Guest blog by Michelle Smith
Your parents think you work for the “Internet.” Your grandparents think you’re some kind of computer genius because you know how to upload photos to Facebook. Your boss knows you’re a necessary component of the marketing team, but still has troubling figuring out what you do.
Since its debut a little over six months ago, Vine has been a hot topic for companies and their social media teams. Recently, the application’s novelty has been called into question now that powerhouse Instagram has introduced 15-second video capabilities. Should marketers be getting behind Vine, and how could it tell a company’s story?
It’s the latest buzzword coming out of every news outlet imaginable, but what does native advertising actually mean? We found a great video to tell some of the story, and we added our two cents.
Early last week Facebook changed the ever-popular “Become a Fan” button to “Like”. According to social networking giant, the change was made to “improve your experience and promote consistency across the site.” The “consistency” they’re referring to is the ability to “like” a friend’s status update, uploaded picture, comment on another friend’s wall, or advertisement on the site.
This is what the changes look like now, using the Johnson Direct “Like” page as an example:
While promoting consistency is almost always a good thing, Facebook’s change to their fan system has caused a great deal of headaches to agencies and end-users alike. Here are some reasons why the change may be a bad thing for business:
- Loss of a Branded Term- Prior to launching the Fan Box last July, nobody associated “Become a Fan” with an online entity. Being a fan was simply liking an artist, team, actor, etc. and being actively interested in what they were doing. When Facebook launched the Fan Box, they essentially branded the term and every television, radio, print, and online advertiser with a Fan page added that slogan to their copy. Changing “Become a Fan” to “like” took away that everyday term from association with the social network.
- Frenzied Ad Agencies- Working on the ad agency side, I can only tell you in so many ways, without using NSFW terms, how it negatively impacts client campaigns. First there’s the past collateral- what happens to everything out there now that our clients paid good money for? This could be problematic; especially for the small company that doesn’t have money budgeted for print in Q1 or Q2. Ads that are currently in production need to be put on hold, and both the creative and the marketing teams need to go back to the drawing board increasing the amount of time and resources used by both parties.
- Confused End Users- People don’t like change, especially when it comes to how they use the internet. Every time a client comes to Johnson Direct for a redesign of their website, SEO consultation or anything dealing business-to-consumer marketing, we take a look at how it affects user experience. Having a product or website that brings value to the user is great, but if they get confused about how to use it you have a huge problem. In this case, changing “Become a Fan” to “like” may associate “liking” a status, photo or advertisement to “liking” a company, band or product when they are, according to Facebook, entirely different. For an example, take a look at this post about how a top-ranked ReadWriteWeb article confused users Googling “Facebook login”. I think I’ve made my point!
As time passes we’ll know for sure if this was a good or bad move on the part of Facebook. In the short term it will hurt the ad agencies and small companies with ads in the works but who knows- maybe we’ll make up for it with increased conversions from users mistakenly clicking on our Facebook ads because they thought they were “liking” the company!
A recent Ad Age article caught my attention and points to the continued trend toward Social Media and experimentation to see what will resonate with folks and what will not.
Most Social Media outlets are more communication focused — while Bebo, the newly updated “player” will be more entertainment oriented and thus more like a magazine.
With Social Media, like most media outlets, you can expect others to jump on the proverbial band wagon and try new things to improve on the success of YouTube, Facebook and others.
You will hear this from me again and again, but I truly believe that this is a GREAT time to be a marketer, especially a measurable marketer with the rapid change taking place in marketing and the shift of control to the consumer/prospect/customer.
At some point we will reach saturation as we are all over-communicated to already, but nonetheless it’s exciting to see things unfold.
Grant A. Johnson
Johnson Direct LLC