Article Archive by Emily MacNair


March 31 2011

Facebook Questions

by Emily MacNair

When you update your status on Facebook, what do you normally post?  A thought of the day? What you are up to?  Ask for a restaurant recommendation, or something else along those lines?

Many people (as you may realize if you are a Facebooker) use their status to ask questions to their fans to get thoughts, feedback, and opinions. As a result, Facebook has introduced a new feature called Questions.  Facebook Questions are intended to make asking and receiving responses to questions a much easier process.

When you log into your Facebook account, you will now see this addition next to where you update your status, post photos, share links, and so on.  Below is how it will appear when viewing a Facebook page you admin.

What’s unique about Facebook Questions is how much greater your reach can become.  For example, if you post a question to your Page or Profile using a regular status update, your question will be visible to your friends via their News Feed.  They can then reply to your question with a comment, or Like what you asked.  When asking a question using the new Question feature, your friends can respond, but also your friends’ friends will have the opportunity to participate and answer the question as well.  While other non-fans / non-friends can respond, your friends’ responses are going to be shown first, as those are likely to be more relevant or meaningful to you.

So how can this apply to businesses?  Not only are Questions available for Profiles, but they are also available for Company Pages.  Do you want to start a new product or service, or modify one you currently have? Reaching out to those who are already fans of your company to ask for their input could be tremendously valuable (and cost effective!).  When people start responding to your question, they can agree with an existing answer or add a different response.

The next time you are thinking about surveying your customers, try the new Questions feature in Facebook. You may find that the responses are all that you need to move forward with a decision.

March 18 2011

Sponsored Stories – Facebook Using Your Content for Ads

by Emily MacNair

Facebook has been a great marketing tool for quite some time through their Company Pages as well as through their advertising. Now, there is a new advertising opportunity called Sponsored Stories.  A Sponsored Story is essentially an action taken by a Facebook user that a company has promoted or sponsored.  These types of actions can include Page likes, interaction with apps, check-ins, posts to pages, etc. These stories will show up on the right hand side when logged into Facebook.  An example of a Sponsored Story is below.

One importing thing to note is that the Sponsored Stories will follow your privacy settings. This means that you will only see Sponsored Stories containing content that would normally show up in your News Feed; content posted by your friends.  In addition, a Sponsored Story that features your content will never be shown to someone who’s not a friend. The idea behind this is that when your connections are interacting with a page, checking in to a location or using an app, it’s likely that you may want to do the same or will discover new actions that your friends are taking. Another point that is important to note is that you can’t avoid being sponsored in a story. You also can’t opt out of seeing Sponsored Stories.

From the advertiser’s perspective, you are not able to control the messaging; it’s a matter of what people post in their News Feed, and whether or not you as an advertiser choose to promote that type of content. Sponsored Stories are, however, a great way to leverage and promote the viral marketing that Facebook already offers.  While Sponsored Stories will only be shown to you when one of your friends is featured in them, they help to better expose actions in News Feeds (Page likes, interactions with apps, etc). This provides more visibility for these types of actions, which would typically become buried in a News Feed over time.

March 1 2011

Social Media’s Role in Disaster Relief

by Emily MacNair

Social media has proven to be an excellent marketing tool for companies, but the greater power social media becomes undoubtedly apparent at certain times.  One of those times is now, as many of us woke up Tuesday morning to the devastating news that an earthquake rattled the lives of those in Christchurch, NZ.  Although we’ve only been aware of this natural disaster for a short period of time, social media has enabled victims to share their situation with family, friends and loved ones.  The speed at which social media helps to organize aid for victims is extraordinary.  Members of organizations monitor social media channels just as individuals do. As a result, they can quickly be alerted to where their efforts are most needed.

Organizations have rapidly jumped to provide assistance and distribute information surrounding the earthquake. Google has showed support by powering a People Finder in addition to setting up a Crisis Response page, which feeds in news and information from various locations. With real-time sites available such as Twitter, a moment doesn’t go by where information cannot be shared around the world in an instant.  Individuals and organizations on Twitter are tweeting ways to donate, emergency phone numbers to call, tentative plans to open up airports, photos and videos of the damage, etc.

For those around the world trying to stay up on the latest news from Christchurch, it certainly isn’t difficult. If you are a social media fan, your channel of choice already has news which you can follow, whether it is YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google News, etc. 

Even though many of us use social media for marketing or promotional opportunities within our businesses on a daily basis, we shouldn’t forget how social media has altered communication, especially in times need.

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