Celebrate Mark Zuckerberg’s 28th Birthday with these 5 Facebook Faves

happy-Birthday 2Who would have thought twenty-eight years ago a boy by the name of Mark Zuckerberg would change the world forever. You may be thinking, “Wow, Erin. Pump the breaks; I wouldn’t go that far.” But, if you think about it, Facebook has altered our lives someway, somehow.

For some, it’s a way to connect a brand with its consumers. For others, Facebook is simply a creeping tool. (You can stop with the deer-in-the-headlights look; we are all guilty of it.)

Bottom line, Facebook has recreated the way in which we interact. I mean, it has 845 million monthly active users and is to start selling stock to the public on the Nasdaq Stock Market this Friday. No big deal.

With that said, let’s give the father of the social network a “hip, hip, hooray” for his big 2-8 and celebrate with these 5 Facebook Faves that have changed the way we communicate:

  1. The ability to share content and news— With a click of a button, you can share statuses, photos and/or links, allowing brands and businesses to create buzz about a certain event, campaign or cause.
  2. You can connect virtually with just about anyone—No matter if you’re Plain Jane or Starbucks, you can target and connect with specific key audiences and markets. How many times do you see on TV or on in ad, “Like us on Facebook,” or hear from someone, “Are you on Facebook?” People love to interact, be in the know and share information—Facebook is the triple threat that gives individuals those options.
  3. Business and brands have a new way to engage— Consumers and “fans” no longer have to pick up the phone or send an email to share their thoughts; they can resort to a brand’s Facebook page to give feedback about a product, create conversation with other fans and post photos or links that highlight a given brand. If you think about it, Facebook is a lot like a diary—you document events right as they happen, giving individuals a feeling of belonging and ownership to a company or brand. By creating that sense of community, a business is not only creating a conversation but also a reputation.
  4. My grandma has Facebook—Need I say more?
  5. Facebook allows brands to think outside of the box—In my eyes, Facebook is a Mecca where awareness, interaction and engagement all come together to form a community of people with similar likes and interests. Not a day goes by where I don’t see a Fan Page post a contest or link to an article. Facebook is all about what’s next—What’s next for the company, what’s next for fans, what’s next for the industry? The sky is the limit for brands to explore new ways to get consumers and fans excited for that next big thing, whatever it may be.

Mark Zuckerberg (and company) has come a long way since its days of being accessible to select networks. Now, the worldwide phenomenon is the go-to social media platform that has given us the best gift of all: the gift of communication.  Now, that’s something worth celebrating. Happy big 2-8, Marky Z! Oh, and Mark, don’t forget to wear your party hat and eat a big piece of cake today. You deserve it.

If March Madness was a Social Media Tournament…

I’m sure the following question has crossed your mind a thousand times this basketball season: if March Madness was a social media competition, who would win? OK, maybe that isn’t the first question that comes to mind (maybe the second), but just take a minute and think about it.

 

How often do your resort to Twitter to get an update on a game? How many times do you catch yourself trash-talking with frenemies via Facebook because, for a split second, you think you are channeling the one and only Dick Vitale?  And, how many times do you see hashtags take center stage at the bottom of TV screens and across sponsors’ banners—thank you, Gatorade and ESPN—to motivate fans from the farmlands of the Hoosier State to the stars of the Hollywood Hills to discuss, interact and share?

 

The answer is a lot, which is why Schwartz Communications, a PR technology and healthcare agency, took the liberty of analyzing the growth and power of social media surrounding March Madness with a formula I think is pretty baller. To determine each school’s Social Media Power Ranking (SMPR), the Schwartz MSL Research Group  took the number of Facebook fans for each NCAA basketball team and added the number of Twitter followers for each team’s basketball Twitter handle and then divided that number by the total number of students attending a given university (as reported by Wikipedia.)

 

It’s OK; math was never my strong suit either.

 

From there, Schwartz MSL Research Group determined the social media powerhouse that knows how to make a slam dunk in the digital realm. Drum roll, please… the 2012 March Madness SMPR champion is The University of Kansas. Hey, at least you walk away with something, Jayhawks.

 

The point of this pep talk is this: with the growth and power of social media, one can’t help but take notice and advantage of our All-American communicators—Twitter and Facebook. These two social media platforms give brands, institutions and fans a chance to take their words to the Big Dance and create a little madness while they’re at it.

March Madness 2012

 

What’s so “Super” about the Super Bowl?

Super Bowl 46 LogoFor football fans, it’s a holy day. For others, it’s just an excuse to pig out and down some brewskies. But, no matter the age, gender or motive, the Super Bowl represents a profound experience that makes it an “unofficial” holiday in our American culture. As each year passes, it seems as if the brains behind the Super Bowl operations look for the next big idea to take fans’ experience to the next level.

This year, the land of Peyton Manning, Touchdown Jesus and Bobby Knight is the new home of the Super Bowl and the first-ever social media command center created by the Indianapolis Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee to provide visitors with a whole new type of game-day experience. (It’s in Indiana if you’re still in the dark with those sport references.)

The Game Plan

The new social media experience angle of this year’s big game is spearheaded by a group of individuals from Raidious, an Indiana-based social media company, who are committed to giving “Hoosier hospitality” to fans and visitors of Indianapolis by monitoring social media outlets and answering questions about local attractions, parking and other Super Bowl-related topics.

Raidious Super Bowl social media command center

Raidious Super Bowl social media command center

The social media platforms which will be monitored include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Foursquare. The command center is giving others the play-by-play now through Super Bowl Sunday.

The Drive

But, there’s more to this social media-savvy event. The command center goes for a two-point conversion with its SEO efforts, and in my eyes, really puts those extra points up on the board. Not only will the individuals manning (No pun intended, but go Giants) the center monitor conversations occurring on various outlets, they will also use SEO to highlight keywords and phrases people are searching with to obtain certain information.  According to FastCompany.com, a list of about 300 keywords will be used to monitor all social media outlets as well as the Twitter hashtag, #Social46.

The End Zone

Here’s the bottom line: it’s all about customer satisfaction, which directly relates to the individuals’ experience. No matter what business you’re in or which event you’re preparing for, you want outsiders or customers to walk away with the “wow” factor. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner when your mom seems as if her head is going to pop off faster than the cork on a champagne bottle just because she wants everyone to have a great time full of memories.

This social media command center accomplishes that same goal because it reaches out and makes a connection with Super Bowl attendees and tourists visiting Indianapolis. By serving as the scouting team, individuals are left feeling valued and taken care of because the command center has the ultimate Super Bowl playbook. The best offense is a good defense, and by being a step ahead of the game, you are almost always guaranteed to cross the goal line. So whether you’re tuning in for entertaining commercials or watching to see which team will clinch the Vince Lombardi Trophy, remember it’s all about your experience and the memories you take away.