Beyond the Facebook Status Update: SMBTV #5

If you’re a brand trying to market to customers on Facebook, how do you cut through all the noise and reach your audience? What can you do to engage people through the medium, beyond just having them fan your page? Atlanta-based social media strategist Brad Ruffkess tackled these questions this morning at the fifth Social Media Breakfast Tech Valley.

Brad shared some interesting data points about Facebook:

  • Brad Ruffkess SMBTV The average user fans two pages a month on Facebook
  • Facebook approximates 30 billion page views per month
  • Gaming in social media is huge. Farmville has more users than Twitter
  • Facebook’s self-service ads drive $200 million in revenue

He shared some interesting ways brands are using Facebook: Adidas’ Star Wars campaign that integrates Google Maps and a Facebook user’s location to “blow up” their city with a blast from the Death Star. Canada’s CTV broadcast network integrated the Olympic Torch Relay live video stream with Facebook Connect to allow viewers to post status updates about watching the relay live.

Brad left plenty of time for Q&A that covered everything from the benefits and differences of profiles vs. groups vs. pages to the intricacies of FBML and ways to measure effectiveness of Facebook engagement.

Some of the key takeaways:

  • The value in Facebook is not necessarily the “share” but the “re-share” – what can you do to get your network to post content on your behalf? People like and trust information they see from their friends more than they do from brands.
  • Don’t forget to take your Facebook engagement off of Facebook. It’s very easy to use widgets and simple lines of code to add Facebook functionality to your Web site. Add a fan page box, allow users to comment on content on your site (video, e.g.) via Facebook status updates, use Facebook Connect for people to comment.
  • Quantity does not always (or sometimes ever) trump quality. A small number of passionate fans is more valuable than mountains of people who don’t really care.
  • Paid media is critical to success on Facebook and one way to cut through the noise. Advertising on Facebook is extremely targeted and affordable. At the very least, you can use the self-service ad tool to look at data surrounding the particular group you want to target.
  • There are rules of the road to Facebook and if you violate them, your page and community can be removed. Know the restrictions around things like contests and protocol for contacting fans and asking for their personal info. If you abuse the rules, Facebook can and will remove you – and then you’ve lost all the time and effort you’ve spent building up your page and following.

You can watch the video of the entire presentation via UStream, courtesy of MZA Multimedia. You can also view the Twitter transcript of the event.

What’s the most creative marketing use of Facebook that you’ve seen?

My new gig: inbound marketing at readMedia

Forget the catchy lede. I’ve had this cat in the bag for a while now and it’s time to let it out: I have a new job!

Starting today(!), I’ll be heading up inbound marketing efforts for Albany-based readMedia. After seven years in corporate communications, I’m trading the manufacturing plant for a hip downtown office, the Blackberry for an iPhone, and the red tape of big company bureaucracy for an intimate start-up culture.

I’ve been working with readMedia as one of my consulting clients for the last several months and so when they offered me a full-time position, I already knew it would be a great fit. My new coworkers are fun, smart, and generally have good taste in beer (want to follow ‘em? Check out this Twitter list of readMedia employees I created).

So, what am I going to be doing? A lot of really cool stuff. I’ll be running the company’s paid and earned media campaigns, representing readMedia at trade shows and conferences, managing their social media presence and using inbound marketing to generate sales for the company. Right up my alley.

readMedia

A little background on my new company: readMedia is a software and media company whose platform allows organizations like governments, nonprofits, and schools to publish social media-enabled news releases online and distribute them directly to geographically-targeted media outlets. readMedia’s clients produced over a quarter of a million pieces of specialized, hyperlocal news content last year — like this story about a state worker selling drugs in the basement of the State Capitol. (Seriously. Only in New York. And maybe Illinois.)

The media landscape continues to change as newspapers shed the staff and resources that were traditionally devoted to covering local news — town board meetings, fundraisers and local events, students away at college being named to an honor society or making the dean’s list. But these types of stories are still important to local communities and form the original content that drives old, new and niche media stories within a community. readMedia gives its clients the tools to serve as their own beat reporters and publish high-quality, hyperlocal content online and to traditional media outlets.

I can’t even describe how excited I am to get settled in at readMedia and become a part of their team. I’ll still be organizing Social Media Breakfast Tech Valley (though likely with some more help) and blogging right here, but I’m stepping away from consulting to fully devote my time and brain waves to readMedia.

So many of you supported me throughout this past year by acting as mentors, sounding boards, collaborators, and friends. I’ll dispense with the Academy Awards-style mushiness, but I really do appreciate all of the great advice and input I’ve received as I transitioned from corporate communications to consulting and now to this new role. So simply, thank you.

Game on!

Recap: Social Media Breakfast Tech Valley #4

In just over four months, Social Media Breakfast Tech Valley has grown to be among the largest in the country. Last Friday about 150 people turned out to hear Aaron Newman of Techrigy talk about social media monitoring and measurement at SMBTV #3.

It was a much broader crowd this time, with a lot of fresh faces and several people who were relatively “new” to social media. While I’ve worked hard as the SMB organizer to keep the event from being at too much of a 101-level (because there are plenty of those events), there were a lot of general social media questions that Aaron did a good job answering.

Aaron asked that the presentation be interactive and he wasn’t disappointed. There were so many questions that at one point I had to ask people to hold them until the end just to make sure we could get through Aaron’s slides in time! A lot of attendees had great social media stories to share and it was good to see everyone networking and enjoying each other’s company.

Here are some of the key ideas I took away from Aaron’s presentation:

  • Monitoring, measurement, and analysis are often used interchangeably when talking about social media but they’re really three very distinct phases.
  • There are lots of things you can measure in social media, but what you should measure depends on your strategy. Start with strategy. Always.
  • Computers don’t understand sarcasm, so measuring sentiment is still a challenge. Not all monitoring can be automated.

Lots of great content was generated about/around the breakfast itself, too:

I’m quite amazed at how quickly Social Media Breakfast has grown in this area and what a great networking and community event it’s become.

The next event is in December and will feature a panel of fantastic blogging minds: Greg Dahlmann, Lara Kulpa, Christina Gleason and Amanda Magee. The College of Saint Rose Communications Department will be sponsoring.The American Red Cross has offered to host us and I’m working with them to try and combine Social Media Breakfast with a blood drive.  More details to come!

Image via Flickr user amymengel (wait, that’s me!)

Reaching stakeholders through social media

Here are the slides from the presentation I gave today to the Capital Region Chapter of PRSA:

View more presentations from amymengel.

Here are some links to content I referenced:

If you’d like to attend Social Media Breakfast on Oct. 30, register here (still a few seats left).

Let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed that you’d like a link to.

Where I’ll be this month

Wait, it’s October? How did that happen? I’ve got a lot going on this month and am looking forward to talking social media, meeting new people and seeing some familiar faces at these events:

Inbound Marketing Summit

IMS09_Logo_Hor_SmallI’m headed to Boston later this week (well, to Gillette Stadium anyway) for New Marketing Labs’ Inbound Marketing Summit. The list of speakers is pretty incredible (Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuk, David Meerman Scott, Jason Falls…) and I’m not really sure how so much great content is going to fit into just two days. I’m also pumped to finally meet Valeria Maltoni, Brian Solis and DJ Waldow – and DJ and I need to figure out who owes whom a drink since both Georiga and Michigan lost this weekend.

Capital Region PRSA

Next Wednesday afternoon I’ll be putting on a workshop for the Capital Region chapter of PRSA entitled “Communicating to Digital Natives: Reaching Your Stakeholders Through Social Media” at the Victory Cafe in Albany. I’ll talk about how many consumers are bypassing traditional media and opting instead to interact with brands and organizations directly. It’ll be a bit on the Social Media 101 side but I’m planning to include some fun examples and case studies.

Social Media Breakfast Tech Valley #3

smbtv-red_mdAt the end of the month, on Friday, Oct. 30, I’ll be at Tech Valley’s third Social Media Breakfast. This event has really taken off in this area and continues to grow and attract social media enthusiasts from a variety of disciplines – communications, marketing, Web design, IT, HR, and entrepreneurs. It’s a fun crowd and we’re excited to have Aaron Newman of Techrigy in town to discuss social media monitoring and measurement.

I’m also planning to be in New York on Oct. 31 to commiserate with other Dawg fans and alumni as we watch Florida hand us our hats, and to see one of my buddies run the NYC marathon. So PR Cog, Stephanie Smirnov, and other NYC Twitterati, let’s meet up that weekend!