends have posted messages that align with your search. To be honest, I had expected things like this to happen from day one. I even blogged about how I expected Google to integrate Google+ into everything they do. And surprise, surprise. They did.
The funny part comes next. Now a lot of people are yelling about antitrust laws and how it is unfair to use your monopoly on search to promote your social network. Which is interesting in itself. I am not saying that they are not doing that. I am just looking at the people making that statement and that surprises me. One of the biggest complainers is Twitter. You know, the company who tried to use their monopoly in microblogging to promote their search capabilities. Apparently, after a period of working closely together, they then pulled Google’s rights to use the tweets of their users in Google’s search results. Only to come back to Google to offer them the rights to use the search at a figure “below $100 million”. Imagine their surprise that Google denied it and turned around to do it themselves. In an official statement sent to a number of news outlets, Twitter even speaks of Twitter as the world’s primary source of breaking news. And Google’s new search results will harm information reaching users. (Read the full statement on TechCrunch for instance.) I would almost call that a “We’re better!” attempt. In an interview with Marketingland Eric Schmidt says that they are not favoring Google+ and that they are willing to talk to Twitter and Facebook.
Honestly, unlike Twitter, I do see benefits for people searching. I believe integrating social networks into search can be a step forwards towards offering better search results. But it will be important for Google to get Twitter, Facebook and others to join their social search attempt. Because even though I do like Google+, I cannot and will not see it as my only source of social search results.
Oh, I will quickly log in with my Facebook account. Wait, I don’t have to register here, I can just use Twitter. Or LinkedIn. Or any of my other social networks. Throughout the day, you are giving lots of services permission to use your social network accounts. It may be for authentication at first, but you will almost always be granting more permissions than the service really needs. And over time, you forget which services were granted what.
Time for mypermissions.org. An easy service that shows a couple of big logo’s from the major social networks. Clicking them will take you to the permission pages for your network account on that network. An easy way to check who you have been granting permissions on what. And believe me, even if you are not that active, that usually still is a surprising list.
Yes, Google has added pages to Google Plus. And even though you might think that this is not that big a deal, I think it could have a lot more impact than you think.
Google has launched pages that are not that different from what we are used to in Google+. That means that, unlike Facebook, a Google+ page is just a single page. No extra fuss. No extra pages. They might come in the future, but for now your page only has a block of five pictures on the top, a timeline and three links to a limited About page and photo’s and video’s that you have uploaded. The good thing is that Google has incorporated the regular Google+ features. Obviously you can add pages to your circles keeping their communications where you would want it. However, what is much more interesting is the option to create a hangout on your page. So, if you run a celebrity page, you can now do an online meet and greet as easy as planning a time to open up the hangout. The Muppets did exactly that yesterday when you could chat with Kermit and Miss Piggy. And yes, this is to promote their new show.
Google+ Pages put the focus on people even more than Facebook does. Their point is that their pages are a great way to connect to the team behind the brand, the organization or the name. A valid point. And one that could explain the lack of extra pages. Though they might add the option to create extra tabs and create pages in the future.
So, with the parts they are missing, why would Google Plus Pages be even a remote threat to Facebook? Search, that is why. Even though more and more people use social search -asking friends a question- Google still holds all the cards in search. We have seen the impact of that with the +1 button which puts pages your friends have liked on top of your search results. And it won’t be long until Google Plus Pages will be doing the same. Their pages will turn up before the Facebook version will. And that will happen across the board. Whether on the computer, tablet or mobile, Google Plus Pages might become one of the most natural entrances to your brand from the search results. After all the effort you have put into your Facebook page, you might not like the idea. But it might all be for the best if you are a company that takes its customers seriously. Because the entrance through your Google page might become your key to individual success with your customers. Hangouts with key representatives will get potential customers to connect to your products and services much more than Facebook will ever allow you to. And purchasing stays at your own doorstep instead of Facebook’s.
Do I think Google Plus Pages will be a success? Yes. By the sheer size of the Google Plus network? No. But by the integration that Google is rolling out into every single one of its products. And by the personal nature in which you can start interacting with your audience.
Today Facebook has finally launched its long awaited iPad app. There were rumors that it was postponed until the Apple iPhone 4S presentation last week, because it would be so wonderful. Well, to put it bluntly, I know why they did not show it. Yes, it is nice, yes it is by Facebook, but no, it is not shocking.
The iPad app has a nice feel to it. You have your continuing news feed taking up about 75% of the screen and then you have the chat option on the side. On the left side of the screen you can pull up a fast menu for navigating through everything Facebook has to offer, including apps. Interestingly, there is no “pages” button in the sidebar. And I doubt Facebook forgot that button. I am wondering what their focus on pages will become in the near future after they have rolled out timeline etc. for every user. Another interesting button is the checkin. Above the news feed you have the option to leave an update, add a photo or to check in. Previously Facebook seemed to loose its interest in check-ins for businesses. So, is this a turn from a course set earlier, or is the button still in because it was there in the initial development? Those are interesting questions.
All in all, the Facebook app is nice. It has a good Facebook feel to it and that makes it easy to use and very familiar. It is easier to navigate and a bit easier to work with, as all the areas are just bigger in comparison to running the site on Safari on the iPad. Bigger fingers will appreciate that. As for me? I just appreciate it as it is a well functioning app for a service I use a lot. However, the iPad app misses the new timeline, the ticker, the selected news stories and pages. And missing out on the four features I use most on Facebook is just too much. So, this is not an app I am going to use.