More Companies Are Embracing Social Media …With a Little bit of Caution!

Aug 18
2010
Listen to social

More companies are Listening well before they speak

Companies now see that they have to go where the people are, but in this media, you have to be aware of what you are saying, I suggest you Listen for several months before you even say hello. Eric Frazier from the Charlotte Observer

As social networks like Facebook and Twitter keep broadening their reach and influence, they’re taking socially savvy entrepreneurs and companies along for the ride.

Few examples have been as conspicuous in Charlotte as social media consultant Jason Keath and Social Fresh, the social networking conference he first put on in Charlotte a year ago. The one-day event, geared toward teaching corporate marketers how to navigate social networks, has proven so popular that it’s expanded to Tampa, Nashville, St. Louis and other cities.

It returned to Charlotte for its second year on Monday, with a daylong series of panel discussions and speakers at the University Hilton. Keath said it attracted 305 attendees – the most ever for the conference. “Charlotte is our home market,” he explained. “It’s our first repeat city, and so we’ve got a built-in audience.”

He structured this year’s conference to be less of a Social Media 101-type gathering and more of an opportunity for corporate social media types to learn how to push into more complex social media strategies and campaigns.

“We really want to improve the social media community,” he said during his opening remarks. “I want companies to take more chances… and to take more chances you really have to have confidence in what you’re doing.”

But, as fretful corporate executives everywhere realize, one rash Twitter or Facebook post can provoke the kind of backlash that takes weeks, months or even years to beat back. More and more companies are jumping onto social media “because that’s where all the people are,” but then they find themselves dealing with problems when the natives don’t always react in the ways companies hope or expect them to.

Bert Dumars of Newell Rubbermaid, the household products manufacturer, used Einstein Bros. bagels as an example. He said, in a presentation, that Einstein brought in 300,000 new Facebook fans in one week with a free bagel giveaway. But now, he said, many of the messages on the company’s Facebook page come from spammers, or from people who are simply asking for more coupons for free bagels.

“My biggest (piece of) advice when you’re starting out is don’t go too fast,” he said. “Growing fast does not equal growing well.”

Amber Naslund of the social media monitoring firm Radian 6 gave a keynote address in which she said the social web has revolutionized the way companies do business. Customers routinely shoot messages to companies via Facebook or Twitter, and increasingly, they expect immediate response. She called listening to those networks “answering the new telephone” that customers prefer using.

“While it is a challenge, there’s unprecedented opportunity,” she said. “And while it might sound a little dramatic, you’re witnessing history – business history.”

Is Facebook Ready to Bounce FourSquare!

Aug 12
2010

Facebook ready to take on FourSquare

Big & mean but can they take down FourSquare

Facebook is about to take the ball from FourSquare. By partnering a Geolocation company “Localeze” Facebook plans could be a match for FourSquare. Some rumors have it just adding to their Event promotion capability. See below what Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News had to say.

The long-rumored geolocation "check-in" feature at Facebook is slated to debut within weeks, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNET.

It’s going to take the form of an application programming interface (API) for third-party companies on the Facebook developer platform, integrating existing "check-in" start-ups more deeply into the massive social-networking service and in turn permitting location-aware data to become a part of existing platform applications.

Facebook declined to provide much detail. "We are working on location features and product integrations, which we’ll be launching in the coming months, and we’ll share more details when appropriate," spokesman Larry Yu told CNET.

Among developers, too, Facebook is still being tight-lipped regarding the exact nature of the service; the API work has not yet been finalized, though one source in the developer community said that engineers at Facebook "are building it out hard-core" at the moment. Another source hinted that the internal development deadline may be as early as next week, but that Facebook has not been clear about whether this will be reached on time or extended.

At least one start-up in the geolocation space was told by a Facebook insider that it might want to think about changing the language of a thumbs-up type of feature to "like," possibly preparing for integration of Facebook’s ubiquitous "like" buttons.

Sources say that Facebook has partnered with Localeze, the local-search company that powers Twitter’s "Places" directory–which lets Twitter users attach a location to their tweets if they are posting from a location-enabled device–to provide a business directory infrastructure for the forthcoming geolocation product.

"We cannot comment on any future deals, however can say that we anticipate having a few significant social announcements in the coming weeks/month," a Localeze representative told CNET via e-mail.

Additionally, a recent minor acquisition on Facebook’s part may turn out to be integral to its geolocation plans. Earlier this summer, Facebook acquired a second-tier "check-in" service called Hot Potato, which focused on letting members check into events rather than locations. That acquisition has closed with a final price tag of about $10 million, the lion’s share of it going to founder Justin Shaffer. Facebook’s interest in the New York-based Hot Potato, specifically Shaffer’s product management talent, goes back quite some time. Sources told CNET that Facebook had originally approached the start-up as early as March about a potential acquisition.

Shaffer did not respond to a request for comment.

The Hot Potato product will almost certainly be shut down, and Shaffer is relocating from New York to work in Facebook’s San Francisco Bay Area headquarters, sources said. One source said that Shaffer, who obviously was quite the expensive "hire" for Facebook, may have a crucial role in the forthcoming geolocation product. But multiple sources also hinted that, given Hot Potato’s focus on checking specifically into events, he may also be charged with revamping Facebook’s own event listing and invitations product. It’s possible that it could work both ways, and that Facebook Events would be one of the existing Facebook features into which geolocation would integrate first.

It’s been known for quite some time that Facebook wanted to capitalize on the growing phenomenon of geolocations and "check-ins," to the extent that onlookers were surprised when the social network didn’t announce a geolocation product at its F8 developer conference this spring. Start-ups like Foursquare, Loopt, and Gowalla were getting the press, not big players like Facebook or Google (whose Latitude location-sharing platform hasn’t become much of a sensation). Since then, Foursquare has begun to pull away from the competition and make inroads into bringing the check-in market from the early-adopter crowd to the mainstream, and Twitter’s geotagged tweets have been live for months now, too.

It should be noted that Facebook also expressed interest in outright acquiring Foursquare, as was well-reported amid the media frenzy over whether Foursquare would raise another round of funding or would sell to a prospective suitor–namely Facebook or Yahoo. (It opted for the venture funding in a round led by venture firm Andreessen Horowitz.) One source told CNET that Facebook offered Foursquare $120 million; Foursquare asked for about 25 percent more than that and Facebook walked away from the negotiations.

There are, of course, complications, which leave the geolocation- and local-services start-up community with plenty of questions about how much of their data they will have to share with Facebook if they tap into the new APIs. And additionally, Facebook’s tendency to garner bad press with regard to privacy may make some of them wary of getting involved.

But it’s likely that they will have little choice. Facebook is the biggest force in the social Web by far, and it’s about to be the biggest force in geolocation, too.

This post was updated at 3:29 p.m. PT with comment from Localeze.

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

via Facebook’s Foursquare competitor is imminent | The Social – CNET News.

Stroking the SuperMe: Targeting Brand and Product from a Social Perspective

Aug 03
2010

Stroking the SuperMe

Stroking the SuperMe

Are we creating a Online virtual “SuperMe” personality? I’d sway we are and it’s Ok. You always put your best foot forward and when you meet someone for the first time you usually send your ambassador, the polite, non offending, intelligent you. Your online personality should reflect that same feeling but to a greater depth.

You must be truthful, but accentuating the positive and leaving out the negative is what we all do daily anyway. So why would your social Profile be any different.

Georgina Laidlaw explains this very well in her article on Webworkerdaily.com Stroking the SuperMe: Targeting Brand and Product from a Social Perspective and takes it a step further into the corporate environment. Which hearkens back to what good old advertising was anyway. A message with words and images meant to persuade. Social Media isn’t as far away from advertising as we like to think. With Corporations getting into the game it’s just being repackaged.

The Social Aspect allows it to be commented on and will hopefully keep the message honest. See how many corporate sites you can find on Facebook that are genuinely different than their advertising!

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