I’ve been told my interest in using Facebook for marketing is a bit unhealthy, but I’ve been having so much fun, and this week I pushed the limits in some ways that I thought I’d share in the hope we could spark some interesting conversations…
First off, I’ve been really fortunate to work with the team behind a really interesting movie called The Stoning of Soraya M. that’s being released in selected theaters today (and Seattle on July 17th). It’s a controversial movie based on the true story of a woman who was stoned to death in the Iran after being accused of adultly adultery by her husband. To help with outreach for the movie, I built (with some ridiculously well-timed help from Loren Nason of the Future of Real Estate Technology) a Facebook app that let me combine both a live video stream with a streaming facebook chat-style app. The result was an interview with the director where we took questions from the Facebook community. You can see a recording of the video on the Spinnio app page where we hosted the conversation.
However, before I was ready to go live with the app for the movie, I decided to use the Spinnio app to record a weekly radio show that I run with Rob Hahn called the RE:RnD (Real Estate Radio with Rob and Dustin)… Normally, Rob and I record our radio show form opposite sides of the country, but this week, we were both in Orange County for REBCOC. We took advantage of some of the great real estate people in attendance to interview:
I happen to think the technology of streaming video with Facebook Chat is simply too interesting to resist… so I created a page on RCG that combines the live stream from the Seattle Channel with a chat box that lets you comment on the video with anyone else on RCG watching the video. While I doubt this page will get the critical mass to be extremely interesting, hopefully you can see how cool it could be and just where the Facebook chat/status update technology is heading.
Also, I’m somewhat hesitant to throw a generic chat on RCG in a prominent place, but what do you think?
(By the way, this works! Feel free to try it out, although be prepared that each comment leaves a “status” update on your profile.)
I’ve never liked the idea of adding a message board because I simply don’t have the time to moderate it, but I have a feeling that this would be pretty self-moderating considering it’s tied to people’s Facebook account… But what do you think? Should I create a place on RCG where you can leave comments and engage in conversations that aren’t tied to any blog post?
We already know the folks at RCGlove twitter, and while I like twitter, the marketer in me has completely fallen for Facebook Pages (note: these are a very different beast than Facebook profiles)… and if you’re running a small business, there are many reasons you should be interested in FB Pages too.
The three main reasons I’m been putting a ton of energy into building out Facebook Pages for my clients lately are:
Traffic: at this point traffic from social media feeds (like twitter’s stream and Facebook’s newsfeeds) are generating more traffic than RSS feeds for almost every website I run.
Engagement: For new sites, it’s becoming harder-and-harder to build a “community” on your own site without tapping into the communities where they already exist (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
Reach. Unlike Twitter, Facebook Pages allow you to get into the highlights and recommendation sections of fans… allowing you to reach the often elusive “friends of fans.” For most small businesses, the friends of your fans are a ridiculously relevant audience and even more relevant than traditional SEO traffic.
Similar to the Rain City Guide blog, I’m going to be using the page to engage with folks about Seattle real estate. It’s not that we “need” another place for a conversation, but rather an experiment to see what it will look like when we take the typical RCG conversation to the Facebook audience.
Of course, many of the stories on the Page will be about RCG articles, but truth be told, I’ll be looking to link out to any real estate articles I think will interest people interested in Seattle real estate. So, if Facebook is the place you’d like to engage, join the conversation by becoming a fan of RCG!
And if you’re interested in a seeing a more developed implementation of Facebook Pages, check out the business page I created around my social media consulting and speaking. In just a few months, it’s grown to over 1200 folks who are consistently engaging in ideas around using social media to generate business.
If you’re been to RCG recently, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that I added Facebook Connect to the sidepanel. I really want to invite you all to use this feature, so I thought I’d let you know why I added it:
I’m a Facebook addict, love the service, and enjoy connecting with others. I’m thinking there’s at least a few other RCG community members who would enjoy connecting via the service
I’ve been looking for a way to give a “carrot” to folks who properly identify themselves when they leave comments. I don’t want to “punish” anonymous commenters, I just want to give a bonus to those who aren’t anonymous.
The carrot we’re now offering is two-fold:
Your comment will bypass almost all of the moderation filters that occasionally slow down a comment from showing up immediately on the site.
Your profile link will be of the “dofollow” variety.
For most of the folks in the RCG community, I’m positive you’re here because you love the conversation and could care less about the positive link luv RCG can give you. Nonetheless, if you’re willing to identify yourself with your “real” identity, then these two things are just two small carrots we’re now offering…
So, please consider taking advantage by clicking on the “Connect with Facebook” button to the right and follow the simple instructions. As a bonus, after you “connect”, you’ll be able to update your profile on RCG with a few additional fields that will make it easier than ever to connect with others from the RCG community.
And finally, I launched FB Connect on the site despite the fact that I’m not 100% happy with it yet. Here are some problems I’ve found and/or things I’m working on:
FB Connect plays funny (or doesn’t play at all!) with early versions of Internet Explorer, (especially IE 6.0 and below). This might sound harsh, but my solution is to beg for you to get and use Firefox (or even Chrome), but if you’re not willing to do that, at least get the latest version of IE
The feature that let’s you “add your comment to your Facebook feed” was giving some folks some problems, so I disabled it. I really like the idea of this feature, so I’ll work on troubleshooting exactly what was causing problems, although I think it had something to do with old versions of IE (see previous comment!).
I really want the avatar that shows up next to users to default to the “gravatar” instead of the FB avatar. My thought here is that many folks have a “fun” avatar on Facebook, but might prefer to have a more consistent avatar on a business site like RCG. I spent some time trying to get this work and while I made some progress, it’s still not working well enough for me to feel comfortable launching… but hopefully soon.
I have a feeling there’s going to be lots more to come in terms of taking advantage of Facebook tools within RCG in the future. Hopefully, you’ll play along and if there is something that doesn’t appear to be working right or a feature you’d like to see, please let me know!
The release of the updated Google Analytics has been a real joy! I spent way too much time this evening clicking on the “Entrance Sources” option for popular pages on RCG (it feels much more informative than the previous layout). In the process, I’ve learned a ton about where and how traffic is reaching the site and I’ve actually learned that some of my previous assumptions were completely wrong. (However, considering I’m not using any of the goal tracking or funnel analysis, Seth thinks I should just quit… but I’m having way too much fun to quit…)
Despite my preference for blogs, (I really dislike the peer pressure games associated with almost all online social networks), I’ve been diving into a bunch of other platforms over the past two weeks (call it “work research”).
If you are on any of these, please consider sending an invite to me at dustin (at) raincityguide (dot) com.
If I’m missing a social network that you really like, please feel free to clue me in!
Also, one glaring hole in my social network is ActiveRain. The first reader to (1) send me an invite to ActiveRain AND (2) an invite to connect on at least two other social networks gets the credit for me joining up! 🙂 I’m now an ActiveRain Blogger! Thank you Cheryl of NELALive.