Tag Archives: facebook

Is it a bird? erm nope.

The next era of connectivity is on the horizon, or rather more accurately hovering above it, as tech giants launch their test projects to provide internet coverage for the harder to reach parts of the world.

Google have test piloted Project Loon a few times since June 2013 near places such as New Zealand’s South Island and Sri Lanka, a series of high- altitude balloons equipped with LTE (more commonly known as 4G LTE) that rides the wind currents in the stratosphere.

Facebook have also developed a fleet of solar-powered drones called Aquila now ready to hover at altitudes of 60,000 to 90,000 feet. These can be steered and controlled more directly, constantly circling a two mile radius to stay aloft.

Both the balloons and the drones can be air born for around three months.

Combined with lower priced smartphones coming to market we are seeing the next evolution of connectivity looking set to be pretty rapid.

There’s still a way to go to stabilise the launch and flight of both, plus the clean up exercise once they come back down but the effort to connect the whole world with the internet is accelerating.

Next we’ll be in orbit, talking to the moon, connecting galaxies… well, maybe.

 

clangers

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Facebook is nearly as popular as Hinduism

I overheard my colleague talking about world plagues earlier; particularly morbid, even for a Monday morning. Turns out he was looking at an infographic that summarises ‘Big Numbers’… it’s really quite interesting.

Did you know that Facebook is now 600,000,000 people strong? That’s 30.5% of the internet population and almost half the size of China. The internet population stands at a whopping 1,967,000,000 (28.5% of the global population).

Facebook still has another 300,000,000 to acquire though before it can match Hinduism and a further 400,000,000 in addition to that, before matching Atheism. Read into that what you will.

Fascinating looking at the bigger picture; here’s the link if you want to check it out for yourself…

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Facebook and the Future

Facebook were in our basement the other night talking about what the future looks like for social. It was a really interesting talk with one subject in particular catching my attention.

More and more we hear about the influence fans of brands have on their friends but, increasingly so it’s more about friends of fans. These guys have for more influence as it’s perceived as unbiased, if, the message gets that far.

As it stands 90% of fan pages on Facebook have fewer than 100 fans. Mainly because the page isn’t backed by media so there’s nothing driving traffic (I’ve certainly had my share of clients who assume that just by sticking a brand page up, the world will ‘like’ them and share the love).

Shock, horror and revelation! This is not so.

Whilst the media buying and planning lot of you out there will know that’s old news, the exciting revelation is that bridging the gap between media spend v social currency seems to be closing, and it’s doing so in the guise of Polling Ads.

You still buy the initial space either on a CPC or CPM basis but the reach they can achieve improves the potential ROI several times over.

Facebook claim that current case studies have shown: 160% uplift in brand recall, 200% uplift in message awareness of the ad and a whopping 400% uplift in purchase intent.

That, coupled with the current predicted reach for potential customers falling in at around more than 500 million and as we all know, still being able to profile your audience by; location, age and interests really leads to a  no brainer.

I have a few clients trying this already and the rewards have been notable for them: extended reach, higher awareness, growing loyalty and a marked improvement of their brands resonating online.

My advice – get all over it!

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Social Commerce

First came the Social Network (thank you Mr Zuckerberg) which, connects over half a billion users. Now the big chiefs of the online world are all competing to be the first to properly monetise these social platforms and evolve them into revenue streams.

Currently there are strong influencing factors online that persuade us to purchase (or not). Take Amazon as an example, long have they recognised the successes in recommending products based on your purchase history, viewing activity and the trends of like minded shoppers. It wasn’t long before this simple model was adapted and adopted by many other commerce platforms and now we’re seeing this evolve to include more personal input; take Google’s search tool launched last year, this pulls through recommendations and reviews from your friends and family around the term you’re searching for. Admittedly it didn’t spread like wild fire but the theory is strong.

If you’re looking to buy a film and Amazon or Google tell you via Facebook that your friends think it’s ace, you’re more likely to buy it right? In fact, according to last years Econsultancy survey 90 per cent of purchases have some level of influence from the social arena.

The bit that seems to have everyone up in arms is the public display of your spending habits. Tools such as Blippy publish your transactions in real time encouraging those in your social circle to view and comment. The question is: Is this an honest and open way of sharing your trends, habits and interests or, is it really just a way of bragging about how you splash your cash? Is it about status or is it about making informed decisions in the impulsive world of online commerce and then seeking the reassurance you’ve made the right choice?

Do you really want people to know you get your knickers from M&S and not Agent Provocateur?

Either way, 2011 is marked to be the year that bucks the Social Commerce trend so, if you’re serious about your business stop waiting in the wings and get yourself a strategy… Fast!

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who are we really?

In a world where animosity is so readily available it’s easy to recreate our personas for so many different purposes.

You have Facebook for your personal life; the fun me, the wild me, the chilled out me. You have Linkedin for your professional persona; the intelligent, robust, dedicated and ambitious me, twitter for whatever persona you choose, or a mix if you dare, YouTube for your more frivolous side that doesn’t mind being exploited in glorious motion and then Flickr, Bebo, Foursquare and so on.

But when online who are we really talking to? Everyone remembers the story of the married, lazy, overweight couple in the US that recreated themselves on second life as something akin to Barbie and Ken right? They ended up divorcing in real life because he cheated on her with Cindy in their virtual life. That’s not really the point though; the point is we have two sloths sat on a sofa with no life which suddenly become the envy of everyone as the picture of perfection in their virtual life.

So are we talking to the real couple or the false couple?

Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) has always stood by his premise that transparency will take over but there are plenty of sceptics out there who would argue otherwise. I’m guilty of it myself; I tend to be select with photos before publishing them for the world to see and even when I’m writing on here I’m conscious of who might be reading this.

Then there’s the question of who controls our identity online? Do we as the creator or do our friends, colleagues or even the teams running the social sites in the first place? Is the world going to become more open or are we going to live two lives in tandem?

Who are we online? Who are we really? Who are we going to become? Will we get lost in the transparent world or will we all embed our replicate personas online?

If Facebook achieve their goal of a universal identity system then will technology gain master over humans or will the internet remain a powerful tool for society?

Cyber food for thought that’s for sure…

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Is social media right for my brand?

I get asked this A LOT!

Today was no exception. Social media has fundamentally altered online marketing by opening up the way that consumers can share information, create information and ultimately therefore, add or take, value from that information.

Your brand is no longer in your control online, the conversation is happening but the question clients are afraid to answer is whether they should be a part if it…

The hype that surrounds social media can make it difficult to distinguish which factors will effectively integrate into your overall strategy, but with the right strategy in place it can revolutionise how you communicate with your consumers.

The key to success is the approach. Setting up a Twitter page or Facebook page and asking people to follow your brand or ‘like’ you won’t work. To effectively cut through all the noise your brand needs an informed social media strategy.

Carefully considered insights, best practice case studies and real-time monitoring of your brands buzz will help inform how to implement the most effective social media activity in line with your wider marketing plan. With ongoing monitoring of the conversations sparked online you can then build upon this to inform your brand decisions moving forwards, this information has proved invaluable to thousands of brands already.

I will say again though it does need to be planned, failure to effectively target your consumers can leave you open to ridicule across the web, so I guess my answer is; Social Media can be right for your brand if planned and implemented in line with a relevant and considered strategy. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon for the sake of it.

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What does Facebook publish about you and your friends?

Facebook privacy has been a hot topic for a while now, it’s certainly something I get asked a lot about by those not too familiar with the privacy settings.

Because the settings are too ‘hidden’ or difficult to understand for a vast amount of users, the result is a lot of personal information being publicly available which some users might not want air.

Coupled with the fact that Facebook aren’t particularly forthcoming with how to use the privacy settings it’s no wonder there’s still nervousness around a social network that equals the 4th biggest country in the world.

So if you really want to find out what people can publicly see then here’s a handy tool to help you. This tool requests all data from Facebook’s new api to see what information is available, you simply enter your Facebook username, name, email address or a related keyword and it will display all the information  publicly available.

Be warned you might be suprised at just how much is broadcast…

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Wave 4 is on the horizon

Microsoft have announced the arrival of the latest version of Windows Live Messenger “Wave 4”.

It’s the latest way to collaborate all your social networks, video chats, photo sharing and cloud integration (similar to Facebook Connect) plus it offers integration with other websites so you can share your thoughts with your friends wherever in the virtual world they are.

Video chat comes in HD, the navigation is tabbed and easier to use – meaning multiple flashing windows are a thing of the past – plus it’s available for download for the Windows Phone 7 and iPhone. The beta version should be launched this summer. If you can’t wait that long to find out more the watch this video.


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Pandora marries Facebook

Soooo…the top online radio service and the world’s largest and most successful social network have solidified a plan for domination of the virtual world.

It seems that you can share music with your friends with no catch (really?) and integrate your Pandora and Facebook accounts without a real-time irritating update of what you’re listening to (really… really?). Pandora pay the license, facebook opens it up…

There are countless other similar music services but if you do the basic math, Pandora + Facebook = bloody easy way to get the music/ life balance.

Following on from my earlier post (which didn’t quite work thanks to the lack of ‘Like’ widgets for WordPress) Facebook will include ‘Like’ buttons which users can embed on other websites, by doing this Pandora can then provide you with the most update musical trends based on what you ‘Like’. Easy peasy.

It’s early days but I guess we’ll find out soon enough whether this genius partnering will come to fruition.

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facebook like

buttons seem to be popping up everywhere, are the days of ‘becoming a fan’ numbered? I feel that the new ‘like’ buttons are much easier to use and less imposing.

The ‘Like’ button enables users to make connections to pages you’ve created and share the content with their friends back on Facebook all with just one click.

There are two versions of the button, a basic one is available via a simple iframe you can drop into your page easily. A more complex ‘Like’ button is available via the <fb:like> XFBML tag. This version allows users to add a comment as it is posted back to Facebook.

So what’s the verdict?

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