Facebook recently launched Timeline and, as part of this, there is a whole new breed of applications called Timeline Applications. You can now develop Timeline apps that will increase these interaction levels and ensure more of your fans are talking about you and your brand.
What is a Timeline?
A timeline is a collection of stories (photos, posts, videos, events) about you or your brand mostly displayed in chronological order on your user profile or your business page (if you pin a post you can keep it at the top of your timeline for up to 7 days). It was recently rolled out to all users and business pages and, despite some complaints, it’s unlikely that it’s going away!
What is a Timeline app?
Timeline apps are Facebook’s next generation of Facebook Open graph and they allow you to share information in real time with your friends about what you are doing. Open Graph is about Facebook opening up to interaction occurring outside of Facebook.com. In the first version of Open graph you could say you ‘Like’ something and this gets shared out on your Timeline. This has now been expanded to a whole new set of actions for example – Listened, Cooked, Read and Watched. You can even apply to Facebook for your own actions that suit your business.
Example of a Timeline app
Foodily is a recipe site that provides thousands of food recipes. They have a Timeline app which shares information while you are browsing through recipes. For example, if I install the app on my Timeline and browse through recipes on their website, this will get shared on my Timeline. This means my friends gets to see what recipes I’ve shown an interest in.
So I was browsing through foodily.com and looked at the lamb ragu as I like the odd bit of lamb from time to time:
Because I had the Foodily Timeline app installed and gave it permission to share details of my interactions on foodily.com this was shared out on my Timeline. Sharing without me having to initiate the sharing is called ‘frictionless sharing’.
How can you take advantage of this?
Imagine creating your own Timeline application with some useful functionality that is associated with your brand that users really want to use and share. So now you’re getting your fans to share out content relevant to your brand to their friends on Facebook.
Facebook Applications such as competition applications are still important and useful but timeline apps are certainly worth taking a look at as well. For example, If you have a restaurant you could provide videos of your Chef cooking the latest dishes and then every time someone watches a video it gets shared out to their friends on Facebook automatically, and hopefully create a viral effect. What type of timeline app could you use to promote your brand/or service?
On June 21st our second event this year for DMI members took place in partnership with Facebook. It was yet another fantastic morning, with digital marketeers from all backgrounds gathering together to hear the latest and the juiciest from the social media giant. We really thank everybody who braved the stormy weather and turned up in the Chartered Accountants House at such an early hour (the event kicked off at 8am).
The presentation was delivered by Andrew Weld-Moore and Neasa Costin, who covered interesting statistics, most uptodate additions and tips on how to make the best of your Facebook marketing.
One of the most important statements made during the presentation was about the way we use the Web, and how it has changed significantly over last two decades, by emerging from browsing, to searching, and finally turning into discovering. It's the discovering bit which became a key to Facebook's global success, as in the present world of Social Media we rely mainly on opinions of other people online. The fact that even the most used online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has been compiled by Internet users like you and me, clearly demonstrates the social nature of the Web.
The traditional purchase funnel became obsolete, as apparently over a third of users seek advice on Facebook prior to making a decision. And with 2 million active users in Ireland (63% of which are logging in daily) it is vital for any business to have a presence on Facebook. However, brands would tread carefully as not to annoy their fans who are using Facebook for social experience, and are not necessarily in the buying state of mind. Andrew compared Facebook to a party - approach a person with a friendly conversation and find out common interests and what's important to them, and you can be meeting for a coffee or a business lunch next day; start with a sales pitch, and they will do everything never to speak to you again - whether in social or business environment.
Some features mentioned during the presentation included:
Even though it's been around for a while, not all companies are aware of great new features introduced with its launch, like "Pin to Top", whereby you could force a wall post to stay at the top of your page for up to 7 days. Or "Highlight", an option that allows displaying a post in the full width of the Wall, thus making it more prominent. You are also able to create milestones in the past to give your fans a tangible view of your companies history and growth (just make sure to use Facebook as your company when logged in to do that). Doing it for your personal page is also lots of fun, and you may wanna do it as a practice!
If you haven't played around with your Timeline features yet, make sure to do it straight away - you might get a few new ideas for promoting your next event or product!
This is particularly useful for any customer support issues being resolved on Facebook - now brands are able to receive private messages (rolled out in December). It is still not possible for companies to email their fans (an admin can only do it from their personal profile, IF a user has allowed to be sent messages by non-friends), but it is easy to see how this feature could be abused, so I imagine Facebook wouldn't be rushing to activate it.
The whole "How much is a Like worth" dilemma has lately gone to the background, giving a way to the "Reach" discussion which goes in hand with quality of your fanbase. If your fans are engaged, each time they perform an action on your Facebook page, their friends see your brand mentioned in their stream. The more friends your fans have and more engaged they are, the more eyeballs see your company name mentioned. The global average is considered 160 friends, while Irish users have 240. Do your Maths!
4. International Fans
If you are an international business it'll pay off to learn about the Facebook usage habits in different countries you target. For example, photos and videos are very effective in Ireland, but not in Germany, while spammy apps get high levels of engagement in Italy and Greece.
5. Facebook Offers
Facebook Offers provide great opportunity for brands to directly monetise their Facebook marketing activities. Best to have offers exclusive to Facebook though.
On average 16% of your audience will see your post organically, so if this is not enough for you, you would want to consider setting aside some marketing budget for Facebook ads. Andrew and Neasa recommended to use premium ads for branding, and marketplace ads for direct response. They have also mention the new Log Out Page Experience (aka LOX), whereby a huge (in Facebook terms) ad will be shown to users once they've logged out. I haven't seen it in Ireland yet, but it's been launched in the States, and I assume will be launched here soon, too.
Integrate you Facebook marketing strategy with your overall marketing strategy.
Have a Facebook activity schedule, and post at least once a day.
Publish things that are engaging to avoid a one way communication, and that are relevant to your fans.
Make sure your tone is suitable for Facebook and appropriate for your company (could be tricky, but doable!).
"Congratulations on this morning! It was a great success!! I had to run off as my parking was due to run out at 9.30. I certainly picked up a few tips. I'm looking forward to the next one already."
Karen, Superior Internet Marketing
"Just wanted to drop you a quick line to say thanks for the invite today, it was great to see so many people together with the same interests on such a horrible morning!
I definitely picked up a few ideas that I am going to integrate into the online strategy that I am putting together for Club so it was well worth the time to come in and I’d love to come to the next event that you are hosting."
Carl, Club Travel
"I just want to say 'Thank You' again for the invite this morning. It's done exactly what you thought it might in that it's given me a real sense of why joining would be beneficial for me."
This is a guest post from our Postgraduate Diploma 2011 Graduate, Jennie Molphy of hal9000.ie.
I squelched my way through the rain yesterday morning to the June DMI breakfast briefing to break croissants with Facebook. But it was worth it.
Andrew Weld-Moore and Neasa Costin were the presenters and the capable pair took us through the new timeline features for pages and went on to discuss advertising options. All along the way they threw out some impressive statistics – though once you get into millions and gazillions it’s all a bit like bank borrowings isn’t it?
But to give credit where it’s due, there are 901m people on Facebook and 526m users log in every day.
Facebook didn’t mention whether they were taking over the former Bank of Ireland head offices on Baggot Street, but with over 2m active users in Ireland the immensely bankable bunch certainly dominate the social landscape. And apparently us Irish are more sociable than other nations – the average number of friends per user generally is 130, but here we have more like 240. Angela Merkel thinks we’re at work once again. Interestingly, half of these users are logging in on mobile devices. But that’s no surprise to anyone who’s been on the DART.
Some of the newer features they discussed included:
Timeline – a whole new look which does offer a better interface and presents posts chronologically.
Messages – this one is particularly useful when you want to take an issue offline with a fan. It’s not always useful or appropriate to reply on the wall to certain issues that are raised.
Pinned post – I like this one. It means you can raise the profile of a really good post to the top of the timeline. It lasts for 7 days.
Milestones – these are key events that you can mark on the timeline. This can give a bit of structure to the content on the timeline and be more informative to new fans.
Offers – these are vouchers that will be emailed to recipients and they can print off or show on their mobile at a store to get a reduction. They cited the example of Lifestyle Sports who used this quite effectively when they reached 100k fans. I went in to have a look at the page and couldn’t find it – I do wish Facebook would improve their search. I went to Google to find the page.
The presentation focused on how businesses could measure the effectiveness of budget spent on social. This has been a bit difficult for marketers, though in terms of Google Analytics the attribution of conversion visits is now more comprehensive with the recently launched social analytics report. (They didn’t mention Google however – perhaps they’re not friends..) Using the DMI page as an example, they analysed data using an internal tool and showed that 1 share on Facebook resulted in 13 clicks to the website.
General Tips for using Pages to create engagement
Both Andrew and Neasa emphasised keeping the business objectives in mind when deciding on marketing activities on pages:
Focus on target market and who you want to engage with instead of numbers of likes.
Photos and videos are the best for sharing.
Post once a day as a guide and only when you have relevant content or conversation.
Create a posting schedule to align with other marketing activities.
For businesses the question is not whether your target market is on Facebook, because in most cases they are, but the challenge is in reaching them. And for most businesses right now it’s about reaching them on a limited budget.
In a nutshell, the Facebook team recommend using Ads to target new fans and the targeting options work really well for many businesses. Then use sponsored Stories to reach fans and friends of fans.
This new sponsored stories feature allows businesses pay to push posts out to the newsfeeds of friends of fans. For example, if someone likes a Page, their friends may see it in their news feed. This is the way to get over edgerank and make sure your posts are getting into the newsfeeds of fans. When a business pays to promote this action as a sponsored story, the person’s friends are more likely to see it and engage. You need to have 200+ fans to run with this.
Personally, I’m not sure how well this will be received as placed in the newsfeed it feels like interruptive advertising.
But I suppose for Facebook it’s a case of test, gauge reaction and iterate. It should be noted that Facebook will be paying $10m in a settlement over privacy issues with sponsored stories.
Products coming down the line
They closed the presentation with a look at the new logout experience, LOX. This soon to be launched feature is advertising shown on the screen when a user logs out, as many users on shared devices do regularly. It is untargeted advertising and they compared it to a billboard campaign. It’s more relevant for bigger brands, but for Facebook it represents a way to monetise millions of monthly pageviews.
And one month after a troublesome IPO, I guess revenue generating features are what shareholders want to experience.
If you would like to find out more about the new Wayra initiative from Telephonica or would like to network with other entrepreneurs, come along tonight (Thursday June 21st ) from 6:00pm onwards to 4 Dame Lane, Dublin 2.
Recently, the Digital Marketing Institute had the pleasure of visiting Telephonica's Dublin HQ to meet Karl Aherne who is spearheading the new Irish Wayra initiative. This scheme is being run to assist any free-thinking entrepreneurs out there that think they have a really excellent, digitally based idea for a start-up venture.
Wayra will help you accelerate your idea from concept to revenue through
6 months free workspace in Dublin 2
Local & international expert mentoring
Access to Telefonica’s global network of accelerators, VCs and investors
Access to 300m Telefonica customers
A new business project should have good growth potential and use new technologies. Some categories that a project could fit into include cloud services, video, financial services, future communications, data visualisation, M2M, security, e-health, mobile apps and games, network and systems, analytics, Internet services, social innovation and e-commerce. Don’t let these categories constrain you! Any project that is technically innovative can enter.
Microsoft is gunning for the Apple (again!) with the launch of the Surface tablet. They unveiled two tablet devices. One of them (the lighter on) runs its touch-focused Windows RT operating system and the other one runs Windows 8 Pro and an Intel processor.
The tablets are very thin - 9.3mm for the RT version and slightly thicker for the Pro at 13.5mm - have a 10.6inch display and are made of magnesium which is both very rigid and very light.
The tablets also include a built-in stand, front and rear webcams, dual microphones, microSD card slots and a USB port. While Microsoft has in the past made hardware devices such as the Xbox and various mice (mouses?), this is a aberration for the lads from Seattle.
One of the things that I really like is the fact that Surface comes with a keyboard.
I have always preferred a keyboard over the screen-sensitive type of keyboard (such as on the iPad. I was also chatting with a friend who pointed out that kids, if they use the iPad (without the keyboard), will never master the art of typing (which, whether we like it or not, is here to stay!).
The cover is incredibly thin (about 0.3mm) and files under the case when not in use. It will be available in black, blue and pink, as well as two other colours (woohoo!).
"We approach the product design in a forward looking way," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "We know most PCs are mobile, and they want access to information and the ability to create content anywhere, anytime." Analysts welcomed the new products as a "crucial pivot" in the company's strategy, but warned the split between its RT and Pro models risks confusing customers.
However, Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said that Microsoft "will be its own worst enemy in this market. Consumers aren’t used to thinking about chipsets. Choice is a key tenet of Windows, but too much choice is overwhelming for consumers. Apple gets this, and limits iPad options to connectivity, storage, and black or white."
So, is this the iPad beater now that we are in (as Steve Jobs said) the “post PC era”?
I recently was asked by a client how one could get more followers and rewteets on Twitter. He had an event coming up that he wanted to promote and no one was retweeting his content. I think he was a bit taken aback when I suggested he worried less about forcing his event on his Twitter followers and stopped to engage and get to know them better. I explained that just like the real world the kinder you are and more you stop to get to know people the more likely people are to trust, engage and help you.
Imagine your neighbour John (who you have known for years. He has watered your plants, fed your cat and kept an eye on your house when you are away on holidays) knocks on your door and asks to borrow your lawnmower. Now imagine your other neighbour Dean (who you do not know very well. He uses your garden to dump his garbage in and often obstructs your driveway with his car - not to mention his loud parties) knocks at your door asking to borrow your lawnmower. I know I would react very differently to Dean than I did to John’s request.
The online world of twitter is no different. There are no magic buttons. It is all about building relationships and a reputation online. Very often some of the most respected business professionals come across poorly on twitter. So how should we behave on twitter?
For every person that follows your account on twitter - Thank them for following you and follow them back. (unless there is a reason not to follow them).
Always acknowledge anybody who mentions you and/or retweets your tweets. A quick “Thanks for the RT or “Thanks for the mention” will do.
Promote other people’s content by retweeting their tweets. This will help you build a relationship with that person and make them more likely to share your tweets. A person who often shares other people’s good content will often get more followers and be perceived as a being worth following because of the great content they tweet.
Always remember that twitter is about creating dialogue and is not monologue. So ensure that your tweets are conversational. This should instigate comments and engagement.
Be careful not to spam your followers. Mindless self-promotion is a big turn off on Twitter (or anywhere else for that matter). So be subtle about how you promote yourself on twitter.
Don’t ask people for favours on twitter until you have chatted them up first;) Twitter is a great way to talk to key business professionals and leading media folk. However, we need to take some time engaging with our targeted tweeter and maybe do them a favour or two (such as RT their content) before we ask for any favour.
Recommend other people on twitter to your followers. Use the #FollowFriday or #FF every Friday to recommend and acknowledge the people who you value on Twitter.
Vary your tweets, I am a great believer that if I want to promote an article or blog post one should tweet it out 3-4 times a day for a number of days. However to ensure that the message does not look the same every tweet – Rephrase each message and use the same url.
NB. If someone talks to you or asks you a question on twitter, always ensure that you respond to them. (Even if it is the next day). Nothing can damage your reputation more than ignoring a question or complaint on twitter.
So my client finally stopped talking on twitter and started engaging with his followers. His new found twitter etiquette has already led to a steady flow of new followers and he is now getting more retweets than ever before.
How are you going to improve your twitter etiquette? Happy Tweeting
This article was written by Greg Fry, lecturer with the Digital Marketing Institute
There are currently about 6.9 billion smartphones enabled across the globe. Each and every day, more and more get activated and more websites are producing smartphone-optimized content.
Google recently launched a site called HowToGoMo.com – this site allows you to plug in your existing website and test it for “mobile readiness”. You can visualise how your existing site looks on a mobile phone.
The product goes one further and gives you a load of extra resources and help on building your website for smartphones.
Some of the recommendations for optimising your website for smartphones include
Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.
Sites that dynamically serve all devices on the same set of URLs, but each URL serves different HTML (and CSS) depending on whether the user agent is a desktop or a mobile device.
Sites that have a separate mobile and desktop sites.
I worked for Microsoft way back in the 1990’s. Once a year, all of the Microsoft faithful got together for a big love-in. Like high-priests that they were back then, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer would preach. Like faithful parishioners, we lapped it up. At the end of this annual bash, we were all wound up like a highly strung Swiss watches. And off we went, for another year, gunning for the Top 3 “targets” that Bill and Steve had chosen for the coming months.
One name that cropped up over and over again during the "sermons" was Apple. Simply put, Microsoft hated Apple. They wanted to rid them from the business world.
And during the 90’s, they nearly succeeded.
Way back then, when Windows was emerging as the desktop powerhouse that it became, many reckoned that Apple had superior products. However, Microsoft outsold Apple in spades, mainly by distributing its product broadly on hardware made by many companies. Apple wanted control and, as a result sold less.
At the time, software developers wrote applications for the Windows PC market, which in turn attracted more customers, which attracted still more software developers to Windows. For the better part of two decades, Microsoft held the allegiance of software developers, relegating the Mac to the sidelines.
Fast forward 20 years. Today, the mobile smartphone is the new desktop. Nowadays, Microsoft is playing second fiddle. Google and Apple are leading the pack.
But the interesting thing is that Apple is still that same control freak!
Google, with their Android operating system (which, like Windows before it, has been made available to any hardware maker), is outstripping Apple in terms of apps sold. Smartphones running Android outsell iPhones more than two to one.
But, an interesting advantage that Apple has is that many app developers are completely loyal to Apple and continue to make applications first, and sometimes only, for iPhones. They find it easier to create software for Apple devices than for ones running Android. Their allegiance to Apple has helped make its devices the powerhouses they are for the company.
At these years WWDC – the developer conference for Apple die-hards – Apple is expected to introduce a new version of the iOS operating system that powers iPhones and iPads.
I got a call from one of our previous students, Joanne Laffan. Joanne works for CKSK, a digital creative digital agency with offices in Dublin, New York & Amsterdam.
CKSK, Joanne tells me, were delighted to have been appointed by Meteor as their strategic digital agency. Meadhbh Quinn, Head of Marketing Communications & Brand said “We are really looking forward to working with CKSK in the future. They are a young, exciting and dynamic agency. As online continues to grow in importance, it is imperative Meteor have the right agencies working on our business."
So, obviously, I asked Joanne did attending the course with the Digital Marketing Institute have any bearing on winning this business – she said “So my doing your course about a year ago has paid off! Thanks a mill for the learnings!”
Well done Joanne and thanks for the heads up!
Find out how learning digital marketing can help by contacting us!