Study: Facebook "Likes" mean less than you think

FastCompany details a new social media analysis by Dan Zarella that has some surprising results. Contrary to popular thought, Facebook likes do not mean that more people will read your posts. In fact, posts that are viewed more tend to get fewer likes.

Zarella's study looked at the correlation between impressions per post (essentially the number of page views a post gets) and feedback per post (a tacit measure of how interested the public is in the post material, measured in comments and "likes"). Using Facebook Insights data, which is only accessible to page admins, he looked at 12 months of data and found merely a "weak negative correlation." In other words, the posts that get slightly more views actually have fewer likes and comments.

This study, if it pans out in broader review, knocks a sizeable whole in the social engagement metrics that many companies are using. It will be interesting to see if this report reflects a blip or an actual trend.

Google+ Equals Zero … Four Early Signs that Google Plus Will Fail

There has been a lot of hype around the launch of Google's latest foray into the social space, Google+, this week, with "hype" being the operative word.

After spending time on the site, I'm convinced that Google Plus is destined meet the same fate as the brand's other failed social networking attempts. The reason? Google doesn't understand social networking. 

Here are four early signs that Google+ will fail:

  1. Despite being launched as a social networking site, Google has limited the number of people that can join at launch. This strategy has failed Google before in the social space (Buzz and Wave come to mind) and demonstrates that, for all that the brand does well, Google does not understand social networking. How can users be expected to establish their social network when their friends, family, or coworkers can't join the site? Meanwhile, Facebook and RenRen are immediately accessible to everyone. Not only does this limit the usability of the site, it squanders the initial excitement around the launch and frustrates any attempt to convert early adopters. Google's effort to ensure site stability has guaranteed its demise even before the doors open.
  2. Google+ is neither open nor closed. While Google Plus allows you to set sharing levels among your friends, the site permits strangers to connect with you and – in some cases – interact with your content. While there could be some upside to this model in professional or industry networking, that isn't the audience that Google+ is targeting. I don't think Mom is going to be thrilled when a college student from Brazil starts making comments on her recipes. 
  3. With nearly 800 million people spending one trillion minutes per month on Facebook, why should users bother to joining Google+. As of the launch, Google can't any functionality that solves a user's problem or represents a "killer app". Google Plus is simply another way to accomplish the same thing that users are already doing on Facebook. It isn't targeting a niche market or bringing anything new to the party. There is nothing being done in the space that is unique to Google+. Google Plus is elegantly designed, but the core functionality – including the sharing privacy methods that Google has promoted – already existing within Facebook. To put it bluntly, Google can't express any "reason" to join and, therefore, users simply won't join. 
  4. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Facebook is strong enough to compete and innovate. For all it's fortunes, Google is the underdog in social media. For every gee-whiz thing that Google might be able to implement into Google+, Facebook can simply incorporate those features into their service and easily maintain it's 750+ million user base. 

Google has garnered the media's attention yet again; however, the early signs point to a quick and public end to yet another failed social network. 

 

 

Luxury brands are big fans of Facebook, other social media sites

High-end brands have woken up awakened to the power of social media because of some compelling statistics. "Households earning over $100,000 a year are on the Internet 23 hours a week and on Facebook six hours a week," said Bernie Brennan, co-author with Lori Schafer of "Branded: How Retailers Engage Consumers with Social Media and Mobility." And 80 percent of households with annual incomes of more than $240,000 use social networking, primarily Facebook, said Brennan. Luxury brands now realize "there's a new way to communicate and if retailers or brands are not engaging in social media, they're missing an enormous market opportunity," he said.

Some of the world's most exclusive names are quickly becoming the world's most engaging brands. Why? It's simple really. Facebook is the social media home to millions of affluents.

These statistics are the sirens song to luxury brands:

– Households earning more than $100,000 spend 6+ hours per week on Facebook

– 80% of households earning more than $240,000 use social media, primarily Facebook

Luxury brands are realizing the intrinsic value of having both affluents and aspirational customers interact with their brand and products at a time and place of their choosing.

So it's little wonder that BMW, Gucci, Chanel, Ritz-Carlton and Louis Vuitton have jumped headfirst into social media, particularly through Facebook.

Burberry has used direct engagement – such as asking Facebook users to submit photos and videos of themselves carrying the signature raincoats and handbags – to boost "likes" to more than 6 million.

One facet of social media metrics that is vastly underappreciated, however, is influence. When a user "likes" a brand, they broaden the degree of influence for that brand.

Even if the user themselves is aspirational and cannot yet afford the brand, generally users will have another 10-20 Facebook users within their network that can afford the brand. By "likeing" the brand, they are spreading the luxury brands influence directly to all of the users within their network. When that "like" shows up on their wall or stream, it serves as a call to action for other users to engage with the brand.

For example, if I "like" a new car from BMW, it will post to my wall. It will be seen by my entire network and the peer influence fundamental will prompt my friends to "like" that BMW and engage with the brand. If the average Facebook user has 130 friends, then Burberry's 6 million fans potentially influence tens of millions of Facebook users.

Luxury brands, with historically smaller traditional footprints and touch points, are finding a home on social media. And with 83% of affluents now making purchases online, Facebook and social websites have truly become the new showcase for the world's premiere brands.  

Retail Study: 1 Facebook Fan = 20 Visits To Your Website

A UK based study by Hitwise analyzed data from the top 100 retailers to find how much additional web traffic was generated by each Facebook fan.  The metrics showed that each fan of a Facebook page produced an extra 20 visits to the website.  In order to generate this number, Facebook traffic was analyzed and compared against Facebook Page data from Techlightenment.

The study also found that brands utilizing Facebook the most saw increased brand searches on Google, Yahoo! and Bing.  A top UK retailer, Topshop,  saw brand searches  increase by 54% after a visit to Facebook.  This was a trend that stayed true for all of the top 10 brands, with brand searches increasing from 19% to 54% if a user previously visited their Facebook page.

Who uses social media?

Pew Internet has released their updated social networking study and several of their findings are quite remarkable:

  • 47% of adults in the US use social media sites versus only 26% in 2008
  • The average age of social media users is now 38, up from age 33 just two years ago
  • 52% of Facebook users and 33% of Twitter users engage with social media daily
  • Myspace users tend to have the lowest level of education; LinkedIn users are the most educated

 

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Within these findings, I'm most intrigued by the growth of middle-aged and senior users. While adoption by younger users tends to mark the start of trends, the growth among older users indicates mainstream acceptance. In other words, it's clear that social networking – particularly on Facebook – has officially arrived. 

5 Simple Ways to Get the Most out of LinkedIn

At last count, more than 100 million professionals have registered on LinkedIn, but a much smaller number use the career networking site regularly. For many, LinkedIn is simply a place to summarize their resume online, but the reaility is that the site can be a substantial resource for expanding both your business and your career. 

5 Simple Ways to Get the Most out of LinkedIn

1. Monitor LinkedIn's "Signal" feature to glean market and industry insights. 

One of the new-ish features introduced by LinkedIn is "Signal", which allows you to filter and expand your "wall" beyond just the updates from your immediate connections. For example, you can easily drill down to find updates and posts by the greater LinkedIn community (2nd and 3rd+ connections), filter by geography or industry, or focus on specific companies. This is a great tool to see what your customers are saying about their own companies or industries. 

2. Use LinkedIn Apps and Groups to establish yourself as an expert.  

Becoming an expert in your field can be extremely lucrative and LinkedIn is a great way to establish your credibility. Not only can you post documents, white papers, or presentations to your own profile, but you can also use LinkedIn Apps to integrate your reading lists or blog posts directly into your online profile. Another great way to demostrate your expertise is by applying your experience and insights in one of the many LinkedIn Groups. 

3. Download your Connections to your Address Book. 

Being able to connect to industry professionals and peers is one of the most significant benefits to using LinkedIn, but did you know that you can export the contact information for the people in your network? Simply click the Export Connections link at the bottom of your Connections page to download your entire network into Outlook or any popular contact manager. 

4. Quickly find customers and connections using saved searches. 

One frequent criticism of LinkedIn is that there isn't a good workflow for many users to quickly find quality connections. While I think LinkedIn has a great recommendation engine in the People You May Know menu, you can also save up to three advanced searches as a free member. This is a great way to target your current and potential customers, as well as peers in your industry, for future connections. 

5. Make yourself easy to find on LinkedIn. 

It may sound basic, but you will not gain many beneficial connections if users can't find you profile. Verify your settings within LinkedIn to ensure that your profile is displayed in user searches. While your at it, you can customize your LinkedIn page link to promote your personal or professional brand and enhance your LinkedIn profile page to better connect with your customers and peers. 

For more great ways to get more out of LinkedIn, read 10 Mistakes People Make on LinkedIn and visit this post on LinkedIntelligence