If This, Then That. Everyone knows the meaning of this simple catchphrase. Doing one thing causes another thing to happen. It doesn’t get much more simple, right? Well, what if I told you that a team of developers has taken this basic logic to heart for the very purpose of making the Internet an easier place for you? If you are even remotely intrigued, then you may love IFTTT.
IFTTT has attempted to place the simple power of the if/then statement in the palm of your Internet-wielding hand. It uses straight forward metaphors in its branding to effortlessly guide users through its setup. You create a “recipe” by combining actions, or “ingredients,” from any of the 59 channels that they offer. The channels are popular web services such as social media sites, cloud-storage programs, email, and many more. Actions from the first channel (the “if”) then trigger actions from another channel (the “then”). A simple example of this formula goes like this: If I am tagged in a Facebook photo, then download that photo to my Dropbox. You can find thousands of recipes at IFTTT’s very own Recipe Browser. With the ability to create an endless number of recipes, the website quickly starts acting like your very own cyber-secretary.
The flexibility of the system makes IFTTT a very interesting automation device. The pitch makes it feel like a connection system between all of the Internet sites that you visit and use most often. While that is true, I found the most intriguing recipes are those that operate across multiple devices. This includes things like texting you when it is about to rain, finding a phone by emailing to it and initiating a call, and acting as a reminder system connected to a particular date or to calendar events. Smartphones can do many of these things in their own ways, but IFTTT offers a separate system that operates outside of any one platform.
The puzzle piece that may bring this system to full use is the ability for outside parties to create their own channels within IFTTT’s system. This promised expansion could open up the door for companies to launch their own tie-ins that could be used to bring in new customers or keep current customers informed of offers and deals. If companies have online services –promotions, newsletters, weekly ads, etc.– all they would need to do is supply the ability to link to these services in IFTTT. Users could then create recipes that utilize the company channel, linking the company deals and ads to a whole slew of other Internet services. Buffalo Wild Wings (@BWWings) could add channels that update when new sauces or promotions are added, allowing users to receive updates or spread the message automatically. They could even create their own IFTTT recipes, and then advertise them to spread their use and awareness, bringing in a completely new audience. The possible consumer expansion is really promising in this new environment.
IFTTT is great for personal use, keeping track of much of the content that you manage on the Internet. Even greater is its potential expansion into the consumer marketplace. When companies are able to fully integrate their services into the IFTTT ecosystem, it will become an expansion point for advertising and consumer awareness.
On Monday, March 25, Facebook launched a new feature that claims to improve the quality of conversation on brand pages. Much like YouTube’s current commenting system, the comments with the most interactions will be pushed to the top of every conversation thread. It will also be easier to reply to specific comments and therefore have smaller conversations within a broader post without having to tag the user to indicate the response is for him/her.
This “Replies” feature will help community managers stay on top of comments that are getting a lot of buzz and attention by other fans, and will highlight the most relevant conversations.
Currently, all users will be able to reply directly to comments on Pages that have opted in. Although this new feature is only available on desktop now, it’s rumored to be implemented on mobile in the future.
Here’s how to opt in:
1. At the top of your Page, click Edit page
2. Go to Manage Permissions
3. Select Turn On Replies
You can opt in to Replies through the Page admin panel. Once you opt in, you can still opt out, but all Pages will have Replies enabled on July 10, 2013.
If you don’t want to opt in yet but would like to check it out live, here are a few examples:
Have you turned on your Replies feature yet? Tell us what you think!
Following the March 7th announcement from Facebook around the News Feed update, 22squared prepared a collaborative 5-point POV document analyzing the brand implications. The biggest note is that Facebook is taking a user-first approach to its update, and 22squared’s POV reflects this.
While our team has considered user implications as well, our POV specifically focuses on brands. This POV is intended to provide our clients and colleagues digestible and insightful context around the changes. The outline shows how we plan to proactive about the News Feed changes, so our clients and agency will create the best social executions and digital content, with a user-first viewpoint.
Despite the rapid changes seen within social and digital marketing, 22squared is prepared to interpret the changes with the most valuable insight for education and strategy. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about 22squared Social Marketing practice, please contact Juliana Bowman at 404-347-8895 or via email for more information.
Do you remember when Facebook launched what some would argue to be the most valuable addition to its platform, News Feed? For the first time, in one place, a person could easily access real-time updates from friends. This meant way less time clicking to a ton of pages to stalk, er, I mean keep up to speed on connections. Nearly seven years later, it’s now the place where 1 billion people engage with their friends on the internet, and people, like me, spend hours upon hours each day.
News Feed has been through several changes since launch. Each time, ironically a plethora of people take to Facebook to voice how they’ll quit the platform altogether if it doesn’t change back. On Thursday, with the announcement of the new News Feed, Facebook rumbled our world again.
Except this time, I think people aren’t going to complain so much.
The changes aren’t going to drastically alter the functionality of people’s beloved News Feed, they’re going to make it better. Facebook’s enhancements will give users a reason to keep coming back. Among these main players are larger images, multiple feeds for things like photos, and a unified user experience across mobile and tablet devices.
Unlike its stock, Facebook’s space on News Feed is a commodity, with limited impressions for brands, friends and apps to compete. Thursday’s announcement of filter changes may help with this quandary. This additional layer of personalization with larger, more beautiful photos will be a welcome change, one that I think will keep people coming back for more.
Sign-up here to be one of the first to experience the new News Feed.
Fact: the latest thing in your news feed is not always the best thing in your news feed. That may sound obvious, but consumers (and marketers) don’t act like it.
“Yeah, I saw that yesterday.”
“This will be the best thing you see all day.”
“First.” (to comment)
Refresh. Refresh. Refresh your news feed. Show me what’s going on right now that will beat the last thing I just saw.
As a social media culture, we are suffering from acute Recency Bias.
Recency bias: a cognitive bias that results from disproportionate salience attributed to recent stimuli or observations; the tendency to weigh recent events more than earlier events (see also peak-end rule, recency effect).
We are enamored with the current moment, addicted to that dose of dopamine that hits when something mildly interesting appears, as long as it’s new. We compulsively scan our Instagram feeds way more than necessary. It’s beyond boredom: it’s addiction. Show me what’s happening now. How about now? Now? Now? Now? It’s a perspective that unwittingly governs our values and interests. Seeing and sharing the most recent posts, no matter how trivial, now creates our worth among friends. At least, that’s how we act.
Perhaps there’s a critical question we haven’t asked in a while: instead of how new is it, let’s ask honestly, how good is it. Sure that picture of a pulled pork sandwich just hit me this second, and has delighted me a bit, but does that make it better? How does it stack up in the hundreds of neat things that have come through this week/month/year? Is it good? Is it important? Does it have any value beyond being here now? How good is that cat meme, really?
Speaking of cats, take a look at the yearly recap of the big memes of 2012. Every single one of them had us smiling, but do any have lasting value, importance, or depth? Maybe it’s not fair to judge memes, because their purpose is not to last or do anything more than entertain. However, a grumpy cat picture has more people buzzing than content of much greater value. Recency bias. (With a little humor bias thrown in, I admit.)
We’re chasing shiny objects. Obsessed with the past sixty seconds, and the next sixty. Beating each other to click and grin. We laugh and laugh, and share with friends. Meanwhile, what are we missing? Perhaps a little distance from our news feeds to step back and say, “Sure those things made me smile, but this one thing was truly remarkable.” Even tidbits in Wired magazine (under the burden of a slower print cycle) feature products and ideas that are merely blips, and will likely not stand the test of time or change things too fundamentally.
There are antidotes (thank God). Big idea curators like The Creators Project, and Brain Pickings. People and programs that have their radar tuned to more fundamental ideas that last – and still blow our minds.
Let’s never stop laughing at stuff. But let’s not assume that new content is meaningful content. Let’s not assume what’s new is what’s right. Let’s understand the ideas that last, because that understanding will add layers to the joy of the new and now. A child laughs at Bugs Bunny’s pratfalls in the moment, but an adult laughs at Bugs for other reasons – better reasons. If you understand foundational ideas, stories and constructs that last, you’ll enjoy the other crap so much more. And if you’re a creator of content, your jokes will be funnier, your stories much better.
The latest thing in our news feed is not always the best. Get over the bias. Be more like McKayla – not easily impressed.
“Lightweight interactions” has been a buzzword lately: everybody is preaching them but few are practicing them. Brands continue to invest big money in heavyweight Facebook applications that lead users to a less than satisfying experience. Where brands are missing the mark is within the news feed story.
Looking at the average Facebook user flow, users spend a majority of their time within the news feed and will engage with content that is of interest to them, through a like, comment or share. If the content is compelling enough to further explore, the user will have a deeper engagement, such as clicking on a link. After exploring, the user will then return to the news feed to discover more content of interest. The average post from a brand page only reaches 16% of fans. This is why it’s important to provide the most engaging content, connecting with human behavior; this way fans will share with their friends and extend the reach of the post.
It’s a simple strategy that marketers often overlook. Lightweight interactions open up for storytelling and opportunities to make small content elements that are part of a bigger story. We need to avoid heavily branded content, hard hitting sales messages, product pushes, tag lines and icons. We can sprinkle these assets into the overarching story but they should not be the daily experience. iends and extend the reach of the post.
Once we build a relationship with our fans and gain their trust, we can begin to provide a few heavyweight interactions over time, such as a product push or a beneficial Facebook application. Fans want to feel rewarded for participating in brand experiences. Whether it’s a chance to win a prize or exclusive content, fans are looking for a pay-off. A new approach marketers should consider while concepting their next big Facebook application is to start by designing the news feed story first and use the application to break through. It’s important to remember, the news feed story is one of the primary discovery points to drive to the Facebook application.
Around the world October has become well known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today, in a world that is more connected than ever through social media, it would seem like an easy task to reach people by using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. However, during this pink-filled month, it takes innovative thinking for brands to be seen. Many brands are accomplishing this by reaching women on multiple platforms through creative campaigns, which invite users to share personal stories. Social media allows information to be shared instantaneously, which provides a huge opportunity for brands to join the fight against breast cancer.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have made it so much easier for individuals to raise awareness for breast cancer, and each year we see an increase in brand participation to find a cure. Through different social initiatives, brands have created various ways for their communities to share personal stories and connect with those fighting the same battle. There are many brands that have joined the fight for a cure, but there are a few that stood out to me this year.
These three campaigns are just a few of the many from brands that are using their social media platforms to raise awareness about breast cancer. Social media has made communities more connected than ever before through the sharing of stories and pictures, so people don’t have to fight this battle alone.
What brands have you seen using social media to raise awareness for breast cancer?
Remember that weird little gift shop Facebook used to have? With those clip-art images of things like birthday cakes and bananas? I’m pretty sure I doled out a few $1 slices of virtual pizza during that confusing time, but their newest product, Facebook Gifts, is aiming bigger.
More than 100 partners are taking the leap into Facebook Gifts, including big-thinker brands like Starbucks and Warby Parker. Users have the option to send digital or physical gifts, such as a $5 Starbucks gift card that can be loaded onto a user’s mobile device (what up Passbook?), or an actual shipment delivered straight to a friend’s doorstep. What’s convenient about this is that the gifters don’t have to actually know the shipment addresses for these deliveries – a common barrier to gift-giving. They simply choose the gift, based on recommendations from Facebook pulled by user data, and the recipient is immediately prompted to enter a shipping preference. Recipients even have the option to choose the color, size, or flavor they want, and can exchange it without anyone ever having to know how picky they actually are.
Procrastinators and last minute gifters might find the most value in Facebook Gifts, considering the number of people that rely solely on Facebook to remember friends’ birthdays. Users can pay for the gift right away, or enter the payment details later – tapping into those who are feeling truly spur-of-the-moment. The idea of gift-giving leverages Facebook’s mantra of living in a more open and connected place, and by making it social, Facebook makes each purchase a highly visible and easily shareable story.
As this is Facebook’s first major step in e-commerce, there are certainly caveats to the feature. The fact that users will have to provide a credit card number and home address is one potential downfall, given some Facebook users’ distrust of privacy protection on social networks. However, as a social marketer, I can certainly see the intrinsic value in leveraging the relationships and experiences that have been built through Facebook, and selling products that are an extension of those experiences. Also, as a Facebook user with an upcoming birthday, I think the value is pretty clear. November 3rd, folks.
Social networking sites have changed the way we share information. They allow for new opportunities to communicate with friends and family, ways to curate your online identity, and an abundant number of ways brands can target consumers. The result is simple. We have become a society that shares- photos of our babies, the songs we listen to, which brands we like, the games we play.
Personally, I am an open book when it comes to social networking sites. I tweet publicly, allow some acquaintances to be my friends on Facebook, and have blogged about my daughter and life as a working mom since she was 3 months old. For some, my style is a little too far out there.
If you’re like me, you may wonder, is Facebook corroding our privacy?
I think it depends on how you perceive it. The goods news for many is that we have a choice, and Facebook makes it pretty clear how your information is shared. Facebook outlines in their detailed Data Use Policy that they have access to the information you submit when signing up for the site and all information you share. They also disclose that they use that information for ad targeting and research.
Furthermore, when it comes to applications, there are tools that allows you to see which permissions you have given, the last time an application accessed your information, and the audience on Facebook for your Timeline stories and activity the application posts on your behalf. If you don’t want your friends to know which articles you last read on Yahoo, simply change your settings.
As users, we have the option to choose the content we share on our social networking sites and exactly who can see it. Facebook’s post controls allow us to easily distinguish which friends can see our content on a per post level and the settings can be changed at any time.
Inevitably, your social activity controls what information you share. Some say the only option for privacy is to not participate at all. Others think the solution is to be smart about your personal settings and share as much as you feel comfortable. It’s up to you to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks. To me, all this data and the new ways marketers can target consumers is exciting, not concerning. With choices, each one of us has to make the decision about how much privacy we are willing to give up to reap the rewards of what social networking has brought to our lives.