No Love for Facebook

February 2, 2008 at 2:59 am (blog, blogging, Facebook, marketing, photo, photograpger, photographer, photography, photrade, pictures, social media, startup)

As a part of learning about social media and effective “Social Media Marketing” strategies we had a brief foray into Facebook.  With the huge userbase and rapid growth, this seemed like a logical choice.

What we did

I’ll be the first to admit – our initial flirtation with Facebook was rather limited.  We created a group (called Photrade) and invited a bunch of people (mostly our friends, since 1. We don’t spam and 2. We didn’t actively stalk random people and ask them to join).

Postings into the group were initially fairly active (we posted the Photo of the Day and a few other random topics), however we failed to get any real interest from group members, and subsequently abandoned the idea.

Why it Didn’t work

The objectives of the facebook group were unclear, and probably inappropriate.  The group was just “About Photrade” and was a place to discuss releases, Photo of the Day, etc.  There really was no compelling reason for users to actively participate in the group.  The main reason that I categorize the objectives of this group as “inappropriate” is that really, all of this functionality exists on the Photrade Blog (which is probably the most appropriate place for it).

Additional Potential

Admittedly there is more potential for Facebook than what we explored.  Facebook also has potential through Fliers and specific advertising tools, which is not something that we have yet explored (nor have I seen any info on the effectiveness of these advertising mechanisms).

There are also Facebook apps, which have seen an explosion in growth recently. This brings up the question – how do you create an app that is meaningful to users to break through the”app” clutter and provide meaningful benefits to users.

Finally, there is potential to create more meaningful groups based on user interest (ie. Photography groups, etc) yet again, isn’t this the kind of stuff that we should host on our own site?

Thoughts/Ideas/Tips

Anyone out there with thoughts/ideas/tips on better ways to leverage Facebook?  As a marketer with a specific social media strategy I am often asked about our Facebook strategy, and I have to say, I’m not sold. What do you think – is the group worthwhile?  Do we keep it or abandon?  I just checked and it hasn’t been updated for 6 months!

If users are interested in discussing Photrade in this type of forum should we leave it in their hands to create their own group and community and plug-in to help?

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Twittering for Marketing

January 14, 2008 at 5:02 pm (blog, blogging, marketing, photrade, twitter)

One of our marketing/community engagement strategies is to create a Photrade twitter.  Our twitter is managed by our photrade evangelist, Erin.  Let me provide my overview of Twitter as a marketing tool.

Time Involvement:

Initially it takes a while to set up and friend people, afterwards the going involvement is minimal.  Probably 15 – 30 min a day.

What we do:

We initially began by following a number of tweeters (people on twitter), and those who were interested follow us back.  We primarily tweet (which is a twitter post) our photo of the day, and try to engage with Photraders who are on Twitter.

Results:

As of now we have follow 975 and have 185 followers.

Twitter has sent us almost 500 visits of which 73% were new.   Their average time on the site is WAY lower than our average, and the bounce rate is high however they are still looking at about 3 pages.  Also, we are invite only, so perhaps that has something to do with it.

Tips/Learnings

When we did our initial “follow” push, we had a negative response from one tweeter, who didn’t like that we were following everyone.  We responded that he was welcome to unfollow as we were looking to build community with those who are interested… we aren’t there to spam.

I think that they key with Twitter as with any other vehicle is 1) Don’t spam and respect the community, 2) Twitter something interesting, don’t just Twitter for the sake of it, 3) Use it as a tool to engage and interact with your existing community online.

Overall:

Probably not the best source for new customer acquisition, but a good way to stay engaged with the community and maintain involvement with Photraders across multiple touchpoints.

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Nominate Photrade for the Crunchies!!!!!!!

December 5, 2007 at 2:54 pm (blog, blogging, photrade, startup, website)

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Today = Replywhore

November 20, 2007 at 11:30 pm (blog, blogging, marketing, photo, photograpger, photographer, photography, photrade, pictures)

So I spent a few hours today searching for all of the wonderful bloggers who wrote about Photrade.com and writing comments.  Shoemoney recommended finding all of the blogs that had covered us (and using the sweet google blog search that I didn’t know about) and engaging in the conversations.

 This exercise was amazingly insightful for a number of reasons:

  1. I had the opportunity to see what people were saying about us.
  2. I had the opportunity to thank all of the bloggers who were kind enough to write about us.
  3. I was able to engage in conversations about photrade.  I found out about some customer concerns and was able to actively participate.
  4. I saw some great and interesting blogs 🙂

This was a very valuable activity.  I wrote a TON of replies, found a TON of cool blogs and learned a TON about what people think about photrade.

This photo is from Timsdd (Tims Digital Darkroom)

Tim has lots of great photos on the site – check them out. 

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Your “Online Self”

July 28, 2007 at 8:45 pm (blogging, Friends, fun, images, photo, photography, pictures, Uncategorized)

Top of mind today is the whole notion of your “online self” or what information/pictures/data about yourself you allow online.

For me, this is a particularly difficult question.  I like to go out and have fun with my friends, and my friends and I all post our photos online.  These are photos of me, in my free time, having fun (and possibly getting a little out of hand) with my friends.

Now, since these photos are on the internet, they could theoretically end up anywhere. Hmmmm.  Scary thought.  Does it matter?  Well – maybe.  So, I thought I would search for myself and see what came up.  What could someone find if they looked me up?

Test 1 – Googling myself.  Wwwwweeeeehhhhh.  The only things that came up were some organizations I was involved in in college, a photo taken by a local newspaper at an event, and my involvement in photrade.  So, I safely passed the google search.  Awesome.  Passed test 1.

Test 2 – Social Networking –  (which will definitely have worse results) my myspace and facebook accounts.  On facebook I’m pretty safe, since I can control who has access to view my page, although there are some interesting photos where I have been tagged by others.  Myspace results…..hhhmmmmm……not so great.  My myspace page is primarily where I connect with my friends and there are a number of photos that are maybe not overly appropriate (and involve alcohal and low cut shirts), but would just show that I like to go out and have a good time with my friends 🙂  Hmmmm this is a half pass.

Test 3 – Triangulation.  So throught triangulation – between my blogs, social networks and other affiliations, people could probably 1) figure out who I am, and 2) view photos on multiple sites posted by me.  Not so good.  My photrade pics (which anyone can see through this link) vary in content, and I have actually had a few people comment on some of them (YIKES).  My NAME isn’t associated with these, but I think that people could probably triangulate to who I really am through this.  This test is probably failed. 

OK, so I kind of failed – in that there are photos (taken in good fun with friends) that could give people a less than favorable impression of me.

The next question is – does it matter?  Should I care?  So what if people can see pictures with me out having a good time and consuming adult beverages with my friends?  Who is going to look at this stuff and judge me?  Potential future employers?  Business Schools (if I ever want to apply)?  My family?  My coworkers? 

I think that a fact of life is that people will judge you based on anything they know about you.  Should I care?  Does it matter than strangers might judge me based on some random photo they find of me?  Probably not.  But the reality is that I probably need to care.  Not because I think that it is right for people to care or judge me based on these things, but because they inevitably will. 

Also I work for, (and therefore feel that I personally represent) a company.  Should they care?  Is it unprofessional?  I am professional in my work and my work relations, I produce strong results and conduct myself appropriately and professionally in the office and at work functions.  Why should what I do on my free time matter.

Hmmmm – I think that I need to go and set some of my photos to private (a great photrade feature lets you do this).I’d love to know what people think about this topic……..

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