My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media

social-media-platformsI make a living in the world of social media. There, I said it.

I’m the one behind the Facebook tab trying to get you interested in seeing that movie. I’m the one behind that flyaway trip to see your favorite artist backstage. I’m the one who advises clients on how to engage you so they can market to you.

Please don’t shoot the messenger.

I am also the one who has never clicked on a Facebook ad, and thinks that the new Facebook Timeline is looking more and more like the cluttered MySpace Titanic right before it hit that social network iceberg and sunk a few years back.

When I help a client design an engaging social experience online I always ask myself, “Would I click on that?” before I recommend or implement anything. I am not a typical user, but I’m your canary in a coal mine. I have a very low threshold for social media BS.

And speaking of BS, there’s no such thing as a “Social Media Expert.” It’s a nascent industry that’s just hitting puberty. It’s like trying to fully understand a teenager. You can’t. And anyone who tells you they fully understand a teenager isn’t living with one.

She Likes Me, She Likes Me Not. What is the Value of a Facebook Like?

One of the most frequent requests I hear from customers is, “I want more Likes on Facebook. How do I get more Likes?” What is a Like worth anyway?

Likes were originally conceived to give brand fans a way to publicly declare their love and their loyalty to you, but their value has been diluted over time because they have become so pervasive. There are Like buttons on corporate pages, order confirmation pages, photo sharing sites, and now the analog version of “Please Like us on Facebook” printed on your retail receipt. We all want to be “Liked,” but the truth is the vast majority of people who Like your Facebook page never return.

So the question you should be asking yourself is not how do I get more Likes, but how can I monetize the ones I have.

Discovering the currency of your brand fans.

A Like is worth nothing if the person who clicked the Like button never engages. So how do you engage your brand fans and empower them to bring you more Likes? Find out what the currency of your fans is and “pay” them. Put yourself in the shoes of your fans and ask yourself why you would come back to the brand page.

Some examples of currencies and payouts:

  • Healthcare: your currency is knowledge and information. Your fans expect up-to-date articles on healthcare, links to groundbreaking studies, and a forum for questions.These are the items they would be willing to share to their network.
    Bright Idea: Create a custom Facebook tab called “Clip of the Week,” and share a different health tip video every week, and encourage people to share and comment.
  • Music Artist: Your currency is exclusivity. Your fans want to be the first to know that you’re eating a burger at a dive in some little town between tour stops. They want their friends to know that you just released a new single and they got the download before anyone because they Liked your page. Update your page with personal status updates on a regular basis so your fans have a reason to come back.
    Bright Idea: Create a Facebook tab with a Like Gate and a link to an exclusive download of your latest single.
  • B2C: You assume your currency is the all mighty deal and the discount, but that’s not always true. Status updates about product discounts result in the lowest rate of interaction  of all Facebook posts. Your best currency is opinion. Create a weekly poll and ask your fans for their opinion. This will engage your fans, give you a high rate of interaction, and encourage them to share the content out to their network.
    Bright Idea: Create a poll that lets fans vote on the next flavor of ice cream you’ll produce, a limited edition color for a car, or a new menu item.

It’s not always about money.

The bottom line is that monetizing your fans doesn’t always mean selling them something. If you keep them engaged you will earn their trust and loyalty over time, and they will be more likely to buy when you do present them with that offer.

My Dad is on Facebook

People used to roll their eyes when I told them I was blogging at the ripe old age of 41.

“MySpace is for teenagers!” they’d say. And then they’d ask if I was having a midlife crisis.

Social Media and Social Networking didn’t have a name back then. The word “blog” wasn’t even in the dictionary yet. I wasn’t sure what wave I was riding at the time, but I instinctively knew it was the wave of the future.

My dad showed up in the “People You May Know” sidebar on my Facebook page this morning. He’s 75. Is he having a midlife crisis? I don’t think so.

Ride the wave!

You Think You've Fielded Odd Interview Questions?

I just read an article in the Silicon Valley Business Journal entitled “Top 25 oddball job interview questions of 2010.”

Ever had a tough interview? How would you like to get one of these questions in an interview?!

Questions were shared by job candidates during the past year:

1) “If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?” — Asked for an analyst position at Goldman Sachs.

2) “How many ridges [are there] around a quarter?” — Asked for a project analyst position at Deloitte.

3) “What is the philosophy of martial arts?” — Asked for a sales associate position at Aflac.

4) “Explain [to] me what has happened in this country during the last 10 years.” — Asked for a consultant position at Boston Consulting.

5) “Rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how weird you are.” — Asked for an operations analyst position at Capital One.

6) “How many basketball[s] can you fit in this room?” — Asked for a people analyst position at Google.

7) “Out of 25 horses, pick the fastest 3 horses. In each race, only 5 horses can run at the same time. What is the minimum number of races required?” — Asked for a software developer position at Bloomberg LP Financial.

8) “If you could be any superhero, who would it be?” — Asked for a customer sales position at AT&T.

9) “You have a birthday cake and have exactly 3 slices to cut it into 8 equal pieces. How do you do it?” — Asked for a fixed income analyst position at Blackrock Portfolio Management Group.

10) “Given the numbers 1 to 1000, what is the minimum numbers guesses needed to find a specific number if you are given the hint ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ for each guess you make?” — Asked for a software engineer position at Facebook.

11) “If you had 5,623 participants in a tournament, how many games would need to be played to determine the winner?” — Asked for a manager position at Amazon.

12) “An apple costs 20 cents, an orange costs 40 cents, and a grapefruit costs 60 cents, how much is a pear?”– Asked for a project manager position at Epic Systems.

13) “There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled such that no label identifies the actual contents of the box it labels. Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?” — Asked for a software QA engineer position at Apple.

14) “How many traffic lights in Manhattan?” — Asked for an analyst position at Argus Information & Advisory Services.

15) “You are in a dark room with no light. You need matching socks for your interview and you have 19 gray socks and 25 black socks. What are the chances you will get a matching pair?” — Asked for a quality assurance position at Eze Castle.

16) “What do wood and alcohol have in common?” — Asked for a staff writer position at Guardsmark.

17) “How do you weigh an elephant without using a weigh machine?” — Asked for a software engineer at IBM.

18) “You have 8 pennies, 7 weigh the same, one weighs less. You also have a judges scale. Find the one that weighs less in less than 3 steps.” — Asked for a systems validation engineer position at Intel.

19) “Why do you think only a small percentage of the population makes over $150K?”– Asked for a sales agent position at New York Life.

20) “You are in charge of 20 people. Organize them to figure out how many bicycles were sold in your area last year.” — Asked for a field engineer position at Schlumberger.

21) “How many bottles of beer are consumed in the city over the week?” — Asked for a research analyst position at The Nielsen Company.

22) “What’s the square root of 2000?” — Asked for a sales and trading position at UBS.

23) “A train leaves San Antonio for Houston at 60 mph. Another train leaves Houston for San Antonio at 80 mph. Houston and San Antonio are 300 miles apart. If a bird leaves San Antonio at 100 mph, and turns around and flies back once it reaches the Houston train, and continues to fly between the two, how far will it have flown when they collide?”– Asked for a software engineer position at USAA.

24) “How are M&M’s made?” — Asked for a program development position at US Bank.

25) “What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?” — Asked for a business analyst position at Volkswagen.

You can see some of the answers that interviewees gave here:

Dear Mark Zuckerberg, You Suck

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

I thought we had a deal. When I joined Facebook a few years ago you promised me privacy.  When I first arrived on the scene I could keep my entire profile private, create my own little Facebook world if you will. I liked the fact that every status I ever posted didn’t show up on Google when I searched on my name. I appreciated the fact that I had control over my audience. Now you’ve changed the rules without consulting me and I’m not happy about it.

When I originally clicked Accept on your privacy policy when I joined Facebook, it said nothing about sharing my personal information on Facebook pages and partner websites outside of Facebook. You call this new feature “Instant Personalization.” I call it a complete violation of my privacy.

You falsely give the impression that I actually have the ability to opt out of this program, yet you continue to force me into the program even though I’ve opted out. As you can see by my Privacy settings I have unchecked the box that allows you to take my private wall postings and publicly display them on your partner websites:

Facebook Privacy Opt Out

When I try to opt out of your Instant Personalization program you threaten to share my information via my friends anyway!

Facebook Privacy

I have opted out of this Instant Personalization program yet you continue to threaten me if I don’t opt in. When you pop up a dialog that asks me if I’d like to link to 37 other pages on Facebook, and I refuse, you threaten to wipe out the personal information from my profile.

Facebook Warning

So, unless I bow to your wishes you will basically empty my profile of all of the information that I originally chose to post. If I link to the 37 pages you suggest, you will replace all of the personal information I have posted in my profile with garbage that you think I should have on my profile, based on your data mining of my status updates and current profile information.

This is not what I signed up for Mr. Zuckerberg. I am a public persona, and even I am appalled by your lack of respect for my privacy. If you Google my name you will find 20 pages worth of links to information on me. This is the information I want you to find. There’s a difference.

I hope your pilot program crashes and burns.


Kelly Jo Horton

Social Networker

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