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Matt Singley Leadership, Marketing & Being a good human

Facebook Steps Up The War Against Spam (And Porn!)

Facebook ads more granular controls for admins of pages

Facebook adds more granular controls for admins of pages

I was excited to read that Facebook now lets page administrators ban fans and spammers! I tweeted it, and several people replied back, “couldn’t we always do that?”  The answer is that yes, you used to be able to, but recently that ability has been taken away from several areas.

The functionality of this is back, and it’s well done! I love it, if for no other reason than page admins can now ban users based upon pictures they upload! Up to this point, it’s been a real cat and mouse game, trying to pull down questionable pictures before they were up for too many people to see.

This has been particularly problematic on some of the larger pages we manage…those with over a million fans.  Porn spammers have been getting around the Facebook rules by putting up bikini or semi-nude models in the fan pictures section, then putting the porn URL in the description.  Tricky…there wasn’t really any way to ban this before, and it couldn’t be reported as pornography because it didn’t show certain body parts.

Starting now, we page admins can flag the photo AND request to permanantly ban the user from the page, as well as take down all content they have previously posted.  This is most certainly worth the price of admission.

This may be a part of a larger effort by Facebook to crack down on spam; as I take a casual glance around some pages that I know are often targeted by these types of photo-spammers, I can’t find a single questionable image.  Either the admins have really stepped it up, or Facebook has, or both! Either way, I applaud the effort.

It’s nice to see Facebook make such a pro-admin move.  Well done, Facebook.

If You Want To Succeed You Cannot Be Afraid To Fail

Matt Singley at the 2010 Nautica Malibu Triathlon

I managed to put a smile on my face before the 2010 Nautica Malibu Triathlon, but on the inside I was truly scared about what was ahead.

“There is no failure except in no longer trying. “

~ Elbert Hubbard

Failure and success…the two really do go hand in hand.

In business, innovation rarely comes without taking risks. Risks rarely are taken if the thought of failure is too great an obstacle. Failure as an obstacle is usually the result of being told, either directly or indirectly, that to fail is to be weak, to be threatened, to be insecure.

I say that you cannot truly succeed if this is the environment that you exist in.

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5 Reasons Why Facebook Places Won’t Succeed

Perhaps you have heard of Facebook Places.  If not, your one sentence summary is this: Facebook has introduced a new service that will allow users to “check in” to places and share their location with their friends.

The majority of speculation from those watching this roll out is that it is going to destroy other location based services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Whrll, Loopt, etc.  I don’t think it will, and I’ll give you five reason why I think this.

First, let’s start with one reason, and one reason only,that Facebook Places might succeed: they have a user base of over 500 million.  The sheer volume of that might let it see life into 2011.

Now, on to why I think Facebook Places is nothing short of “meh“.

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How To: Use The New Tweet Button

<–See that little button right there? Click it. Go ahead…give it a try.

What should have happened is that a new window popped open prompting you to tweet out this article to your followers, which you of course did, right? You didn’t? Okay, one more try. Push the button, then click the “tweet” button in the new window.

Good job.

The new Tweet Button from Twitter is designed to replace the very popular TweetMeme button.

What you just experienced was the new Twitter button that is designed to take the place of the TweetMeme button that everybody has been using up to this point.  As you can see, I’m now using both…I’ll probably phase out TweetMeme when this takes over and people know what they are looking for.

Using this new Twitter button on your blog or site is actually pretty easy.  Go to the official Tweet Button page and go through three very easy steps

  1. Select your style of button and then customize it if you want. The button selection is very basic, it’s a matter of picking which style visually flows with your site the best. I really like the customization features, you can let it pull text from the title of the page, or enter your own text.  Get creative with this.  Nice options for different languages as well, although I’m not sure that allowing URLs that are different from the page being tweeted is a good idea…too much bait and switch to be had here
  2. Recommend people to follow. I like this! It goes beyond just mentioning the person that wrote the article and lets you put in another name and description of how they are related.  Pretty cool, great for encouraging follows.
  3. Grab the code! This show you what your tweet button will look like, and provides the code for an easy copy/paste.  Here’s what I like about this: it’s kind of a stab at the premise of Facebook’s Open Graph in that you can put this code on any website.  Seriously, it’s not just blogs…try it out! This code is super portable and can potentially drive a lot of tweet awareness about your site.

I really like what I’m seeing from Twitter on this…I expect to see a lot of creative implementations on different sites.  Much like being able to “like” individuals products and services via Facebook, I imagine this will be used to no just promote a site, but individual pages and products within the site. So far there isn’t a plugin for WordPress, but I have no doubt that it isn’t too far behind as there is a Dev Page that explains the attributes.

So what do you think…will this new Tweet Button catch on? The masses will determine its fate soon enough.

Why Do Consumers Like Brands on Facebook?

Why do people "like" brands on Facebook? Free stuff!

According to a recent post by the Google Retail Advertising blog, the answer to the question is simple…they want discounts.

In a very short post, they state that their latest research reveals that only 50% of Facebook users “friend” brands, with the prevalent “why” being to receive discounts and promotions.  That’s really not surprising, I’ve seen time and time again huge amounts of traffic being driven to a Facebook brand page by offering something as simple as a coupon for a free bagel. Maybe we don’t clip coupons out of the newspaper anymore (remember newspapers?), but some things never change, and consumers continue to be primarily motivated by discounts.

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Girl Quits Via Dry Erase Board: Fact or Fiction?

Real of fake? Did this girl Jenny really quit her job by exposing her boss's Farmville addiction?

**UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF STORY**

Something that is making the rounds in social media right now is a link to an article on The Chive called “Girl quits her job on dry erase board, emails entire office (33 Photos)“.  The article is, as described, a series of photos that tell a story of a girl that got fed up with the behavior of her boss and quit by emailing a series of pics of her and a white board around her office.

Great story, but for some reason I just don’t buy it.  I can’t help but feel that this is a contrived marketing campaign, although I’m not sure for what.  The pictures and set seem a little too polished, and the timing it just a little too close to the story of the flight attendant that quit by yelling at a customer, grabbing a beer then inflating the evacuation slide and heading off into the sunset (well…handcuffs, actually).

So what could this be shilling? My best guess is TheChive.com, but there’s a strong play for Farmville, the “little office snitch” (network monitoring tool?) or even a job site like Monster or CareerBuilder.

If it is a campaign for something, it’s already succeeded in getting press as it is being talked about on Twitter, and Mashable just wrote it up. In this case, we should see another installment come out in the next day or two, maybe an update to how “Jenny” is doing, and what a wonderful new job she landed.

If it isn’t, well, I’m sure at the very least Jenny will be getting a lot of attention for just long enough to get another job! We’ll also see a wave of photos, videos and blogs about people publicly quitting theirs…

**UPDATE #1**

Valleywag picked up the story and is calling it a “near-certain hoax” that “sucked the whole internet”.  I agree, as I called it earlier.  They say they will reveal the identity of “Jenny” tomorrow.  My money is on [name removed because it wasn’t her], which savvy commenter Stacy called out earlier today.  What do you think?

Dry Erase Mystery GirlIs Rachel Bodinet the Dry Erase Girl?

**UPDATE #2**

I hate to tell you “I told you so”, but…I told you so.  Totally fake.  TechCrunch has the write-up here.

So what can we learn from this? People (and “news” outlets) really do believe everything they read on the internet…

The Myth of Social Media Strategy

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing strategy with different groups this week, so it’s fresh in my mind . Good thing, as my title is Senior Director of Social Media Strategy. I’ve also been looking at a lot of requests from potential clients and outside groups that all want a response that includes a “Social Media Strategy”.  The thing is, 99% of the time, they really don’t want a strategy…they want operations and tactics, and we can’t even give those to them because they don’t have goals in place.

Strategy is one of the most overused and misunderstood words in all of marketing, perhaps in all of business.

  • “Build a Facebook sweepstakes application that lets users share and win” is not a strategy…it’s a tactic.
  • “Be the best widget company in the social space” is not a strategy…it’s a mission.
  • “Get 100,000 Twitter followers by the Holiday season” is not a strategy…it’s a goal.

The big short circuit, of course, is that many people aren’t working off of the same page.  They’re not even working out of the same book, because clear and measurable goals have not been set.  If somebody approaches you with a mission to accomplish, and you answer with a lot of tactics, more times than not both sides will be frustated with the outcome because Goals and Strategies have been left out of the process.  The frustration won’t be evident right away, it takes time to realize that the different expectations are worlds apart. Without measurable goals, how do you know if your work will be judged as a victory or a failure?

The big problem with social media strategy, or any strategy for that matter,  is not that it doesn’t exist…it’s that it cannot exist as a stand-alone; it needs other pieces to work.

A social media strategy is not the victory itself, it is the path to victory. But if you don’t know where you are going, how can you plan a way to get there?

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock To Include RUSH

Yes, Activision is a client of mine.  Specifically, Guitar Hero is a project that I work very closely with.  As my buddy Agent M says, “awesome jobs are awesome”.

We helped push out the RUSH trailer yesterday, and for those of you that have played Guitar Hero before, you’ll see that this is pretty crazy game play.  The epic “2112” from RUSH is now a part of the game.  Simply awesome.  Check it out for yourself in the video below.

You’ve Got The Numbers…Now What? Working With Social Media Analytics

Almost every client I’ve worked with in social media wants data tracked and reported for practically every post, tweet, comment and sweepstakes that they participate in online, and rightfully so.  From a business perspective, Key Performance Indicators (K.P.I.s) are important to help guide decisions and craft strategy. The problem that so many companies have with this process is that they don’t see it through to the most important part: the analysis and interpretation.

Data, without insightful interpretation, is worthless.  It’s like staring at the instruments of an airplane, but not knowing how to use them to get you where you want to go.

So you have 200,000 Facebook fans…so what? How many of them engage on a regular basis? What countries are primarily represented, and is it important to your business? What time of day is best for you to post so that you get the most exposure?  These are questions that should be asked, but often are not.

I think that so many people and organizations are in the habit of asking for reports that they just do it automatically, and assume that the process is over.  The way I see it, the process is just beginning at that point, and data can be used to make important business decisions, particular as they related to social media, looking forward.

A few guidelines and suggestions for how to use the data you capture:

  • Flash reports are okay, but real strength from data comes by looking at a broad range.  The more time you have to collect data, the more solid your numbers will be and the variance of peaks and valleys shouldn’t affect the bottom line as much
  • Sentiment is quite subjective, and I have yet to find a tool that auto-scores and does it well.  For example, if somebody tweets “Good Lord, my [brand] car is giving me a headache”, it’s typically scored as positive or neutral because of the inclusion of “good”.  A human looking at that would usually score it as negative.  I would rather hand-score a small number of data points than let a computer auto-score a massive amount
  • Consistency with time and services are important.  If possible, try to pull data from the same source and at regular time intervals. For example, it’s much easier to analyze data from a single source that you pull every Monday, than to compare data from many sources that you pull when you “want to get a good look at things”.  Consistency is key
  • I’m sure you are tempted to look at numbers each week as wins and losses, but it’s more important to look at data over a longer period of time.  For example, when we presented numbers to clients after the 4th of July Holiday weekend, tweets, comments and likes were down almost across the board.  It has to be taken into consideration that people were off of their computers and outside enjoying life, otherwise it seems like something went terribly wrong during that period.

I spend a lot of time looking over data that has been scraped from all around the internet, and an equal amount of time interpreting what it means so that we can help our clients make important strategic and tactical decisions.  What I’ve learned from all of this is that, no matter where you are pulling it from, data that stands by itself without good interpretation is at best worthless, at worst dangerous.