Since coming online in 2004, Facebook has risen to the top of the social media landscape and asserted itself as the essential platform for connecting with people over the internet. Now, with over 900 million users, it is extremely popular and being used at an increasing rate as a marketing and advertising platform for businesses across all industries. Although, there is considerable worth for businesses on the platform, the value of it for these specific purposes varies greatly.
Within marketing, Facebook is excellent for branding, engagement, and growing reach, but with advertising it is not so cut and dry. Advertising on Facebook is great for some brands but it simply does not give adequate ROI for many others as evidenced by the timely withdrawal of General Motors’ (GM) advertising efforts on the platform. This is the essential point of the company’s disappointing IPO. The company has assumed an advertising-focused business model to capitalize on their massive stores of personal information in order to generate their revenue, but the nature of advertising on the platform cannot support the valuation that was seen in the run-up to the launch.
For a company that generates 82% of its revenue from advertising (first quarter 2012 figures), Facebook’s advertising model needs to be more robust across the board for it to be the sustainable long-term income generator that the initial valuation positioned it to be. The reality is their advertising model does not reflect this as the average quarterly revenue per user is only $1.21, compared to AOL’s $2.39, and Google’s $7.14. With that said Facebook will have value and indeed make money, but the significant variance in advertising ROI is the primary element that will prohibit them from generating the kind of advertising revenue that would justify their desired value.
Additionally, the very climate that gave legs to Facebook’s growth is also a threat to its long-term viability. Online social behavior is very dynamic and there is inherent vulnerability in Facebook’s product – its user experience. Facebook is built on user behavior and the experience they have with the site, and there is no guarantee that current positive behavior will continue. If behavior changes negatively over time and users engage with each other less or spend less time on the platform (as has been experienced in Australia), the value of ads will drop and the company’s worth will be degraded. Such “Facebook fatigue” has been seen in pockets already and there is potential for more of this in the future.
Similarly, the social media industry is constantly evolving in terms of what users want, what is possible, and the inevitable competition that arises. With advances in all facets of technology growing so quickly, from the functionality of the standard web, to mobile devices and smart TV’s, the way users engage with social media and what they look for will undoubtedly change. In this process, it is possible for strong Facebook competitors to arise offering something new and different, two elements that gave life to Facebook early on. What gives Facebook its strength is its popularity and user-base size, but these numbers are not set in stone as their competition increases. The recent rise of Pinterest, which recently became the fastest standalone website to surpass 10 million visitors-per-month, is a firm example of such competition as it offers something very different than what Facebook delivers. The argument is not that Pinterest, or others, will directly overtake Facebook but that Pinterest and other news platforms will steal time spent on social media away from Facebook, devaluing its revenue-generating ads.
Facebook certainly has a future, but it is likely not anywhere near as bright in financial terms as the build-up to its IPO would lead us to believe. Those looking to market themselves and gain exposure by engaging with customers on the platform, do so purposefully as there is significant return for the relative cost. For advertising, though, businesses should evaluate if it is the right option for them based on the products they sell and the type of conversions they are looking for. In the end, the future direction of Facebook depends on their ability to respond to changes in the social landscape as well as improve their advertising offerings and larger revenue generation model, a tall task given the discussed inherent challenges.
Has your company recently opened a Pinterest account as a new initiative within its SEO marketing strategy? Despite the newness of the social media site, there are already several tools that are available on the market for conducting analytics on the widespread usage of Pinterest.
Leading the pack of useful tools is the service provided by a startup called Pinerly. This new company is in the process of developing a comprehensive offering of tools for analytics, specifically designed for use on Pinterest accounts. Although it is currently in the beta phase, Pinerly has already amassed a user base of 35,000. Its users include many different individuals and companies, and even some major brands.
If you were thinking of getting your hand on this new tool, feel free to sign up for the waiting list on the website. Have you already received access to Pinerly? Then take a look at a recent article on Mashable that offers thirteen incredibly useful tips, complete with images, on how to navigate and best utilize the various features on Pinerly.
So what are some highlights of Pinerly’s features? They are:
• You can create pin campaigns in a variety of ways on Pinerly, and track them easily. Generate pins from within Pinerly itself. Or, create pins from the external link of a website. You can even upload a file from your computer to create the right pin for your campaign.
• After creating a pin, you can add a link and a description, then choose the Pinterest board you would like to attach the pin to, while on your Pinerly dashboard. And then, simply pin it.
• Once you acknowledge to Pinerly that you are done pinning, the service starts tracking your campaign immediately. It will present the data to you in a nice chart that is easy to read. It will also provide a list of statistics, broken down for easy analysis.
Pinerly takes the process of conducting marketing campaigns on Pinterest to a whole new level. There is no better way to enhance your existing set of SEO strategies. Check out Pinerly today, to learn more about how it can benefit your business’s marketing initiatives
Social media networking sites are forever developing new affiliations with each other to better enhance their users’ experiences. The most recent ones to do so are Tumblr and Facebook, as reported in a recent Mashable article. The two websites have announced a new feature that will making the sharing of blog posts from Tumblr much easier on Facebook’s new Timeline format. Users of Tumblr can activate this from their Tumblr accounts.
The ability to automatically transfer posts from Tumblr into Facebook has already long been available. The only difference here is that Tumblr has tweaked the process to better adjust to the new Timeline that Facebook introduced at the beginning of this year. This change in the feature does not only affect individual users, but businesses as well. I will take this opportunity to discuss an aspect of social media marketing that all too often passes over the heads of many SEO marketers.
There are many businesses that already use Tumblr as a great promotional tool for their products or services, and as one of many components of their social media marketing strategies. In managing a variety of different networks for a single brand, there is one important thing that marketers must keep in mind: each channel must display content that is unique from all others.
When a marketer is managing so many different social media networks for a company, it is tempting to post the same content on each and every channel. However, this is only really acceptable for promotions, sales, and things of that nature. It has been shown in many cases that posting unique content to each network is essential to drawing in more visitors, and keeping them interested in your brand. When visitors see the same content on each page, however, they are less likely to visit it again.
In regards to Tumblr and Facebook, if you have set up an automatic transfer of Tumblr posts to Facebook, make sure they both have exclusively unique content. Having the same content show up multiple times in your Facebook fans’ news feeds will very likely cause them to lose interest in your brand page.
It has already been said: content is king when it comes to SEO. Make sure to diversify the content of all your social media profiles.
There is some important and exciting news about Pinterest that a lot of businesses really need to pay attention to. As reported by a recent article on Mashable, it has been found that Pinterest is not just a heavy driver of traffic to companies’ websites. Pinterest has now been shown to also be a driver of sales. This piece of information adds greatly to the mounting evidence that supports Pinterest’s value to the world of marketing. This evidence purports that Pinterest possesses a great deal of potential for becoming an integral component of many companies’ SEO and social media marketing campaigns.
Evidence comes from data that was compiled by the company Wayfair, which is the second largest retailer of home goods by revenue. It supports three websites for sellings its wares: wayfair.com, allmodern.com, and jossandmain.com. What Wayfair has found is that shoppers which arrive on their sites from Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to purchase an item than shoppers who are referred from other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as from search.
Not only that, people referred from Pinterest spend 10 percent more than average customers. The article goes on to state that, when the statistics of all social media sites are put together, visitors to websites who have been referred from Pinterest spend 70 percent more than visitors who have been referred from other sites, and including search. These are some pretty significant numbers for all businesses that are considering adding Pinterest to their social media marketing repertoire to seriously consider.
An important point that Wayfair makes in its announcements is that the company had only started actively using Pinterest at the beginning of 2012. In this short span of time, the company’s Pinterest boards have experienced a great deal of popularity – and its site a significant amount of traffic and sales. This is a sign to other companies that it does not take long for a marketing campaign on Pinterest to start paying itself off.
If your business is thinking about opening, or has already opened, a Pinterest account, don’t hesitate to start putting together several beautiful boards. It won’t be long before the benefits start kicking in.
There definitely have been more than a few businesses and organizations that were initially dismayed at the changing of their Facebook brand pages to the Timeline format. What they may not have realized yet, however, is that the Facebook Timeline format will turn out to be highly beneficial for meeting their SEO and social media marketing needs. In fact, what everyone really seemed to need was an article from Mashable, that was recently posted, which outlined and detailed the ways in which Facebook Timeline has been designed to enhance marketing on the social media network.
The Mashable article actually provides three main reasons for which the new Timeline brand pages are beneficial for businesses on Facebook. What are they? You can find out what they are by reading below.
1. The new Timeline format encourages continuous rejuvenation of content and material. This in turn has been shown to increase new traffic to a business’s Facebook page. The previous “default tab” format had not been as conducive to allowing new visitors to learn more about a company and its products or services. The Timeline format, on the other hand, provides ample opportunity for companies to gain exposure for their brands. They can best utilize this feature by posting new content on a regular basis, and sparking conversation with fans by running polls, discussion forums, and more.
2. Many have already noticed that Facebook Timeline is a format that provides an appealing and attractive display of visual content. In other words, it is optimal for posting images in a variety of size formats. Companies should take advantage of this to post images that show off their wares in the best lights possible.
3. The new Timeline format offers marketers a wide range of great analytics tools and insights built into it. Particularly useful is the real time data that it generates, which allows marketers to track the progress of posts immediately, and tweak as necessary.
Facebook definitely kept advertisers and marketers at the top of its mind when designing the Timeline format. Taking some time to understand the changes and how to best utilize them will help marketers in taking advantage of the enhanced marketing potential of their Facebook business pages.
The introduction of Facebook Timeline for brands officially brought to light a very important aspect of marketing through social media: brands must be humanized. In other words, a brand must communicate with its social media audience on a direct personal level. This can provide dividends of benefit for companies, because it increases the trust that customers place in them, which in turn produces positive results in profits.
For the SEO marketer seeking to learn more about, a recent article on Mashable provides some very helpful tips and insights. Read below for some great tips on how a company can effectively humanize its brand on social media channels.
1. Realize that social networks are wholly egalitarian, meaning that there is no individual, company or organization receiving more importance than others. Imbue this thinking into your interactions with customers.
2. Humanize your brand. Create a great working environment that will prompt employees to naturally share stories of their company and brand with the world through their social networks. This organically creates buzz on social media.
3. Keep executives or tops of companies away from managing the company’s main social media accounts. The best people for the job are those who interact the most directly with customers.
4. Provide customers with access to parts of your business. For example, if your company holds an event, have someone live-tweet what takes place as it happens.
5. Treat your customers as your own business partners. Or, have them serve as the face of your company. Think of companies like Dove and Levi’s who have used customers in advertisement for their products.
6. Reach out to key individuals with special products and promos. Satisfying them will help spread the positive word about your company.
7. If your company makes a mistake, own up to it. This will definitely cultivate more trust in your brand.
8. Give fans some work to do. For example, arrange for them to run an online forum or event.
9. Show that your brand is open to debate. Post blogs about relevant topics that can spark conversation.
10. Be present, involved, and engaged with not only customers, but the rest of the social media world. People will only pay attention if you are doing and saying something.
Humanizing your brand has become the norm for marketing on social media. Start considering how your company can start doing so on its own social networks.