Facebook Leads the Present and Happiness

I’m noticing more and more people talking about their lives on Facebook. It’s usually when you turn your head to a monitor or peek towards a smartphone or tablet that you realise that what you’re looking at is the Facebook homepage. I see mums and dads, sons and daughters sitting at a table and logging on to Facebook to see what’s going on. I experience dinners with friends, work colleagues or clients where the first thing they do is to ‘check in’, or update their Facebook status or send a tweet saying that they’re with the person they’re actually sitting next to. The funny thing comes when we decide to take a picture and upload it to Facebook for hundreds/thousands of people to see, or perhaps use Instagram. I’ll own up to the fact that I’ve done it and still do it, yet would prefer not to do it so often.

I’ll Exchange the Present for Facebook

We are so often obsessed by the social media fever –or, social networking- that we miss what’s going on in the moment. In a sunset I experienced very recently, I was impressed to notice that practically 80% of the people there were taking pictures of the moment for later. More or less 50% of them would be uploading them to Facebook; my curiosity took the better of me and I asked many of them, with most of them confirming my hypothesis. On the other hand, only a few were actually enjoying the sunset. They were all logged on to Facebook, following their friends’ and family’s lives.

Some time ago, e-mail was the top online priority. I wonder whether the social media have taken on that role now or, on the contrary, if they still come in second.

Facebook, the Verb

Here in Las Salinas, in Ibiza, where I live, there is a store 300 metres from home. I stopped there the other day to buy some water and fruit. There were two girls there who knew each other and seemed to have met there. One of them said (in English), “OK, I’ll Facebook you if we go out partying.” She didn’t say, “I’ll call you”. No, she said “I’ll Facebook you.” The verb.

How I See Facebook

I’m not a great Facebook fan. I like sharing my life with my friends. I don’t have an official fan page (though many have asked.) I’ll probably never have one, just like I’ll probably never be a superstar, an “Expert” or a “Guru” to have one. I do have an account with not too many friends, close to 2,000 (I’ve been on Facebook almost 4 years now.) I try to be selective and critical about my connections on Facebook. They’re my friends, those close to me, the people I want to share moments with. Not everyone. Sorry, I like to keep certain things about my life private to myself. I believe that almost all of my “friends” who are on Facebook –approximately 75%- belong to my inner circle of friends and family. Through Facebook I can follow the things that take place in their lives. I can take a look at pictures of their events, I can follow health-related news of the people I love. I can learn about their achievements, all those things we used to write letters or make a phone call about. That is how I see Facebook; at least in this context.

What about Facebook for business, as a professional or marketing tool? I haven’t reached that point yet. I still feel out of that game. I’m still trying to find out the magic formula.

However, I do believe that Facebook has changed the feeling of experiencing and enjoying the moment by the act of announcing to the world that you’re experiencing and enjoying that moment. It has changed your happiness by theirs.

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8 Ways to Increase Engagement of Facebook Posts

Brands have always accepted Facebook as a key marketing tool to generate engagement and branding. The question is whether Facebook creates more engagement, visibility, traffic and experience than other tools. Searching for an answer to this for some time leads to understanding how the different attributes of Facebook posts have an impact on the number of “likes”, comments and “shares” that a post gets.

How to Increase the Number of Likes in Facebook Posts

Below, I identify 8 ways to increase the number of “likes” a post receives:

1. Focus. Stay up to date. I’m talking about messages that relate to holidays (Christmas), festivals, gigs, world issues, relevant events, anything related with current affairs. Perhaps they won’t be directly related to the product’s or company’s essence but they will be perceived as something more personal and, hence, better accepted (more so, even, than promotions.)

2. Express yourself through photos. Every picture tells a story. A photograph communicates something personal in a fast, easy way. You also have to make an effort to match a suitable text to the picture. Images from your company’s product catalogue generate greater engagement than other types of content.

3. Share what we love. Sharing success stories and also failures, achievements, prizes, apologies or thanks make you more human, accessible and familiar to your community. Many will also identify with the brand. When they “like” a post, they’re telling their network of friends why they identify with the brand.

4. Branding. Don’t hesitate to promote the brand and its products. When your customer visits your Facebook page, they should leave with a good impression of your brand and products/services. The public will visit the walls of the brands they’re interested in.

5. Humour rocks. Laugh and everyone will laugh with you. We all enjoy a laugh. Make your posts fun as funny posts get many “likes” and will be shared a lot. For instance, funny pictures. Being funny is an art.

6. Humanise the brand. Inject emotion to it. Brand communication starts by using the “human” side of social media. The community loves messages that turn a wall into a living object that expresses human emotions in the form of videos, images, or real-time personal statuses, for instance. Facebook is a communication platform rather than a production channel. Shar0ing posts that contain emotions helps connecting with the community. In turn, they share these emotions with their network.

7. Educate and equip. Create content that is informative. Brands sharing content that is useful to their audience get greater exposure and engagement –more “likes”–, especially in the case of information designed to improve and enrich the brand’s fans. This education could include the company’s history, the product creation process or the state of the market, for instance. When fans interact with this type of content, they’re creating educational content which is shared in their network.

8. Ask to be “liked”. Ask and you will receive. It’s simple. If you ask to be liked, like for instance Veuve Cliquot does in their posts, you’ll get more “likes”. Ask in a polite, fun way, and don’t overdo it; otherwise, the cure may be worse than the disease!

What other ways can you think of, do you know of or do you implement to increase Facebook engagement?

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Thoughts About Facebook Open Graph, Road to the Semantic Web

The basic premise of Facebook Open Graph is that, information about the user is shared and disseminated as it was IDs, which are connected to different platform sites. This sites translate this information into preferences, likes and habits depending on their purpose, and interpret them as a recommendations and suggestions based in what users have in their Facebook profiles.

Facebook Open Graph establishes a link between the objects represented in the graph (people, notes,photos, events, links…) and the connection to them (people you may know, tags, familiar/friend relationships, shared content…) Every time we say “I like” (new form of “become fan”) we’re giving to the Facebook graph API information that will spread virally among sites  as Pandora, Glue and sites we have never heard about it.

Facebook Open Graph seems to state that, it’s the formula to engage with users tailoring their wants, desires and likes, so they can deliver an “overwhelming interactive experience.” Facebook with the Open Graph, clearly opens a straight path towards the semantic Web(that’s to say 3.0) , which describes the relationships between things (like A is a part of B and Y is a member of  Z) and the properties of things (like size, weight, age, and price) integrating applications as Facebook Open Graph.

My main concern is, to what point is it beneficial for “us” that Facebook – or in a near future the semantic Web, shares all our personal information across the online world? To what extent is it beneficial for users that Facebook can collect information about likes or preferences and spread through the Web? Are they owners of our privacy? Are we at the doors of a new era where everybody can access to our personal information through social networks with ease? Is it truly woth it? Or on the contrary, will we be enjoying of a better tailored-user experience each time this sites adjust its content to meet our needs and likes?

What say you?

What is your view about the recent Facebook’s move? What will be the impact of this API graph? Is this the way towards the 3.0 Website?

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How Facebook Benefits your Business

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Have you ever suffered of a friend or relative that posted something corny, embarassing or even a photo that you wish that your current and prospective customers never see??

I think everybody who has a Facebook account it has passed through this at anytime. When this occurs is when we start looking for a way to keep our business safe and isolated from our personal life. Having a Fan Page on Facebook for your Business could be the solution. Here you have my 10 commandments

1 – Ease of  linking

From your fan page link directly to your website. Embed a fans badge on your web page allows visitors to instantly become a fan of your business. This also has an extra advantage with search engines because the visibility of any Facebook page (by the sheer power of Facebook ) is much higher than your website.

2 – Fans approval

People could follow your Facebook page without having been approved first (as with a friend on your personal profile on Facebook). This saves you plenty of time and makes it easy to build your tribe.

3 – Unlimited amount of fans

You have an unlimited amount of fans. At this time the number of friends on your profile limited to 5000. Nevertheless, you can have an unlimited amount of fans.

4 – Community

Because fans can comment on your posts and join in any initiative you embark, it creates a sense of community where they can share their thoughts and opinions. In addition, they can also post if they logged publish.

5 – Instant Mailing List

You can instantly send an update to all your members about special offers, events, releases, articles, etc..

6 – Disclosure daily

People connect and check Facebook every day. So have a fan page allows daily interaction with your readers. And unlike e-mail updates, you never have to worry because your message being caught in spam filters. That’s a big advantage!

7 – Relevance and Control

Fan pages let you keep your business communications fan page and personal updates on your homepage (profile). This would not upset your mother with information on the special 50% discount this weekend. And your customers do not have to read news and see pictures of your children dressed for Halloween.

8 – Increased exposure

Fan pages are public. All search engines and people can see them. This dramatically increases the potential for exposure.

9 – Viral Marketing

Even if your fans do not take the initiative to recommend your page to their network of friends and acquaintances, in the pages of all your fans are going to see your page. This greatly opens the exposure to other potential customers.

10 – Take precautions so you do not close the account

The Terms and Conditions of Use of Facebook explained that any commercial use of a personal account is cause for deactivation.

Broadly speaking, these are my “test=results” reasons of how Facebook benefit your business. Certainly, there are many more important reasons why you should create a fan page on Facebook for your business..

What is your take?  your reasons?

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Facebook from a different approach

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Ask yourself

What if Facebook had different use from the one that social media experts spread? Have you ever wondered if Facebook fit into your professional social media picture? What is the relevance of Facebook into the business scene ?  What if Facebook would it be just for fun?

Undoubtedly, it may have some controversy around this issue. I do think these are good questions about the use of Facebook beyond user’s knowledge, worth to be responded. I’ve been wondering all this time about the Facebook relevance in our business environments too. What’s more, I’ve been talking with lot of professionals that use Facebook to promote their business. In fact, I’m developing Facebook strategies for my clients, but if you ask for my opinion…Personally, I’m always trying to keep it private, at least in my professional career you might ask why? The answer is simple, because broadly speaking we’re people of flesh and blood, we behave emotionally, act impulsively, to a certain extent we tend to be egocentric, not to mention curious and open-minded. Apart from this, we have the need to get away from our daily life or jobs and escape from the routine that often surrounds our lives for engaging with our friends, relatives, former classmates or even our lover… Furthermore, we know how much we like to gossip about what others do (friends, relatives, neighbours, partner,etc.) whether they have gone on a trip, have bought a new house abroad or where  they have been this weekend,…Unfortunately, it shows us one more time that everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives,but none about his or her own… Facebook no thanks

Use Facebook (for fun)

Imagine you’ve left your country a few months ago to work abroad [as I hope I’ll do in a few months in the States…]Consequently, you start a new stage, but you miss what you left behind, again, friends, family, colleagues and so on. Question: What will be the easiest way to know what your folk is doing or stay in touch with your girlfriend, close friends or parents? I’d say Facebook (clearly, Skype will work too, but you’d need to focus on the conversation and twitter also, but it has some drawbacks in real-time conversations and it isn’t as popular in some countries as Facebook) absolutely Facebook will be the best tool.

How you see it?

I see Facebook as a powerful social media tool, though let’s have a place where just have fun and engage with your people. Frequently, I’d like to remind myself this thought, “sometimes you need to switch off to switch on”. Nevertheless, It doesn’t mean you don’t use Facebook appropriately;

  • Segment your contacts
  • Give them different levels of permission depending on how they get on with you
  • Allow people to see what you want they to see
  • Let the people you know write in your wall, comment your stuff or label your photos/videos
  • Restrict your Facebook only for the people you already or may know.

But if you ‘wannabe’ professional…

No Facebook - Blessington St, St Kilda What about people who use Facebook professionally? Well, I bet they also want to go deeper in the relationships, you know Relationship Marketing knowing your customer…Although, are you sure you want to show where you spend your weekend, with who and how? What about your privacy? What about your personal life? I think it’s our commitment putting it aside, don’t you think so?

And you? How do you use Facebook? Do you use it for fun or biz? What is your strategy for doing biz in Facebook?

I’d like to know your thoughts.

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