Facebook is not going places

By: > August 26th, 2010 > 4 comments

Facebook Places is going nowhere.

Facebook rolled out ‘Places’ to users last week and so far, mark me down as not very impressed. I’m not sure what I expected, but Facebook Places leaves a lot to be desired. I’m not sure I get why they added it, when it doesn’t really add any value to the user experience–if anything–it adds to the noise in my news feed.

I have used, some more than others, location-based services (LBS) by Yelp, Facebook, Gowalla, Whrrl, Foursquare, BrightKite, and Rally Up. SCVNGR and Loopt have found a way on to my phone, but I have not used them.

With that being said, what makes a good LBS experience?

  • I like the ability to check-in easily. (Partly because I am a freak when it comes to these LBS apps – using at least 4 of them for a while) After launching the app I don’t want to touch 5 screens to let people know where I am. I also would prefer not to “add’ a place, but as an early adopter I understand that comes with the territory. In my opinion, Whrrl has this down.
  • I want to be able to take a picture and post a comment easily. That’s truly sharing an experience, why else would I post my ‘check-in’ to Facebook or Twitter? Maybe this is the marketer in me coming out and not the end-user. Whrrl also has this down, making it more of a way to scrapbook your experience.
  • I want my other social friends to be using the platform. Foursquare almost has this down, but this is the only edge I give to Facebook in the LBS space. Unless they improve their other features quickly, most of the general public won’t see the point of why anyone would want to check-in anywhere.
  • As much as I cringe to see myself typing this–I want some sort of scoring system. I kinda like how Foursquare has the points thing going. I also love the idea of badges. It makes much more sense to me than Gowalla’s items. And the mayors? That’s fun. Even my two kids get into the mayor thing. Asking me “hey daddy, are you the mayor of this place?” when the see me checking in on my phone.

If you can’t tell already, I love Whrrl. If you haven’t tried it, please do. Foursquare will likely win out, since it has a lead with user adoption. But let’s hope Facebook starts going places with it’s attempt at a LBS, because if it doesn’t it may just kill the public confidence in why one can be helpful for both social consumers and social marketers.

Jump start your social media efforts for business

By: > January 25th, 2010 > 9 comments

Social Media Jumpstart

With a background and a passion for graphic design, I often share in the joke with other designers that knowing how to use the software doesn’t make you a designer. Sometimes you can pass as a designer because you pleased the person who hired you, but your design may not have worked effectively.

What’s a designer to do? Nothing, really. All we can do is educate our clients and the public on the value of good, professional graphic design. Although your customers may not ask for it, they react to it. And if done with good commercial sense, your business will benefit from it.

When it comes to social media, many of the arguments are similar. Using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for business does make you a social media marketer—but it doesn’t necessarily make you an effective one. Knowing the tools will help you be an effective social media marketer.

And while knowing the tools is an important aspect of social media marketing, using good engagement practices and solid marketing principles will go much further than knowing how to upload a link to your Facebook page. Fortune 500 companies and small mom-and-pop corner stores alike are using these social platforms to reach new and existing prospects. But are they doing it effectively?

Sales Pitch

So I had to be going somewhere with this, right? Yes, I admit this is a sales pitch, but my pitch won’t be for everyone. After all, my personalized session for social media consulting is an on-site session—here in Lexington. For those reading this who aren’t willing to travel in for the on-site session, I encourage you to look for a marketing agency in your area that can help you navigate the tools of social media, and educate you on the best practices. Or, contact me and we can organize a Skype session.

And for those of you who live here or are coming to Lexington, Kentucky in the near future I hope you would consider scheduling a time I can advise you on using the social media tools effectively and introduce you to best practices. Find out more information about my social media jumpstart session.

Facebook pages keep on giving

By: > September 17th, 2009 > One comment

A day or two after writing my previous post about the upload trick for a Facebook page, Facebook’s recently updated iPhone app’s newest feature gives page admins the ability to update from their iPhone and even post pictures. I had been investigating that problem for a few days and had no success finding any other blog or forum that had an answer.

I consider myself a novice blogger, a little too ADD to concentrate long enough to establish my point in writing. Combine my creative randomness with my perfectionist nature, and it’s nearly impossible to write. With practice, I can only get better.

Facebook pages are like nesting dolls. Everytime I think I figured it out, there is something new. My latest interests are polls, the new @ mentions in updates and SMS (texting) with Facebook.

SMS with Facebook

Did you know that someone on Facebook can become a fan of your page without internet access? I didn’t until I started investigating the page’s customization features. To become a fan of my company’s Facebook page just text ‘fan serifgroup’ to FBOOK (32665) – standard text rates apply, but the service via Facebook is free. Status updates from our ‘serifgroup’ page will then come to your phone as SMS messages. Of course you can always opt out of this feature, but you will still be a fan until you reply ‘unsub’ to FBOOK.

I find this extremely appealing for companies who want to capture a younger crowd who use text as a key communication platform. Build your fan base and nurture those fans into another channel whether it be email or an existing text campaign.

I noticed that you need to have activated the mobile feature on your Facebook preferences to have it reconcile who wants to ‘fan’ a page, but if someone is in the ‘texting’ target, they have probably already done this.


As a design and marketing firm, we like to do a little informal research on what people think about projects we’re working on. Since we have a handful of fans on our Serif Group Facebook page we thought we would ask their opinion. We looked into a few polling apps for our page and found two different apps that had what we wanted, but only if we could combine them. We want to be able to add a Poll tab or even a url link to a poll that has the ability to use images in the questions. The one we found has the ability to use images, but it is only available as a box in the boxes tab. The other one is limited to text only, but integrates well into a page. If I could develop a poll app that could combine the two, it would be a great tool for any fan page.

Facebook @ mentions

There has been a lot of talk about how Facebook has copied Twitter by using the @ feature to mention people. I don’t get it. Although Facebook did use the Twitter @ symbol, does Twitter own exclusive rights to that symbol? Didn’t email own that first? The most common element of the new feature is the ability to reference others and have it appear in their stream. Although this was an inevitable maturation of the product, I’m not convinced the Facebook developers got this idea from Twitter–but that’s just my opinion.

Facebook for business photo upload trick

By: > August 28th, 2009 > 7 comments

Facebook and WordPress

I have been beating myself up trying to figure out how to upload a photo from my mobile phone to my Serif Group facebook page. Although I haven’t mastered it completely, I have figured out how to do it.

All you need is a WordPress blog and WordPress for iPhone. The WordPress for iPhone app allows you to post blog posts as well as mobile photos and allows you to post them to your blog. Your Facebook for business page allows you to pull in RSS feeds of your WordPress blog onto your site and it will automatically pull into the Notes section of your business page.

Go to edit setting in your business page and enable Notes to publish to streams in the application settings of the Notes application. Then choose Edit under the same Notes application and go to the right sidebar and edit your import settings. You will see the screen below.

Facebook screenshot

Then enter your blog’s feed url and you’re there. As you can tell from my last post, I still haven’t perfected it. It looks you can only upload vertical photos (there isn’t a rotate image preference on the WordPress for iPhone app).

I would also like to be able to  have the photo appear in the stream, but I haven’t found any way to do this. I look forward to your suggestions in the comments section if you have an easier way.