Five Ways for Journalists to Use Facebook

Distribution dominates many discussions about the future of journalism on the web. Should newspapers charge for content? Should they link to each other? The list goes on. But at the same time, especially with the rise of social sites like Facebook, journalists now have a new range of free, easy-to-use tools to help them do their jobs better.

Today’s journalists must be everything they once were but also tech savvy. Students in college journalism programs are already being trained to navigate the social web. In the list below, we offer tips on using social features like Facebook fan Pages to help journalists find new stories, check facts and interact with readers.

1. Join Pages to get instant updates about your beat.

While not every organization has a live and active Facebook Page, thousands do. When you become a fan of a Page, updates from it appear in the Pages section of your news feed. At Inside Facebook, we use it to track news from Facebook itself and other technology companies with active pages, such as in this case last week. But tech journalism is just a small segment of the media. Say you’re a writer for the fashion section of the newspaper or magazine. “Fanning” brands with Facebook Pages is one way to effortlessly stay on top of their activities. Wall updates are usually accompanied with feedback from fans. As a journalist, you can easily track what kinds of updates appeal the most to fans and read how fans are personally thinking via the comments they leave. Before you even write a single word, you can better gauge how readers will react to your piece.

FB Platform

2. Verify the facts and make sure the source of your leads are actually reliable.

A major problem with gathering data on the web has been that people can easily hide their identities. Owing to Facebook’s origins as a site for real-life relationships on college campuses, the site’s users tend to share information about their real lives with each other. For a journalist trying to, say, do a background check on a source, this “real life” aspect means they can use Facebook to learn more about the person and establish their credibility. Features like “mutual friends” are especially valuable. If a source is a friend of your friend, you are more likely to assume that the source is legitimate — and if you have any questions, you know you can ask your friend for more information.

Questions remain about some practices of using information gleaned from Facebook. Most of it is considered private. Yet information put on Facebook can be easily leaked to journalists, as a number of recent scandals have shown. Media laws in this area very between countries, as do editorial policies in newsrooms, so journalists looking to use private information gained on Facebook should consult their editors and lawyers. For some, see this special report on social media for newspapers by Editor & Publisher.

3. Publish content and reach your audience in a social context.

News organizations can also create Facebook pages to reach fans on the site, then cross-promote their pages and their web sites (for example, here’s Inside Facebook’s fan page). Some users may not want to spend a lot of time on a news site but will want to read the occasional article in their news feeds, so use your page to publish posts throughout the day. As posts go live, fans interact by liking and commenting.

News is a hot topic on Facebook. The number of links shared on Facebook has doubled from 9 million in April to 18 million last month; Facebook links account for 19 percent of visits to news site The Huffington Post, and are the top traffic driver to Perez Hilton’s gossip site. With 500,000 fans, The New York Times Facebook Page is one of the gold standards in the business. It generates multiple Wall posts, covering breaking news across various topics and industries, and includes visually arresting photos and videos.

Note that the “Like” feature can make for some awkward moments. In the example below, it’s not entirely appropriate for fans to “like” the recent fires in Southern California, although this may not be their intention.

NYT

4. Participate in the conversations you initiate on your Facebook Page.

Building an online fan base extends beyond user acquisition. Continue to engage fans by publishing rich content to your Wall. Respond to fan comments when it’s appropriate. Offer special promotions and sneak previews of what’s to come. To build a successful and dynamic community around your product, think about how to maximize the fan-to-page experience.

5. Also allow your audience to interact among one another.

Creating an online community is not just about listening and responding to your audience. Enable user-to-user conversations whenever possible. In July, CNN integrated Facebook Connect so that users could watch Michael Jackson’s memorial service online while discussing their thoughts with their Facebook friends and other Facebook users around the world. During the service, 759,000 Facebook users watched the live broadcast by logging into Facebook Connect. Combined, they generated 733,000 status updates at a rate of 6,000 posts per minute at the peak.

MJ memorial

See also:  HuffPost Social News‘s Facebook Connect implementation.

Social journalism is very much a nascent trend, but it’s one to watch and to think about carefully. What ethical policies should be put in place? How do journalists keep their work and private lives separate on Facebook, a place where the boundary is blurry for most users? What will happen to the quality of news content ? Will the most widely read and circulated stories help readers think responsibly or will entertainment and humor sites rule? As the newspaper industry loses profits, will it figure out a way to monetize online traffic? There’s a social media revolution going on and more questions than answers for now.

fbFund REV 2009 Finalist Thread, Formerly Frintro, Raises $1.2 Million

Thread logoAs Facebook’s fbFund REV Demo Day is underway, news just broke that fbFund REV 2009 finalist Thread, formerly known as Frintro, has raised $1.2 million dollars in funding. Thread is a Facebook Connect enabled dating site that allows users to meet friends of friends and/or play matchmaker by making introductions between your friends.

In July, the company received $1.2 million in seed capital, led by First Round Capital and the following venture capitalists and angel investors:

  • First Round Capital (Josh Kopelman)
  • Sequoia Capital (Roelof Botha)
  • Founders Found (Dave McClure)
  • fbFund
  • Ron Conway (SV Angel)
  • David Sacks (Yammer & Geni)
  • Auren Hoffman (Rapleaf)
  • Pedro Miguel Martins (SAP)
  • Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn)
  • Joe Greenstein (Flixster)
  • Saran Chari (Flixster)
  • Shervin Pishevar (Social Gaming Network)

After this summer’s incubator program, the team is headed to San Mateo, where it will continue to execute the Thread mission.

Live Notes from Facebook’s fbFund REV Demo Day in Palo Alto

fbfundrevFacebook’s fbFund REV summer incubator program, led by Dave McClure, wraps up this afternoon with Demo Day, and Inside Facebook is here and live blogging from the event.

This summer, Facebook, Founders Fund, and Accel Partners selected 20 social startups and made joint equity investments totaling over $500,000 dollars. Over the past couple months, we sat down with Navify, Weardrobe, Networked Blogs, Frintro (now Thread), Samasource, NutshellMail, Funji, RunThere, and Life360 – and in a little bit, these teams will give their investor demo day presentations. Stay tuned for updates throughout the afternoon!

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, gives welcome remarks: Facebook is becoming an increasingly social platform, beginning with Facebook Platform, Facebook Connect, and now this summer’s fbFund REV summer incubator program. Our goal with the fbFund REV was to revolutionize industries. Three finalists raised more than $350,000, some reached profitability, and Thread raised $1.2 million in seed capital.

Thread helps people find friends of friends to date. The problem with online dating is that it’s inauthentic, risky, and has low success rates. Our solution is to use Facebook Connect to get authentic rich profiles and get trusted introductions from friends, so Thread has the potential for higher conversion rates. CEO Brian Phillips’s 275 Facebook friends on Thread translate to over 90,000 friends of friends on Facebook, allowing us to leverage the secondary social graph.

Funji is a virtual community for iPhone. For the 200 million Generation Me users, the future is mobile. Teens are restricted in real life, but in virtual communities, they can freely express themselves by creating avatars and rooms and building social status. Users earn points through their activities on Funji and through external apps. We’ve raised $115,000 and are looking for $500,000 in additional funding.

Sociable: Retailers today aren’t driving significant sales from social media. Friends and family recommendations are the #1 source of influencing consumer decisions. Users can share purchases by publishing stories back to Facebook, which increases sales by 0.25 percent and drive traffic to third-party breakeven  sites. Our solution also leverages other platforms, including Twitter, further increasing traffic. Travel and retail are examples of industries that are social and have large market sizes. We’re projecting to breakeven by the end of the year. Seeking $1 million.

GeckoGo: Seventy percent of people are dissatisfied with online travel. There’s too much online travel content out there. We aggregate travel content from social networks, create simple travel snapshots, and distribute this information on popular travel sites. The snapshot provides information on how many of a user’s Facebook friends have been to certain places. We’re different because we’re the only one at the intersection of travel aggregation and social. Seeking $500,000.

Friend Radio: Music players are boring. Current algorithms only know users’ music preferences based on music they’ve already played. The Favorite Music category on the Facebook profile has been taunting me. We publish songs to the Facebook News Feed. Friends can follow other friends. Facebook Page admins can also publish songs to their Walls. In 2 months, we’re now at 20,000 MAU.

PhotosILove: Two things our users want to do: 1) strengthen old relationships, and 2) rekindle old relationships. Relationships need to be acknowledged. We’re monetizing via banner advertising, points, subscriptions, but the key will be generating quality content. Seeking $500,000.

Vittana: We’re Kiva for student loans. We make it possible for you to loan to students in the developing world. The loans we make range from $500 to $1,500 and range from six to 24 months in length. Currently, the #1 profession is bank teller, and we operate in Peru, Paraguay, Mongolia, and Nicaragua. We’ve already raised $230,000. Seeking $25,000 to $50,000.

Workstir is a trusted place to find jobs. Think yellow pages plus your social graph. Right now we’re focusing on small local jobs.

Backlight.org: Everything in this world has a backstory, and when you know that story, sharing becomes more meaningful. At Backlight, we have a simple formula: a creation (some digital asset) + story = a piece of inspiration. We’re a for-profit venture that aims to fill the gap between digital content and inspiration. Our beta partners are Stanford, Santa Clara University, and Berkeley. Seeking $100,000.

NetworkedBlogs: On average, your blog sucks. The bottom 98 percent of blogs have an average of three page views per day. We’re the largest news community on Facebook. We’re profitable; grew revenue by 50 percent in the last two months. Seeking $250,000.

Wildfire is a self-service platform for social media marketers to launch campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and newsletter subscribers. We’re profitable. Clients include Pepsi, Zappos, Sony, Universal, Gatorade, etc. This month, we reached over $100,000 in revenues. In 2008, over $12 billion was spent on online promotions, projected to triple in the next five years. Seeking $250,000 to $500,000.

Nutshell Mail helps you manage your social networking activities through email. Most of our users receive three digests per day; they open these digests 60 percent of the time; 70 percent of users who signup are using it a month later. A “Social Groups” feature is coming soon to allow you to filter and track your top friends’ activities. Raised $600,000, with the next round of financing targeted for Q2 of 2010.

Interactive Gift (GroupCard) has 850,000 users and 200,000 active users; and we’re profitable. Now we’re launching Cash.io, a B2C platform that allows businesses to issue codes that allow users to redeem customer incentives (e.g., rebates) however they want. The incentives market is $400 billion. A business can fulfill a rebate online on Facebook, use codes to fulfill winners of promotions winners through Twitter, and send customer incentives via Salesforce. Seeking $1.5 million.

Gameyola is a flash platform to help monetize and distribute their games on social networks like Facebook. Flash games generate a huge audience, but little revenue. The key to the success of social gaming companies is a combination of virality plus virtual goods. We’re starting to sell virtual goods on our site. Raising $500,000 to $1 million.

RunMyErrand outsources your to do list to a trusted network: 1) post your errand, 2) trusted individuals are alerted, 3) errand completed. Closed $150,000 from early stage investors in Zipcar. Seeking $500,000 to $750,000.

Samasource leverages technology to create jobs for women, youth, and marginalized people living below the poverty line. Since September 2008, Samasource has created jobs for 517 workers in six countries and generated $220,000 in sales for 18 service partners. Seeking $100,000 in the next two months.

MyChurch is a social network for churches. Between Sundays, it’s hard to keep churchgoers engaged. There are 300,000 churches in the U.S., and 10 percent are on MyChurch. Churches collect $90 billion a year. We’re now experimenting with subscriptions, charging $25 to $100 per month. We’re excited about the potential of online donations. By the end of the year, we’re projected to breakeven. Seeking $100,000 to $200,000.

RunThere: In the U.S., there are 36 million runners and 45 million bikers. Running and biking are social activities. For any run that is logged in our system, you can view the route in 3D via Google Earth. We plan to monetize by targeting the personal trainer marketplace, corporate wellness, and affiliate marketing. Seeking $250,000 for the next 12 months.

Zimride builds private social networks to help facilitate carpool matches and has an exclusive partnership with Zipcar. We have $180,000 in annually recurring revenue from 32 clients and will be breakeven in one month. Seeking $1 million.

Sortuv allows users to search for and discover information that is often hard to describe. Seeking to look for partnerships.

Life 360‘s goal is to become the place you go to manage your family’s safety and security. Our conversion rate is over 25 percent. Seeking to raise $500,000.

RentMineOnline is a social lead generation platform and has been profitable for five months. Seeking $750,000.

Over 20 social startups gave their pitches this afternoon and will be celebrating the conclusion of this year’s fbFund REV summer incubator program later this evening. We wish all of this year’s entrepreneurs continued success!

fbFund Finalist RunThere Motivates the Casual Runner

RunThere logoAs this year’s fbFund REV finalists get ready for demo day, we sat down with Leo and Sirin Hochberg, founders of RunThere.com. RunThere is a Facebook Connect enabled website for casual runners to route their favorite runs and log runs online in a more social context. Users can publish content to Facebook and create group runs for friends to join in on. Below, Leo and Sirin share some background on RunThere, new and upcoming features, and lessons learned from the fbFund experience.

Leo and Sirin, when and how did you come up with RunThere?

aboutus_leoThe idea of RunThere has been around for much longer than the company itself. The idea came about because we just wanted to know how far we were running and how we could track that online. This was in 2003 before Google Maps and before Microsoft thought maps were important. People should be able to know how far they’re running without spending money on downloading software or GPS.

aboutus_sirin During graduate school, I learned how to program and started working on RunThere after graduation. Collectively, Sirin and I have worked at Loopt and Zazzle. RunThere began as a side project. Once in a while, we could come back to it, check our users, and add features. Every time when we considered putting the project to rest, someone would send us feedback saying he/she loved the site – and we thought, there’s something here.

Who is in your target market, and what trends have you seen in user growth?

Our target user is the casual runner who enjoys the social aspect of running. In the U.S., there are roughly 36 million runners, the majority of which run less than 100 times a year. We don’t want people to be intimidated by the idea of a hardcore runner. Right now, our users tend to be on the older side and are not necessarily Facebook users. The majority of our users are in the U.S. and Canada. Twenty five percent of our users are in Canada. In terms of gender, our users are split about half and half.

After applying to fbFund, everything accelerated in terms of development. User growth has been faster than before, partly because we’ve been focusing more on the user experience. On average, 20 to 30 people signup per day. On a good day, usually when we get coverage on blogs and people are tweeting about us, around 50 people have signed up. Some of our users have around 300 runs logged. To get in the top 15 leaderboard, you need 700 miles. Six to seven of our users have more than 1,000 miles logged.

RunThere_Connect How is RunThere leveraging Facebook’s social graph and APIs?

We spent a week implementing Facebook Connect on our site, and we’re still tweaking how we want to use the News Feed. So far, we’ve noticed the content our users are publishing to Facebook is generating a significant amount of comments. Users are sharing their runs on Facebook, and their friends are motivating them via comments. However, one problem with Connect is that sites are generating content for Facebook, but Facebook users don’t necessarily come to your site as a result. About ten percent of our users login with Facebook Connect.

What are RunThere’s latest features and/or any features you’re considering for the future?

We recently added a featured called Group Run. This feature allows you to draw a route and invite your friends to join you on your run and is great for people who are looking to run with other people, say if they’re training for a marathon or are a part of a running club.

People often ask if we have GPS or mobile integrations, and we don’t have them yet, but they are coming. We want to branch out into the mobile space and develop iPhone, Android, Palm, and Blackberry applications soon. In the future, we’re thinking about adding features that help users track the calories that they’ve burned in the process of running. We also want to add a gaming component: for example, users can send one another virtual trophies, taunt with virtual donuts and couch potatoes, and encourage with virtual water bottles, socks, running shoes, etc.

How does RunThere use Google Maps to allow users to route their runs?

Our maps are Google Maps that define location by latitude and longitude, so users can interact with a real map as opposed to an image of a map. By far, it’s the most widely used map API and is really friendly to developers. Google Maps keeps improving and ads new features. With the Google Earth plugin, you can preview marathons in a 3D flyover view. It’s fantastic.

RunThere map

RunThere 3D

What kinds of challenges does RunThere face as a location-based product for the running community?

You can imagine the privacy issues that come with our site. Coming from Loopt, we’re very sensitive to location privacy issues, so we’re working on letting users customize privacy settings, such as hiding routes.

We get fulfillment from knowing that our product encourages people to get healthy. Users go for a run in the real world. Although RunThere is an online site, in order to use the product, users have to get away from their computers. The challenge is that, unlike with games, it doesn’t make sense for users to login to our site ten times a day. We hope to increase engagement.

What are you thinking in terms of monetizing your site?

One plan that we have to monetize is to build a tool for the personal training marketplace. Personal trainers must effectively keep track of their customers. fbFund really encouraged to think of RunThere as a business.

As fbFund wraps up, how has your experience this summer been?

The work environment at fbFund was perfect for us because we’ve been able to interact with a lot of teams that are working on different projects. Whenever we have a problem, we collaborate with other teams. We’ve had great networking opportunities, too.

Thanks for your time today. What takeaways will you leave with from fbFund?

One takeaway from fbFund is the importance of iterating fast. When you have an idea, put out a live version that barely works, knowing that you can improve it later and learn from the usage data you get and improve.

Facebook Traffic from China Drops by Half in the Last Month

facebook-chinese-flagSomething is still up with Facebook in China, and it’s not traffic.

At the beginning of July, Facebook’s audience in China was around 1 million monthly active users (MAU) – still a minute fraction of China’s 300 million Internet users. However, today, that number has fallen to just over half a million – a drop of nearly 50% in the last 30 days. One likely reason: increased filtering by the Chinese government.

For its part, Facebook isn’t commenting much on the trend. “We have heard reports of users in China having problems accessing Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson says.

facebook-blocked-chinaBut the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Herdict project, a collaborative system designed to show what users around the world are experiencing in terms of web accessibility, is showing increased reports of Facebook being inaccessible in China in recent days.

Back in April, we reported on why Facebook hasn’t grown more in China, highlighting features of the local Chinese social networking landscape that pose a challenge to Facebook’s culture and mission. Since then, China has committed to a new level of Internet censorship. In early July, the government blocked access to Facebook and Twitter after riots broke out between protesters and police in China’s Xinjiang province. Users accessing Facebook in China got the following message:

facebook-china-cut-off

But even before the riots broke out, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology mandated that the “Green Dam Youth Escort” software would be installed on computers sold in China, as well as those imported into the country. The software, which serves as a web filter, is intended to keep China’s youth away from pornography and other illicit content, but the disturbing question is whether it will bring China’s political and religious censorship to new heights, not to mention introduce a host of new and dangerous security problems to Chinese Internet users. Furious web protesters were happy to hear that the mandate was delayed from its original effect date of July 1.

In China, censorship is billed as a “necessary evil” in today’s world of “questionable” user generated content, and users have learned to deal with it, albeit frustratingly so. China has one of the most developed social application economies, with its robust gaming and virtual goods markets, but it looks like Facebook is not making significant inroads at the moment.

Nevertheless, that isn’t stopping some Chinese developers and investors from moving on to the Facebook Platform to reach new users in the west.

Related Resources:

Engagement Ad Helps Kohl’s Become This Week’s Fastest Growing Facebook Page

Over the weekend, Kohl’s bought a Facebook homepage engagement ad, and now it’s the fastest growing Facebook Page, according to PageData. Kohl’s had under 10,000 fans last Friday, and then gained over 350,000 fans over the weekend. The viral growth of the page has continued, and the Page now has over 560,000 fans – showing the power of organic growth after an ad campaign through Facebook’s News Feed. And those numbers are still growing.

kohls-facebook

As we’ve mentioned several times this week, while marketing on Facebook can be one of the most cost effective and viral ways of reaching your target audience with very little fixed costs, it’s not “free.” While Facebook offers free products to brands and advertisers, organizations need to understand that seeding their Facebook audience through Facebook advertising can significantly accelerate viral growth. When used strategically, Facebook advertising can play a very effective role in building your Facebook Page.

Joining Kohl’s in the Top 5 this week include Megan Fox (#2), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (#3), Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts (#4), and Will Smith (#5), together representing gains ranging from 230,000 to 340,000 fans.

Name Fans Gain↓ Gain, %
1. Kohl’s 561,434 +552,045 +6,133
2. Megan Fox 4,585,121 +333,047 +7.83
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 1,205,503 +250,905 +26.28
4. Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts 718,876 +231,611 +47.53
5. Will Smith 4,188,054 +231,193 +5.84
6. Mafia Wars 3,136,871 +146,115 +4.89
7. Ralph Lauren 464,959 +144,659 +45.16
8. Facebook 4,425,790 +124,588 +2.90
9. Sooty and Sweep 276,940 +112,839 +68.76
10. Monica 285,066 +111,029 +63.80
11. Michael Jackson 10,052,051 +100,245 +1.01
12. PIRRY 559,303 +96,237 +20.78
13. Texas Hold’em Poker 2,313,703 +91,692 +4.13
14. Amusement Parks 483,757 +75,324 +18.44
15. New York Yankees 490,731 +73,475 +17.61
16. Celebs on Facebook 746,268 +72,052 +10.69
17. Fresh Prince 2,044,983 +68,776 +3.48
18. Selena Gomez 2,466,977 +67,022 +2.79
19. Funny People 141,162 +65,530 +86.64
20. Roger Federer 2,508,812 +64,325 +2.63

8 Best Practices for Retailers on Facebook Pages

aerieWhen it comes to retail, brands launching social media campaigns must do so with increasing sensitivity to the privacy of their customers. Shopping, or “retail therapy” as people joke, is no doubt a social activity, but it’s clear that when you begin sharing shopping details at a more granular level (especially purchases), some users begin to balk.

Facebook is now home to over 250 million users who are actively fanning their favorite retail brands on Facebook and showing ongoing participation later. So what are the leading brands doing right?

1. Make shopping more social – but keep privacy in mind.

Check out what Threadless, 1-800-FLOWERS, and Best Buy have done within their Facebook Pages. While Threadless and Best Buy take a more social sharing approach by letting fans share products by posting stories to their Facebook Walls, 1-800-FLOWERS directly sets up shop within Facebook. Fans can browse flower arrangements and purchase and send flowers to their friends without ever leaving Facebook. Choose which style is better suited for your brand, while keeping in mind the constraints of sharing in the retail context.

Best Buy

2. Engage your customers through polls and contests that get them generating the content.

Effectively engage your Page’s fans by offering polls like Starbucks does or holding contests your fans can’t resist like Newegg. Starbucks recently asked its fans, “What’s your usual order?” Newegg is encouraging its fans to follow the company not only on Facebook, but also Twitter, YouTube, and MySpace with a Ninentedo Wii as the reward. Better yet, host contests within your Facebook Page like video or photo competitions that get your fans generating content. You’ll get great feedback on how customers view your products.
Newegg

3. Enhance your page with applications that drive engagement and virality – like virtual gifts.

Check out aerie by American Eagle‘s virtual gifts app, “aerie kiss & tell,” that lets users to send virtual kisses of all kinds – birthday, flirty, friendly, good luck, etc. – to their Facebook friends. It’s just not enough to build a Facebook Page and expect viral growth. Successful pages are complemented with applications, social ads, etc. that can point fans and their friends (your potential fans) back to your page.

aerie

According to a recent report by Razorfish, there is no such thing as a free lunch even in social media marketing – a strategy that is often perceived to be costless. Facebook Pages, though free for all brands to use, are investments in the sense that they need to be coupled with apps and ads in order to reach their full viral potential.

4. Reward your customers with giveaways, sweepstakes, and sale coupons.

We’ve talked about this one before. Give your fans an appropriate incentive to associate their social identity with your brand. For example, Levi’s does a good job of alerting fans about special deals.

Levi's

5. Partner with causes your customers care about.

Don’t just think about driving traffic to your site or encouraging your fans to come into your stores to redeem their coupons. Instead, take advantage of the culture of cause endorsement that’s well accepted within Facebook and partner with the causes and other public figures your fans also appreciate. Target, Guess, and Gymboree are involved in social causes that they share with their fans. And Kohls, well, they’ve got Britney Spears on their side.

Guess

6. Boost SEO by securing a vanity URL for your page.

With the introduction of Facebook vanity URLS, be sure to understand how Facebook can further improve your SEO and grab a username if you haven’t done so already. Last we checked, over 20,000 Facebook Pages have chosen one. With a vanity URL (e.g., www.facebook.com/insidefacebook), you’re given the chance to incorporate important brand generic keywords for SEO purposes. That said, you’re name should authentically represent your business and stay away from being too generic.

7. Bring the conversation offline.

Anthropologie is a good example of how you can use an Events tab to keep your fans in the loop of local events that are coming up. Creating opportunities to meet your fans in person and having flows between your online and offline communications can help put a face to your Facebook marketing efforts.

Anthro

8. Remember to keep it simple.

Life is good does. With simple status updates (much like the name of the brand itself), Life is good elicits more pondering from its fan community. Their most recent update: “Whatever you are, be a good one.”

Life is good.

Related Resources:

Razorfish Offers New Score for Measuring Social Marketing Influence

logo_razorfish

Leading global agency Razorfish is offering marketers a new score for evaluating social marketing influence. In the recently released report, Fluent: The Razorfish Social Influence Marketing Report, Razorfish’s Shiv Singh says that because consumers are now connected on the Web in unprecedented ways, each person’s influencers – be it their close friends and family, Facebook friends, or bloggers – play a significant role in the purchasing process. In other words, if you want to convince someone to buy into your product or service, you must also convince their network of influencers.

To quantify this, Razorfish introduces the SIM Score (“Social Influence Marketing”), a number that combines a brand’s share of consumer conversations online and how much consumers display their affinity toward a brand in these conversations. When compared to the pharmaceutical, finance, media industries, the auto industry earned the highest SIM score, mainly due to its high share of online conversations.

razorfish-categories

What’s more interesting is that despite all the hype around the success of social media campaigns, the stats indicate that social media marketing – or in Razorfish’s terminology social influence marketing – has a long way to go. First, consumers are not fully aware of the extent to which they are being influenced by their peers when it comes to brand perception and purchasing decisions. 71 percent of respondents in a research study conducted by Razorfish say that they share commercial content online at least once per few months. However, 62 percent answered that they do not look for opinions on brands through the social Web.

Razorfish_sharing content

And second, there’s the trust issue: relatively speaking, consumers find it less authentic when brands promote themselves through online mediums.When it comes to what channels consumers trust the most, recommendations from offline friends and TV ads are winning next to social network ads and recommendations from online friends.

Razorfish_autheticity

The report leaves readers with a concluding thought – that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Yes, brands with popular Facebook Pages such as Starbucks and Coke are able to enjoy easy viral distribution thanks to their huge fan followings, but don’t forget that the most successful Facebook Pages have also complemented their efforts with interactive applications, virtual gifting campaigns, and so on to increase efficacy.

All images from the Razorfish Fluent report.

Watercooler Launches FanSection Fantasy Football 2009

This morning, leading Facebook sports application developer Watercooler is announcing the launch of FanSection Fantasy Football 2009. Fantasy sports games traditionally have offered their players a siloed experience with ten or so players creating leagues and drafting players. But with FanSection Fantasy Football, the fantasy sports experience will involve not only a core group of avid fantasy sports gamers, but their friends as well. Spectators can visit team pages, leave comments, and give out helmet stickers (the equivalent of Yelp compliments) in the new app.

Team home fanzone

Inside the application, players will be able to interact with all of their Facebook friends by inviting them to be “spectators” of their fantasy teams, posting scores to their own Wall or friends’ Walls to talk smack, answering trivia questions, and getting friends to take part in polls and discussions. In addition, users can track fantasy news from CBSSports.com to obtain updates on what is going on with teams and their players. Partnerships with RazorGator and TeamFanShop have made it possible for users to buy tickets, merchandise, and apparel directly within the app.

In addition to the free game, players can sign up for premium features for a $4.95 fee. The paid version includes Live Scoring, which gives users visibility to real-time stats minute by minute. The whole experience is being sponsored as well – for users 21 and over, the app will be sponsored by Coors Light, the official beer sponsor of the NFL.

Scores feed itemWith over 25 million users, Watercooler is known for being the leading sports community on Facebook and is now aiming to take the lead in fantasy sports on Facebook as well. The company will primarily be competing against rival Citizen Sports in the Facebook fantasy football market, though several smaller players have built fantasy and pick-em games as well.

“We’ve spent the past few years building up a strong user base that speaks to what fans want to see as part of their social experience with sports,” says Bryan Bennett, VP of marketing and GM of fantasy sports for Watercooler. “Now that we’ve established that relationship with fans, we feel we’re well-equipped with the feedback and backend tools to provide them with the best fantasy football game play possible.”

Fans are counting down to the start of the NFL regular season when Tennessee travels to Pittsburgh on September 10th.

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1.02.28

New Study Shows How Different Generations Use Facebook

Reports from Inside Facebook earlier this year have shown the growth in Facebook use amongst users over 35 and baby boomers especially. Now, a new study from Anderson Analytics shows how different generations are using social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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According to the numbers, the top reasons for joining a social network across all generations are to “keep in touch with friends” and “for fun.” However, as expected, older users are primarily using the site to keep in touch with family.

Generation Z users (13 to 14 years old) use MySpace and Facebook more than any other site in the study by a long shot, with Facebook slightly trailing behind MySpace at 61% to 65%. 9% of this group use Twitter, and none use LinkedIn.

75% of Generation Y users (15 to 29 years old) use MySpace compared to Facebook at 65%. Usage of Twitter (14%) and LinkedIn was up for this group. Respondents in the Generation X (30 to 44 years old), baby boomers (44 to 65 years old), and the WWII categories are more likely to use Facebook, followed by MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In other words, Facebook is becoming a popular site among the older generations – but the more telling stats here would be on growth and engagement.

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