What to Expect from Facebook’s Graph Search

Facebook announced Graph Search last month and there’s been a lot of buzz to what it is, how it affects user privacy and if it’s really going to change the face of search. (You can sign up to join the waiting list for the beta version now.)

What is it?
Simply put, Graph Search helps you better find people, places and things you’re interested in. Perhaps, this is finally Facebook’s answer to Google + and Twitter’s recent updates, but one thing is for sure, they want to make a good impression on investors since stocks have started sliding.

In Mark Zuckerberg’s on words, “Graph search is designed to take a precise query and return to you the answer, not links to other places where you might get the answer.”

What about my privacy settings?
According to Facebook, each user will see different results. Regardless of what Facebook reveals (or doesn’t), it’s important to be aware of what you put on your profile and what can be seen, especially if there’s a bug or glitch that potentially reveal more than you’re comfortable with to the public eye. Here’s a quote that is a good summary for those who are concerned with their privacy on Facebook:

So, no, Facebook Graph search isn’t notable just because it can help you find a nice restaurant or a pleasant place to get a drink. It marks another step into a future where corporations are able to peer inside our lives to a far greater extent than we would ever allow a government to do.” (Read more here.)

What does the future hold?
Current employers of people who like Racism, Married people who like Prostitutes and so on. Take a look at more actual Facebook Graph searches. It’s no wonder that some people are mocking Graph Search for its invasion of privacy. It’s not really clear what Graph Search can do for businesses but it can help from an HR and reputation point of view.

Although we haven’t gotten our hands on the new Graph Search yet, it will be definitely interesting to see what the fuss is about. Sign up and let us know what your trial run is like!

Facebook Ads Gone Wrong

bad Facebook ads

What’s wrong with these ads? A LOT, considering that I’m a 23 year old female.

It’s no wonder Facebook ads aren’t wildly successful. I stumbled across this article where a small business owner ran up a bill of nearly $300 in Facebook ads for “nothing”.  Perhaps, Max got it wrong when he assumed that simply creating an ad will generate customers or even calls. Take this as a lesson before you attempt to create a Facebook ad campaign. Here are some takeaways:

Targeting the right demographics: These ads clearly got it wrong when it came to consumer demographics. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t willingly advertise dentures or hip replacements to me. So it’s either a) they don’t care b) they didn’t bother to specify the demographics. From age, location, interests, you can specifically target how your ads show up.

Keep an eye on your budget: Don’t be a Max. Setting up an ad campaign for the first time can be complicated. If you’re just starting out, make sure to set a daily or lifetime budget. I’m sure if Max did this, he wouldn’t have ran up that $300 bill. Also pay attention to CPC (pay per click) and CPM (pay per 1000 impressions).

Review feedback and consider other alternatives: Facebook ads are known for having relatively low CTR (click-through rates). This means people aren’t interested in ads on Facebook or you just have bad ads. Perhaps, if you have a small business, you’ll benefit more from pay per click ads or even free means of promotions.

In the end, I think Facebook ads work best to get people to Like your Page. If your Page is engaging and has a lot to offer, people will click Like as if it were a badge of honor to show off to their friends. Looking for computer repair services in a certain area? Not so much… What’s your take on Facebook ads?

Whitman and Brown: Taking Politics to Facebook

Increased Social Media Efforts
If you’ve seen/heard TV, radio and online ads, you’ll know that the political race in California is heating up between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. An article in the LA Times shows that Meg is launching “A New California” campaign on Facebook. On the site, she’ll ask fans to vote about issues that they think are important. Meg will then address the winning issue in a video that will be shared on Facebook. This clever Facebook campaign will bring Meg more fans and raise awareness on her platforms. Meanwhile, Team Jerry Brown has dismissed these “gimmicks” and says that “Meg Whitman even has to buy her friends.”

No matter what political party you’re affiliated with, it’s time to look at these campaign strategies for its effectiveness. Pretend you know nothing about politics or parties for a second…

Comparing Facebook Pages
The first look at Meg Whitman’s Facebook shows a welcoming statement and her vision for a “new” California on the landing page. Meg’s wall also predominantly features her stance on relevant issues, encourages fans to join her efforts and showcases recent appearances. Meg has a professional looking “Donate” tab for easy access and also has an Events tab reminding fans to vote for her on November 2nd.

In comparison, Jerry Brown’s Facebook is visually unappealing. The landing page tab features a list of different things from something about Green jobs to fighting political corruption. The title of the tab isn’t even completely readable, what exactly is “Fighting fo…”? Isn’t someone in charge of looking out for these things? There’s also a “Join Jerry:” tab. Again, what exactly are people signing up for – news about Jerry Brown or is their information going to be sold? If it seems simple enough, do it. A small blurb would help. On the bright side, Jerry’s Facebook wall is filled with updates about community members showcasing their support. It’s always a plus to showcase fans and show them appreciation.

Who Has What it Takes?

Meg’s Facebook approach is cohesive and interesting to her supporters. Jerry’s approach seems a little more cluttered and could use a stronger focus. But in the end, it’s not the Facebook fans that matter but the actual number of voters for each candidate. So, how well will social media work to help increase the votes? Meg Whitman is serious in her Facebook efforts and spending cash to do so. Will Jerry Brown have what it takes to catch up? Social media has given politicians a new chance for outreach but many of them still seem to be behind on the times. We’ll see what happens in November!

The Can and Can’ts of Social Media

There is much more to social media than just building up Twitter hype. Nowadays, businesses may be excited to implement a new social media marketing plan, but have unrealistic expectations of what it can really do. Like anything else, you can’t expect it to help bring you success if you don’t put in enough time and effort. Here’s a look at what social media can and can’t do for your business:

What It Can Do

  • Target your audience: If you’re looking into running ads on Facebook or MySpace, these two sites allow you to target specific demographics of your audience. This will be helpful in identifying your goals, as you can reach users by age, location, interests etc.
  • Improve customer interaction: On the surface, the point of social media profiles is to be social. You’ll want these connections to translate into something deeper but you can’t unless you can improve customer involvement. Social media allows you to do so by consistently involving the audience via blog posts, Tweets, and status updates.
  • Keep customers informed: Awhile ago, Bausch + Lomb recalled their contact solution because it was linked to eye infections. As a recipient of their newsletter, I got an email about the recall and a coupon for a new (untainted) product. Luckily, no eye infection for me! Social media can help with damage control just as well as it’s used to announce local events or new products.

What It Can’t Do

  • Have a short-term mindset: Your marketing plan consists of ongoing efforts, so why wouldn’t your social media campaign? Many people make the mistake by neglecting their social media profiles over time. Social media requires the three C’s: consistence, commitment, and creativity.
  • Replace your entire marketing plan: Although it’s successful for very few companies, a marketing plan solely based on social media is not realistic. Instead of looking at social media to replace your marketing plan, think of it as an additional tool you can use to complement your more traditional strategies.
  • Guarantee success: You may be popular on Twitter, but what does it really mean? You can’t guarantee success on any social media site if you don’t tie it back to your goals – this may be increased visits, clicks, purchases etc. Being popular doesn’t mean that you’re successful, but it can help!

Who Uses Facebook’s Marketplace?

New and Improved

Earlier this year in March, Facebook re-launched its Marketplace that is now powered by Oodle. If you haven’t heard of it, the Marketplace is a classified ads section where users can list and respond to advertisements. The Marketplace gives users the ability to buy, sell, and trade all their goods with other Facebook users.

Marketplace Features

So, who really uses the Facebook Marketplace? You may have seen friends trying to sell their used chemistry books or their extra phone. But, did you know that there’s also a section for housing and free stuff? That’s what’s so great about this application. Originally created in 2007, the new Marketplace is revamped with a user friendly interface. While it is like Craigslist in its free listing of classified ads, but it also integrates an important social factor that Craigslist lacks. Wouldn’t you rather buy something from a friend or a friend of a friend than a complete stranger?

Seeing the Potential in the Marketplace

Marketers are warming up to the market place as they see ease and convenience of its features. With every listing, you can promote the sale of your goods and services by adding pictures, putting it in an appropriate category and even sending out personalized messages. Such custom settings make it easier for those looking to buy and sell real estate. Because Facebook thrives on the social thread, word of mouth will still be important. If your friends have had a successful transaction with a certain seller, they’re likely to spread the word. Before you brush it off, not everything on Facebook is a time-waster. In the past, Apple has even posted a listing looking for iPhone engineers on there!

Comparing Facebook Groups and Pages

The Facebook Fundamentals

Establishing your presence on Facebook is an important task whether you are promoting yourself or your business. Some may find that the process is not that straightforward. The first obstacle you will encounter is deciding whether to create a Group or a Page. For some businesses, choosing both is a possibility. So, before you put your time and effort in maintaining your new social media profiles, take some time to consider the pros and cons of each:

Facebook Groups

An easy way to think about Facebook Groups is that they are like any other group or club. A group administrator is in charge of providing members with information, news about events, and more. Other members can also be appointed to help facilitate information. Establishing a group is a great way to gain quick attention for a cause or event.

Pros
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Promote with ads
+ Create events and send reminders
+ Privacy controls (public, private, or closed)
Cons
– Not given any weight by search engines
– Unattractive URL
– No visitor information
– Limited to 5,000 members

Facebook Pages

In some ways, Facebook Pages are more informal than groups. There is no public administrator and users are called “fans”. With Pages, there are more options to track visitor information. Facebook pages are similar to normal Facebook profiles. But instead of a person, these pages are designated to represent a brand or celebrity. Some businesses opt for a Facebook Page to maintain a long-term relationship with fans.

Pros
+ Vanity URL
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Indexed by search engines
+ Ability to extend your SEO efforts
+ Can have over 5,000 fans
Cons
– Cannot send reminders for events
– No privacy controls, everything is public

Making Your Decision

Hopefully, some of these points have helped clear up any confusion. Experts generally agree that Facebook Groups are better for organizing users around a cause or upcoming event. Facebook Pages are useful for a company or celebrity to strengthen their online brand presence. Some argue that users feel more active as a Group member than an observing fan of a Facebook Page. Search marketers usually prefer using Pages because of their advantages in user statistics, while others may use a combination of both.

Facebook Advertising Case Study

We just launched a Facebook advertising campaign today targeting a demographic that likes to drink alcohol and/or use drugs. It will be interesting to see how this campaign does. The campaign is for a drug rehabilitation center located in Orange County, California. The ad management page is below along with a copy of the ad and the demographics. It’s currently targeting close to two hundred and fifty thousand Facebook users with an ad spend set for $100 per day.  The cost per click (CPC) is set to 0.55 cents a click. Stay tuned for updates on this campaign.

facebook advertising ad
Facebook advertising ad
facebook advertising ad manager
Facebook advertising ad manager

Adding Facebook advertising to your search marketing campaign?

I just stumbled across this ebook on Facebook advertising by Matt Dickman. I’d suggest checking it out to get a better idea of how Facebook advertising works and to learn more about social media marketing. As Facebook and social networking sites continue to grow this will become more important. It’s literally changing the search marketing industry! The days of running search engine optimization and paid search campaigns alone to drive traffic to your site is becoming outdated. Reaching a broader audience through Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social sites is imperative to your search marketing campaign.

emarketed now offers this as a stand alone service or as an addon to current search engine optimization and paid search customers. Stay tuned for more social media updates as this emerging method of advertising expands. You can also follow us on twitter for short updates.