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What is Facebook worth to you?

I’ve followed the breathless tracking of Facebook’s valuation for several years now. Part of this inane banter has been around various attempts to place a dollar amount on individual Facebook fans. With last week’s IPO dominating the mainstream news, and the hit the stock price took the last two days, the question of whether Facebook is worth $100 billion is one that many are still debating.

Rather than debate this, the question to ask is what is Facebook worth to you?

I would argue that for most, it has not much, if anything, to do with “personalized” ads or sponsored stories from brands. It is based on what has made Facebook a part of daily life for almost a billion people. I bet it is along the lines of what it is worth to me. [Read more...]

How to Make Content Portable: Instagram

When Facebook shocked the industry with its $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, the reaction immediately focused on the reasons why a 15 month-old mobile social network could garner such a valuation. Many cited the 40 million users Instagram quickly amassed, but it’s arguably the hundreds of millions of photos snapped and shared on the network that is its greatest asset.

What the popularity and now the Facebook acquisition has done is increased the importance of Instagram as a channel that brands should embrace. General Electric is perhaps my favorite example. It shares snapshots of its myriad products with over 75,000 followers in the artistic way that Instagram users love, and generates a lot of comments as a result. It’s also a great platform to use for a photo contest whereby customers can snap photos of your products with rewards going to those photos that followers “favorite” the most.

Between content that brands can create and share and images generated by a brand’s fans, Instagram content is becoming increasing valuable assets to share across more than just the mobile-based network. But how can you make this content portable? This tutorial explains how and is the third part of my content portability series. [Read more...]

How to Make Content Portable: Pinterest

While most industry folk spent several days last week (jealously) pondering Instagram’s $1 billion purchase (more of less) by Facebook, I immediately viewed it as a pretty strong statement that the future of social media is visual. We’ve always loved sharing pictures and this is why Instagram became the largest mobile-only social network in only 15 months. It didn’t have any revenue, but it had 40 million Instagrammers and this was what Facebook paid for.

It’s the same reason that Pinterest has had its stratospheric growth. If social media is going visual, you want to make sure all of your visual content — graphics, diagrams, charts and others — is portable. I’ve seen many sites add “Pin It” buttons to the set of sharing options on blogs and Web pages, alongside the Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn buttons. Much is this has been enabled by WordPress plug-ins like Digg Digg that add Pinterest to its options.

But I haven’t seen too many people take advantage of one of Pinterest’s other “goodies”, the free-standing Pin It button for web sites. This tutorial shows you how to use it to make graphical content assets travel like this, and is the second part of my content portability series.
[Read more...]

How to Make Content Portable: Embedded Tweets

Social content services like YouTube and SlideShare for years now have allowed companies to make content more shareable by setting it free from the shackles of the corporate web site domain.

If there is one area where social services have focused on terms of adding features it’s content portability. Making content portable should be a part of every content marketing strategy. This post kicks off a series on how to use some of the newer ones available with ideas and recommendations for use cases.

The Embedded Tweet

I’ll kick off the series with the Embedded Tweet. This was introduced with “New New Twitter” late last year. It was the most unheralded new feature, and in my opinion, most underutilized. Perhaps it’s because the vast majority of people use Twitter through clients like TweetDeck or mobile apps, and this is only available through [Read more...]

Social Media Managers Are From Venus — And So Are Corporate Lawyers

SM-lawYou may be thinking that this post’s headline doesn’t make sense, especially if you have tried to push social media initiatives through legal approval.

But it probably got you to read this, so bear with me and let me know at the end if you still don’t agree with it.

I’m just back from SXSW in Austin (and dried out as well). The conference is so large now that it’s had to spread out over hotels a half mile or more apart. It made it tough to make it to interesting panels, but despite that fact, I was able to attend one that was hugely relevant to me, as someone working on enterprise social media programs.

The session was called “Bridging the Lawyer-Social Media Manager Divide” and featured Richard Pesce, Capital One’s Senior Manager for Social Media & Digital Communications, and June Casalmir, in-house counsel with Sprint Nextel’s Consumer & Marketing Practices. [Read more...]

7 very cool Facebook brand timelines

Cross-posted here from my company’s BostInno channel.

When Facebook first announced Timeline, its tag line was “the story of your life”.

With Timeline for brands now available (see Cheryl Morris’s great post on Facebook’s fMC event on BostInno), it’s time to tell the story of your company. I bet hundreds of social media managers, strategists and their agencies are burning extra hours now rushing to make the switch.

Unless you want to be among the first, my advice is to use the 30 days before Facebook switches all pages to make sure you do it right. Sure, there are big brands that already are live, but keep in mind that these companies likely had early access and planned their pages carefully.

I’m doing that now with my clients, with several core considerations in mind. I’ve looked at lots of pages to gather examples. I’ve seen many that clearly just threw up a cover photo and published the page. One admitted that it didn’t know what to think of its new page and asked its fans for their opinion. Of course, since most Facebook users hate change, the response was not favorable. Not a good way to introduce Timeline to your fans.

The old adage, “You only have one chance to make a good impression” definitely applies here. Following are the ones that I’ve seen since yesterday that are very cool. They are also instructive of the nuances available for curating Timelines that are not spelled out in Facebook’s documentation. [Read more...]

Facebook Timeline for brands: The story of your company

Facebook is using 2012′s extra day to unleash what is expected to be some major goodies for social media marketers.

If the rumors are true, the company will announce Facebook Timeline for brand pages tomorrow at fMC, its first-ever event for marketers in NYC. Numerous blog posts have been written offering advice on how marketers should prepare based entirely on speculation.

I have been thinking about this since last September since Mark Zuckerberg first showed Timeline at the f8 conference. At the time, I jumped on the developer hack available to get early access to Timeline so that I could think about what it would mean eventually for companies. I wrote a post on my agency’s blog offering this thinking, and since then have tried to follow through on it with my own client work.

Since this advice is even more relevant on the eve of fMC, I am re-sharing it here and updating it with new recommendations from the last week. All of these recommendations are based on the notion that Facebook is now a service for “telling the story of your life.” [Read more...]

Social media policy: The blurry line between personal and professional

For anyone advising companies on social media policy, the Tim Thomas situation is a fascinating case study in action.

Thomas is the starting goaltender for the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. He set records in last year for making the most saves during the Stanley Cup Finals and having the highest save percentage in history during the regular season. He capped his historic year by being the first goalie to earn a shut out on the road during game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, and winning awards for playoff MVP and best goalie in the league.

Now there is the distinct possibility the Bruins will trade him this year. Crazy thought. Here’s why. [Read more...]

Pawngo’s apology: Part of its PR stunt?

What do you do when you can’t afford a Super Bowl ad, but want to capitalize on it from a marketing perspective?

Pull off a PR stunt.

That’s just what Pawngo did[Read more...]

10 tweetable tips to make you a better writer


Writing tipsWe have a problem.

There are many of us in the industry (PR and marketing in general) that can’t change how we write. It’s not fair.

It’s not fair to those who we are trying to reach with our writing. Being in tech PR and marketing, for me and my clients, it’s usually CIO’s and IT managers looking for good enterprise technology products.

Tell me, how is fair for those folks to have to read something like this?

The explosion of data coupled with data center modernization, virtualization and cloud computing have overwhelmed traditional backup methods and led to poor recovery times, potential data loss and higher costs and business risk.

[Read more...]