The Business Guide to Facebook Part 1: Your Brand Page for the Social Web

26/10/2010

Check this post The Business Guide to Facebook Part 1: Your Brand Page for the Social Web from Fast Company – Leadership:

Facebook is, at the moment, the most important social network in the world. Over 500 million people connect to one another in the “Social Network.” And, with the introduction of the Open Graph, we are interacting with our Facebook connections on our favorite websites where our social graph and the corresponding activity of Likes, interaction, and commentary become the centerpiece for social curation and more importantly, our focused attention. We are putting our social network to work and we are learning how to share, discover, and collaborate in public.

Brands, regardless of size and focus, are converging on Facebook where the idea of connecting with customers and prospects represents a potential boon for both earning relevance in a new domain as well as expanding overall reach. Facebook is a sparkplug for word of mouth and when engaged, contributes to the end of business as usual and the beginning of social commerce. If fact, the top 10 brands on Facebook today host over 100 million “Likes” on Facebook.

The Top 10 Brands by Population (Rounded Out)

1. Starbucks–16 million 2. Coca-Cola–15 million 3. Oreo–12 million 4. Skittles–11.5 million 5. Red Bull–10.2 million 6. Victoria’s Secret–8.4 million 7. Disney–8.3 million 8. Converse All Star–7.3 million 9. iTunes–7 million 10. Windows Live Messenger–6.8 million

With that said … By This Time Next Year

By this time next year, you as a brand or as a brand representative, will spend more time and resources on Facebook than you will on Twitter.

Allow me to clarify this statement as it’s easy to misread. My sentiment is merely a reflection of the maturation of the social web and the commitment and attention required to cultivate communities, inspire advocacy, and foster engagement. Facebook and Twitter are unique in their design and their culture and each offer distinguishing opportunities for businesses. As such, they demand a dedicated focus, strategy, and approach.

Twitter is important and essential to learning, engaging, and cultivating customer communities. I believe that Twitter is your window to relevance, both understanding how to identify and earn it.

Facebook, as both a network and a platform, is unlocking new and important connections between people, brands, content, and data. The technical and creative aspects of what Facebook is capable of facilitating on behalf of your business and the people who define your markets, requires indoctrination. And, once we explore the culture and technical advantages of Facebook Connect, Likes, and the scope and possibilities of the open graph, we get an idea of the deepening emphasis required to transform Facebook from a “Fan Page” to a bona fide brand page, creating nothing less than a social epicenter for business.

If Twitter is your window to relevance, Facebook is your focal point for the social web.

Nothing goes without saying here. It is also important for you to invest in learning about where, when, and how your social consumer engages with peers as they most likely connect in other networks beyond Facebook and Twitter. It was after all, the inspiration for the Conversation Prism. Facebook is just one, albeit pivotal, pillar in your socialized business strategy. The State of The Facebook

With over 500 million active users, Facebook is by far one of the most important networks in the world. 5o% of those active users log on to Facebook in any given day. And in total, people spend over 700 billion minutes per month posting, sharing, Liking, commenting, poking, playing games, and interacting with one another as well as the content and applications that define the pervasive social ecosystem.

The average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events and creates 90 pieces of content (social objects) each month. If you follow Zuckerberg’s Law, then we will double the amount of content we share every year. When combined, the numbers are staggering. More than 30 billion social objects (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) are shared each month. Facebook is a vortex for content.

Everyday individuals on Facebook maintain a social graph of 130 people, which is in line with Robin Dunbar’s theory (Dunbar’s number) of the maximum number of relationships we can effectively manage. However, with suggested friends, I believe that number will push us to expand our networks from relationships (strong ties) to relations (focused, weak, and temporary ties). I call this Social Graph Theory. And much like Zuckerberg’s Law, Social Graph Theory suggests that the size of our network will grow, but more importantly, become much more complex, yet focused. We will maintain relationships, but also expand into a thinner form of relations that include interest graphs, nicheworks (contextual networks) and temporary connections. What’s important for businesses to realize, is that individuals now maintain peer networks that resemble engaged audiences where interests are the axis of conversational rotation.

Brands are increasingly globalizing and Facebook scales with the reach that they need. Currently over 70 translations are available and more than 70% of all Facebook denizens reside outside of the United States. And more than one million developers and entrepreneurs from more than 180 countries support Facebook as a “platform” with greater than one million websites integrating Facebook sharing, liking and visualized social graph features into content discovery and consumption. So, what does that mean? Integrate Facebook functionality into your online properties (in addition to other relevant social presences of course). Two-thirds of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites have integrated with Facebook.

And what of mobile?

Smart phones are the new sub-tablet so to speak. There are as many active users accessing Facebook on their mobile device as there are active users of Twitter. And that’s a powerful statement. Today 150 million people access Facebook actively and they’re twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users. May I Have Your Intention Please?

Many brands underestimate Facebook and what’s truly required to attract and captivate the social consumer. In my research, I find that a significant number of brands focus their efforts primarily on Twitter, treating Facebook as an afterthought. Rather than engage in each community with purpose and dedication, examples are abundant where companies are simply syndicating tweets to Facebook rather than updating each network individually. When people reply on Facebook, representatives are usually unaware as they’re mostly monitoring Twitter responses rather than Facebook. In these cases, Facebook becomes a graveyard for tweets instead of a community where likes are earned and conversations are fostered. After all, how do we expect to trigger the social effect without investing time and attention in the people who define the very social graphs we’re hoping to engage and activate?

Facebook success is defined by our investment of time, resources, energy and creativity. In other words, we get out of it what we put into it. In Facebook, it’s not just about who we’re connected to, it’s about those we’re not. What started as “Fans” has evolved to “Likes” and in that simple shift in phraseology comes something quite profound. “Fans” implies a hierarchical relationships where brands publish at will to a community that feels a bit more like a traditional audience. “Likes” begets a linear form of relationships where we earn the endorsement of a social consumer, but in order to foster a community, we have to continue to do so. This introduces a peer-to-peer (P2P) dynamic where rather than program our Facebook activity from a top-down perspective, we now have to consider an active participatory role in earning Likes, attention, and hopefully advocacy much more frequently than we may have anticipated initially.

Likes become a form of social currency and contribute to the overall social capital earned by a brand within Facebook.

In February 2010, market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey along with iModerate Research Technologies, surveyed over 1,500 individuals online as well as conducted one-on-one discussions to contextualize social media behavior. Their research shows us that social commerce and quite specifically, F-commerce (Facebook Commerce) is bursting at the seams.

Since actions speak louder than words, the study sought to answer the question of whether or not engagement actually leads to purchases. The answer is yes. An impressive 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers indicated that they are more likely to buy since connecting online.

Success begins with a plan, which serves as a roadmap to reach customers and those who influence them. On the road to success, it is wise to refer to the map routinely to ensure that we stay on course. Doing so, reminds us why we’re here in the first place.

The roles of the social consumer are distinct and the reasons for connecting with a brand are equally diversified. It’s our job to cater to each segment to earn their Likes and attention now and over time.

On Facebook, existing customers topped the list with 49%. Following with 42%, consumers felt compelled to show support for the brand. In third with 40%, individuals admitted that they hoped to receive discounts and promotions.

Other stats worth mentioning, 27% and 26% of respondents stated that they would like to be among the first to know information about the brand and also to gain access to exclusive content respectively. And, 17% claimed that they were referred to the page by someone that they knew, which already demonstrates word of mouth at work.

Facebook is changing the way we think about business, customers and community and as such, there’s much to learn. Everything begins at the beginning and together, we will earn relevance and expand business opportunities in a new social marketplace one Like at a time.

Facebook

Reprinted from BrianSolis.com

Brian Solis is the author of Engage and is one of most provocative thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis’s research and ideas have influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSolis and at BrianSolis.com.

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Critical Thinking & SEO – Managing Learning and Your Approach to SEO

22/10/2010

Check this post Critical Thinking & SEO – Managing Learning and Your Approach to SEO from Search Engine Journal:

Tackling the development of a new search and social media course is no mean feat – ask Aleksej Heinze, from Salford University’s Business School!  He’s been the driver behind a new academic-led, industry-supported search and social media course.

Description: http://sharetv.org/images/weird_science-show.jpgWith MEC’s support for the course, Aleksej and I have met a number of times to discuss areas of the course’s content, with a view to develop not purely from an academic stand-point, but to consider real-life scenarios.  One of the things that came out of the debates we had then was this idea of posing several alternative approaches to search and social marketing in a way that prompted this idea of a course that promotes a foundational and more advanced level of understanding, with a thread of critical thinking throughout.

I love this idea.  I’ve previously shared what we work to deliver as part of our SEO training academy over on SEP, and one of the key items we raised here was in nurturing people’s analytical and inquisitive behaviour in SEO.  We’re working in a very subjectivity-led industry, as opposed to that of an exact-science.   SEO is an art built on the peripheral knowledge of the science of information retrieval after all, and even where people work towards making their approach to SEO more scientific, it’s nothing more than a weird science at best.

Critical thinking challenging misinformation

I like the idea that we dig in to out analytics and visibility, we test and explore on-site and off-site approaches to search engine optimisation.  As long as we share these observations with an understanding that isolating these test from unknown variables, sample sizes, caveats and a reframed methodology if necessary for the next round of tests, then I think this can be a healthy process to go through that just taking from elsewhere in the community.  This does not mean to say that all research should be shared, but just to say that even if you’re a bedroom SEO, then keeping an eye on the limitations of what you and others are testing is really quite healthy.

We recently shared some early observations on Google Instant usages in the UK.  We shared the shared the sample size, the number of verticals the test stretched across, limitations, a brief explanation of the approach to the analysis makes the research a little more valid, and very open-ended conclusions (making this more observational than definitive conclusions).  Through this approach it makes it easier for others to test for themselves the validity and value of what is being said, as opposed to just loose supposition.

I see Michael Martinez as someone with a very forthright opinion around the management and understanding of SEO, and certainly someone where critical thinking appears as a common thread in most of his articles.  For instance, on this very subject of science, SEO and chatter:

“…we share, we discuss, we analyze, and we critique. Scientists do this all the time. The chief difference between real scientists and SEO scientists, however, is that real scientists agree to be bound to a standard of quality that the SEO industry eschews…The science is based solely and completely upon what we do share that is confirmable and reliable. Everything else is just talk.”

This differentiation is a very healthy one.  Highlighting what is chatter, and what is definitively scientific in approach and output is all part of critical thinking, and I think that people can really take something away from this.  SEO is, without a doubt, still in its infancy.  It is still shaping up as an established industry, and it certainly hasn’t developed a comprehensive understanding of how to approach tests, knowledge sharing and the conclusions we pull from this.  But with that in mind, a little more critical thinking and a more resolute focus on the real value of what is being shared in training rooms, books and blog posts world-wide should almost certainly be a good thing.  I think so, anyway.

SEO Pride and Prejudice

Like many, I want to go to work and feel pride in what I do with the teams of people I work with, and this sense of pride may well be helped by the sense that collectively in our offices, we feel that we are delivering a solid SEO service, far beyond that what we are exposed to in many other places elsewhere.  So although we feel that other SEO propositions are misguided (which in itself is quite flattering and enlightening for our own), but it does require an element of astute critical thinking to highlight what we believe is good, bad and unhelpful information for how we approach SEO – and this is the whole point of this article.

Others though, see this wealth of misinformation as a real competitive advantage, including Aaron:

“I used to dislike misinformation in the SEO industry, but I have since come to realize that the more misinformed the public is the more opportunity there is for me. If it wasn’t abstract and full of misinformation then someone overseas would be doing it for $5 a day and I would lose most of my income. So I say let’s see some more bogus scientific studies.”

Now, I wouldn’t go down such a hard-line route as this, as I personally think that there are too many areas in the provision of SEO consulting that really can’t be provided in a more commoditised way (just in the same way as marketing, PR, creative teams haven’t been outsourced to more inexpensive regions of the world).  That said, I do think there is a great deal of value in the comment, as it essentially acts as a sort of filtering system – separating the wheat from the chaff.

Critical Thinking & SEO Strategy

Transferring critical thinking to the way we learn is only one application though; developing plans and delivering activity with critical thought can be hugely helpful too.  So let’s get down to a few tips…

Quite a few years ago, two gentlemen, Simon Wootton and Terry Horne, developed 6 suggestions for critically evaluating strategic ideas and plans.  These were:

  • Competitiveness
  • Controllability
  • Compatibility
  • Feasibility
  • Impact
  • Risk

At a strategic level you can quite easily see how critical thinking of this nature can really test the true value of ideas in the context of which they sit.

But, how do you teach day-to-day critical thinking?

Some might argue that critical thinking can’t actually be taught at all, and it’s actually more to do with what the person was born with between their ears, but I whole-heartedly disagree.  I think you can quite easily teach someone to work to a framework of which challenges the validity of an opinion, and develops a reasoned, critical judgement of their own.

The UK’s Open University provides a few ideas around how critical thinking can take shape, and importantly, how you can nurture critical thinking. A few take-aways from these articles that I think are especially helpful for those more SEOs interested in critical though include:

  • Pause for thought when reading – we’re in an online industry where we know scanning of content is prevalent so occasionally pause for thought.
  • Actively learn – critically engage in the content.  Ask yourself how, why, what, when, who, etc as often as you can about subjects you think are especially important.
  • Work with others – learning alone is not going to be helping in moulding balanced and considered opinions as through shared-learning we naturally test each other’s understanding.
  • Think independently – just because you’ve read something, doesn’t make it true!

There’s really isn’t anything too sophisticated in what is being said here – something I often think when reading management books, but challenge is really bringing to life as part of your day-to-day behaviour.  Are you up to the challenge?!

Anyway, give it a try – see if this sort of approach to reading blog posts, books, attending seminars or conferences, changes the way you understand and use the information around you.

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Critical Thinking & SEO – Managing Learning and Your Approach to SEO



You Have 3 Seconds To Make That First Impression

20/10/2010

Check this post You Have 3 Seconds To Make That First Impression from Social Media Today:


Perseverance Quotes and Persistence Quotes – The Best Quotations on Never Giving Up from Inspirational Spark

20/10/2010

Check this post Perseverance Quotes and Persistence Quotes – The Best Quotations on Never Giving Up from Inspirational Spark from What’s New at InspirationalSpark:

Great Persistence and Perseverance Quotes By Truly Inspirational People, including Winston Churchill, Vince Lombardi, Albert Einstein, and Dale Carnegie


The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs

20/10/2010

Check this post The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs from Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog:

Innovation Secrets of Steve JobsWhat is innovation? Innovation is a new way of doing things that results in positive change. It makes life better. Innovation can be big or small but the principles apply to many aspects of life. As such, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs is more than just about innovation. It’s about principles that have guided Jobs throughout his life. Innovation is about thinking differently, making new connections and making things better.

Author Carmine Gallo offers not rules, systems, or steps to greater innovation, but inspiring principles that can be applied to your own situation to get you to think differently. The principles are:

  1. Do What You Love. Think differently about your career. Jobs advises, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. …My goal wasn’t to die the richest man in the cemetery. It was to go to bed at night saying, we’ve done something wonderful.”
  2. Put a Dent in the Universe. Think differently about your vision. Jobs attracts like-minded people who share his vision and who help turn his ideas into world-changing innovations. Passion fuels Apple’s rocket, and Job’s vision creates destination.
  3. Kick Start Your Brain. Think differently about how you think. Innovation does not exist without creativity, and for Steve Jobs, creativity is the act of connecting things. Jobs believes that a broad set of experiences broadens our understanding of the human experience.
  4. Sell Dreams, Not Products. Think differently about your customers. To Jobs, people who by Apple products are not “consumers.” They are people with dreams, hopes, and ambitions. Jobs builds products to help them fulfill their dreams. “Some people think you’ve got to be crazy to buy a Mac. But in that craziness, we see genius.” says Jobs
  5. Say No to 1,000 Things. Simplify. Think differently about design. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, according to Jobs. From the designs of the iPod to the iPhone, from the packaging of Apple’s products to the functionality of the Apple website, innovation means eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. Jobs: “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”
  6. Create Insanely Great Experiences. Think differently about your brand experience. Jobs has made Apple Stores the gold standard in customer service. The Apple Store has become the world’s best retailer by introducing simple innovations any business can adopt to make deep, lasting emotional connections with its customers. Use analogies or metaphors to think about a problem. By finding the similarities between two things that are unalike, your brain makes new and sometimes profound connections.
  7. Master the Message. Think differently about your story. Jobs is the preeminent corporate storyteller, turning product launches into an art form. You can have the most innovative idea in the world, but if you cannot get people excited about it, your innovation doesn’t matter. Make your brand story consistent across all platforms: presentations, website, advertising, marketing materials, social media.

Confidence is a key to innovation. Jobs told Stanford graduates, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” “Most important,” writes Gallo, “how you think about yourself and your business will have the greatest impact on the creation of new ideas that will grow your business and improve the lives of your customers.”

Gallo provides a lot of background on Jobs and in doing so has written an inspiring, down-to-earth book that will encourage you to imagine what you could do by thinking differently.


How Much Are You Worth?

20/10/2010

Check this post How Much Are You Worth? from Fast Company – Leadership:

It’s the most compelling, preoccupying question we measure ourselves by every day, and it has very little to do with money. I’m talking about “worth” as in self-worth and “value,” as in the degree to which we feel valued by others, and valuable in the world. Nothing more powerfully influences our behavior and our effectiveness at work.

Because organizations pay so little attention to how people are feeling in the workplace, and because we ourselves are so often unaware of what we’re feeling, we often fail to recognize the effect that our emotions have on us, and on others.

We all experience challenges to our value at work every day–demanding and critical bosses, difficult clients and customers, tough assignments, tight deadlines, failure to achieve our goals, or the feeling that we’re being excluded, singled out, overlooked, or not fully appreciated.

Think of each of these as a trigger: an event, a behavior, or a circumstance that prompts negative emotions–and more specifically, the experience of fight or flight.

We don’t have to worry anymore about being attacked by real lions and tigers, but we’re still vulnerable to threats to our sense of self worth. When we respond in fight or flight, we’re less able to think clearly, less flexible, less resilient, and more impulsive and reactive.

It’s a reverse value proposition: the more we feel threatened, the more energy we spend defending, restoring, and asserting our value, and the less energy we have available to create value.

Difficult as they are to calculate, the costs to engagement, productivity, and performance are immense. There may be no more alienating and energy-draining experience at work than feeling diminished and devalued.

When we worked at a large, well-known hospital, for example, the nurses told us that the single biggest challenge to their satisfaction and effectiveness was the feeling of not being valued by the doctors. Turnover was a huge problem, even though the nurses loved their work with patients.

When we asked the doctors to describe their biggest challenge, they were unanimous. It was the feeling of not being appreciated by the hospital’s administrators. The origin of the corrosive culture was clear. The president of the hospital, a former surgeon, was well known for his explosive temper and his abusive behavior with both doctors and nurses.

Our core emotional need is to feel valued. Some years ago, the researcher James Gilligan was called into a prison to try to help out with an inmate who kept assaulting guards, even after he was placed in solitary confinement 24 hours a day.

“What do you want so badly,” Gilligan asked the inmate, “that you are willing to give up everything else in order to get it?”

“Pride, dignity, and self esteem,” the inmate replied, instantly. “And I’m willing to kill any motherf—– in that cell block to get it. If you ain’t got pride, you ain’t got nothing.”

Plainly, that’s extreme, but as Daniel Goleman has written. “Threats to our standing in the eyes of others are … almost as powerful as those to our very survival.”

Researchers have found that the highest rises in cortisol levels–the most extreme fight or flight response–are prompted by “threats to one’s social self, or threat to one’s social acceptance, esteem, and status.”

Just think about the difference between hearing a compliment and a criticism. Which are you more inclined to believe? What do you dwell on longer?

The researcher John Gottman has found that among married couples, it takes at least five positive comments to offset one negative one.

The first move when you’ve been triggered is the simplest: take a deep breath and exhale slowly. So long as your body is flooded with stress hormones, you literally can’t think straight, so it’s best not to react at all.

At The Energy Project, we call this the Golden Rule of Triggers: Whatever you feel compelled to do, don’t.

As soon as you’re calm enough, ask yourself, “How am I feeling my value is at risk here?” You’ll make a fascinating discovery. It’s not what the other person said that triggered you; it’s how you interpreted it.

The less you can make it about your value, the more control you’ll have over how you respond.

When leaders themselves are insecure, the most obvious symptoms are self-aggrandizement, high need for control, poor listening skills and impatience, all of which only make those who work for them feel devalued.

The more genuinely you hold the value of someone you manage–even at moments when you must share a concern–the more focus and positive energy that person will bring to the task at hand.

Turn your awareness on yourself. It’s a powerful first step.

Want to see how well you’re managing the energy of those you lead? Take the Energy Audit for Leaders.

Reprinted from TonySchwartz.com

Tony Schwartz is President and CEO of The Energy Project, a company that helps individuals and organizations fuel energy, engagement, focus, and productivity by harnessing the science of high performance. Tony’s most recent book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs that Energize Great Performance, was published in May 2010 and became an immediate The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Follow him on Twitter @TonySchwartz.

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Il Capitale di “Umano”: Intelligenza Emotiva

20/10/2010

Check this post Il Capitale di “Umano”: Intelligenza Emotiva from PNL e intelligenza emotiva:

L”intelligenza emotiva è un aspetto dell’intelligenza legato alla capacità di provare emozioni, riconoscerle e viverle in modo consapevole. L’intelligenza emotiva permette di spiegare il successo di persone non dotate di spiccate …