Category Archives: Facebook

How Restaurants Should Use Facebook?

So you’re running a restaurant/working in a restaurant and wanna know how you can use Facebook? Folks at my company, Iffort have created a small presentation which will help you get started with a basic framework :)

Hope you guys would like it.

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Filed under Facebook

Facebook’s New Comment System: All You Wanted to Know

Were you gearing up for the upcoming Facebook page updates for 10th March? Well, hang on for a bit as there is more surprise in store for you before that happens. The latest comes in the form of Facebook’s newly launched comments plug-in, a powerful system that is bound to re-define how users comment on Blogs and other social media sites.

Let’s look at this all new plug-in and what makes it vastly different from already available commenting systems like Disqus, Intense Debate etc.

How and where do you install Facebook plug-in?

The comments box can be installed on any third party website where an interaction like comments is functional. You can grab the code for comments box from Facebook’s social plugin section here.

As shown in the screen below, the following details need to be entered before you can get the code for comments box. For example, you need to enter the URL of the website where the comments system will be integrated. The number of posts means the number of comment threads that should be displayed in a single instance. Lastly, you can set the width of the box and click on the “Get Code” button to grab the relevant code.

Install Facebook Comments

Please note, this plugin can only be used if your website has an application ID. Obtaining an application ID is simple and it can be easily done by registering the site.

What’s so Unique about FB Comments?

Authentication takes a backseat: We all know how tiring it can be to enter your username, website link and email address everytime you comment on a blog-post. Under the new comments system, if you are already logged on Facebook you don’t need to go through further authentication and can instead just focus on the comment. Not only that, your real picture will be displayed alongside the comment which negates the possibility of spam comments.

Choose how do you want to Post Comments

The new comments system also gives you the flexibility of choosing the profile/page from where you want to post comments. If you click on the “Change” link next to the Comment button, you can select from all the pages you administer and accordingly post your comment.

Cross-post Your Comments on Facebook Profile

Now let us move to the left-area of the comment window where you have another option which says “Post to Facebook”. This cross-posting feature ensures that any comment you make on a blog/website also goes to your Facebook profile thereby allowing your friends to see your comment in their activity stream. The “Post to Facebook” option is checked by default.

Synchronization of Your Friend’s Comments on Facebook & Website

Now once you post a comment and it goes to your Facebook profile, it is also reflected in the activity stream of your friends. The beauty is that everytime your friend’s comment on your post, it is also reflected on the original website where the discussion is taking place.

Here is one example that we tested in the case of Techcrunch. We had commented on a post by Techcrunch from the Facebook page of Iffort.

Any follow-up comment that was made for this post on our company page, also went back to Techcrunch. In other-words, the new comments system establishes a seamless connection between comments made on the website and Facebook page. As you see in the screenshot above, the normal comment button on Facebook has now changed to “Comment on TechCrunch”.

Organization & Display of Comments

Coming back to the website, the organization of comments is governed by a social algorithm. This social algorithm displays comments that are made by friends in your network and also the ones that have generated more discussion. I think there is still some flaw in this feature as the sorting of comments seemed to be working differently when observed from two distinct profiles.

Administration Options for Comments

The Facebook comments system is also powered with a comment administration system for easy management of user-comments in the backend. This works well like any of the commenting plugins and enables readers/administrator to filter spam comments.

What is the Good Part?

  1. Reduction in Spam Comments: Since the comments plugin requires posting from your Facebook profile or a page that you manage, it will immensly cut down the volume of spam comments.
  2. Unification of All Comments: Site owners and blog authors can now aggregate all of their comments in one single place, as comments made via Facebook are also displayed on their website.
  3. Simplification of Commenting Process: The new comments system now takes away the pain of entering URL, Email and Name as it simply authenticates via the user’s Facebook account.
  4. Promotion Opportunities for Facebook Pages: This is perhaps the best feature of the new comments system. You can now post comments on third party websites as Facebook pages thereby providing more visibility to the fan pages.
  5. Easy Sharing with Friends: As users who post comments, the tedious task of sharing your comments with Facebook friends is now gone. With the “Post to Facebook” option checked by default, the comment sharing on Facebook platform becomes single click.
  6. Synchronized Deletion of Comments: Just like posting of comments, the deletion of comments is easy as deleting a comment from either Facebook or third-party website removes the respective comment from both the places.

What needs to be improved?

  1. A Strong Social Algorithm: While the algorithm that aggregates and displays user comments is good, there is still lot of scope for improvement. It is still not clear as to how the user comments are displayed on a third-party website. In my case, when I clicked on the techcrunch link I was able to see the most popular comments along with a couple of comments made by friends in my network. Surprisingly, I couldn’t locate the original comment that was made from the Iffort Facebook page.
  2. Be Prepared for Scrolling: Irrespective of how the comments work, prepare yourself for some good amount of scrolling to locate the comments you want.
  3. Slow Loading Time of Comment Box : Something that I specifically observed in atleast 2-3 websites where the new comment system was installed. The entire comment box was taking a fair amount of time to load and the page had to be refreshed a couple of times before the comments could load.
  4. No Facebook, No Comments: If Facebook is blocked in your workplace, there is no way you comment on an article.
  5. Integration with other Social Channels: The current comments system is heavily dependent on Facebook. What remains to be seen is how integration of other social accounts like Twitter etc. will work with this comments system.
  6. Privacy Issues: Since the comments made by user profiles will now be displayed outside Facebook, it can create privacy issues as some of the users might have problems in sharing their data outside the Social network.

and the vote goes to..

If you own a blog and are looking to improve its visibility, the new Facebook comments system is just the thing that you’d want to install on your site. The functionality of this system is far more superior and widespread than all the currently available plugins, so there is a big thumbs-up from our side.

These are still very early days for the comments system. Are you a site/blog owner and planning to integrate the Comments box on your website? What are you thoughts about the new system?

45 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Facebook Pages

Facebook Upgrades Fan Pages

Today’s morning brings a new surprise to all of us as Facebook has upgraded some of the features in Fan Pages. The changes as Facebook says are aimed to managing communication, improving expression and increasing engagement.

The changes are in terms of visual and navigation appearance for fans as well page administrators. In addition, there are set of new features which add on to page functionality.

While, Facebook has released an official note about the announcement, here is what I understand from the upgrade:

Tabs make way for Pictures

Like profiles, Facebook pages would now display your most recent uploads or tagged pictures right at the top.

Tabs Shift to Left Navigation

Don’t worry the tabs haven’t gone anywhere :)  Like your profile, they have just shifted to the left navigation area. What’s more there is also a special view for page administrators called as the “Admin View”.

Profile Pictures of Page Administrators

Now page administrators don’t need to go to the page settings, to figure out who the other page administrators are. I tested this feature and from what it appears, this is only meant for the admins. Fans, won’t able to see the profile pictures of page administrators.

Set Page as Your Profile

If you use this feature, you would be able to receive notifications for all the interactions made on your page. That’s not all you can also comment on other pages on behalf of the page. Example, I can comment on the itemperance fan page in the name of Iffort and not Daksh Sharma.

Off-course, whenever you want you can switch to your normal Facebook profile.

Comment on Your Fan Page from Your Facebook Profile

A feature that’s perhaps everybody was craving for. Earlier, whenever you made comments on your fan-page they were not linked to your profile. Now you have an option of choosing how you want your comments to be displayed i.e. from Your FB Profile or as Page.

Add Featured Pages and Page Admin Profile Pics

You could say, this is Facebook’s method of Backlinking/Creating a blogroll. On your fan page, you can display other pages that you like. Moreover, you can also display profile pictures of page administrators who manage those fan-pages.

For details about the announcement please read the Facebook note and read Inside Facebook.com’s version.

What do you think about the latest updates to Fan pages? How would this impact your fan-page? Is there any feature that we have missed. Please feel free to add through comments !!

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Filed under Facebook, Facebook Pages, Web 2.0

Bacha Party Wishes You a Happy 2011

Today is the first day of a new year, first day of a new decade and marks the beginning of a new initiative. It is called “Bacha Party”. Bacha Party is a little initiative to start a social media movement for driving the eventual goal of organizing small parties for the street kids of India.

Parties? Yes, Parties :) Anything which makes the kids happy and enjoy, so it could be a trip to the ZOO, a classroom session which teaches them the basics of English language or even a coffee outing at CCD!!

To mark the beginning of this new dawn, here’s a special greeting message from the Bachas on Facebook.

Bacha Party

How to Join Bachaparty?

Are you a “socialmediazen” and interested to join “Bacha Party” gang? Here is what you need to do:

  1. Make an update on either twitter/facebook on 11th of every month at 11am, and express your thoughts/ideas about the Bachaparty cause.
  2. Join us on facebook.com/bachaparty and to voice your opinion/ express your support :)

Bachaparty looks forward to meeting you in 2011. If you’ve any ideas which you would like to share with us please write to us at bachapartyindia@gmail.com.

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Filed under Bacha Party, Facebook

The Psychology of Facebook Page Engagement: Exploring Status Updates

If you are a marketer responsible for the social media function or a sociosumer (social + consumer = A consumer on the social web) trying to get a grip of user behaviour patterns on Facebook then you might consider reading this further.

They say that beyond “Facebook” profiles, the biggest thing to have happened to Facebook has been Brand-pages. Brand-pages have immensely contributed to Facebook’s exponential growth and commercialization.

If we go by research from http://www.facebook.com/BrandGlue, 99.5 % of interactions on page updates are made over user’s wall or newsfeed. This certainly implies that a “wall/newsfeed” is the critical interaction area for a fan-page post.

At the same time we are aware that “Facebook” shows us the “Top News” by default. This means that a page update would only display in a user’s timeline if it has invoked high number of responses. There are users who change the “News Feed” to “Most Recent” but this number is comparatively very low.

So if you are the page-admin, responsible for updating your FB fan page what does it mean for you?

  1. If someone has become your page fan due to a friend suggestion and doesn’t recognize your brand, then your post is a window of opportunity to create awareness.
  2. Every single word in the post belongs to the brand and reflects the personality of the brand as a whole.

There is a fair chance that over a period of time the post may carry certainly reflections of your thought-process and your
vocabulary but it shouldn’t weigh-down brand’s philosophy.

Any post that you write will generate either of these reactions:

  1. Create an impact – An emotion which is reflected in the form of a “Like” or a “Comment”. By default, you can expect more likes to happen due to user-easiness.
  2. A neutralized opinion, your reader views the post in his/her timeline and scrolls over to the next post and possibly prefers to read a status update made by his friend.

Look at it from a user’s mindset when he logs on to Facebook to see what his/her friends are up-to and your fan-page post is directly competing with the user’s friend updates. How often do you calculate this perceived value of your wall-post as a fan-page administrator?

Based on experiences, observation and learning, I will try to address some of the example approaches that have resulted in a successful impact towards creating engagement on Facebook pages. As I write this post, Facebook has started rolling out more prominent designs of News Feed filters allowing a user to set filters. While Top News doesn’t seem to be affected, you never know what lies in store :)

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Filed under Facebook, Facebook Pages

A Study on How Business Entities in India are Using Facebook

Over the last few weeks/months our team had been working on a pilot study to understand the applications of Facebook pages by Indian businesses. Primarily these are entities which have a degree of recognition and have consumption in various forms.

Facebook in India

We reviewed the Facebook fan pages of ’25’ select brands from ‘7’ different industry verticals for over a one month period. These brands were profiled on various criteria to understand their efforts to build engagement with their target audience through Facebook.

Methodology:

In our initial assessment we identified 31 brands that were most visible and famous amongst Indian consumers in their respective industry verticals and monitored them for a period of one month. However, as we didn’t notice adequate engagement levels in 6 brands, we dropped them and narrowed down our list to 25 brands. We followed an observation method, wherein we regularly visited the fan page of these 25 brands on daily basis and reviewed them on various quantitative and qualitative parameters (like fan engagement, wall-posts, likes, administrator activity etc.)

Some of the findings of the study are:

Most popular Brand: MTV-India [522,112 Fans as measured on 28th July 2010]

Brand with the highest growth in terms of fans: MTV-India [3846 + Daily fan growth]

Most active brand: Delhi Traffic Police [12.8 wall posts by admin each day]

Most Discussed brand: MTV-India [2085+ Interactions each day]

Outcome:

The exercise reveals that organizations are successfully using several tactics like poll contests, interesting apps and videos amongst others to drive participation, which would result in word-of-mouth and better engagement with the brand.

Credits:

Content Strategy for the Report

We thank, Anandan Pillai for his vital inputs and direction on organizing the content and preparing this report. He is a doctoral student (Marketing area) with Management Development Institute, Gurgaon. His research interests involve brand communities on social media, social media strategy and consumer behavior on virtual mediums. He can be reached at anandan1982@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @Anandan_Pillai.

Technology Partners

Special mention goes to our technology partners’ itemperance consulting. For more information about itemperance consulting, please visit www.itemperance.com or follow them on twitter at @itemperance.

Our Questionnaire Respondents

We thank the following teams for providing us vital inputs on their Facebook Fan page initiatives:

Pratham Books, Pagalguy.com and Su-Kam Power Systems.

Lastly the credit goes to entire team for pulling this one :)

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Filed under Facebook, Iffort

3 Ways to Analyze Facebook Fan Page Traffic

NOTE: I had recently scribbled my thoughts on Facebook Insights for India’s growing B2B marketing community http://www.paulwriter.com. Here is the version that is live on the website.

If your brand has a website, you would definitely want to analyze its performance in terms of visitor traffic, its navigation patterns, where the visitors are coming from etc. Based on the analysis of parameters like these, you would want to measure the success ratio of your site. Subsequently these indices would help you in doing a real time check, refining your website goals and making changes to your overall strategy by plugging it back into the website. Such changes could be design level changes or content level changes.

Moving beyond your website, the concept of analytics is also strongly applicable to your other online initiatives as well. The bottom-line is that as a marketer you would certainly want to measure the impact and effect of your activities on any channel.

When it comes to Facebook, the social networking platform is no different. Your brand has a Facebook fan page and you have a bunch of folks who like your company’s official ‘Facebook’ page. You have been posting updates on your Facebook fan page but do not have a clear idea about measuring the response to your activities.

With a few simple yet effective methods, you can measure the level of interactivity of your Fans on the Facebook page:

#1 Using Facebook Insights

A little while back Facebook had announced the improved version of Facebook insights which provides better metrics for Facebook developers and page administrators. The new version has many features which include Page tab analytics, track Facebook sharing and Likes on your own blog or website.

Facebook insights are located on the left sidebar of a fan page and can be accessed by the page administrators.

Facebook Insights

Fan Growth Graph

You can monitor the monthly growth graph of your fans, fans that are being added on a daily basis and the overall rise in fans.

Facebook Fan Growth

Fan Demographics

If you want to position a page towards a particular demographic you can see how many males or females are interacting. The screen below shows that the bulk of the interaction happens in 25 – 34 age groups and the trend holds true for both the males and females category.

Fan Demographics

Fan Geography

Since this is basic data, you might want to dig a little deeper and find out more about the geographic trends like where your fans are coming from. As seen by the figure below Mumbai and Delhi are two of the most popular cities for this fan page. So, if your target audience is from Chennai then you need to figure out how you can position your updates and make them more appealing to the visitors from a particular geography.

Level of Interactions

You can also gauge the type of interactions preferred by your fans i.e. Likes, Comments or even un-subscribes on your page. E.g. it is a matter of concern for a page administrator if the value of un-subscriptions in a week is more than 0 over a consistent period.

Level of Interactions

#2 Using 3rd Party Tools

Other than Facebook’s integrated insights dashboard there are many vendors who provide tools that help the administrators to track activity on their Facebook pages. These tools build on the core philosophy of limitations with Facebook’s own measurement service.

Webtrends Facebook Analytics

Using Facebook’s FBML application you can set up a custom tab which supports HTML language. The limitation with Facebook analytics is it doesn’t quite tell you in detail what happens on the custom tabs. Facebook Insights just shows you the % views received by each one of your tabs.

The Facebook Analytics solution by webtrends captures all the transactional details including custom tabs and flash applications. Similarly if you are running a custom application or are using your Facebook page to drive email sign-ups it can be easily measured by webtrends.

Web Trends Facebook Analytics

#3 Using Google Analytics

If you are a hard-core user of Google analytics and crave for its functionalities then you can integrate its comprehensive set of features with your Facebook fan page. What it means is that you can get insights on your fan pages like visitor statistics, traffic sources, visitor country, keyword searches with all other powerful reporting & maps overlays etc.

To get Google analytics working for your Facebook fan-page, you can follow these steps:

* The first thing that we need to do is setup Google analytics account in-case it is not already setup.
* Then you need to set tracking images and generate custom code.
* The generated code can be placed inside Facebook pages using the FBML application. Google Analytics will track all visits to pages including those pages where the code has been inserted.
* The solution has been created by a London based web-development company for further inputs you can read their detailed blog-post. Another simpler version is available at socialmediaexaminer.com.

It is time for your two cents

If you are aware of other ways and sources through which we can measure the interactions, visitor traffic & other data on Facebook fan page then do let us know and we would be more than glad to include it in this thread.

This exclusive guest post was written by Daksh Sharma is the Director and Co-founder at Iffort, a people centric digital marketing & a web-strategy consulting firm. For more information you can read his blog and visit his company’s website Iffort.

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Filed under Facebook