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Facebook’s bid to rule the web as it turns more social

Posted by John Horniblow on Apr 22, 2010 in marketing 2.0, Social Media Marketing


I think this article is a must read – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8590306.stm
At the F8 conference in San Francisco, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a number of products he says are aimed at putting users and their friends at the “centre of the web”. It will surely work on the further unseating of Google being the site or service synonymous with internet usage and the webs most used or visited service.

“One of the points Mr Zuckerberg was making was that the web has become a lot less anonymous and Facebook is definitely positioning itself as wanting to be the owner of that information,” said Maya Baratz of the Huffington Post. (Given Facebook’s growing and highly influential size the Huffington Post online publication has dedicated a whole section of its site to news surrounding Facebook which you can read by clicking here.)

Zuckerberg told developers at the f8 conference that the experience will mean a more personalized, social, smarter Web. As quoted from an another article on Huffington Post “Facebook is spreading its wings to the broader Web with new tools that will allow users to see personalized versions of websites they visit elsewhere.

The move could change the way people experience the online world, though it could come with deeper privacy implications. By accessing Facebook’s tools, websites will be able to customize the experience based on the list of friends, favorite bands and other things users have shared on their Facebook profiles.


“The Web is at a really important turning point now,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the F8 conference for Web and software developers in San Francisco. “Most things aren’t social and they don’t use your real identity. This is really starting to change.”

In its first steps Facebook has changed the semantics surrounding fans “people who like this” – has replaced the former term of “fans.” Facebook has added these new features to its site,
Facebook Like Button

If you haven’t noticed these changes in the past few days take look.

In conjunction with this step it also launched the concept of what it calls Community pages. The concept of Community pages is to revamp users’ profiles to emphasize the pages for bands, books and businesses that users have become fans of. Facebook has started prompting users to essentially combine the two ( a users “Faned” page , and their profile page ) So if you listed The Clash in the “favorite music” section of your profile, Facebook will now ask you to join his page, if you haven’t become a fan of it already.

Facebook has also announced its working to eliminate the FB Connect ‘brand and replacing it with OAUTH – OAuth (Open Authorization) is an open standard that allows users to share their private resources (e.g. photos, videos, contact lists) stored on one site with another site without having to hand out their username and password.

Its also working on projects such as social plugins whch they call GDP (granular data permissions) and continuing to work on user privacy settings.
Zuckerberg said Facebook made sure that its new tools don’t intrude on their privacy. Users’ preferences won’t be logged unless they choose to press the “like” button on websites. If anything, Zuckerberg expects the “like” tools to give people more control over what they want to share with their online entourages.

If users embrace it, Facebook could gain valuable insights that could help it sell more advertising, potentially rivaling online ad leader Google Inc., which typically tailors ads based on keywords in search terms and Web content.

“If I were Google I would be really scared because Facebook might end up with a lot more intelligence than them,” said Alain Chuard, Founder of social marketing firm Wildfire. “Google is just an algorithm, but Facebook could rule the Web.”

So there’s obviously and lot more planned for the near future as the battle for social dominance increases. I wonder what Google will do now since its Buzz launch looks like a knee jerk re action to Facebook’s growing importance and it incremental loses in market share of audience time and visitation online?

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Facebook and SEO

Posted by John Horniblow on Apr 21, 2010 in marketing 2.0, search, Social Media Marketing


Reposted from http://blog.label.ch LABEL Communications

In terms of SEO Facebook has become one of, if not, the largest influencer in organic search today. This is something not to ignore for any SEO oriented marketer or communicator. Its very easy to work out what is driving this .. the sheer size of its user numbers pages and content links have driven it to prominence.

  • 400 M registered users with 200 M logging in each day
  • More than 3 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 3.5 million events created each month

# source Facebook statistics

Here is a simple list of tactical steps on how to benefit from using Facebook’s SEO advantage (adapted from All About Facebook)

1. Start with a good URL
URLs are critical in search engine optimization. Google (and other search engines) use as much information as possible to determine the relevance of a particular page for a given search. Currently Facebook enables those pages with over 100 fans to get a vanity URL. A vanity URL is the short Facebook URL that helps people easily access your page.

2. Configure Your Default Tab or “Landing Page”
Ensure your landing page contains relevant text. You can set the default tab by clicking the “Settings” link on your Facebook Page and then selecting the tab you’d like to have displayed by default. You can create this page using Facebook’s endemic markup FBML

3. Generate Links To Your Page
If you are looking to drive traffic to your website for organic search the most important variable is incoming links. The number of links, the influence or ranking of the referer and the relevance in content. An easy way to boost your Facebook page rankings is by linking to your page from your existing website. Additionally, any way you can get links from other sites will help increase your rankings. On their own, Facebook Pages rank highly, a little additional work will improve this significantly.

4. Link To Other Relevant Pages
Linking to relevant content helps boost your ranking. Google takes into account the relevance of pages you are linking to when calculating the relevance of any given page. Try linking to a few relevant sites like your blog or website content . You’ll not only help out your readers but increase your overall Google rank.

5. Use Facebook For Inbound Links To Your Company Website
One of the most important components of search engine optimization is generating inbound links. Generating a link from your Facebook page is extremely valuable. Take advantage of landing pages and the information tab to link back to your company’s , or brand’s website.

6. Select A Good Name For Your Facebook Page
The name of your Facebook Page is extremely important. Name the title after your company or whatever phrase will be most effective for fans that are searching for you.
7. Post Keyword Rich Content in the “Info” tab in the page
The Info tab in the navigation bar on your Facebook Page is one of the few areas on your page which is accessible to search engines. It’s also relatively high up in the page HTML which means that search engines will give the text priority over text that’s further down the page. Take the opportunity to ensure that in the Information editing box for yoru fan page you use both links and relevant keyword, rich content. The detailed information can be just that, very detailed.

This blog is published and maintained by John Horniblow AKA BladeDigital ™ : On the Cutting Edge

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The worldwide status of Social Networks – Notes and Statistics on the Internationalisation of Social Media

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 16, 2010 in General, marketing 2.0, Online Media, Social Media Marketing, User experience

written for  http://blog.label.ch

The most important reason for the meteoric growth of Social Networks is something called “The Network Effect”. This equates to a tipping point when the value of a communications network to its users rises exponentially with the number of people connected to it. In the past year, we have witnessed one such rising star, Facebook ( but it begs the question is it the only one? ). It took 5 years for Facebook to reach 150 million users and then a further 8 months to double that number. Today, according to Facebook Statistics, it has 400 million users. In 2009 we saw Facebook become almost ubiquitous in every conversation swirling around Social Media and social networks. It was the year in which Facebook exploded into a global phenomena, dominating the Social Networking market worldwide as it became an international social network giant. While its dominated the english speaking press and displaced MySpace its not the only Social Network in the world.

To believe that Facebook or english speaking social networks are the only “players in Social networks” worldwide would be nothing short of one sided owed to very narrow perspective of the hyper connected world we live in. According to Wikipedia, there are some 1.5 billion members worldwide. Across the world there a number of culturally, language, local and regionally driven social networks , that both singularly and accumulatively pose the question whether Facebook can dominate the world in Social Networking. As startling as it is, the ” Facebook Network Effect” is not only a Facebook phenomena and its also occurring across other Social Networks in the world , albeit with different speeds.

Read more…

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What Brands are making the best use of Facebook?

Posted by John Horniblow on Jan 18, 2010 in Branded content, General, Social Media Marketing, User experience
written for http://blog.label.ch

The rise of the importance of the Facebook fan page has become an integral part of companies social media campaigns or presence. Its not hard to understand why. Facebook is the web’s most popular destination after Google ( it is number 1 in Indonesia, Philippines , Malaysia and Singapore ) where the average user spends in the order of 33 minutes per day and its registered user numbers are upwards of 350 million. As the use or entry to a brand’s website are in decline due to a shift in how consumers use the web this days it makes common sense to to add Facebook into the online marketing mix. With number of brand, star, cause or business fans ranging close to 5.3 billion , that means News Feeds to user’s pages are carrying a range of brand content and updates.

View a full review of Facebook’s internal statistics

Last November “The Big Money” part of Slate Magazine, ranked 50 brands that they see as making the best use of Facebook. The ranking is based on factors like number of fans, page growth, frequency of updates, creativity and fan engagement, not just numbers of fans. According to “The Big Money” Coca-Cola is ranked as the brand that makes best use of the social network thanks to its “organic fan-centric page without a corporate feel” and some extremely good apps the currently coin the phrase “Share Happiness” in a campaign to boost the diffusion , awareness and contact with the brand in social media.

Read more…

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Four Great Integrated Marketing Campaigns Using Facebook

Posted by John Horniblow on Dec 4, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing

reposted from http://blog.label.ch

When it comes to using Facebook as the primary point or integrated into the marketing channels, some brand are beginning to find there feet by working with the endemic functions of the service. Lots of brands have also begun an integrated approach to engaging with their consumers to build buzz, distribution and awareness of their campaigns either through or surrounding Facebook. The reality is that Facebook has become the perfect supplement to any website and online marketing efforts and in some cases become a pivotal or primary focus. While not all efforts are excellent here are some that we think are working extremely well.

IKEA’s Facebook Propagation Planning Campaign has used the concept of tagging in an online competition to support the opening of a new store. Some call it a genius use of one of Facebook’s inherent functions. While some of the best campaign strategies in Facebook are simple, and nothing should be simpler than using the default “tagging” tool on Facebook to help create a bit of buzz for an online competition. Users were drawn to the new Facebook profile page of the store manager, who’d uploaded pictures of his new showrooms in a store Ikea was due to open.

“People were told that the first to tag their name on any item, would win it. With the way tagging works on Facebook, the moment you tagged anything, everyone in your network instantly knew what was up for grabs! Subsequently, thousands and thousands of people were flooding the Facebook page in search of freebies!”

Read more…

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Ours, yours or mine – Facebook and the ownership of social communities and the social web

Posted by John Horniblow on Apr 27, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing, User experience

 

image borrowed from BBC.CO.UK

Image borrowed from BBC.CO.UK

Who owns the social web isn’t really a big question. In the many communities the ownership or even the behaviors in that social community are often dictated by the community itself. The community owns the community , the community polices  itself and protects itself, and everybody in the community shares a democratic principle of ownership and inclusion. My observation of inter-communications on many fan and strong communities  is that there can be a point of self  regulation , where the community members dictate what sorts of behaviour are acceptable , what tone  of discussion is acceptable and will pull other members in the community into line or reject them if they feel they are being antisocial or unfair in the context of that community’s voice.  In the community or social media world its the community that has the power  or the onwership by virtue of being involved and sharing their voice and ideas. What it does  is  really raise the question “who owns the community’s brand”?  In the Social media world its definatly the consumer who owns the brand. Even real world  (non virtual brands) are often owned  in the mind of the  consumer, despite what their manufacturers, FMCG brand managers might mistakenly believe, and the consumers non acceptance of product changes or variations often causes dramatic failures for brands. A brand is more than just a product. Coca Cola’s release of New Coke  in 1985 floundered as a failure as Coca Cola forgot what its core brand stood for and thought that taste was the was only factor consumers cared about. Its research failed to highlight that Coke consumers had a deep and abiding  emotional bond to the “Real Thing” and launched a new formulated Coke. The public basically boycotted the new product and the company had ceased production of the old product causing a huge and costly problem for the company. The company had to revert back to the old formula.

 

Facebook has become the greatest facilitators of human conversations, its building itself as a  brand  based on emotional bonds and trust  in a shell of social , web 2.0 services. Friday’s announcement that Facebook users have voted to back changes which give them control over data and content they post on the site  dosen’t surprise me.   The community has spoken , the company had actually listened or risked failure.  Following Facebook’s meteoric rise  to its recent press announcements that it has reached a point of 200 million users I stopped to think about that number and a pending crisis on the ownership of personal data that had emerged in recent months. I for one and many of my friends expressed great concern and a potential swap of services at Facebook’s  assertion that they owned the rights to any and everything published in their services, from photos, to widgets , videos , comments and conversations. It even went to  the point where they could exploit any IP or copyright of anything posted on the site.  Where it almost went wrong was to not listen to the true voice of its consumer base  and continue to pursue a path of proprietary ownership of all and everybody’s personal content, thoughts and conversations when many complained or threatened to leave the service. In this case Facebook the brand, not the service,  is wholly owned by the consumer base it serves. 

What is interesting, and if not co incidental ,  is that it was  the same day  that Yahoo announced that Geo Cities was being closed down. Yahoo paid $3.5 bn for the free hosting service  back in the early days of the dotcom boom.  Where it failed to compete with the likes of Facebook and MySpace is that while they offered a  similar concept of hosting free personal pages on the web  there was no evolution in providing services  that allowed a community to grow or for people to communicate or commune with one another or share it with other friends ubiquitously. Yahoo failed to wrap all it social and communication technologies that it had at its disposal  in different business units( IM , email , even content ) into one set of social communications  services and make the transition to a more Open Web. The brand never really made a leap to having an real emotional attachment to the consumer by failing to provide the emotional conduits or  communications channels. Was this because Yahoo saw Geo Cities only as a media advertising opportunity? Another missed opportunity. 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8016532.stm

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