making the old work with the new

NBC’s Million Second Quiz was a flop.

I can hear the pitch meeting now…

It’s a way to combine TV watching and online participation! It’s got an online element! It’s got an app! It’s like Words with Friends! It’s the new #hashtag buzzword synergy blockbuster!! We’ll promote it until people are sick of hearing about it!

And without all the hyperbole, I agree. On paper, it should have worked.

However, I’m a trivia game show buff and I’m fairly well plugged in. I’m smack dab in the target market. But I watched about 15 minutes of it and thought, ‘Meh’.

Why didn’t it connect?

On first glance, I suspect it’s because the nation has achieved Ryan Seacrest over saturation.

But realistically, I think it’s because just like gathering together some eggs, flour and sugar doesn’t make a cake, putting trendy elements together doesn’t make a hit. There has to be something greater there. It has to be something people want to invest in.

I think the over promotion of it hurt as well. The promos felt like a mother standing in JC Penny trying to convince her son that the husky pants were cool.

And a reason that continues to pop up is that media still have no idea how to adapt. Trying to stick real time competition and app play into a TV show is like the newspaper or magazine promoting that you can flip through ‘pages’ on their site or app. It’s the old “try to wedge the old thing we know how to do into that new thing the kids are talking about”.

It’s a good lesson for all media. Stop trying to build new things on old foundations. Take your existing equity to develop a new base and build from there.

the top 3 facebook marketing mistakes

Facebook pages are getting a redesign similar to the one that Facebook profiles recently underwent. If you’re a page admin, you can voluntarily go to the new design or be automatically converted around March 1st. I suggest you go ahead and opt-in to the change a few days after it’s offered. (Let others deal with the inevitable initial bugs, but still be an early adopter.)

changes are coming to facebook. Is your marketing ready?There are lots of positives (and negatives) surrounding the change. I think the best change is the new ability for email alerts on page activity (I don’t have a clue why this wasn’t there from the start) But at the same time, I will miss tabs.

If you’re already actively marketing your brand on Facebook, you’ll find this post from ‘Inside Facebook’ on the redesign a very helpful guide.

But I urge you to take a step even further back and evaluate your Facebook marketing strategy. Are you sure you’ve covered some of the basics?

Are you making some of the following mistakes as a marketer using Facebook to connect with customers?

Why am I here?
Brands are spending lots of money to get people to like them on Facebook. But what are companies doing with them once they get them there? Getting people to like you on Facebook should not be a marketing end-goal; it should be a tactic in a larger strategy.

The like is not the end of the marketing; it’s just the beginning.

How often are you posting new content? Are you interacting with fans? Are you just re-posting your traditional marketing messages or are you having a conversation?

It’s also important to remember that having a Facebook page is not a web marketing strategy. It should be one element of a much larger plan.

Profiles are not Pages
A profile is something on Facebook that an individual person has. A page is for brands. If you’re doing business or trying to promote something, you need a page; not a profile. There are 3 big reasons for this.

1) The major reason is that it’s against Facebook rules for anything other than an individual person to have a profile. You run the risk of being suspended.
2) Pages work differently than profiles. Many of these things (like some of the changes that are coming) are designed to help you market and sell rather than play Farmville.
3) A person can only have 5,000 friends on Facebook. If you ever aspire to have more than 5,000 fans, you need to move to a page as soon as you can.

The worst thing you can do is have both a page and a profile. It confuses your customers. Post on the profile numerous times that you’re moving to the page. Try to get as many to move with you as you can. Chalk up the lost stragglers as a marketing lesson.

Get a decent URL
I see the same mistakes all the time when someone is trying to convey the location of the brand’s page. If you have over 25 fans, you can get a simple URL like www.facebook.com/BrandZeitgeist by going to facebook.com/username and choosing your name. That’s alot simpler to communicate than the ambiguous “find us on facebook” or the incorrect “become our friend on facebook”. (see previous ‘Profiles are not Pages’ point)

The only thing harder to communicate is the deadly full page name and ID URL like http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Houchens/17831081539. I’m sure that URL will flow beautifully in your radio commercials (and take up half the time).

Something else I see alot is people taking the full URL sin one step further and promoting some of their personal browsing history like: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lighthouse-Restaurant-Sulphur-Well-KY/114743131874741#!/pages/Chris-Houchens/17831081539 goes to my page but also shows that I have been thinking about going to Sulphur Well for some country ham. The url will still work when you take the pages/Lighthouse-Restaurant-Sulphur-Well-KY/114743131874741#!/ out of it.

These are the big three mistakes that I see brands make the most often. What would you add to this list? What are brands do you think are using Facebook effectively?

(by the way — when you like me on Facebook, you’ll get my latest blog posts delivered in your news feed.)