Archive for “October, 2007”

Marketing on Facebook to its original crowd

By Heather Angus-Lee

After a day at the office researching the social media world (blogosphere, podcasts, social networking sites) for one of the largest post-secondary institutions in Canada, I went home to crack open a recent issue of my beloved New York Times Magazine, only to discover it was “The College Issue.” I came across a column in the magazine about how the U.S. bank JP Morgan Chase is using Facebook to market to Facebook’s original crowd – college students – for its new Chase +1 credit card.

I went onto Facebook and a close read of the Chase + 1 credit card group shows just how social media-focused this new banking venture is: The credit card program apparently “lives exclusively on Facebook” and it’s even more exclusive than that; “group membership is restricted to college networks” so non-students (like me) can’t get in for a deeper peek at Chase +1.

It could be that this sense of ‘insider privilege’ is what’s drawing the hordes of college kids to this group – more than 36,000 at last count! It certainly can’t be interactivity; the Chase +1 group features no photos, videos, wall posts or discussion topics.

That and free stuff (who doesn’t like that?) – Card +1 group members can accumulate “karma points” to buy amusement park tickets or the Blades of Glory DVD, give to causes, learn stuff like how to use credit wisely, and “see how celebrities spend” (!) Man, that is some demographically-targeted marketing and a real understanding of social media – and this from the pinstriped world of banking!

JP Morgan Chase is one of almost 200 corporations so far that are sponsoring Facebook groups. According to respected web strategist Jeremiah Owyang and the Silicon Valley blog, Valleywag, Facebook makes $300,000 per quarter, including ads and online flyers and whatever new applications they’re dreaming up. With its recent doubling of ad rates, it’s estimated that Facebook could reach a billion bucks in revenue sometime in ’08!

Desperately seeking: grassroots groups

When I was researching Facebook groups for a client planning a big technology-breakthrough product release, I was surprised to see how many sponsored sites appear at the top of the Group listings for such subjects as cell phones and PDAs. It took a fair bit of wading through the “ad groups” to find actual grassroot groups passionate about the technology.

I wonder how many folks are joining corporate-sponsored (infomercial) groups and then actually buying the product because of that membership – like, how many college kids actually signed up for the Chase +1 card because of the Facebook group?

Just who are you reaching on Facebook?

College students might no longer be the Facebook audience they were cracked up to be, warns Forrester analyst Charlene Li in her presentation this month about Big Brands & Facebooks: Demographics, Case Studies & Best Practices. She writes, “beware of relying on what worked yesterday, especially with fickle college students…”

And if you think Facebook advertising is the way to reach the youngest adults, you might want to take a closer look at current demographics… Nielsen/Net Ratings says folks over 35 years in age make up 45% of Facebook users as of Aug. ’07! (Interestingly, Charlene notes that Facebook’s internal data shows that the 35+ crowd makes up only 6% of their worldwide membership, as of Sept. 07)

Oh, and Charlene Li warns that the “newbie” 35+ crowd is also fickle, just like the college set. Which begs the question, just who should you be marketing to Facebook?

But some things remain pretty clear – you should tread carefully in setting up sponsored/unsponsored Facebook groups (corporations can start them without paying FB ad rates – but your company better provide full disclosure as to who started the group!)

And the other certainty? Charlene sums it up well in her presentation: “Facebook marketing is about communicating, not advertising.”

Social Media Roundup

Haven’t done one of these for months, but I have so much social media goodness in my inbox that I feel compelled to share…


Oct 15th – This press release from comScore basically notes that people who spend a lot of time on social networking sites also spend a lot of time electronics and entertainment sites. Of course we’re all desperately trying to connect the monetization dots in this space, but this pretty much seems like a no-brainer; people who use the Internet a lot, uh, use the Internet a lot.

Oct 9th – kind of a neat report from Ipsos Ideas, a short piece by Steve Levy, President of Market Research (Eastern Canada) for Ipsos Reid, called The Democratization of Media. You need a press subscription to access it, but I’ll quote a little fair use here, I really like how he lays it all out:

The idea of brand democratization is that the power of the people directs much of what happens to brands. What the public says about them is what they will become. Simply put, perception becomes reality.

If a company attempts to convey a message that is not supported by actual experience with the product, then the feedback will overwhelm the message and the audience will know the truth. On the flip side, if a brand experience supports or exceeds the message, then the audience will publicly praise the brand.

You go, girl!

Oct 4thNearly 40% of Canadian adults have visited a social networking site but only 29% have a profile, according to a new Ipsos Reid report called Online Socialization, Social Networking and Online Communities. So they’re mostly tourists, and frankly, if you’re not at least aware of social networking sites, you must live under a rock. I’m not sure that these high-level numbers indicate anything in particular, other than genuine curiosity. However, one figure that is quite significant is that 55% of all Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 have a personal profile on a least one site. That’s a lot of people spending some serious time engaging with these platforms.

Oct 2nd – Again concerns raised that social media may break the Internet (this time by the WSJ! OMG!). Not sure if there’s much to this, as has been previously pointed out to me.


Sept 17th – And I feel really badly about not blogging about this earlier, especially when nice Davida Carter took the time to send me the report ahead of it’s official release. Here’s a link to the whitepaper from Factiva called Tracking the Influence of Conversations: A Roundtable Discussion on Social Media Metrics and Measurement. I haven’t done more than skim it, but I hear it’s quite good 😉

Today’s Urgent Decisions: Fuels for Now and the Future

Our good friends at the Clean Tech Collective are putting on a live, free webinar November 1st, and I highly recommend you check it out. Here’s a sample of some of the discussion you can expect:

If you are an investor, policy-maker, or corporate strategist, this event will give you the opportunity to ask questions about fuel choices – for now and the future – from two of the nation’s leading energy experts.

Here are some of the questions we’ll be asking:

Comparing and contrasting: The Hydrogen Economy, biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel, biobutanol, etc.), All-Electric vehicles, and Plug-In Hybrids.

* How would you make your bets on the above sectors based on time – 5 years? 20? 50?

* Where does America stand in terms of being master of our transportation domain? How are we doing in terms of R&D and advancement?

* What will be the impact of the coming carbon regulation?

Participants include Henry Gentenaar, President of Reluminati, Scott Sklar and Geoff Styles. Scott is one of America’s best-known experts on renewable energy, and Geoff is a leading consultant and veteran of the petroleum industry. You can register here.

October Girl Geek Dinner – this Wednesday

If you’re a girl geek (or accompanied by one), be sure to visit the TGGD event wiki to sign up, here are all the details:

Toronto Girl Geek Dinner
Wednesday October 17th, 7 p.m.

The Hot House Cafe
35 Church Street between Wellington and Colbourne (Google map). The entrance is right on the corner of Front & Church.
Toronto, ON

Leigh Himel, President and founder of Oponia, a homegrown Toronto startup that’s bringing a proprietary desktop sharing service called ucaster to market.

And Thornley Fallis/76 Design has graciously ponied up to provide meals for 12 female technology students, there’s still room, so be sure to sign up on the wiki! See you Wednesday!

Another take on the social media press release

As part of an online outreach effort we’ve been conducting for Ford in support of their launch of the new 2008 Focus, we recommended the creation of what’s often described as a social media press release.

The notion of the SMPR has been kicked around a fair bit this year, in lots of different incarnations and in some heated discussions. All that debate aside, with this implementation we were aiming for simply a way of sharing content with people who wanted it in formats they could use, all conveniently located in one place. Period. We didn’t include the ability to comment or trackback because not every interaction has to be a full-on conversation, sometimes sharing and enabling are enough. However, we have tapped into social networks that allow users to rate and virally share the 2008 Focus content – all of our images and video are hosted within product-specific channels on Flickr and YouTube, which also enables Ford to take advantage of their native sharing properties.

Thinking about how people would actually use the SMPR, we also didn’t include links to Digg or Reddit, etc. – only for easy bookmarking, because are people really going to Digg or Newsvine a press release? I doubt it (why would you? It’s not really content, it’s more like the ingredients required to make content, hardly worth rating, unless you want people to talk about how great you are for thinking of it).

Our version of the SMPR also has the obligatory RSS feed – this time segmented out for text, images and video. Users subscribe and when there’s new content, they’re automatically notified.

The best part? Ford is such a great client, and they get this stuff so well, that when we pitched this, they immediately understood the value of setting their content free. Ford realized that the more bloggers and others could get their hands on quality images, video and text, the more they would talk about the product. Pretty much the primary purpose of a press release, isn’t it?

So, what are your thoughts? Does this format make sense to you? Do you think it’s better or worse than a traditional release? Pop on over and have a look. I’d love to hear what you think.

Blogworld and New Media Expo

Blogworld is scheduled for November 7 to 9th, in Las Vegas and I’ll be doing two sessions – one on Wednesday at 4:15 with Paul Gillen and Paul Dunay, a roundtable titled, “Integrating New Media into your Marketing Mix” (session code W501 – Executive Track) and the other, a case study on the Yamaha Motor Canada corporate blogging strategy, on Thursday at 2:45 (session code number T401 – Executive Track) in which I will

…share exclusive information about the Yamaha Motor Canada corporate blogging strategy, including how her firm measured reader engagement, the importance of risk management and how Yamaha utilized business intelligence gathered from the blogosphere. She’ll also demonstrate how ongoing interactions with key influencers have had major and lasting impact on Yamaha’s favorability with past and prospective purchasers. Comparing the awareness generated with the cost and effectiveness of traditional media buys, Fox will explain how these detailed metrics are putting Yamaha well on the path to establishing ROI for this ongoing program.

Online registration is available here – and in case you’re wondering, the whole “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” thing ain’t true – so behave yourself!

The ROI of Communities

Earlier this week, I attended SAP’s TechEd ’07 event in Las Vegas [full disclosure: SAP paid my travel expenses and they are a client]. While the conference extended for several days, my primary goal was to attend Community Day, a sort of pre-conference get together for the members of SAP’s numerous communities, chiefly SDN (SAP Developers Network) (now pushing 900,000 members) and BPX (Business Process Experts) (about 200,000).

About three days before I was set to leave for Tech Ed, I also got a call from the Canadian Marketing Association, asking if I would be interested in speaking at their ROI Conference in November. The topic? The ROI of social networks (thanks to Bill Sweetman for the referral, BTW). So the timing on this trip and resulting post couldn’t have been better.

I’m going to cut straight to the chase on this one. There are, of course, thousands of different shapes and forms that communities can take, so making blanket statements is (as with most things) not advisable. However there is one primary ROI that all firms who do this well experience, regardless of whether they are leveraging the collective knowledge of their loyalists, users, vendors or employees: competitive advantage through accelerated innovation.

In SAP’s case, they describe their work with SDN, BPX and the various other networks as creating “communities of innovation”, recognizing that successfully harnessing and directing the collective intelligence of the organization and their ecosystem (think of all that brain power) they can realize real organizational benefits in terms of product or business process development. Of course, without active participation this kind of stuff just doesn’t work, and as Tim O’Reilly aptly put it in his Community Day keynote – successful communities are successful because they are useful but ultimately because they harness self-interest. That also means (and this is really important) that overly restrictive IP terms will limit the desire and ability of partners outside of your company to engage (which means you may end up just talking to yourself – or not at all).

From a strategic perspective (and this makes all the sense in the world) SAP has also recognized that engaging in this way with their partners and users really helps them make sure that the products they’re developing are actually wanted by the community. This concept can be applied to any company in any space. The trick is making sure that you have a process for getting that business intelligence back into the enterprise; of course it’s fabulous that your very active community will basically tell you what product they want to buy or how you can fix the products you do have, but if you can’t tell the engineers this in a meaningful (and timely) way, it ain’t gonna happen.

Ultimately (and this has nothing to do with ROI beyond enabling it) an important bit of soul-searching needs to take place when you step into the co-innovation space. Firms have to recognize that there is just so much innovation, that the speed of change is so accelerated, that they cannot possibly hope to control or own it all. There’s just no way. My best advice? Use social networking technology to ride the wave that’s already forming, rather than make it yourself. You’ll end up ahead of the game, with far less energy, capital and resources spent.

Social Media Today Podcast – Doug Walker

Welcome to the 24th edition of Social Media Today with Maggie Fox, the official podcast of the Social Media Collective. In today’s episode, we have a brief chat with Douglas Walker about the success of the World Rock Paper Scissors Society and his work in social media. It is also revealed that Maggie is retiring from the podcast and will be handing the reins over to Doug.

Click to listen:

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