Facebook’s Changes: How to Get Timeline Now, What Changes Mean for Brands

Mashable has had some really informative posts on all the recent Facebook announcements of late. The first one here walks you through how to enable Facebook Timeline now. It’s really just a more visually oriented way of viewing your Facebook status and profile.  The instructions are fairly easy to follow but be aware that only other people who have done this will be able to see your changes for now. Once timeline goes out of public beta, it will be viewable by everyone.

Mashable added another article a day or two ago regarding how these changes might directly effect brand pages. And this one discussing what this all means for marketers using Facebook. According to the later post:

“Marketers, who have been told for years that they’re actually publishers now, will have to put that into practice”, says Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, a digital marketing firm. “Facebook is a channel, albeit a collaborative one, that needs to be programmed,” says Schafer. “We need to get people to share and interact with more content.”

This is a perfect example of why brands needs to focus on building an engaging brand experience on their own site and not put all their eggs in a specific social media service’s basket. If you build a storefront in Facebook, what happens when Facebook changes their terms of service? It’s kind of like a New Jersey protection racket…”Gee, it would be a shame if your nice little store had a fire or somethin’, wouldn’t it? But, if you take advantage of our special policy, I can assure you nothin’ will happen.” We’ve already heard rumblings that Facebook is pushing down brand pages from fan’s news feeds, in preparation for coming back to brands with their hands out for MONEY!

Social media is great, until it isn’t. For years, all brands could do was lease somebody elses media to reach an audience. Not anymore. A smart brand, who knows how to find out the information, education and inspiration needs of their customers can now cheaply create their own media channel and build an audience that they own.

Really, we think the safe bet is for brands to take the later course, viewing themselves as media companies, producing helpful, relevant, engaging and entertaining content that people are already searching for and building an audience they own on their own brand site. This site then functions as a distribution hub for the content to be scattered over then entire web. By all means, post it on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and YouTube and any other specific social site that makes sense for your audience. But, don’t for a minute think these social channels will continue to offer brands their services for free forever. It’s only a matter of time before they start flexing their media might and changing for audiece acces.

Image searches ‘poisoned’ by cybercriminals

 

Saw this in New Scientist last night and it scared me because I search for a lot of images online. Holy cow, those hackers are nasty little dudes…kind of like digital weeds…or mosquitoes. Maybe someone should develop a malware for malware…a software that attacks any computer attacking yours. What do you think of that idea?

 

Winning at the Zero Moment of Truth

Google report on the Zero Moment of Truth

Jim Lecinski, managing director of U.S. Sales and Service for Google and all around good guy, has kindly given us permission to distribute his phenomenal report entitled Winning at the Zero Moment of Truth. The 73-page e-book documents the startling changes in consumer researching and buying behavior occurring as the internet, social networks and channels, content like user reviews, ratings and other consumer-generated content,  search engines and “always on” smart phones and other mobile devices converge to create a new kind of world where your brand is not what you say it is but what the consumer says it is.

In reality, the “internet of things” arrived a bit earlier than anticipated. It came in form of the Internet of US! It came about because of our iPhones, iPads, Androids and other smart, mobile devices, perpetually connected to the internet, broadcasting our likes and dislikes…our sharing, creating, commenting, reviewing and recommending. The hard cold truth for most brands is not that the technology is ahead of their marketing efforts…their customers are ahead of their marketing efforts!

Marketing model for the first moment of truth
Legacy Marketing Model: First Moment of Truth

In order to understand the Zero Moment, you have to understand the First Moment of Truth concept popularized by Procter & Gamble. It referred to the first place a brand had to win…when the consumer, stimulated by some kind of marketing communication or advertising like a TV spot, a coupon or a magazine ad stands in front of the product at the retail shelf and decides to put the brand in their shopping cart. The marketing model that goes along with this concept is simple: run creative advertising to get the consumer to be aware, to have interest, to go to a retail location and buy your product. A tremendous amount of time, money and effort has gone into perfecting this system.

graphic depiction of the zero moment of truth concept

What’s changed is huge critical moment now occurs between stimulus and shelf. It impacts every product or service category, whether it’s a considered good like a $40,000 automobile, a $2,500 HDTV or a $3 bottle of body wash. It has implications for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers.

Consumers still may watch your TV spots or see you magazine ad. But they now immediately  grab their laptop or smart phone and search for reviews to see what others are saying about your product. They go to Facebook or Twitter and ask their friends if anyone has used the product and if so, what they think. They may go to YouTube and look for a vedeo of someone demoing the product…or making fun of it. Before they’ve even been able to go to the store, they have all the information they need and they’ve already made up their mind.

The Zero Moment of Truth describes this dominant role these connections, community and content are now playing in how we research, learn, search and ultimately find and buy products and services.

Jim sites several examples of zeros moments of truth in his report:

  • A busy mom in a minivan is looking up decongestants on her mobile phone as she waits to pick up her son from school.
  • An office manager at her desk, comparing laser printer prices and toner cartridge costs to determine which office supply store has the best price
  • A student in a cafe, scanning user ratings and reviews while looking up a cheap hotel in Barcelona.
  • A winter sports fan in a ski store, pulling out a mobile phone to watch video reviews of the latest snowboards
  • A young woman in a condo, searching the web for juicy details about a guy with whom she’s been set up on a blind date

Kim Kadlec, worldwide vice president of Global Marketing at Johnson & Johnson puts it this way in the report:

We’re entering an era of reciprocity. We now have to engage people in a way that’s useful or helpful to their lives. The consumers is looking to satisfy their needs, and we have to be there to help them with that. To put it another say: How can we exchange value instead of just sending a message?

That’s the question every marketer should be exploring and using to examine every piece of traditional advertising and marketing. Is it delivering value? Is it helping to answer the consumers need for information. Is is designed to engage and amplify across this environment filled with zero moments of truth. Something to think about.

Search Optimization and Its Dirty Little Secrets – NYTimes.com

An excellent primer on search from the NYTimes.com. The article discusses the uncanny number amount of first position organic search rankings JCPenney achieved over the holidays, using “black hat” search tactics. This is a real “no no” and JCPenny should have known better. In fact, if searches are supposed to be votes for favorite or popular sites then what JC Penny did was basically rig the votes. Shame on you JC Penny!

I just listened to an audio report of this on NRP’s “Marketplace” and they say the whole vote rigging scheme was unraveled by another person not associated with the NYTimes. So, there you go. The internet it open. It you’re deceptive, you will be discovered.

There are not short cuts to good rankings. Just create good content and be patient. I guarantee you the sales JCPenny got through these black hat tactics won’t be worth the drop in revenue they’ll be punished with in the coming months.

User Generated Content: Amature Animation

Xtranormal Cartoon Creation

From this morning’s Wall Street Journal a fascinating look at a new user generated content trend: creating your own animated shorts. The democratization of content continues with digital creation tools like Xtranormal and GoAnimate that allow you to create your own versions of South Park or Family Guy-like cartoons, filled with your own version of social or work-related satire, then share on YouTube, Twitter and blogs. The barriers of self-expression and creativity keep dropping.

How Video Goes Viral…Cool Infographic

This cool infographic, shared on Mashable today.

Mashable Video Goes Viral

Cool Infographic on How Video Goes Viral

Qwiki is Amazing

Qwiki is an amazing new multi-media search engine that creates a narrated mini-movie of your search query on the fly. Assuming this takes off like it’s trending in interest (and it’s still in alpha) this will be an important new signal for brands to understand and leverage.

TechCrunch Disrupt Winner Qwiki Hits No. 1 On Google Trends ‘Hot Searches’ In The U.S..

Social Networks: Harnessing the Power of Groups to Change Society

The internet is now deeply embedded in group and organizational life in America, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Researchers found  75% of all American adults are active in some kind of voluntary group or organization and internet users are more likely than others to be active group participant, with participation highest among users of social networks.

According to the study 80% of internet users participate in groups, compared with 56% of non-internet users. And social media users are even more likely to be active: 82% of social network users and 85% of Twitter users are group participants.

This isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon. Just in the past week, the dictator of Tunisia was  toppled by an uprising that started with a man who set himself on fire in protest to this rulers injustice, which was then recorded, posted, blogged about and spread like wildfire on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, the Arab world is showing tremendous interest and concern in the event because they’re worried such uprisings, fueled by the social web, could spread to their nations.

What we’re witnessing is not just the power of social networks, it’s the power of Reeds Law , which describes the ability of large networks, particularly social networks, to scale exponentially, thereby serving has a conduit for almost instantaneous information transfer to the masses. Add mobile phones in this mix and you have a powerful channel for revolution. The established top-down command and control hierarchy’s in society are tremendously  threatened by this ability we now have to connect directly with one another…and they should be. Look what happened in Tunisia? This is not an isolated incident.

If the social web has the ability to impact governments and nations this way, what hope does a brand stand…other than to embrace change and become a part of the conversation?

Infographic: Most Content Sharing Occurs on Facebook

Mashable posted this cool infographic this morning based on research from the sharing widget AddThis. In 2010 Facebook grew as the number one destination on the web for sharing content, outpacing all other sites and sharing vehicles. Still, there’s lots of sharing going on, with a variety of tools used.

 

Infographic Showing How/Where Content is Being Shared

 

 

 

Social Media: Past, Present and Future

Been meaning to post this for a couple weeks but the holidays just seem like such an appropriate time to blog about the ghost of social media past, present and future, don’t they. I thought this was a pretty compelling presentation by entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist Mark Suster, presented at the Caltech MIT Enterprise Forum in October.

His presentation is a pithy take on where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed with the social web. His main takeaway, at least from my read, is that the rise of massive social networks such as Facebook and Twitter inevitably means that fragmentation is on it’s way. The social web is already starting to splinter into more vertically aligned interest groups (i.e. the Birds of a Feather” effect).

This fragmentation of the social web, he finally points out, is why Mark Zuckerberg remains paranoid (after all, where is AOL or even Yahoo! two titans of the early internet today?) and why right now is one of the greatest times since the last wave of digital innovation to work hard and innovate. Great, inspiring stuff.

SocialPastPresentFuture