Monday, August 30, 2010

How To Add Static FBML To Your Facebook Page For Social Media

Just thought of sharing a little 'how to do the FBML on Facebook'.

First thing first, what is FBML? FBML is a subset of HTML. Full form of FBML is Facebook Markup Language.

Next questions 'who is to use it?' and 'so why am i to use it?' Allow me to answer the second question first, in this lies the answer to the first question as well. FBML enables you to create custom tabs on your Facebook Fan Pages. This application is available for Fan Pages on Facebook. You will not find this [as yet] on your Personal Facebook Pages nor will you find this on your Group Pages at Facebook.

How to create and use FBML section? Ready? Lets start...
  • First log-in to your Facebook Page.
  • Once logged in to your account you will notice on your left hand side 'edit page'. click this and get into the edit page part.  
  • Scroll down and you will find in the 'application' section the FBML . Click this.
  • Go to the static 'FBML application'. You will see that you have landed onto a Fan Page of Static FBML. There on left hand side you will notice 'add to my page'. Click this and thereby you have added the application to your Facebook Page.
  • Once you click this the list of all you Facebook Pages where you are the administrator will appear. Please click on the Page you want this application to be added to.
In this way the Static FBML is added onto your Facebook Fan page.

Now we need to set it up and configure this so that we can display what we want to.
  • Once again get into the 'edit page' on your Fan Page.
  • On this page scroll a little down you will find the application. Get into the 'application setting' please do not go to 'edit application'.
  • Once you have clicked the 'application setting' you need to mark the 'add' 'tab'. click 'ok'
  • Once you have done this get into the 'edit application' which is close to the 'application setting'.
  • Once in the 'edit application' you will find that there is a box.
This is the space where you can have a tab header / name and you can place your HTML Code onto this space. See to it that you do not go beyond 520 pixels in width. You can add more FBML Pages and Boxes by Clicking the 'Add another FBML Box'. You can have maximum 10 FBML Boxes. 

This is a growing subject. Add and share your experiences and tips and tricks here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Social Media Needs A Driver

Many a times we commence the Social Media planning and strategy with a bang! We start with enthusiasm and a lot of hope that we will achieve our objectives within the marketing preview.  So, there is a team appointed to carry out the various tasks. And, the execution starts.

With a good take off, everyone has started to join into Twitter and Facebook [dependent on what is wanted, this is just example]. And soon the excitement builds up as we start to count on how many people have joined us. In elevators and corridors a quick response is shared on questions like 'how many today?'. This excitement continues till suddenly someone wants to know the ROI. And then suddenly everyone is  figuring out on parameters - the matrix to measure Social Media. This could be the first part of loosing out on steam of enthusiasm.

Next part when the steam starts to get out is during engagement period. While initially we may engage but the problem starts when someone complains and we do not respond as a company / brand properly. While apologizing is one part if there is no real concrete step taken then things could go out of hand. It is essential to have developed a matrix / escalation levels while creating the plan and strategy itself. It is essential that all departments know and understand that if the Social Media person flags an issue the concerned department should take the responsibility and solve the issue. This is critical. This the Social Media person should establish at the very beginning itself.

Social Media is a consistent and constant efforts. Let us 'never' think that once the basics are set up it will all generate talks on its own. People always need a little push and a little nudging. Social Media no doubt catches momentum, but one has to keep the momentum going. We cannot say that without an 'active driver' the Social Media will continue to create and achieve our objectives.

Social Media could start to loose the steam. How do you keep it going? What do you think? Join in ...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Your Social Media Output Should Be An Extension Of Brand Personality

Social Media Networking is part of the overall marketing scenario. It is not a separate silo that one works within. Our Social Media efforts are an extension of the brand's overall marketing efforts. Just like any other aspect of marketing like advertising [print, tv, radio, outdoors etc], Social Media is also one of these. Ofcourse the modus operandi would be different. However our target audience would be part of the overall target audience itself.

This means that if our customer is viewing our brand say for example on TV it is very essential that they meet the same personality on the internet as well. If on TV our core brand personality is projecting ourselves for example as humorous and easy going then it is crucial that in the online medium as well we have similar projection. Which goes to say that the Social Media person who is actually communicating and interacting with the customer sets needs to behave in a similar method. However we need to be careful here; not to over do or cross the line, as a matter of speaking. Humorous as i have shared is just a very light example. As we create a brand personality there is more added to humorous as well in the sense there could be a tongue in cheek kind of personality another could be wise and so on. The main idea that am trying to share with you is that we all need to be very much cued into understanding how our brand should be in the online space.

There is more to brand personality while working online as a Social Media person. We need to fine tune and zero down on the brand personality to an extent that as and when we face a crises say an irate customer, we should be well aware of 'how are we approaching the irate customer'. If for instance the brand personality is for teens and contemporary with interest in the latest happenings and portrays the 'cool' lingo, when faced with an irate customer we cannot loose out on the personality aspect however the same brand would be a little serious and would try to talk it out and solve the situation. We cannot be high handed during crises.

Hence, we need to understand the brand personality as a person. We need to know and be clear on how the brand reacts and acts. The brand should be considered as a human being. Naturally this is how you would draw out the brand personality. Afterall it is one human that can deal with another human under dynamic situations. The sense of the brand personality should be  the way you would know your very close friend. You can almost predict how your very close friend would act and react in various situations of life. Be it at their home, amongst relatives, amongst their friends, at work, in a meeting etc. Similarly we need to be clear on the detailing of our brand personality.

Many a times we will notice that Social Media is a live test of the brand personality. We will see that we are living and actually breathing the personality of another person [the brand].

Infact if you notice once you understand the brand person the way around comes with ease. You will notice that you will be able to clearly select the sites to live and expand on. You will automatically know if you should be on MySpace, Flicker, or restrain yourself to Facebook. You will also understand if at all you need to be on LinkedIn if you are directly dealing with say for instance school children. You will notice that School Children would take parent permission [atleast we hope that they would] in the online space given a lot of scams etc. If this is the situation then parents will be comfortable seeing you on LinkedIn while the actual target audience [school children] may not visit your LinkedIn profile. 

So this brings us to three aspects of personality understanding:
One is knowing your 'Brand' Personalty [along with Category Personality ofcourse]
Another is understanding the 'Social Media' Network 'site' personality
And thirdly is to understand the 'Customer' Set personality
These three pointers are not in the order that are shared above. All of them have equal importance.   

How do you bring alive the brand on the Social Media space? Do join in and share your experiences.


             

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Benefits of Online Reputation Management - Social Media

Online Reputation Management comprises of various elements. Together they start to form a complete picture and enable our stakeholder’s experience to percolate within the system. We need to understand that there's a high degree of correlation between good customer / stakeholder experiences and their willingness to associate with the same organization, brand, product and service.

The various points of influence are:
  • Traditional/mainstream websites.
  • Professional networks like LinkedIn.
  • Social networks like Facebook and others.
  • Consumer Review sites such as epinions, MouthShut and others.
  • Social news / bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, technorati, dig and others.
  • Collaborative Research sites such as Yahoo Answers, Rediff Q&A.
  • Independent discussion forums based on categories and general interest by profession. 
  • Blogs created and managed.
  • Blogging communities as the Open Diary, LiveJournal, Xanga.
  • Microblogs e.g. Twitter.
Our primary goal when developing a social marketing strategy should be to establish conversation parameters. We cannot possibly control the direction of every conversation, nor should we try to, but we can be available to answer questions and provide honest and helpful input wherever possible. People visit social networking sites because they want to have conversations that don't involve sales pitches. In order to gain trust, we will need to create an environment in which potential and existing customers feel free to express opinion without fear of being censored, but also in which we can provide responses to negative comments that help viewers understand the reasons behind your company's actions in any particular area. When appropriate, we can point readers toward your product, but in such a way that they feel we are providing useful information rather than pitching your company. When we do professional activities on the above elements within the internet space we start to approach our stakeholders at various levels. We start to mean, what we aim to be perceived by our target audience.
  • Improve customer satisfaction by gaining insights from consumers about what is good and bad about our product or services.
  • Increase positive perceptions of brand by creating opportunities to listen to and engage with consumers.
  • Gain insights about competitors and their customers’ perceptions about their products and services.
  • Maintain shareholder value by mitigating risk by having ears close to the ground where opinions about our business are being formed and propagated.
  • Engage in more effective public relations by understanding who the real influencers are.
  • Gain understanding of the relationship between user generated content and traditional forms of online media, e.g. news, print, etc.
  • Provide early warning systems for reactive Public Relations.
  • Reduce marketing spend by learning how to reach out to customers more cheaply.
  • Reduce internal costs by employing services which save time and effort, as well as money.
  • Help identify gaps for products and services which can be developed for profitable niche markets.
  • Gain insight into online networks and keywords and key phrases found in user-generated content, which can help to bolster natural search results about the person, product, or business. 
The benefits are definitely there in the Social Media Network space; yes if we do the networking in the right manner. Do join here, what do you think?

Social Media - Why Does Facebook Not Have Many Tracking Tools?

Social Media is all about interaction. It is good and healthy engagement with your community members. Your community members could be called by any name for instance Fan on Facebook, Followers on Twitter and so on. Whatever we may term them they are fellow members having a similar thought and they contribute ideas and thought processes towards the same main conversational point.

The situation: Social Media is a 24 by 7 [24/7] task. There could be comment or a post concerning you or your brand anytime and anywhere within the online space. You are not really expected to answer this intermediately however it would be just great and a bonus point for you if you do answer it immediately. Having said this you are not to reply to it 'never' or after a 'couple of days' this definitely will be negative for you. Ofcourse there could be instances which you may select not to interact upon based on how you may want to portray your brand.

If this is the situation what should you do? should you really be online 24hours all of the 365 days? This ofcourse is humanly not feasible. Hence we have a range of tools that come to us within the online space. Some of them are free and some come at a cost. They enable us to 'gather' our name [brand] being mentioned anywhere and hence we could be able to answer and communicate to fellow commentators.

While tracking of Twitter is not too difficult though. The reason being that we have number of good and useful tools online. However a huge membership of Facebook does not have easily identifiable tools online. The reason being that Facebook does not enable tracking by outsiders easily.

So how do you track your Facebook members and how do you track your Facebook Fan Pages? Facebook already has a good 'Insights Dashboard' where you get to see the number of interactions done. You can view the number of users, comments etc. Do you use this? What other tools do you use? Do join in here and lets share ideas on which online free tools you use for Facebook.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Could Google Wave Be One Of The Many Social Media Networking Sites

These days there are numerous Social Media sites taking place on the internet. All the Social Media sites are receiving good amount of logins. Ofcourse some like Facebook have become 'nations' within themselves.

Social Networking is all about people interacting with each other having a common topic, which sometimes has differences and sometimes mutually agreeing on certain view points.

Lets look at Google Wave. Google recently has sounded off the media world that it will withdraw the Wave, however, will retain the technology for further use. Where exactly will the Wave technology get utilized is to be seen as Google has not made an announcement to this effect as yet.

Contemplating if Google Wave could have been a good space for people to collaborate and interact as typically one would on other Social Media Network spaces. At first glance we would immediately tend to go towards the two ends of the spectrum as 'no it cannot be' and some others would say 'yes it could be'. Where do you stand? What is your opinion? Could Google Wave Be One Of The Many Social Media Networking Sites?

Lets take a little more closer look at various, already existing, Social Media sites. What do they offer? They offer friend connection, a voting system, photo upload, a post system, a space for conversation continuity, a status messaging, knowing who is friend of friend, an email notification comes in most cases of any messages etc., and so on, and ofcourse they are free sites.  Each site has these basic features and some specific features as add-ons to create a little distinction and a little difference.

Similarly Google Wave also has its own basics, like as shared above, in place. Add to this Google Wave has certain specific gadgets and plug-ins that create a difference and make it a different technology for usage. Then why did it not get onto to the mass appeal section? what is it that other sites did that perhaps Google Wave may not have yet done.
Google Wave is a wonderful mix of being partly social networking functionality and partly as being an unified communications factored into it. Wave combines instant messaging, blogging, document sharing, email, wikis, and multimedia content to provide a seamless communications platform.

If there is a good list of positive and plus points to it why did this attempt of Google not take off atleast as yet? The reasons could be quite a few. What do you think?
The reasons could be:

Marketing? Was marketing the reason?
While Facebook and Twitter are getting onto various methods like providing follow badges which can be put up on the sites and blogs Wave does not have this as yet. Though Wave provide a link that can be embedded onto blogs and sites.

Mobile? While the other Social Sites have given mobile facility like you can visit the pages from your cell phone Wave would be on the heavy side for cell phone accessibility. GMail itself can be easily accessed via the cell phone but Wave is still difficult. Both GMail and Wave are from same Google though.

GMail integration? Fortunately from the same Google came Buzz. Buzz though has not really a very different usage from regular chat and posts it has more number of loyal people using it. Is it because Buzz is well within reach in GMail and Wave is not found in GMail could this be a very big reason for Buzz growth and Wave not growing as much?

Usage? At first take many people would state that Wave as confusing. Yes one has to take an effort and go up the learning graph for one to be enabled and capable of using Google Wave to the fullest.

Behavior? Was Wave asking its users and new people who were to experience this to change a behavior pattern? Well maybe yes to some extent. Wave had to be studied and was requiring a dedicated time factor at the beginning from new people to latch onto it. You would not find the typical links, posts etc at the top where normally you would be used to on the other sites.

Invites? Wave was not open to entire public. Could this also be a reason?

Have you used Google Wave, how did you find it? Join in here and share your experience with the Google Wave that is unfortunately waving a goodbye to us now.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

How To Measure Your Social Media Efforts

Social Media efforts like any other marketing effort requires that it be measured, monitored and be accountable. This is simple business practice not restricted and not limited by marketing efforts alone. Typically in business terminology called Return On Investments or ROI.

It is certain that while Social Media is easily available and can be networked with, it still does require investment, skill and thorough knowledge. These investment at minimal level would be time, energy, technology [hardware, software the web and internet connectivity], dedicated human resource. Add to this just like any other marketing campaign we will require objectives and KPIs Key Process Indicators as well.

There is lot of research and discussion going on in the area of 'how to arrive at a ROI for Social Media'. There are two unique groups at the two ends of a spectrum. One group profess that Social Media has not as yet reached the stage of measurement and the other group states that Social Media can be measured. What is your take on this? Can Social Media be measured - as yet?

What we need to understand is that while we do measure the Social Media space we need to be very clear on what the parameters are to be. Naturally the most upfront one is mentioning that if the objective is achieved then all other things would fall in place. Now the objective for Social Media need not always be in terms of quantifiable terms. It could be qualitative and / or quantitative. The measuring process works just like any other profit and loss system however the parameters are very very different. Add to this not only are the parameters different but the scale of these parameters are also different.

One needs to understand 'how Social Media works' before diving into a measuring chase. This is the most critical part. If one does not know, understand and comprehend how Social Media actually works, how it performs and how to go about it then one is not [with due respect] qualified to establish the measuring criteria. As you read below you will get an understanding of  this statement.  

While measuring the Social Media efforts we need to consider the below parameters. The below parameters are indications of the various factors that are to be 'considered' and 'understood' before we start to set a formula:

Time: Time is of great essence here in Social Media. At one level we need to be clear that immediate results are not every time the only correct way for measure. Social Media by its nature works on two levels one is engagement levels with the members and the SEO level. If we go a little deep both engagement and SEO get better with consistent efforts.They require the time factor to get established. For instance the positive engagement which eventually should lead to loyalty and viral effect cannot happen at once by merely setting up of a Facebook Fan Page for instance and getting people to join in. To develop relevant interactions the brand and the customer set would require time. The next part is SEO. SEO work is like an investment. You consistently work on the SEO aspect while working online. The efforts put in today will reap you rewards in the near future.  

Number of followers / fans / members: This is the most sought after target. While it would be great to have a huge Fan base it is necessary that the topics we communicate is relevant to them and enhancing our brand image. It is equally essential to get them dialoguing with us and just not having a one way communication [only from us]. This means that we need to have quality and not just quantity based followers / fans / members. When our communication is engaging only then we can be sure to a large extent to have a desired response. Additionally we should remember that good quality of engagement would lead to a viral effect. Thus automatically leading to increase in membership which is relevant to us and to whom we are relevant and bring value into their lives. This leads us onto 3 aspects namely:
Quantity [number of members]
Quality [right members that are relevant to brand]
Engagement Level [level of interaction and involvement]

For those who would be satisfied with numbers there is still a way out: Hence instead of the typical, usual number game how about using parameters like:
How many customers asked for more information
How many have been retained for over three months as your Tweeter followers
How many come to your main site / main blog
What was the conversion taking place in terms of sales
Number of features that the customers suggested and how many have we managed to implement
Number of hours in a week when we have interacted with the customers and created a result
Number of new qualitative customers
How many qualitative customers are being retained over three months
Number of repeat customers [same customer interacting intensely and participating more]
Number of viral effects that have taken place
Reduction in support costs
Number of new things that we discovered as consumer insight
Increase in Page Rank
Number of redemption taking place [if at all there is redemption coupon made available]
Number of back-links that you receive [qualitative back-links not just quantitative]

Add to this be sure to measure the qualitative aspect in terms of:
Satisfaction
Loyalty [retention and viral effect]
Engagement
Feedback

So it could be the mix of qualitative and quantitative matrix.

Add to all of the above factors is constant improvement. Having set the parameters we need to consistently check with reality of out individual case. Many a times we may set a lot of parameters that will not really make sense to an individual case for measuring. The parameters need to be in-sync with the feasibility of there being an output in terms of the brand, customer set, competition and category. It is not the case of same parameters fit all.

So we need to be very clear on how we want to measure the success of a Social Media Network Campaign.

What are your thoughts? Do join in.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Social Media Facebook Security

These days all accounts and sites are concerned about account holder's identity, and rightly so. It is definitely good that Social Media Network sites are having privacy protection. What do you think?

The problem comes in here: on Facebook for instance we have numerous games like Mafia Wars and others. These games require that you have lots of 'Mafia Members' in other words the more number of people to be your neighbors in that game. These persons need not necessarily be your 'real friends' you may not really know them. They are people who are helpful no doubt in your game and that is it, ofcourse you may start to connect with them by interacting on what they may put up as posts etc. So you have rampant connections taking place in order to increase your 'game family'.

Usually security is checked by asking certain questions that one has answered and keyed in while registering like what is your birth date or which street you stay on etc. Facebook has recently started asking you to identify the people who are on your friend list. Let me explain: you are showed random photos and you are to identify who is the person in that photo. Now probably you really never went online and checked your 'extended gaming family' what they are doing or how they really looked etc.

So now what takes place? You who are the real account holder when while going through this security check which is 'mention the person in the photo' seems to be seen as trespasser! 'this account is not verified by you so you are not the real owner of this account!'.

What would you say to this? Did you face this?


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Social Media - I am where You are

Are they stalking you? Are they haunting you? Many a times we will see certain people joining every place where their customer sets are.  It is really the case of 'I am where You are'.

Joining spaces where your customers are is not a very bad idea. However then intruding into their every activities [comments, posts] starts to be a discomfort.

What normally takes place is that the customer has given general information since their favorite brand asked: So the customer informs that they are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other places. Well the over enthusiasts follows them and at the slightest chance starts to broadcast their sales messages. 

Lets be careful when we start to track and communicate with our customer sets [who are ideally known as members of community  / fan] when we are online.

Soon, the so far, the 'favorite' brand is then the 'dreaded fugitive' online.

The key here is to understand who is the customer and what is the site like. There are certain sites that may not fit your brand personality. Thus being there and creating a buzz could be harmful. It is as good as reaching customers at the wrong time in a wrong way. This could be irritating and could mean a lot of negative spread about you.

All sites may not cater and may not lend themselves to all types of brand personality influence. Add to this it may be the case where the customer may not be in the correct frame of mind to react positively towards the brand announcements.

Thus we do need to be clear on who is the target audience, what is their attitude and behavior on various sites, what is the brand personality and what si competitor doing. Once we have a good written frame work of this information then we could start our jorney online.

What is your opinion? How does your experience span across with the very enthusiasts as being the community manager.