Tag Archives: Facebook

Deep Fried Mashup and Branded Communities at SMC Triangle

Last week the Triangle Social Media Club had two guest speakers, Karlie Justus (@karliej) and Jason Peck (@jasonpeck). I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both the speakers and interacting with them on Twitter over the past several months. I was glad to see Karlie speak about the NC State Fair since I had been trying to catch up with her to find out how effective social media was in promoting the State Fair. I have written two blog posts about the NC State Fair and Deep Fried Tweetup in the past few weeks so was interested to see how the campaign went for the NC Department of Agriculture (NCDA) that manages the Fair.

The goals of the social media campaign were to reach new audiences as well as reach media in a new way. The campaign started in July of 2008 and ran for a full 16 months. The team began with a new web site design and created a blog that communicated interesting facts about the Fair as well as announcing entertainment acts and other announcements. Other social media sites that were created included Facebook group, MySpace page, Twitter account, Flickr photos and YouTube channel. Some of the more interesting stats were:

  • 70,000 unique blog views with 27,000 unique visitors in October
  • Facebook page had 5,000 friends, 420 fans and over 1,400 photos tagged
  • Twitter account had over 2,331 followers with 1,828 updates and 422 direct messages. Many of the direct messages were from local media that supplemented the PR plan.
  • YouTube channel hosted 37 videos and had 58,000 unique views with 55 subscribers.
  • MySpace page had 928 friends with 8,000 blog views and 99,000 page views.

Other social media tactics included having a Deep Fried Ambassador contest among local bloggers, inviting bloggers to the press conference and hosting the Deep Fried Tweetup on the Thursday night of the Fair. The Tweetup attracted over 150 attendees and further extended the Deep Fried brand. One interesting note was that Thursday traffic spiked with 2000 unique visits to the blog and average of 60 tweets per hour. The event was also streamed and attracted 43 views.

 Overall the NCDA team achieved success by incorporating social networks to further establish relationships with fair attendees, media representatives and other audiences. Also social networks facilitated customer service by responding to questions from the general public and directing them to specific information on the web. Karlie also pointed out that it was a team effort and that her coworkers contributed to the effort (Jen Nixon (@jennix5), Natalie Alford (@joynatalie), Brian Long (@brian_long66), Andrea Ashby (@aasbhy) and Paul Marshall Jones (@pmarshalljones). Great work by this group!

Whew, that’s a whole blog post, but wait there’s more! Jason Peck had a tough act to follow but did a fantastic job speaking about branded communities. Jason’s company eWayDirect takes features of social networks and brings them into a single platform. The goal is to bring people together while having full control of the look and fell, content, ads and metrics. I have a dream and that is what eWayDirect offers…a single platform with control, basically a branded community.

Some of the great advantages to their approach include:
  • Protection: no random Facebook ads, your community is spared from junk and spam
  • Exclusivity: you may not want everyone, just certain people that are your customers and prospects
  • Research: polls, metrics and other tools to gather information from your community.
  • Business metrics: the ability to determine revenue per member. Mmmm, ROI is that something everyone keeps talking about regarding social media?
One of the biggest advantages is the ability to aggregate existing content into a single location. My job requires me to try and automate all the outbound communication including social media. I have been able to use tools like RSS and other data exports to cross reference all the sites. But in order to aggregate all the RSS feeds and sites content I would have to create another site, basically a portal. Hence one more site to design, configure and maintain.
Jason gave a few examples of how his customers have employed their technology. One great example was ELF (Eyes, Lips and Face) beauty network. Their goal was to identify brand advocates and deepen relationships as well as acquire new customers. The campaign started with a personal invitation to the network and also has a desktop announcement feature that I want to find out more about.
ELF had some great results three months into the campaign including:
  • 4,500 new members
  • 56,000 visits
  • 5,000 unique visits, increase of 75%
  • 9% of members opted to received the desktop notifications and reminders
  • Average revenue per member increased 270% more than non-members
Again social media ROI can be achieved with the right strategy, platform and planning. Jason closed his presentation with some great lessons learned:
  •  Have a purpose for your community, give people a reason to join
  • Make people feel welcome, it’s important
  • Establish measurable goals ahead of time will drive you towards them during execution
  • Make sure the community does not exist in a silo
Many thanks to Jeremy (@jeremysaid) and Brian (@unravelthetwine) of Twine Interactive for hosting the event and Our Hashtag (Wayne, Jeff and Ryan) for organizing the best social media series in the Triangle. I met another great group of people whom I’ve followed and chatted with on Twitter and other networks so it’s always great to attach a person to an avatar!

Social Media Tools and Network Inventory

Since I’m a marketing geek I’m always interested in new tools, networks and other communication platforms. Over the past few years I have investigated and used many of the new social media networks and tools to see how well they worked. However I realize now that I have too many accounts and some of them are redundant. Therefore, I am cleaning up some of the accounts listed below but I thought a listing with some notes on why I joined the network and what I liked would be a good start. I will follow up over the next few weeks with comparisons of the sites and why I chose one over the other.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bmcd67
Wanted to see what the fuss was all about. Since I have moved around quite a bit in my life, great way to reconnect with old friends.
MySpace: Deactivated
Had to join to see photo of old friend that office mate told me was online.  Ended up getting a bunch of spam off the account so I deleted it.
LinkedIn: linked.com/bmcd67
Thought it was better than keeping regular resume on file.  Also great way to reconnect with former co-workers.
Delicious: delicious.com/bmcd67
Used to keep track of press hits and articles of interest.
Twitter: twitter.com/bmcd67
First intrigued, then did not understand, then did understand, then did nothing else for several months.
Pandora: pandora.com/people/bmcd67
I’m a huge music buff so this was an instant hit. Like that I can create my own station.
Social Vibe: socialvibe.com/bmcd67
Interesting premise, raise money for charity through clicks but that’s all that’s there. Cool interface.
Ning: http://www.ning.com/
First used as a test for project that migrated elsewhere. Good tool but have only seen a few good sites on it.
Main blogging tool that I use. Good starting place for bloggers that want to write and don’t want to have to learn web site design.
FriendFeed: friendfeed.com/bmcd67
Used this to aggregate all my feeds and social media accounts.
YouTube: youtube.com/bmcd67
Never thought that I would post on YouTube but it’s a great platform for video.
SlideShare: slideshare.net/bmcd67
Use this for storing presentations, integrates with LinkedIn.
Created this account to use for autoposting to several accounts and forgot about it.
Blip.fm: blip.fm/bmcd67
Site allows you to search individual songs and post message at the same time.
Brightkite: brightkite.com/people/bmcd67
Never used this until I got my iPhone with ability to ping my location.
Storyteller: bmcd67.storytlr.com/
Found this before FriendFeed and liked their layout better
FriendFeed: friendfeed.com/bmcd67
Created profile and several rooms. Not a fan of some of their features.
Technorati: technorati.com/people/technorati/bmcd67
Joined when I started blogging. Still trying to gain authority.
Posterous: bmcd67.posterous.com
Recently joined and have posted a few items. Not sure what best application of this tool is.
Slide: bmcd67.slide.com
Found this easiest of the photo apps to use and customize, plus no limit on images.
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/people/73834932@N00/
Great photo site with ability to create sets. Very easy to embed on other sites as well.
Picasa: picasaweb.google.com/bmcd67
Signed up when started using Google tools but has limits on images.
qik: qik.com/bmcd67
This was the only tool that I could shoot online video with on my BlackBerry in real time. Had problems with controls and naming on BlackBerry, thus half my vids have the same title.
TwitPic: twitpic.com/photos/bmcd67
This is a great simple app that I use all the time.
NetVibes: netvibes.com/bmcd67
Great aggregator tool that allows you to create a portal. Still need to finish this page.

Facebook Fan Pages Offer New Way To Connect

Last week I attended the Triangle Social Media Club @SMCTriangle meeting at Calvert Holdings in Cary. The topic was Facebook and personal branding and the demo led by Jeff Cohen @dgtlpapercuts was excellent. The discussion centered on how FB groups and fan pages interact with users in different ways and the pros and cons of each approach.
I have used FB groups in the past to manage a small college reunion for about 25 people. It was a great way to quickly gather all the old classmates and get the meetup arranged. After our gathering we posted photos and some more discussions. However over time the group became stale.
I have stayed away from fan pages only because when I see the “become a fan” in the friend’s suggestion I feel that it’s the same as groups. However I soon discovered that fan pages allow users to interact with a brand, group, institution or whatever subject matter you want to write about.

Jeff noted that fan pages have change dramatically recently and demonstrated some of the new features using the Triangle Social Media Club group and fan pages as examples. I had not tried the FB tagging at this point, but I use it all the time on Twitter. Tagging on FB works very well with a nice drop down menu to select the person you want to tag. But tagging also works with fan pages. For instance I posted from my profile and tagged a friend that was also at the meeting and the group as well.

One of the interesting discoveries in doing this was learning that my post would show up in the fan page news feed. However it would not be visible to other users unless we are FB friends. This is due to my permissions which I had recently restricted to just friends. Had I posted it from the fan page then it would have been visible on the fan page news feed to all. This is dramatically different from Twitter where a basic reply to a person is public.

Both fan pages and groups have administrators to manage the content, users, permissions and other configurations. Users can add photos and other content and the admin can send messages to all fans. Jeff also stated that there are some limitations being the admin in that you have limited ability to interact with others on a personal level.

Fan pages do have a nicer layout than the group pages and have tabs to group information at the top of the page. There is even a custom tab that allows you to paste HTML code that is converted to Facebook Markup Language (FBML). A great example is Threadless T-shirts that used the custom tab to create a simple storefront for their fan page landing page.

As much as I hate to admit it these new features may be what FB needs to win the battle with Twitter. Twitter’s great for short messaging and conversations, but it’s getting clogged up with spam and junk these days. Many people don’t understand Twitter and there is a learning curve to it. FB’s clean and easy to use interface allows users to connect and communicate faster with rich media storage and integration. It is a platform more so than a toolbox that Twitter is along with add-ons for images, videos and links.