Category Archives: MySpace

Should Companies Embrace Facebook?

bivI was interviewed for a cover article that appeared in this week’s edition of Business In Vancouver. The story reads “Surge in Social Networking Rings Corporate Security Alarms” and talks about the rising use of platforms such as Facebook and the potential negative affects it could have on the workplace. Privacy and security are increasing concerns as more people congregate, share and communicate online. I don’t disagree, particularly when it’s employees of companies disclosing corporate information not intended for the public on a ‘company Facebook page’. This is particularly true with publicly traded companies. The same careful administration bestowed to a company website, should also be taken with a Facebook page or Ning community site or Myspace space.

But this shouldn’t stop your company from embracing these social media tools and platforms, which allow you to reach prospects and customers in a meaningful and massive way like no other. First, you’re reaching them where they go and on their terms. At Facebook, a user will only get updates on your company if they opt-in by becoming a fan. At Twitter, a user will only receive your messages if they become a follower. They also have the power to share it with their friends, fans and followers instantly, giving you some viral love in return.

And second, these tools aren’t trendy, they’re cultural. More and more people find these tools to be just way too simple and powerful to ignore. And the price is right. Our raw and primitive need to communicate and connect will never change. How we do, does and will. And technology leads the way in helping us serve that need cheaper, faster and easier. These tools and platforms are revolutionizing the way we communicate and connect, and businesses may as well learn how to use them to their benefit, and not their detriment. Below is an excerpt from the article:

While a company may not be able to control negative comments that are posted on the Internet, the web’s interactivity allows companies to respond to them. “There’s a whole etiquette to social networking that not everybody gets,” said Rajan Sodhi, vice-president of marketing at PEER 1 Network Enterprises Inc. (TSX: PIX). One consistent rule is to communicate openly, honestly and often.

Vancouver-based PEER 1 uses a number of social networking tools and has an employee whose sole role is to cultivate the company’s online presence. PEER 1 also monitors the Internet for content that mentions the company. “It can be positive or negative,” said Sodhi. “If it’s something [about PEER 1] they aren’t happy with, we acknowledge them right then and there.” As well as reacting publicly on a blog or network on which a negative comment was posted, PEER 1 will usually follow-up with a phone call.

“We’re a real believer that these social media tools and platforms are here to stay,” said Sodhi, who is the administrator of PEER 1’s Facebook site. “You can be fearful of it and not embrace it, but I think you’re going to lose one of the best tools for communicating and reaching your market.”

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Filed under Business, Communications, Facebook, Internet, marketing, MySpace, Ning, Online marketing tactics, Selling, Small Business Marketing, Social Media, social network, Technology, Viral

MySpace Hypertargeting vs Facebook Beacon

Dave Rosenberg compares new features for advertisers on MySpace and Facebook in reaching targeted members through behavioral patterns and interests. For an advertiser, this is very attractive, giving them the greatest chance to ensure their ad resonates and is relevant. To the user, it can feel very intrusive. Concerns of privacy will no doubt creep up. However, this is what members knowingly or unknowingly give up when they sign up for many of the free services they enjoy online like MySpace and Facebook. At Adtech New York, this topic came up a lot with many vendors reassuring the audience that no personal contact information is ever passed on to advertisers, and only behavioral patterns and interests (ie. jazz music) are used to help advertisers reach their audience. The profile info is completely anonymous and treated as some innocuous serial number that no one could ever decipher. Comforting? Maybe for some, but this will continually grow into a hot topic as more sites find creative ways to satisfy the demands of advertisers who provide the revenue streams to make these sites available.

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Filed under advertising, Business, Facebook, Internet, marketing, Marketing Research, MySpace, Online marketing tactics, Search Engine Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Social Media, social network

Office 2.0, Om, Matt, and Other Stuff

Dan Simoes and Matt Mullenweg

Got back Friday night from Office 2.0 in San Francisco. The place felt like ground zero for web 2.0 and SaaS companies. The St. Regis was buzzing with people clamoring to find out primarily the impact social media and networking will have on enterprise. Also, product demonstrations from new startups and growing firms like Spanning Sync and Smartsheet. I just installed Spanning Sync on my computer, awesome tool! It syncs my Google calendar with Apple iCal and solves a problem I’ve been having with keeping my laptop up to date. And now that I got the iPhone (yeahhhh!), it is coming in even handier. Robert and I had the opportunity to briefly meet Om Malik of GigaOM up in the terrace. The guy has terrific sense of humor and I’m looking forward to taking him up on his invitation to meet over a beer soon.

On Wednesday, we had dinner with WordPress’s Matt Mullenweg and RevCube’s Dan Simoes at First Crush. Both great, down-to-earth guys who I really enjoyed spending time with. Lots going on in their respective businesses. Matt’s got many exciting things in the works for the WordPress users, so stay tuned. Back to the event, lots of positives with the event. On the downside, the lack of a paper agenda got annoying at times. I know it was an experiment in a ‘paper-less’ conference, hence the iPhones containing an agenda app from Etelos, but what the experiment should have proved is that technology can’t overpower and replace certain human needs in face-to-face settings, the same way an ebook can’t replace the feel of reading a physical one. I had a laugh with Mark Mader of Smartsheet over lunch where he relayed a story from earlier in the day when he asked someone for their business card after a conversation. The guy said he didn’t have any, “It’s a paperless conference”, he added. He tried to instruct Mark on how to use his iPhone to get the contact information, which seemed like much more trouble then it was worth, so no exchange occurred.

Technology is useful as long as it helps individuals bring balance in their life, rather than overpower it. People who use Facebook and Myspace to feel the ‘high’ of being well-connected or popular from their laptop, but still can’t navigate themselves through a real face-to-face, social setting is just one example of where technology can hurt. Just like to old cliche “life is all about balance”, you can modify it to these days to read “life is all about how you balance technology”.

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Filed under Apple, Blogging, Business, Communications, Facebook, Hosting, innovation, Internet, iPhone, Managed Hosting, marketing, Matt Mullenweg, Mobile, MySpace, Om Malik, Online marketing tactics, PEER 1, RevCube, Small Business Marketing, Smartsheet, Social Media, social network, Technology, Trade Shows, Web 2.0, Web Sites

How to Use Myspace for Business

Myspace LogoAnita Campbell at Small Business Trends describes a good use of Myspace for small businesses targeting the 18-24 crowd. She cites Jim Cossler, the Chief Evangelist of the Youngstown Business Incubator who has found their Myspace page more successful in reaching this target audience than any other medium. Read more

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Filed under advertising, Business, Communications, Design, Internet, marketing, Markus Frind, MySpace, Online marketing tactics, Selling, Small Business Marketing, Social Media, Web 2.0, Web Sites

Facebook, The Right Way to Design a Social Networking Site

FacebookI’m relatively new to Facebook. Although, I was introduced to it quite a while ago through an invite from a friend to join, I didn’t do much with it because of my disappointing experience with MySpace. If you ever want to get turned off online social networking, use MySpace. Its tedious interface and functionality really made me wonder what all the hype was about. I get the fact that giving people the ability to completely customize their home page is appealing, a chance to really show off your individuality through pictures, fonts, designs, and music. It’s also damn annoying navigating through pages of self-indulgence that have very little meaning to me. Maybe I’m just not the target audience as I start pushing 35, although I saw Tom Anderson, the founder in an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos claiming that many more people over the age of 30 are joining than ever before. Go figure.

Facebook, on the other hand has been a breath of fresh air and is the model of a great social networking site. Excellent functionality, easy to use, clean interface, and witty features. Being able to tag your friends in photos is simply brilliant! And receiving updates on the people you know in well-organized RSS news feeds is pretty cool. Yesterday, I posted my Apple iMac G4 for sale in Facebook’s marketplace and have already received six inquiries. I also added a fundraiser that I’m involved in to the event’s section that anyone can view. You can also access Facebook from your phone as well as upload photos directly from it.

It will be very easy for Facebook to layer on many more features on its existing platform, so much so that it will begin to rival LinkedIn, Craigslist and other free places online to network and commerce. As the company positions itself for either going public or being acquired, they should have a few more options beyond the advertising business model to generate revenue.

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Filed under Business, Communications, Design, Facebook, Internet, marketing, MySpace, Small Business Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Web 2.0, Web Sites