What Facebook Users Like: 6 Secrets

The social network officially crunched the data. Here’s what Facebook users like — and how to make it work for your brand.

You use Facebook as a way to connect to customers, but on average, only 7.5 percent of Facebook users subscribed to business fan pages see posts from those pages daily. To break out of the pack, you need to drive up the engagement and get people to respond.

And Facebook has some information to help you do that. The company has been wooing journalists (probably an attempt to push Twitter out of the limelight). Part of those efforts have included studies to find out what makes posts work on Facebook. But journalists are not in some special world.

If certain strategies work for their content, chances are they will work for yours. Here are some types of posts that can boost your results:

  • Commentary and analysis on breaking news — Readers like this. Three times as many Facebook users like opinion posts as the average post. These types of posts also get twice as many shares as average.
  • Controversy — No surprise here, given how conflict effectively drives so much of public attention. Drawing attention to “controversial stories on debatable subject matter” can double both likes and shares.
  • Reader shout-outs — Directly addressing readers can quadruple feedback. Asking for recommendations triples comment.
  • Strong photos — A strong photo can double likes, shares, and comments.
  • Humor — People on Facebook like funny. (Think of your own experiences looking at posts.) Get a laugh and your post gets 50 percent more likes than the average post and five times as many shares.
  • Calls to action — Spend any time in direct marketing and you learn how important a call to action is. So there should be little surprise that adding a question can increase feedback by 64 percent while a call to read or take a closer look increases engagement by 37 percent.

All of them work for me.. What about you ?

8 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is the key to profitability. The reason is simple. It costs more–geometrically more–to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one.Without customer loyalty, customers leave. Then you can end up sacrificing as much as a third of your sales year just to get your numbers back to where they were the previous year.

With that in mind, did you ever wonder how top salespeople keep their customers so loyal? It’s not because they have great products or they’re good at schmoozing. The secret to customer loyalty lies in putting the interests of the customer ahead of your own. It’s really that simple.

Here are eight rules (8 Ways)  for making this happen:

1. Have a sales philosophy that emphasizes relationship building.

2. Define a unique niche and become the customer’s expert on it.

3. Help the customer build the customer’s own business.

4. Translate what you offer into the customer’s business results.

5. Value the relationship more than making your quota.

6. Think end-of-time friendships, not end-of-month totals.

7. Achieve a perfect job of delivering what you’ve promised.

8. Provide absolutely impeccable service after the sale.

Twitter Is Not a Media Company, CEO Says

“Twitter is not a media company,” Twitter CEO Dick Costolo declared on stage at AllThingsD‘s media conference in Laguna Nigel, CA, Monday evening. The statement was surprising given Twitter’s well-publicized role as a platform for breaking news, entertainment and other communications.

“You [even] sell advertising,” AllThingsD‘s Peter Kafka pointed out.

“We’re in the media business, but we’re not necessarily a media company,” Costolo elaborated. “We don’t create our own content; we’re a distributor of content and traffic. We’re one of the largest drivers of traffic to other media properties, [namely] to other online web properties, even to films.”

Costolo pointed to a Super8 campaign Paramount Pictures ran on Twitter last June. The studio promoted the hashtag #Super8Secret, through which it offered advanced screening tickets to the film. The film performed “50% better” during opening weekend than Paramount expected, Costolo said.

Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch

Get on a Southwest flight to anywhere, buy shoes from Zappos.com, pants from Nordstrom, groceries from Whole Foods, anything from Costco, a Starbucks espresso, or a Double-Double from In N’ Out, and you’ll get a taste of these brands’ vibrant cultures.

Culture is a balanced blend of human psychology, attitudes, actions, and beliefs that combined create either pleasure or pain, serious momentum or miserable stagnation. A strong culture flourishes with a clear set of values and norms that actively guide the way a company operates. Employees are actively and passionately engaged in the business, operating from a sense of confidence and empowerment rather than navigating their days through miserably extensive procedures and mind-numbing bureaucracy. Performance-oriented cultures possess statistically better financial growth, with high employee involvement, strong internal communication, and an acceptance of a healthy level of risk-taking in order to achieve new levels of innovation.

Misunderstood and mismanaged

Culture, like brand, is misunderstood and often discounted as a touchy-feely component of business that belongs to HR. It’s not intangible or fluffy, it’s not a vibe or the office décor. It’s one of the most important drivers that has to be set or adjusted to push long-term, sustainable success. It’s not good enough just to have an amazing product and a healthy bank balance. Long-term success is dependent on a culture that is nurtured and alive. Culture is the environment in which your strategy and your brand thrives or dies a slow death.

Think about it like a nurturing habitat for success. Culture cannot be manufactured. It has to be genuinely nurtured by everyone from the CEO down. Ignoring the health of your culture is like letting aquarium water get dirty.

If there’s any doubt about the value of investing time in culture, there are significant benefits that come from a vibrant and alive culture:
Focus: Aligns the entire company towards achieving its vision, mission, and goals.
Motivation: Builds higher employee motivation and loyalty.
Connection: Builds team cohesiveness among the company’s various departments and divisions.
Cohesion: Builds consistency and encourages coordination and control within the company.
Spirit: Shapes employee behavior at work, enabling the organization to be more efficient and alive.

In Case You Needed More Proof RIM Is Spinning Out Of Control

Remember when RIM said its strategy is to focus on marketing its decaying line of BlackBerry devices for most of 2012 while we sit and wait for those shiny new phones it keeps promising us?

Four noseless super heroes based on some junk BlackBerry owners tweeted about a month ago.Each hero stands for some vague “bold” concept, but we honestly don’t have the energy or patience to type it all out here. It’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

You can read the details here if you want : http://blogs.blackberry.com/2012/01/be-bold-infographic/

UPDATE: RIM updated its blog post saying this is not part of an ad or marketing campaign. It’s “just intended to be a bit of fun.”

Kodak vs Apple: Key lessons for the mobile industry when focusing on youth

Kodak Could Have Been in the Mobile Business By Now

On the one hand, Kodak. Kodak could have been the Apple of photography but last week, the iconic American brand filed for bankruptcy protection. On the other, Apple’s latest earnings figures surpassed analyst expectations. The difference? Not “design thinking” or great products, but contrasting attitudes towards the youth market and how those attitudes sowed the seeds of both failure and success in their organizations.

Kodak could have been, in so many ways. Kodak could have been in the phone business by now. It could be Instagram. It could have its own iPod but instead it had print and film

Apple Results Kodak Youth

It wasn’t all iPad and iPhone 4S; Mac sales were up 26% too. Beneath the iPad headlines lay a story of customers migrating between Apple products, from iPod to iPhone, from iPhone to Mac and Mac to iPad. It’s this story that underpins Cupertino’s wider fundamental success and perhaps explains why products like the iPad3 will merely be icing on the cake.

Back in the mid 90s, when the world was buying its first desktop PC with Windows 95 installed, Apple published this remarkable video clearly demonstrating a long-term vision to capture the youth segment. Apple wasn’t selling concept technology but an idea of how the company could make the education and learning experience for young people better. It’s a vision that persists until today; Apple recently announced a suite of products aimed at helping young learners from a revamped iTunesU (University) to its new iBooks app for the iPad.

Kodak and Apple share many virtues. They were both pioneers in their respective fields: Apple the first to launch the home PC, Kodak the first to give the world a cheap, portable camera. But, Kodak is nearly a century older than Apple and its legacy perhaps was also its own downfall.

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland launches 2012 awards programme

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland launches 2012 awards programme

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has launched its 2012 awards programme – which will see three winners receiving €200,000 each in support – with a call for applications from individuals who are developing new, big ideas to address the social and environmental challenges currently being faced in Ireland.

The awards are sponsored by DCC and will be presented in October, when three social entrepreneurs will share €600,000 in funding and support to help them grow and scale their impact.

The awards will also support a further five individuals to the value of €35,000 each under the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland ‘Elevator Programme’.

The call for applications is the start of an extensive eight-month consultation and engagement process. The closing date for applications is Thursday 16 February. The selection process will include a ‘Bootcamp’ in March where shortlisted candidates will be invited to pitch their projects, leading to interviews from which eight finalists will be chosen.

The finalists will then take part in a three-month finalists programme, during which they will receive some funding and support prior to final selection of the 2012 award winners in October.

Since 2005, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has provided support to 150 social entrepreneurs, directly investing over €4m into funding these individuals. According to the organisation, these in turn have directly impacted over 170,000 people and created over 800 employment opportunities.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s programme, 2011 award winner Michael Kelly from GIY Ireland said the support from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has been a game-changer for his organisation.  “I’ve always felt that being involved with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is like having access to the mothership of all motherships,” he said. “The Impact Programme challenges me at every turn, makes me work smarter and think bigger.  It inspires, rewards and connects us up with an incredible array of leading experts and advisors.”

Kelly set up GIY Ireland in 2009 to transform the nation’s wellbeing, strengthen communities and protect the environment by helping people to grow their own food.

Last year’s winners also included former Amnesty Ireland director Seán Love for creative writing centre Fighting Words, which he devised together with writer Roddy Doyle. In just over two years, using over 400 volunteers, the centre has hosted more than 26,000 students of all ages in workshops in fiction writing, film-making, song writing and graphic novels.

Niamh Gallagher and Michelle O’Donnell Keating were also awarded €200,000 for Women for Election, which inspires and equips women to succeed in politics in order to bring balance to Irish political representation.

“In previous years we have been overwhelmed by the calibre of applications we have received, and we expect 2012 to reveal even better applicants,” said Seán Coughlan, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland chief executive.

“The main criteria is a passion for making a difference, thinking big and using business skills for social change. We really believe that together we can change Ireland and the impact of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland over the past seven years has proved that.”

Applications for the 2012 Awards Programme must be made online at www.socialentrepreneurs.ie, where full details on the application process, eligibility criteria and the Awards Programme are available.

Traffic for Google+ Goes Positive Along with User Count

I know many people keep an eye on Google Plus ‘s growth. Since it is a giant  technology company, our expectations  for its growth can change due to Google ‘s other products success. Chitika Insights has covered the heavily publicized launch of Google+ amidst a variety of reported statistics, some which stated that Google+ hosted a user base comprised of over 40 Million people, others which described the fledgling social network as nothing more than a ghost town. Initially, traffic on Google+ saw a rapid rate of growth, but was accompanied by a period of significant decline. Since then, Chitika Insights has been regularly keeping tabs on the condition of Google+, in order to determine the relative success of the social network.

Between the months of September to November, Google+ saw a 118% increase in overall online activity. From September to October Google+ posted the biggest growth figures (55%), followed by a growth in online activity of 41% between October and November, as seen in the graph below.

The graph above shows activity index for Google+ between September 2011 and November 2011. The highest level of activity observed receives a value of 100, and the other data points are simply a function thereof. The arrows represent the percentage increase in activity witnessed between month to month data sets, all of which were sampled in the second week of each respective month. Chitika used a referrer distribution methodology to conduct this report. For more on the methodology see:


This level of growth may be supported by several key factors:

  • Google has been successfully integrating Google+ across its wide range of services (Android, Google Apps, Search)
  • Google has been heavily advertising Google+ across different channels including television spots and online placements, hoping to connect with a main-stream audience
  • Google has remained dedicated to increasing the functionality and accessibility of Google+ to the public and has plans for rapid releases of new features over the course of 2012

New reports suggest there are an estimated 62 million users on the social network, and our traffic index indicates a clear rise in activity as well. However, because Google holds raw data proprietary, they will be the only source to tell us if the activity is based on active users or new user sign ups

SETH GODIN: If You're An Average Worker, You're Going Straight To The Bottom

The way we do business is changing fast and in order to keep up, your entire mentality about work has to change just as quickly. Unfortunately, most people aren’t adapting fast enough to this change in the workplace, says marketing guru Seth Godin in an interview with the Canadian talk show “George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight” (via Pragmatic Capitalism).

According to the founder of Squidoo.com and author or 13 books, the current “recession is a forever recession” because it’s the end of the industrial age, which also means the end of the average worker.

“For 80 years, you got a job, you did what you were told and you retired,” says the former vice president of direct marketing at Yahoo! People are raised on this idea that if they pay their taxes and do what they’re told, there’s some kind of safety net, or pension plan that’s waiting for them. But the days when people were able to get above average pay for average work are over.

If you’re the average person out there doing average work, there’s going to be someone else out there doing the exact same thing as you, but cheaper. Now that the industrial economy is over, you should forget about doing things just because it’s assigned to you, or “never mind the race to the top, you’ll be racing to the bottom.”

However, if you’re different somehow and have made yourself unique, people will find you and pay you more, Godin says.

Instead of waiting around for someone to tell you that you matter, take your career into your own hands. In other words, don’t wait for someone else to pick you and pick yourself! If you have a book, you don’t need a publisher to approve you, you can publish it yourself. It’s no longer about waiting for some big corporation to choose you. We’ve arrived at an age where you choose yourself.

Is Facebook a Central Bank, Too?

Facebook’s 27-year-old founder, Mark Zuckerberg, isn’t usually mentioned in the same breath as Ben Bernanke, the  58-year-old head of the Federal Reserve. But Facebook’s early adventures in the money-creating business are going well enough that the central bank comparison gets tempting.

Everything started quietly, in 2009, with the experimental launch of Facebook Credits, billed as “the safe and easy way to buy things on Facebook.” Anyone who chipped in $5 from a Paypal account, Visa card or the like, could do the equivalent of changing money on an overseas trip. Voila! — $5 turned into 50 Facebook Credits.

Initially, the Credits-based economy was confined to the virtual world’s trifles. Credits could be spent to buy imaginary gold bars for aficionados of Mafia Wars, or bouquets of virtual flowers for birthday postings on friends’ Facebook accounts. This new form of digital money was cute but essentially useless for mainstream activities.

Vogel has a personal interest in seeing Credits take off. He is co-founder of Plink, a customer-loyalty program in which people earn Facebook Credits by eating at participating restaurants.  Plink is just getting started, and no one knows yet how much traction his company ultimately will enjoy. But such uncertainties can’t stifle Vogel’s ebullience. He predicts that the Facebook Credits economy could double every year for the next five years.
 Already, Credits looks very rewarding for Facebook, thanks to built-in commissions or transactions fees. Merchants participating in the Credits economy receive 70 cents of every dollar spent on their wares; the other 30% goes to Facebook. That’s in line with the way that Apple Inc. runs its iTunes store. It’s far more lucrative than the 2% to 5% fees associated with credit cards or currency-exchange counters in the traditional economy.

Facebook won’t say how much it’s making from Credits, but the research firm of eMarketer offered up a widely quoted estimate in September. Its tally: $470 million of revenue in 2011, or about 11% of Facebook’s total business. Costs associated with the Credits program are likely to be trivial. So while advertising remains Facebook’s dominant source of revenue, banking looks like an alluring second way of making money — literally.

Edward Castronova, a telecommunications professor at Indiana University, is fascinated by the rise of what he calls “wildcat currencies,” such as Facebook Credits. He has been studying the economics of online games and virtual worlds for the better part of a decade. Right now, he calculates, the Facebook Credits ecosystem can’t be any bigger than Barbados’s economy and might be significantly smaller. If the definition of digital goods keeps widening, though, he says, “this could be the start of something big.”

In the short term, Facebook may choose to move cautiously with its Credits-based economy. Company executives are likely to have their hands full the next few months, trying to manage a successful initial public offering of stock. Moving too aggressively into banking could invite more government regulation than Facebook wants.

Still, Facebook’s buildup of Credits suggests more than just a minor dalliance. Facebook already takes payment for Credits in more than 40 currencies — ranging from the euro to the Vietnamese dong. Exchange rates are adjusted daily.  It probably won’t be long until some economist tries to calculate the inflation rate, money-supply velocity or other traditional dimensions of the Facebook economy.

If Facebook at some point is willing to reduce its cut of each Credits transaction, this new form of online liquidity may catch the eye of many more merchants and customers. As Castronova observes: “there’s a dynamic here that the Federal Reserve ought to look at.”