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Ed Keller and Brad Fay discuss the shortcomings of social media in their new book, The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace.  Brad Fay explains that the effectiveness of social media marketing lies in its ability to connect people.  In their research, Fay and Keller found that only 3% of product talk occurs online, with the remaining 97% occurring in person.  The key to advertising and marketing is to create a desire among people to talk about the product whether online or offline.

When creating a marketing strategy, keep in mind that popularity does not necessarily equal marketing success, and remember that you now must integrate social and traditional means to optimize success.  A marketing campaign may end up being popular, but without relevant content, it is necessarily going to be effective.  Content is still king.  Fay explains that the viral success of a commercial may not necessarily lead to person-to-person discussion about the actual product.  A marketing campaign should make people talk about the product or service, not about the campaign itself.

Brad Fay and Ed Keller certainly do not diminish social media marketing, but they emphasize social media to be used as a tool to enable discussions among people.  The focus of marketing, social or traditional, should be to transform customers into ambassadors of the brand.

Facebook and Google+, as with most social networks, force users to give up their privacy to get more out of the service, but are there any benefits to this loss of anonymity?

Facebook and Tumblr deal with online privacy very differently.  Facebook requires you to use a real name and is designed to connect people.  There is no anonymity on Facebook–it even started as a closed network that required a verified .edu email address to become a member. However, Tumblr doesn’t require any personal information, and allows people to anonymously share pictures, ideas, etc.

In an interview with BloggingHeads, Andrew McLaughlin, VP of Tumblr,  and Marne Levine, VP for Global Public Policy for Facebook, explained how anonymity and transparency effect Tumblr and Facebook.  McLaughlin and Levine provide completely opposing viewpoints on the importance of anonymity.  McLaughlin praises the freedom that comes along with anonymity, while Levine criticizes the lack of comfort and lack of security that stem from anonymity.  While Facebook is a networking tool used to connect people, Tumblr is creativity tool used to share ideas–anonymity has a different role with each.  In Facebook’s case, the lack of anonymity allows users to connect with other users, but since the network has opened up it is nearly impossible to verify identity.  In Tumblr’s case, anonymity allows people to share ideas, but this also makes people less accountable for their ideas and opinions.

Full Video of the interview

Anonymity may allow people to express themselves without consequences, but it also creates a false sense of security.  Anonymity allows people to express themselves without reproach.  Free, anonymous expression makes sense for Tumblr, as it allows users to explore creative interests that they wouldn’t explore without anonymity, but it does not make sense for Facebook, which is meant to be an online extension of real interactions that happen between people.

The real question may be whether this anonymity is truly possible.  If you engage in social media, your information is going to be in their database forever.  Even if you don’t have an account, however, your information may not be as private as you think–everything that you have ever searched on Google is tracked and saved.  If you choose to delete your Google search history, your search history can still internally be used by Google for 18 months.  Nothing that you do online is anonymous, the only question is if you know your anonymity is being violated or not.  Google has agreed to pay a 22.5 million dollar settlement to the FTC for violating users privacy, without their knowledge.

Managing a Facebook Career Page is another way to broaden a company’s social engagement.  It may seem a bit superfluous to have a Facebook Career Page in addition to a company website or company LinkedIn profile, but having a career page on Facebook immediately opens up a business to the 901 million Facebook users.

By curating your Facebook Career Page yourself, instead of letting Facebook automatically create one, you are taking control of your brand, much the same way as creating a page for your business gives you control over the content.  Managing your company’s page yourself is the only way that you can control how your brand is marketed.

Having a career page provides an outlet for you to create a dialogue with your consumer base.  Marketing through social media is all about creating a community of followers and interacting with your followers can strengthen your brand, SEO, and customer base.  Some tips for engaging your followers on Facebook include: sharing links instead of only text and give your followers reason to spread the word of your brand through promotions, useful original content, and thoughtful leadership.  Include phrases such as “share with your friends” and “click here” to create an interactive relationship with your followers.  Direct them to your other web presences to add value and track the user engagement.

Having a Facebook Career Page can be time consuming, but it can also be an asset to help build your brand.  LIke any medium, make sure this also fits with your overall brand strategy before you just hit “Go”.

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Facebook’s underwhelming stock performance and the recent flight of some of their top executives has prompted people to hypothesize how the company will appease its investors.  Facebook needs to create more of demand for its stock; it has been rumored that Facebook may cease to be a free service, but in light of its disappointing IPO this may be the best way to boost revenues. Of course, they will have to have some free services to keep their user base, but they could benefit from some paid features.

Facebook just unveiled a new feature where companies can pay to promote posts and status updates.  Having to pay to promote posts on Facebook is not by itself a terrible feature, but it does go against the open access that made these social networks so successful in the first place.  While many social media tools, such as LinkedIn, do have options that require fees, the potential problem with this paid promotions feature is that it could diminish their user base.

It’s too soon to tell if having paid accounts would destroy Facebook. While having to pay for an account would undoubtedly unrage users, Facebook is so popular and so often used that people may just pay the fee instead of taking the hassle to switch over to a rival site, such as Google+.

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Sai Pradhan, Managing Director, Trufflepig Search Hong Kong, was featured on the keynote panel at the Women Media Networks last month.  The two others who spoke at the panel were Jocelyn Liipfert, Head of Social Media at TBWA, and Jay Oatway, digital consultant and author of Mastering Story, Community and Influence: How to Use Social Media to Become a Social Leader.  Jocelyn, Jay, and Sai together stage the popular #HKSocial–a networking event focused on the power of digital and social media.

Sai explains how LinkedIn helps recruiters:

“In my experience as a headhunter for PR and communications positions, we do use LinkedIn, but very selectively. It’s a research tool, but we develop candidates more by personally reaching out to existing contacts and to sources in our networks and by developing specific research to find top talent for the position we are handling. So, yes, while professionals who are keeping an eye out for new opportunities should certainly create and use LinkedIn profiles, it cannot be the only way, nor should it consume all your job seeking time. But if you are on LinkedIn do make it easy for a recruiter to contact you.”
For more of Sai’s discussion on the WMN panel.

Google’s creative new documentary, Project Re:Brief, takes four classic advertisements from Coca-Cola, Volvo, Alka-Seltzer, and Avis and re-imagines their message with the help of digital advertising. The new campaigns creatively combine the classic message of the original ads with today’s demands for interactive marketing.

The main challenge associated with the project was keeping the message the same as the original ads.  The goal was to update the ads to the current market while remaining true to their original intent–to what made the ads iconic.  Unlike one-way print or commercial advertising, digital advertising is meant to engage people–what better way to engage than by adding interactive elements to proven campaigns.  All four digital advertisements focused on creating an interactive and innovative experience, but Avis and Volvo’s ads are worth noting.

The Avis ad featured in the project originally featured their “We try harder” slogan.  The advertisers created an interactive marketing campaign where users’ stories are turned into short animated video clips.  Avis also encourages users to send in negative feedback so that they can improve as a company and live up to their slogan.

Volvo’s new digital ad drew inspiration from the powerful 1962 ad, “Drive it like you hate it”, which cleverly showcased the durability and longevity of Volvo.  Keeping this message in mind, advertisers created a new digital ad campaign in which anyone can track the progress of Irv Gordon, a man who has driven the same Volvo since 1966 as he approaches the 3-million-mile mark with his car.  Users can track his journey on Google Maps and even create their own road-trip adventures.  These campaigns show how digital has truly revolutionized the consumer experience.

Re:Brief communicates the idea that for a campaign to stand out in today’s social media-obsessed atmosphere, it must be engaging, interactive, and above all, have a timeless and relatable message.

Jobsandtalent is an up and coming European-based recruiting site that incorporates social networking into the hiring process.  Felipe Navio Garcia and Juan Urdiales founded this startup on the hopes of using Facebook’s social network to change how companies search for employees.  Jobsandtalent works by getting information from a user’s Facebook profile information, such as education, work experience, and friends, but not any status updates or photos. Garcia and Urdiales both were separately developing a social recruiting site after realizing how social connections often help people find jobs through their friends.  Garcia and Urdiales had been connected to each other by mutual friends who realized they were both interested in developing similar businesses–that’s how they became partners.

One surprising aspect of Jobsandtalent is the use of Facebook, not LinkedIn as the source for their social recruitment site.  LinkedIn is a social media tool for professionals; it is designed for networking and hiring, whereas Facebook is a social media tool for friendships.  Garcia and Urdiales chose to connect their networking site to Facebook, because they believe one’s personal–not professional–connections most often lead to jobs.  Garcia explains that “The best 20 or 30 people you can ask for a recommendation are on Facebook, not LinkedIn”.  Jobsandtalent is the European alternative to BranchOut, another popular Facebook hiring site.  So far, Jobsandtalent has not widely been used outside of Europe.  On Jobsandtalent you have to add friends to your Jobsandtalent profile to get job suggestions, but on Branchout you do not.  While Branchout is also more user friendly and is the more established of the two, Jobsandtalent is gaining popularity in Europe.

For more on Jobsandtalent

1.  What is visible to the public, to employers, and to potential references? When managing your online identity be aware that whatever is visible on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site, must be appropriate for any current or future employer to see.  Just one inappropriate tweet, update, or pinned photo can cause repercussions for your long-term career.  On Facebook you can click “View As” on your main profile page under the “Settings” drop down.

2.  Depending on what your position is, is it may be important to have a presence on certain sites? For seeking communications positions, it is important to show that you are knowledgeable about current social media trends.  Staying up-to-date with online sites can show your ability to manage change.  While it may not be necessary for you to be on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and Pinterest, having your presence certainly has its benefits.  LinkedIn is especially useful to recruiters.

3.  What is your online reputation?  Do you have a positive, negative, or neutral presence online? Your online reputation can range from positive to negative and inappropriate.  Be aware of how you come across on the internet.  While having a negative online reputation will certainly work against you, having a neutral presence won’t help you either.  In creating an online identity, be cognizant of how you want to come across to coworkers, future employers, and people you haven’t even met.  Social media allows us to create our own marketable versions of ourselves, take advantage of that.  Create a Google Alert for your name to track what is being said about you online.

4.  How do people interact with you and how do you interact with people online? The people that you interact with on social media sites reflect who you are.  How often you interact with people on these sites also speaks to what kind of person you are.  Social media sites, especially Facebook, but to a lesser extent Twitter, can paint a picture of you as an extrovert, introvert, or somewhere in between.  These sites might pigeonhole you as a social butterfly, or as a shut-in.  If you allow your content to be displayed, make sure that your interactions, and how often you interact, will benefit your image.  Klout is a good way to see an overview of how you interact with others online.

5.  What do you show interest in online? Don’t “like” anything detrimental to your image, and make sure to showcase what makes you unique.  What pages you like on Facebook, whom you follow on Twitter, and what you tweet about all reflect who you are and what your interests are.  Don’t showcase an aspect of yourself that you don’t want other people to know about, but also show what makes you unique.  Facebook privacy settings allow you to block content from some and not others by the creation of lists.

Pinterest is the latest Social Graph, a concept that Mark Zuckerberg founded in 2008.  The idea of the Social Graph is to analyze users’ content sharing and interactions with each other.  Pinterest has garnered immense popularity over the past months with individuals and businesses alike.  Pinterest is also popular overseas and in China.  By allowing users to focus on spreading their interests instead of enabling just another social network, Pinterest is an ideal social media tool for marketing and branding. Businesses can use Pinterest to showcase their products, develop a stronger brand, and establish rapport with their customers.

Smoyz, an Israeli digital agency, has gone beyond just having a company Pinterest account, by developing an entire campaign based on this Social Graph.  The agency studied the pins of 50 women and created personalized items for each woman.  The response to this campaign was immense:  the 50 women brought in 2,284 interactions and 694, 853 impressions.  This feedback was possible because Pinterest is all about spreading and sharing interests.

Another innovative use of Pinterest comes from China, where companies create Pinterest clones– sites that provide the same service as Pinterest but with different names.  Two of these companies, Mogujie.com and Melishuo.com, allow users to pin proucts only from the site Taobao.com, China’s largest eCommerce site.  Even though users have only one site to “pin” from, both these Pinterest clones are a success.

Currently, Pinterest is the ideal platform for sharing interests.  Companies can optimize their use of Pinterest to increase traffic to their site and to build a wider audience.

For more on how to differentiate your brand with social media.

Our very own Sai Pradhan, Managing Director of Trufflepig Search in Hong Kong was interviewed and featured in a story featuring Hong Kong’s ‘Digital Dreamers’–the digital and social media entrepreneurs making a deep impact in the Asia Pacific’s digital scene.

Sai is focused on recruitment of social media-savvy communications and marketing talent for client organizations.  Prior to her appointment to head the Hong Kong office, she was an Associate in the corporate communications and marketing speciality practice at Los Angeles-based Berkhemer Clayton, retained executive search consultants.  Previously with public relations agencies Ruder Finn and Fenton Communications, she has worked with a range of clients and industries, handling messaging, branding, positioning, corporate social responsibility, and media relations.

 Photo Credit: TimeOut.com.hk

A few highlights from Sai’s conversation with TimeOut Hong Kong:

How do you find your candidates?
If it’s a Hong Kong position, there are four or five names I can name off the top of my head, mainly because I’m so ingrained with the social media community here.

Describe the ideal candidate.
The ideal candidate in Asia is someone who can speak multiple languages, so if it’s a position in China it would be a bit silly to go with someone who only speaks English.The placements I’ve done have been 90 percent expat, but I don’t want to classify because it’s such a blurry line.


Is the salary which clients offer here on par with other cities in the world?
Of course, but you need to take into account that people don’t pay so much tax here, so base salaries are a little lower. In general, social media jobs tend to be a bit overpaid, that’s what I have been finding; just a little more than your average PR job.

Why is that?
I think perhaps people based in Asia feel less need to educate themselves on it than their counterparts elsewhere.

How educated do you need to be to succeed?
I’ve seen a lot of people just take it upon themselves to become the digital or socialmedia person within their company, but If you don’t understand whatever is applicable to your role, like brand messaging, then you’re going to be quite lost.


But isn’t it true that Hong Kong is far behind other world cities?

 


Complete Interview at TimeOut HK’s website

For more on Sai’s take on social media in China

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