I told people the ‘dislike button’ would never exist… And with that, now Facebook releases this… (see video below).
The psychological influence Facebook has on us is tremendous. Allowing a ‘dislike’ button would create unintended + associated animosity towards their platform.
Subconsciously, people return to Facebook so frequently for hope, entertainment, and encouragement. A dislike button would unleash a new conscious dynamic, not good for FB. I believe users would be ‘shy’ to post content (out of fear of rejection) and ultimately, return visits/active users would decrease …and worst of all, FB would have a deep and dark new cultural norm …a negative dynamic that doesn’t exist in mass today, only in pockets.
Sure, you can be negative on Facebook today …but the platform doesn’t enable it, or encourage it through its UX. The words ‘DISLIKE’ aren’t staring anyone in the face to easily click. Imagine seeing, ‘You have 5 dislikes’ on your photo you posted’ (from your vacation to the beach. Today, these subtle emoticons they are asking users to use are spot on. Given FB’s colossal influence, I think this is the right thing for them to do.
Ingram’s Magazine reached out to me to write a column for their latest issue. Specifically they asked me to tackle the infamous question, “What’s the ROI of Social Media.” Here is what was published in the May 2015 Issue.
I often have conversations with marketing pros and members of the C-suite who say the world of technology is moving so fast, that they are struggling to keep up. Many are attracted by the newest shiny object (e.g. Apps like Snapchat, Periscope). They are constantly reading headlines and stories of businesses seeing great success with social media. But when it comes to running their own business, these same people struggle in answering the question, “How should we measure success with our social media efforts? What is the ROI?” And they hesitate in enabling their teams with the things they need to be successful. It’s one of the most frequent questions I hear.
Marketers often look in the wrong places for the right answers to give back to the C-Suite. They obsess over with the tools and the technology. Getting Likes, Followers, Views—the ROI in social media is not about the tools. It’s about how you’re using the tools to achieve real business objectives. Business outcomes that matter to the organization. Your goal isn’t to be good at Facebook; it’s to be better at business because of social media.
Here are some things to consider in order to ensure social media is aligned and successful for your business:
1) Educate the business. Do this frequently, not just once. I advise clients to conduct quarterly meetings (at minimum) that are cross-functional “Social Media Education Sessions.” This establishes a baseline of knowledge about the tools. The key is to make it a safe place for all to ask questions about how the tools work. Furthermore, these sessions should highlight specific social media efforts that have helped other businesses augment their sales, products, service, marketing and communications. Do not focus on your own business in these meetings. It’s easy to get derailed and focus on yourself, so set aside different meetings/sessions to discuss these topics.
2) Commit for the long-term. Far too often do I see episodic or sporadic approaches with social media. Businesses try and shortcut their efforts, making them seasonal, and expect immediate results. This couldn’t be more wrong. Social media is not a fad. And it’s more than just running a campaign. It’s an everyday expectation in the world we live in now. Much like you have processes that you’re constantly refining around customers who walk through the doors of your business, or workflows for customer-service calls received—the same is true for social media. It should be a part of how the business flows.
3) Define your persona(s) and their customer journey(s). The golden rule applies here; know the audience(s) you are trying to affect. Don’t stop short by only defining demographic information. Bucket groups based on their shared psychographics, emotional and practical needs. With each audience, map out all the steps in their customer journey from awareness to conversion. Take it a step further and define the loyalty stages post-purchase. Knowing this information will help you understand the strategies and tactics that are more effective for making them a customer and retaining them.
4) Set social media goals that ladder up through marketing objectives and business outcomes. To be successful, your social team needs to have a clear understanding of how the business operates. If they have a clear understanding of these objectives and outcomes desired, it sets the stage for them to put social strategies and tactics in place that support these efforts and achieve these goals (and more importantly, you can set measurements if this was achieved). When your social team presents results, they should take time to correlate how specific tactics are aligned to business outcomes or objectives that have been set and how to refine them.
5) Create quarterly and yearly budgets for your paid, earned and owned efforts on social. It’s a common misconception that because social media is free to use, large budgets are not needed. This couldn’t be more wrong. As with other traditional channels, when well-integrated in to your overall marketing efforts online and offline, supplementing your social tactics with paid spends can make a big impact.
I still remember the very moment when I was sitting at my desk- roommates huddled over me, watching me sign-up for a Facebook account in college. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated with its impact and the power of connecting people. For over 10 years, I’ve been in the digital marketing space. Naturally, following the story of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg has been something I’ve observed very closely. It’s part of my job. Facebook is in part, how I have a job.
Fast-forward to last Friday.
If you follow Mark Zuckerberg online, you may notice he has recently started a series called Q&A With Mark. It’s a way for the public to ask Mark any question about Facebook. The way it works is anyone can submit a question on his Timeline or Q&A Facebook page. Questions come in from all around the world. His team picks the most popular questions and most interesting questions that are asked.
I posted this question…
It wasn’t an overly complex question. But it was something I genuinely wanted to know the answer to. Messenger as a platform could have incredibly impacts on how we communicate. If adoption is strong, our email inbox may never look the same. I posted the question with no expectations. In fact, I’ve posted a few questions before- and never received a response.
The next day I received this message…
WHAAAATTTTT!? I was so excited. Now, I know the message carefully said “could potentially.” Either way I thought this was awesome. Even the chance of my question being asked to Mark was something I thought was cool. I recorded a video and sent it to Facebook.
And then I got this message…
WHAAAAT THE WHATTTTT!?!
Holy moly. Is this really happening? I was beyond excited. This was a geeky dream come true.
But after about 5-minutes I did have a moment of realization that this could be fake. What if someone was making this up? I told myself that until I spoke with Facebook on the phone and had the confirmation emails, there is a likelihood this could be something Dateline NBC would chronicle.
But it was real.
And the trip was booked! My wife and I agreed- with her busy work schedule, it would be hard for her to come with me as my guest. Instead I took one of my business partners at Edgehill Capital, Eric Hazen. Facebook had everything planned out and coordinated. Car service transportation, travel, food. Even after checking-in they had a swag bag full of goodies in my hotel room.
When I arrived at Facebook, they gave me a name badge.
We got there a few hours before the event so we could eat lunch and get a tour of the offices. Turns out, Facebook flew in 3 other people as well just for the event (from New York and Texas). We had lunch with the PR/Communication teams and shared our stories and get to know each other.
This is one of the cafeterias at Facebook. Pretty normal to have the Nyan Cat scrolling back and forth in LED right?! Annnnd all the food and drink at Facebook for employees is free.
What is dangerous is they have a bakery that’s also unlimited + free that serves fresh cookies, ice cream, cakes, etc. If this was at my office it would not work. This would just be trouble for me! They say that when people start working at Facebook, you have to be careful not to get the “Facebook 15.”
We then went on a tour of the complex. It’s huge. So big many employees use bikes to get from building to building.
The Facebook main campus has almost everything you need. They intentionally put many things on campus because their offices are located in a very remote area. It takes 10-20 minutes to get to any food options or restaurants. Their offices have multiple food options (all of which are unlimited and free), dentist, doctors, bike shop, wood shop, bakery/ice cream and more.
Their offices are so big- you can take a shuttle from building to building…
This is the very first Instagram ever taken:
It was Mark’s birthday, so they had cupcakes out for everyone:
After the tour was over they took us to the room where the Q&A session was being held. This was fun- they reserved a seat for me!
This is what the room looked like:
And this is what it looked like from my seat:
And then the time came for the event. Was I nervous? Hell yes! It was a very weird set of emotions watching him walk into the room and being literally feet away from me. I thought to myself about what this meant. Facebook is a platform that has literally changed my life. I wouldn’t have my career without it. And so many amazing opportunities, connections, people I’ve met, incredible stories I’ve shared …all have been possible because of Facebook. And it’s been incredible to watch closely and follow Mark Zuckerberg in his maturation. I’ve always admired his dedication and ability to stay on-vision with the platform.
I took many deep breaths in those first few minutes. I rarely get nervous. And I’ve given presentations in front of thousands of people before on stages/conferences. But my heart was beating out of my chest. This was a totally different experience.
It was his birthday- and this was special to see. Mainly because I was able to see in person a more personal side to him as he described what it meant to him. He is 31 now. And Facebook after their IPO has evolved to a very sophisticated company. Here is a short clip of what I recorded him saying after we sang him Happy Birthday:
The event started and I was one of the last people to ask a question. Everything went well- I didn’t trip over my words that much (i was really worried!). In fact, when I got up to ask my question- I was more excited than nervous to have this opportunity. Here is a recording of the entire Q&A Session. If you jump to the 0:48 min mark, you can see me asking my question (P.S. that’s me in the blue shirt, far right corner)
Watch the full video of the Townhall Q&A with Mark from Menlo Park, CA
After the Q&A session, Mark hurried out of the room (even though a ton of people tried to corner him and take a picture with him). Facebook had not mentioned that we would get to meet Mark. So it was at this point I thought if that is the end of this experience, that’s ok- this was incredible! However that wasn’t the case. Facebook PR took us over to the new offices they just built and gave us a tour of the space. They surprised us at the end telling us that we were going to have the opportunity to meet Mark and take a photo with him. He came by and we briefly chatted about where we were from and what we thought of the new office. And that was that. Such an incredible experience. I can’t say enough for how well thought out the entire trip front-to-back was.
Thank you Facebook for a day I’ll never forget! I came home impressed + inspired + motivated.
So here we go. Facebook’s new Instant Article format has been launched. It’s been widely debated if the rumors about publishers would/could be dead if this format was ever released. Here’s my quick thoughts on it:
1.) Facebook Instant Articles is an evolution of FB’s Paper App. Remember that App? Similar UX. Prior to the Paper App, it was a company they acquired, “Push Pop Press” that originated this format/style. And it’s very very similar to Snapchat’s current story interface.
2.) I don’t think Facebook Instant Articles will kill the web. It’s not like AOL. This is just another way of presenting media within their platform. This only works on mobile/in-App.
3.) If you look at the The New York Times example below, ‘Instant Article’ works ONLY on mobile. It would appear Facebook is NOT giving publishers any kind of CMS/backend or logins. This is REALLY interesting because it has been debated if Facebook gets into the hosting of content space (e.g. WordPress, Medium etc.) that it could cause huge impacts on how people publish. Instead, Facebook is letting publishers use their *own* publishing tools, and then FB converts stories automatically into a format that works on their app. This is a HUGE platform decision that makes all the difference. This is also a big win for the users they’re not going after this space.
4.) Facebook is giving publishers 100% percent of the revenue they sell on Instant Articles. AND if they have unsold inventory, they are letting publishers work with FB’s ad network and sell it back to them (but giving publishers 70 percent of that revenue). What will be interesting to track is if this could trim down big media sales teams at pubs IF the revenue share dollars with Facebook is strong.
5.) It’s being reported that Facebook *will not* favor in the News Feed ‘Instant Articles’ over other website link-outs. However, I think digital strategists should keep a close eye if that’s true. If there is any kind of edge (pun intended, Edge Rank) = this is big. Furthermore, the visual presentation in News Feed isn’t dramatically different, so no huge ‘visual’ advantage given to publishers who follow this format.
6.) Overall, I think they Facebook handled this well. This is actually great for user experience and it doesn’t kill the business models publishers have worked so hard in building/creating. And they have been on record saying, “We don’t want to try and devour, and, like, suck in the Internet.” So many people jumped to conclusions when the rumors started earlier this year. This execution / strategy is hard to poke holes in. In the end, this is less of a big deal than conspiracy theorists predicted. There was so much spin on ‘what could happen would be evil’. But Facebook knows the dependency publishers have not only on their platform to survive AND how it also gives a great user experience Facebook users in being a daily destination RE: making it sticky (meaning, many of us get our news from stories shared on Facebook). It just seems fundamental that FB can’t disrupt this model, because both sides (users and publishers) depend on each other for this to be fluid, working well.