What shall be next for Facebook?

Letter to Mark Zuckerberg:

Dear Mark,

It is pictures, text and videos that we share and engage around. And as you correctly know our usage of “the always on web” (a.k.a. mobile) is increasing.

For pictures (& always on web) Instagram is a good acquisition (don’t forget the pin-boards issue though). For videos the need still exists, I am sure you guys are working on that.

However, maybe a more important but an overlooked area is the text. Yes, you did a good acquisition in terms of IP with Friendfeed and nailed the short text. But that was only for short texts. However, to nail texts fully you need to find a solution for our need to share longer (and many picture/video embedded) texts.

You know well who are the driving force of social networks; “thought leaders”. And the tool for most of the thought leaders is long text.

Let’s wait and see how Instagram acquisition goes. If that is the effective way, go acquire a blog system, if not develop in house a better tool.

I would have loved to see all WordPress functionality embedded in Facebook.

Please, act fast though. Your competition is not the companies, but the time we are losing as a society on inefficient ways of communication.

Best,

Mehmet Subasi

Blogs & Publishing Platforms on Web

Before Facebook there was WordPress as the main publishing platform on the web.  And, WordPress will always have its place on the web publishing.

Even though the infographic doesn’t consider Facebook as a Blog platform (and I cannot read their unique visitor numbers), this infograhic is important to understand the power of wordpress on web, and it’s place on web publishing.

See The Power of WordPress Infographic is prepared by Tech King:
Infographic: The Power of WordPress

Planning & Designing Facebook Promotions

Facebook made a change to its Promotions Guidelines this week. The big news is; there is no longer a requirement to obtain approval from Facebook to run a promotion entirely within Facebook.

The two major changes are;

1) No need for prior written Facebook approval to administer a promotion on Facebook.

This makes life for brands much easier. According to Wildfire Blog:

“Previously, in order to administer a promotion inside of Facebook, you had to either obtain explicit approval from a Facebook representative, or else run your promotion in two parts by  ”publicizing” it in a tab on Facebook but “administering” it (collecting submissions or entries, conducting the drawing, judging winning entries, or notifying winners) off of Facebook. But now, there is no need to obtain approval to administer the entire promotion inside of Facebook, so users participating in your promotions will remain inside of the Facebook environment by default throughout the entire process flow of the promotion (and do not need to be taken to microsite to submit their data). This is great news because generally promotions that are run entirely in Facebook have better conversions (i.e. higher entry rates) and higher rates of sharing (via newsfeeds and friend invites) than those that are only publicized in Facebook but administered via a microsite.”

2) No need for a minimum media spending to support the promotion.

This is also a good news for brands. It is now easier for marketing people to get their promotion campaign approved internally and gives the ability to plan smaller size / focused test promotions..

But keep in mind that all promotions are still subject to Facebook Promotion Guidelines and the following types of promotions are still not allowed:

  • Photo contests which require profile photo manipulation
  • Status update contests which require posting status updates for entry
  • Contest entries once a user has become a fan

See AllFacebook article:  Facebook Promotions No Longer Need Explicit Approval From Facebook

4 Tactics for Social Commerce on Facebook

The biggest challenge to e-commerce in the Social Web Era is the emerging Social Commerce. With the raise of Social Commerce, Facebook is becoming the Mecca for commerce. Companies need to be fast to grab land on Facebook. Below you can find the best ways to implement Social Commerce on Facebook;

1) Integrate Facebook Like button to your product description page

This is a must for any e-Commerce site. It is easy to implement, and an instant win for any ecommerce site. Also, it is the most used tactic already on eCommerce sites.

2) Advertise on Facebook to drive traffic directly to your product pages

Paid advertising on Social media is often mixed with social media activities. However, it is a totally different discipline and is much easier to set up and run than any social media activity. However, remember following four advise when advertising on Facebook;

  • Don’t let your online media planner run static / boring advertising on this media. Facebook advertising should be managed in savvy hands who have a good understanding on advertising on Facebook
  • You should understand that the real cost on Facebook advertising doesn’t lie on the amounts paid to the media, but costs are in managing the campaigns in the required detail with a savvy team
  • Automated solutions can help you reduce costs, but don’t try to lower your managing budget with automated solutions and cut on headcount for managing the campaigns, because automated solutions when not audited can cause much more harm than help
  • Manage product launches differently than your everyday campaigns; don’t fall into the basic mistake of stopping or modifying everyday campaigns during product launches. Also keep in mind that during a product launch a social media activity backed with advertising is much more effective than just advertising on social media

3) Use Facebook Login for your e-Commerce site

Facebook Login is a great way to authenticate people on your eCommerce site. This functionality does not only enable the easy sharing of thoughts and likes on your products, but is also a great win if you want to increase your user base fast. It is an ease of use for visitors in order to quickly login to your site in one click.

4) Build your eCommerce application on Facebook

Companies are planning to develop their own applications on Facebook. An e-Commerce application on Facebook has three major advantages,

  • Presence: Your customer is already there (They don’t come to your web site every day)
  • Ease of use: There is an opportunity to increase ease of you on two dimensions; first the real ease of use by making it simple to shop, second the perceived ease of use by just being on Facebook
  • Trust: People will have less trust issues on Facebook domain than your company-specific domain to share their information with you

These three advantages will increase your potential buyers, since there is a target population who find it difficult to shop on different sites or are still afraid to shop online from e-commerce sites. For any online retailer with serious online revenue eCommerce application on Facebook is a great way to increase sales.

If you have not already applied social commerce tactics for your company or are resisting social commerce reality, please see the data below. Both are recent (June, 2010) survey results of US online marketers on Social Plug-ins & Social Commerce plans.

1) Facebook Social Plug-ins implemented by online marketers
2) Facebook Social Commerce Plans for online marketers


The 4th Era of Internet is starting

We are again in the midst of a new evolution. There is another change of era on the internet. Like the Chinese curse says: “May you live in interesting times!” The new era will bring new challenge to each one of us, not to mention the major effects on marketers.
We can divide the internet age into four era:
1) Academic Internet Era (before 1993)
Enabling technology: the internet infrastructure
2) The Browsable Web Era (1993 to 1999/2000)
Enabling technology: world wide web
3) The Searchable Web Era (2000 to 2010)
Enabling technology: Google Search
4) The Mobile & Social Web Era ( 2010 to …)
Enabling technology: Apple (iPad/iPhone) & Facebook Like
All the new era’s on the internet brought it’s own winners and losers and new business models to the internet. The fourth era, however is even more challenging. The change is on two axis; the mobility (always on mechanism), and the social aspects of the internet. This era will not only bring it’s own winners and losers and business models, but will also touch the DNA of capitalism, democracy and the society. It will touch every company, every political party, every government, every NGO, every family much deeper.
The big change that the 4th era is bringing is the social aspect which will change our habits of consuming the internet. Web will not be ranked to Google’s algorithm anymore, but with our friends choices (that is “Facebook Like” functionality).
Pete Cashmore of Mashable takes it even further saying; “Facebook seeks to replace this open system of links between pages with the “social links” (or Likes) that it controls. Google and other search engines won’t have full access to all these Likes, so the company best positioned to rank the Web will be Facebook.” (see the full article on CNN: Google’s nightmare: Facebook ‘Like’ replaces links )
PS. The bad voices against Facebook and its somehow “ethically challenged” founder Mark Zuckerberg are also to note. I hope Facebook will be in the hands of good management and it will be an enabling catalysator to this new evolution.

Facebook era is just starting

Nowadays, a lot of people are thinking that the “Facebook Hype” is over. If we are talking about Gartner’s hype curve, they are right. Because, the first portion of the curve is passed. But now is the time to see a steady growth in Facebook usage (we are between “Slope of Enlightenment” and “Plateau of Productivity” in Gartner terms).

In other words the time for weak applications in Facebook is over. Now is the time for mega applications in Facebook. And this will make the fundamental change in web that I mentioned months ago. We are just starting the Facebook revolution. Also the fbOpen Initiative (Facebook Confirms Plans to Open-Source Its Platform) will be instrumental for this new era. Facebook enabled us a huge platform for identity layer on the web, and everything on the web will be different from now on for the marketers. The social web is now really starting…