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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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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Making a Tour Page

October 12, 2007 at 6:45 pm (marketing, startup, website, work)

Here at Photrade.com we do it all.  That’s right, we really are “Jacks of All Trade”.  Today’s task – Make the “Take the Tour Pages” for the new release.

Man, I wish I knew more about Adobe CS3 – Anyone wanna teach me?

How do you make a great tour (I hope). 

Step 1 – Look at LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of Tour pages from EVERY site around. 

Step 2 – Write down what you LOVE and HATE about each one. 

Step 3 – (This is where it gets hard) Pretend you have NO IDEA what the site does and try to explain it.  Hmmmm…..alternate approach – call someone who has NO IDEA what the site does and find the best way to explain it to them.  Or call like 10 of them.

Step 4 – Make the pages.  Find pretty Graphics.  Get cool screen shots.  Use engaging language.  Make it simple.  Make it clear.  Check out some page design websites for tips.  Check out some writing websites for tips.

Step 5 – Show it to people and ask them if it makes sense.  Do they get it? 

Step 6 – Make a whole bunch of changes.  Ahhhhh

Step 7 – Send it to the boss.  Also known as Andrew Paradies.  Also known as Andy 754.  Also known as…..

Step 8 – Make more changes.

Step 9 – You have a tour.

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Changing the Blog Focus

October 11, 2007 at 2:39 pm (marketing, photography, photrade, startup)

When I started this blog, I generally wrote about whatever random things came into my head (per the postings on Vanilla Ice, Chuck Norris, etc).  This week, I decided to change the theme of this blog and get a little more focused.  Why you ask? 

First, I started another blog at typepad with my own domain name and online handle!!!!!!!!!!!!  Check it out www.kribaby.com.  I am really loving getting more into all of this online stuff (I’m now on twitter, aim, etc), and almost feel like I’m becoming an online geek (which I’m moderately OK with).

Second, since this is the blog that I use to manage the Photrade.com blog, I figured that it is a great place to write about what I’m working on with Photrade, who I’m talking to, and generally whats going on.

So, enjoy the NEW blog – Chronicals of Marketing a Startup.  This is why I’m hot…..although it’s also why I’m not.

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Did I sell my soul to a company?

July 24, 2007 at 2:52 am (company, fun, images, marketing, photography, pictures, Uncategorized, work)

OK, so I’m assuming that some of the people viewing this are doing so because of my random comments and posts about www.photrade.com.  As I post comments, I kind of feel like a sell-out….am I a spammer (such a dirty word)?  Me?  No.  I have integrity.  So…..whats the dillio?

A few months ago I started working with this company www.photrade.com.  I think that we have a breakthough business model that really will help bloggers.  So, I’m here, trying to spread the word.  That is the nasty, naked truth.  I feel so strongly that this is a great idea that I want to tell people about it – in whatever ways possible.  And yes, that may mean posting comments about the site on your photo blogs.  Honestly, I really think that this site will help the blogging community in so many ways.  

 If you have the patience to read another few paragraphs I’ll tell you why.  First, bloggers are a large, (and quickly growing) powerful group, yet few companies are actively creating products to meet the needs of bloggers.  Second, there are TONS of online companies making mucho denero off of traffic generated by users without rewarding the users.  We believe that people who bring the traffic should be rewarded.  Sooooo what is our business model……..to make a photosharing site specifically for bloggers AND reward them for driving traffic to our site.

How is photrade different?  2 ways: First – we have great blogger features.  We have a photrade badge that lets you post a photo collage on your site, we have cool uploading tools, make photos easy to share and we let you comment, tag and rate photos.  Second (and more importantly) we create revenue for our users.  Users can earn money from ad revenue when they host photos on their site or through our proprietary Picture In Picture Adversiting, which puts the ad right in the photo.  Users can also earn money by selling their photos for any price.  If you are a photographer, or even a blogger with great photos, you can earn money every time someone orders one of your prints.

 So, to answer the question – did I sell my soul to a company?  The answer is no.  I really believe in the vision of photrade and think that this site can help so many people.

Sorry if you felt “spammed” or like I was taking advantage of your comments, but seriously, try the site and tell me what you think.  We really are committed to making the best blogger photo site and would love to hear your feedback and ideas.

 Help spread the word.  Help us help you.

 

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