Copying Your Competitor The Facebook Way

Copying Your Competitor The Facebook Way

Good artists copy, great artists steal. This pithy quote holds true in this fast-paced, technologically-driven world of ours. More and more businesses are succumbing to the addictive habit of ‘borrowing’ the work of their competitors. At the moment, what is on everyone’s lips is Facebook and its acquired appetite for Twitter’s features. Facebook has just rolled out the ‘trending topics’ and ‘hash tags’ features synonymous with Twitter. Although Facebook is likely be vilified by the Twitter faithful, it is more likely that the dust will settle sooner rather than later. This is because Facebook represents great artists. So this is how to copy the Facebook way.

Keep Up Or Stay Ahead of Competition

Although Facebook is the largest social media site on the planet boasting of over 1 billion active users, Twitter with its 200 million active users remains a competition to reckon with. Facebook is constantly looking on it rear view mirror to look at who is catching up. It then figures out what gives its competitors their competitive advantage and tries to imitate or innovate. The former option is often the most appealing one.

Understand What Makes Your Competitors Tick

In the chess game, if black copies exactly what white is doing, black is doomed to finish last. That is the thing about blindly copying what your competitor does. Facebook has figured out that social media users love to be on the know about what is being talked about across the world thanks to the popular trending topics feature on Twitter. The trending topic feature of Facebook will be similar to that of Twitter except that it won’t track trending topics based on hash tags. Instead, trending topics will be tracked based users’ posts. So much for a different approach!

Final Word on Copying Competition

Copying competition is often a contentious issue that the advertising campaigns of most organizations fail to address sufficiently. Businesses should aim to protect their ideas and brands from imitation. However, copycats will always be on the prowl. Copying does work when employed expertly like Facebook, why not copy then?

Using Facebook Hashtags For Business Promotion

Hashtags have been all the rage on Twitter for years, but Facebook recently introduced them.  While the use is similar to that of Twitter, there are some stark differences.  These are used so that people can see a newsfeed full of posts related to that specific tag.  It is a way for people to condense a newsfeed into exactly what they are looking for in terms of topic, product, business and other specific things.

Expand Your Reach

If you are using hashtags, those looking at posts within your topic will be able to see your posts.  This helps people to find you.  You can get to people who have an interest in niche topics.  For example, if your business is gardening and you specialize in certain plants or flowers, use a hashtag for these.  Those looking for these plants, tips on planting and growth or a place to get advice can head to the hashtag and find your business.

Building Your Brand

You can create a hashtag that is exclusive to your brand or business.  Just make sure to do your research and make sure that no one else is using this specific hashtag.  You will likely have to be quite unique to find something not already in use.  However, keep in mind that this hashtag must also describe your brand.  So, if you are a garden center or gardener, stick with something related to this.  You can get creative and use plant names or something similar, but it should be related to what you do.

When you are posting things with your new hashtag, make sure that the posts have value.  Things like sales pitches and posts not related to your business will not be shared very often.  Offer something valuable in each post (this does not mean a coupon or promotion) and make sure it is something that people will want to share with their friends.

Special Promotional Tags

If you post the occasional promotion on your Facebook page, create a special hashtag for this specific promotion.  Every promotion you do should have its own hashtag.  If you post this promotion on other platforms, like Google+ or Twitter, use the same hashtag.  You want people to share your post and hashtag to get the word out about your promotion.  You can also include some popular, pre-existing hashtags that fit with your promotion to help people to find it.  Just make sure these tags truly fit well and do not overuse them. This will also help you in getting more likes to your pages.

To Use Or Not to Use

Hashtags are still very new on Facebook and not everyone likes them.  Because of this, you need to be careful not to annoy your loyal fans.  When you are posting, there is no need to always have a hashtag.  Only use them when they are relevant.  You also do not want to stuff your posts with hashtags.  One or two is usually enough.  You just want to get your posts seen.  You do not, however, want to turn off the people already faithfully reading them.

Chris Spencer loves using social media as a marketing tool and writes blog posts to help others learn to do the same.

Social Media Is Revoloutionizing Customer Service

Social Media Is Revoloutionizing Customer Service

Are you among the 80 percent or the 20 percent? Eighty percent of brands reported they expected to be tapping into social media as a customer service tool by the end of 2012. If you’ve landed in the 20 percent, you could be missing out on millions of opportunities to connect with your consumers.

Take Comcast, for instance. By now nearly everyone’s heard about @comcastcares, which the company started in 2010 with the goal of providing easily accessible service and Q&A to consumers. Today, the @comcastcares Twitter handle has more than 45,000 followers. The picture doesn’t get much clearer than that: Consumers are increasingly expecting to have easy access to their brands, and they’re flocking to social media to do just that.

Despite Comcast’s success with Twitter, Facebook is actually leading the pack in terms of consumer-brand communications. Nearly half of respondents report being influenced most heavily in terms of buying decisions. And about one-third of consumers say they turn to Facebook brand pages when they have a product or service question. Are you missing out on millions of chances to connect with your audience? Learn more about why social is making such a huge impact on consumers. Check out our infographic below!

Social Media Customer Service

This infographic was made by ClickSoftware Field Workforce Management, the leading provider of field service and mobility workforce management.

Twitter Releases Answer to Facebook Connect

Facebook Connect was first announced in May 2008, and currently boasts over 80,000 websites have added the feature with over  60 million Facebook users engaging with Facebook connect on third party websites each month. According to multiple sources, Twitter is now preparing to launch its own set of tools that will let third party websites easily integrate Twitter features  directly into their web sites and services. This is essentially a direct response to the massively popular Facebook Connect feature.

The new Twitter “connect” product will reportedly allow websites to authenticate users, pull data and then publish back to Twitter.  While all of these features currently exist via the Twitter API, the Facebook Connect-like packaging and easy-to-use
don’t exist yet.

We’ll update this development as soon as we have more details but our understanding is that Twitter has been working with  a handful of publishers and will likely make an announcement about the new product shortly.

Facebook Launches Twitter “Retweet” Feature

It’s been a long time coming – Facebook launching its own version of Twitter’s retweet feature. Facebook has rolled out a “via” feature that allows you to repost another friend or user’s shared items, with a “via” link attached for attribution.

With most new features, Facebook institutes a progressive rollout, however, it appears the ‘via’ feature is live for everyone. To try it out, head over to a friend’s posted item in your news feed and click on the “share” link. You’ll now see a “via [your friend’s name]” and also an option to remove [your friends name]. Once the item is shared, it will appear on your profile with a via link that also points to your friend’s profile. Your friends will also see the item in their News Feeds which now creates the viral loop that folks on Twitter benefit from with the retweet.

As of right now, the feature only works for posted links. It is not yet possible to “via” status updates or photos. Nonetheless, this is yet another big move by Facebook to bring  its social network more inline with one of its biggest competitors – Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Retweet Feature

With the biggest buzz word in the industry being “real time search” this is clearly another effort to improve Facebook’s search tool and to become more relevant in the world of real-time news, search, and information. It will be interesting to see how quickly users respond to this new feature and start sharing “via” links in their own feeds.

What are your thoughts? Will you use this new feature? Why or why not?

How To Train Your Staff on Social Media

I wanted to call your attention to a post I wrote for our sister blog [] regarding training your staff on social media.

While it doesn’t deal directly with Facebook, the examples of the negative implications that a companies staff can have while posting and browsing on Facebook increase every day. As a result, being educated or educating itself is vitally important for employees and managers alike.

Here is a short exerpt from the post and I would encourage you to check out the full post!

An ever increasing failure by many corporations when undertaking a social marketing campaign is transparency. Telstra is being as transparent as it gets – publishing their entire social media training guide online. I would encourage you to check it out, learn how you can implement something similar in your company and critique it for additional opportunities to improve the training.

The training guide takes on the forms of a comic book but also includes narration from a speaker with a pretty cool Australian accent. It starts with the most basic social media elements – like “what is Facebook?” From there the training gets into more complex issues like “what if my personal blog post is critical of Telstra?”

Facebook Fan Page and Fan Analysis

Facebook fan pages – you know, those public pages on Facebook that are created for brands, media outlets, celebrities, and wanna-be celebs, etc. Well, it turns out many of them just aren’t that popular!

According to Sysomos, a social media analytics firm, 77% of Facebook fan pages have less than 1,000 fans.

Sysomos analyzed 600,000 fan pages on Facebook and came up with the fan distribution curve in the chart above.  The majority of fan pages have only 10 and 1,000 fans.  Only 4 percent have more than 10,000 fans, and less than 1/20th of a percent have more than a million fans.  In their upcoming report it breaks down the additional data as follows:

  • 95% of pages have more than 10 fans
  • 65% of pages have more than 100 fans
  • 23% of pages have more than 1,000 fans
  • 4% of pages have more than 10,000 fans
  • 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans
  • 0.047% of pages have more than one million fans (297 in total).

Here is what I found most interesting – Facebook fan pages tend to be updated only once every 16 days.  When you consider the craze around Twitter which measurs popularity on how often a profile is updated and followers are built because folks want to hear what is being said. Facebook seems to represent exactly the opposite. Fan support seems to be built on affinity rather what is being said or broadcast.

What are your thoughts? Why do you ‘fan’ a page?

Xbox Live Integrating Facebook & Twitter Next Week

xbox-integrationJust yesterday I wrote about Facebook being integrated into Playstation 3 and now official news from Xbox regarding their own social integration. If you didn’t get into the Preview Program for Xbox LIVE’s forthcoming social networking integrations featuring Twitter, Facebook and support, don’t worry — you don’t have too much longer to wait.

According to Major Nelson, the new Dashboard Update will be going live to everyone next Tuesday, November 17. The update also includes a new Zune video area that picks up where the Xbox Video Marketplace left off, adding the ability to stream a number of purchases instantly instead of having to wait for them to download.
The one drawback, due to a lack of parental controls on the new social services, is Xbox Live users under the age of 18 won’t be able to access these new services. Microsoft says it is working on building out those controls, so within a few weeks those user should be able to access the new features.

Is there anyone who was involved in the new preview? What are you thoughts?