Archive for June, 2010

Sneak peek: “The Facebook Era” 2nd Edition

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Thank you for all of your contributions, support, and encouragement on The Facebook Era Second Edition. I submitted the final manuscript to my publisher a few weeks ago and it is slated for publication next month!

The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Market, Sell, and Innovate (2nd Edition) Prentice Hall, 2010

The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Market, Sell, and Innovate (2nd Edition) Prentice Hall, 2010

Amazon is offering a 34% discount and free shipping if you pre-order. :)

Over the course of the next few weeks leading up to the launch, I will be sharing snippets from the new book. Here is the Introduction, which explains what’s new and different in the second edition. I look forward to your thoughts!


“I am a firm believer in the people.”

—Abraham Lincoln

This book is all about you. Neither the first edition nor this one would have been possible without your questions, contributions, and passion for the subject matter. I thank the many tens of thousands of you from around the world who read the first edition and engage in dialogue on social media business topics every day with me and one other.

Just like the pioneers of the Internet fifteen years ago, you are the ones defining, shaping, and leading the Facebook Era. At a time when the business outlook still feels uncertain, you have stepped up to the plate with bold optimism, inspiring ideas, and a willingness to experiment, learn from mistakes, and share. Though in most cases we have never met, it is your stories, ideas, and comments that have inspired this second edition as well as my new software company, Hearsay Labs.

After the first edition, many of you wrote to me saying, “Thanks for telling us about the incredible possibilities on Facebook for my business. Now please tell us what tools are out there to help us!” Turns out, there weren’t very many I could recommend. So I left, called up an old friend and programming partner from college (Steve Garrity), and together we founded Hearsay Labs to help companies grow their fans and grow their business on Facebook, Twitter, and across the Social Web.

Special thanks to the most active contributors on our Facebook Page— Jamie Parks, Joseph Ray Diosana, Olena Koval, Danni Aiken, Shannon Ng, Nadine Gerber, Samir Pandit, Todd Chaffee, Ernesto Bruscia, and Rich Liao. As the rest of you begin thinking about how to apply concepts from the book to your business, I encourage you to check out their ideas and contribute your own.



What’s New

Less than a year has passed, but the world has changed dramatically since The Facebook Era was first published. 200 million Facebook users sounded like a lot then, but it’s fewer than half the number of people on Facebook today. Back then, we had some ideas for what might work for businesses on social networking sites, but many of the case studies were admittedly half-baked. Everything was nascent.

This edition tells the rest of the story. By many measures, Facebook has “won.” Twitter has become relevant (at least buzz-worthy). LinkedIn has strong momentum. However, many of the other social networks in the last edition have all but disappeared or been forced to focus on narrow and specific niches, like music in the case of MySpace or virtual worlds in the case of Hi5.

Today, the Social Web is filled with many more examples of innovative ways in which companies are successfully getting to know and support their customers, reach new audiences, and sell more stuff. We are finally beginning to understand and in some cases quantify the value of online social networks—whether for sales, marketing, customer service, innovation, collaboration, recruiting, or some other business function.

Few companies have mastered the Social Web end to end, but many are doing one or a few aspects really well. This book uncovers best practices, tradeoffs, and pitfalls from leading companies across multiple segments and industries, and suggests how your business can take advantage.

Social media is suddenly no longer a mystery. It is at least in part science which we can study, learn, and measure. This book will teach you how. New chapters have been added based on your requests via Twitter and Facebook. The rest has been largely rewritten to reflect the many changes and innovations that have taken place over the past year:

· Each content chapter now ends with a summary of takeaways and actionable to-do list.

· There are over two dozen case studies and examples highlighted throughout the book to bring important concepts to life.

· Instead of talking about Facebook only, this edition also provides extensive coverage of both Twitter and LinkedIn.

· We have incorporated expert opinion sidebars from renowned social media authorities across the business, academic, and analyst communities, including Frank Eliason (Director of Customer Service at Comcast, better known as @ComcastCares), Mikolaj Piskorski (Professor at Harvard Business School), and Charlene Li (bestselling Author of Groundswell and Open Leadership, formerly at Forrester Research).

· Five new chapters have been added, including Customer Service i (Chapter 5), Innovation and Collaboration (Chapter 7), Develop Your Facebook Era Plan and Metrics (Chapter 9), Advice for Small Business (Chapter 13), and Advice for Nonprofits, Healthcare, Education, and Political Campaigns (Chapter 14).

How it Started

It was the spring of 2007. Smoking indoors hadn’t yet been outlawed, though this place might not have cared either way. These two older men, clearly regulars, sat in the back corner, bare, lanky arms hanging out of their wifebeaters, cigarette dangling out one side of their mouth and a toothpick out the other. They were gesturing animatedly, laughing, eating, smoking, chattering away in loud Cantonese about this and that.

I tuned them out to focus on my steaming bowl of wonton soup. Just then, out of the corner of my ear, I heard them just barely: “…blah blah blah Facebook.” I instantly sat up to listen. I had not been mistaken—these two men slurping their congee at an anonymous diner tucked away in a corner of Hong Kong where foreigners never go were talking about Facebook. Their children who were in college abroad got them into it, and now they were hooked. I was floored. It was the moment I realized that if Facebook was not already mainstream, that it would become so very, very soon.

I flew back to San Francisco the following week and attended the first Facebook “f8” developer conference, where they unveiled a new Web platform that would allow third-party software vendors to build applications for Facebook users. The product demonstrations were mind-blowing—new Facebook applications such as iLike for sharing music with friends, Slide for sharing photos, and so on and so forth.

Still, I felt like something was missing. Photos and SuperPoking are fun, but where were the business applications? At the time, I was working at, which made its name developing customer relationship management (CRM) applications. But wasn’t relationship management at the core of what Facebook was offering, albeit in a more fun, casual, and modern way?

That night, I went home and sketched out an idea for bringing Facebook to business. As a product marketer, I had been spending a lot of time on sales calls and saw that the most successful reps established immediate rapport with their prospects and had the strongest personal relationships with customers. Meanwhile in my personal life, I saw Facebook help establish faster and better rapport with people I had just met, and help me maintain closer relationships with my friends.

Facebook, I realized, is CRM. So I decided to try something bold: Combine Facebook with With my friend Todd Perry’s help, I developed Faceconnector (originally named Faceforce), which pulls Facebook profile and friend information into Salesforce account, lead, and contact records. Instead of anonymous cold calling, sales reps and other business professionals could get to know the person behind the name and title, and even ask for warm introductions from mutual friends.

Fortunately, Todd and I weren’t alone. Enterprise companies like SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft evolved their products to include Twitter, Facebook, and other traditionally “consumer” social media. New companies emerged, like Telligent, Lithium, and Jive, to build enterprise social technology from the ground up. The Social CRM movement had begun.

Why You’re Reading This Book

Social media is a disruptive force for business. Every customer and employee suddenly has a voice, and what they say matters. Companies have no choice but to become transparent, responsive, and collaborative, or else risk going out of business. Everything is changing around customer expectations, customer participation, and how companies are organized. Brands are being elevated or jeopardized overnight by a single customer’s opinion that “goes viral.” Next-generation products are no longer being conceived in the lab or executive boardroom but by customers themselves. There is no question: We are living and working in the Facebook Era.

As we saw with the Internet Era and PC Era before it, mastering the Facebook Era has become the new competitive advantage for businesses. Just like fifteen years ago when we had to learn how to Google and email, today we have to learn Facebook and other social technologies to be effective in our personal and professional lives. This book is meant to help you understand and successfully implement online social networking tactics and strategy for your company and career.

Perhaps these situations sound familiar:

· You know your business needs to get on Twitter and Facebook but don’t know where to begin or how to advance to the next stage.

· You use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in your personal life but aren’t quite sure how it fits with your professional life.

· You want to hear how real companies are succeeding at sourcing and converting leads, engaging audiences, and transforming customers into evangelists on social networking sites.

· You understand that whether it’s looking for a job, closing a deal, or advancing your career, a lot of it comes down to who you know in your social networks.

· Increasingly, you’re being asked to do more with less, and want to leverage the power of your networks, your colleagues’ networks, and your customers’ networks to get the job done better, faster, and cheaper.

500 Million and Counting

With over 500 million people spending an astonishing twenty billion minutes per day logged in, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are creating new norms around how we behave, share, and form relationships, and it’s having a profound impact on just about every aspect of our lives.

As a business person, you need to be where your customers are, and increasingly, customers are spending time on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. How will people use Twitter or Facebook to learn about or become engaged with your company and products?

What started out (at least in Facebook’s case) as a dorm room fad has blossomed into a cultural movement. More than a decade ago, the World Wide Web of information emerged, connecting us with news, content, and information. Today, a World Wide Web of people is emerging, creating an online social graph of who is connected to whom and how. Like the Internet era before it, no aspect of society is untouched by these new technologies. From Iran’s election to basketball player Shaquille O’Neil’s million-plus following on Twitter, the rules are being rewritten across business, politics, and philanthropy alike.

With the lightning pace of technology, we are living in a very different world than just a few years ago. Today’s college students don’t use email except with “grownups” like professors and potential employers—they send text messages, Facebook Poke, and write on each other’s Walls.

But it’s not just college students. The largest and fastest-growing segment of Facebook and Twitter users are those aged 35-49. More and more, we are relying on social networking sites as a primary means to communicate with friends and get the news. Newspapers, email, and traditional websites aren’t going away (well, some would argue that they are), but certainly there is a new player in town.

It’s All About the People

Perhaps the Social Web was inevitable. Technology shouldn’t be—was never meant to be—an end in and of itself. It is only meaningful and valuable where and when it serves people. Esoteric technology was the result of an immaturity of our systems and thinking. The Social Web provides us with a new way, a way to bring our identities and relationships to the forefront of technology and to make technology people-centric. This book started out about business and technology, but is equally about a paradigm shift in our sociology, culture, and humanity.

What exactly the future holds is anyone’s guess, but what we do know is that business will never again be the same—whatever your industry, wherever you work, whether you are in sales, marketing, product development, recruiting, or another corporate function.

We were in a similar place of anticipation during the early days of the Internet. Then, as now, some companies jumped blindly on the bandwagon, investing a tremendous amount of time, energy, and capital to implement technologies they did not understand, with no clear strategy and, ultimately, little to show for it. Others dismissed the Internet as a fad and were gradually outcompeted by online businesses or companies that used the Web to achieve more efficient and effective sales, marketing, recruiting, product development, and operations. But the smart ones took notice and began preparing for what an Internet era might look like. They thought through the implications for their business, and they adapted and thrived. This book is here to help you be smart about online social networking so that this time around you, too, can adapt and thrive.

If it’s true that we are separated at most by only six degrees, then you are not very far from any one of your customers or prospective customers. Read this book, and then go out and get them!

Welcome to the Facebook Era!

How to Use This Book

This manuscript is structured into four parts.

Part I (Chapters 1 through 3) provides the bigger-picture framework and social implications from which we can develop a richer understanding and appreciation of social networking for business—what’s happening, how it’s changing our society and culture, and what we can learn and apply from past disruptive technologies.

Part II (Chapters 4 through 8 ) takes a tour across four major functions in a company—sales, marketing, customer service, innovation, and recruiting—and explores how each is being affected by social networking technologies.

Part III (Chapters 9 through 12) of the book is a practical how-to guide on Facebook profiles, Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, and social network ads.

Finally, Part IV (Chapter 13-16) is all about strategy and implementation. We’ll discuss specific ways for companies of all sizes as well as nonprofits and political campaigns can best use the Social Web to accomplish organizational objectives.

In all, there are sixteen chapters in this book:

Part I: Why Social Networking Matters for Business

  • Chapter 1, “The Fourth Revolution,” talks about the social networking phenomenon in the context of the three digital revolutions before it: mainframe computing, the PC, and the Internet. It draws examples from Bloomingdale’s department store and Starbucks to illustrate how past technology revolutions changed industry landscapes and what business decisions helped these companies establish a competitive advantage. The chapter concludes with a brief history of social networking sites and comparison of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Chapter 2, “The New Social Norms,” explores the changing expectations, behaviors, and etiquette that are emerging around sharing information on social network profiles. The chapter discusses personal branding, generational differences, as well as the concept of “transitive trust” and its role in purchase decisions.
  • Chapter 3, “How Relationships and Social Capital are Changing,” discusses the concept of social capital, how social capital is used to achieve business goals, and how online social networks enhance our ability to accumulate and exercise social capital to achieve our personal and professional goals. This chapter explores how online interactions facilitate entrepreneurial networks, the crossover between offline and online networking, organizational flattening, and value creation from network effects.

Part II: Social Networking Across Your Organization

  • Chapter 4, “Sales in the Facebook Era,” speaks to the power of the online social graph for a sales cycle, from prospecting and the first call through to customer references, navigating customer organizations, and enabling sales teams to more easily collaborate. It features a case study on how Silicon Valley start-up Aster Data Systems has used employees’ collective MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn networks to source leads and build personal relationships with customers.
  • Chapter 5, “Customer Service in the Facebook Era,” discusses new opportunities around crowdsourcing question and issue resolution to the customer community, how to address negative feedback, and harnessing customer support forum pages for search-engine optimization. You will hear from customer service experts Natalie Petouhoff of Forrester Research and Frank Eliason of Comcast.
    Chapter 6, “Marketing in the Facebook Era,” talks about the breakthrough new marketing techniques made possible by online social networks, including hypertargeting, enhanced ability to capture passive interest and conduct rapid testing and iteration on campaigns, social community engagement, and “automated” word-of-mouth marketing. It features multiple case studies, including national fast food restaurant Pizza Hut as well as start-up retailer Bonobos, demonstrating that businesses both large and small are achieving marketing success with Facebook’s new social advertising and engagement tools.
  • Chapter 7, “Innovation and Collaboration in the Facebook Era,” describes how the four stages of innovation—generating concepts, prototyping, commercial implementation, and continual iteration—become more effective and efficient with social networking sites. This chapter features examples of how companies like Experian are tapping into the wisdom of their customer communities on social networking sites to source new ideas and keep getting better. You will hear from innovation experts Deb Schultz of Altimeter Group and Gentry Underwood from IDEO. Ezra Callahan and Leah Pearlman from Facebook also weigh in on how Facebook itself uses Facebook to innovate.
  • Chapter 8, “Recruiting in the Facebook Era,” applies these concepts to the ever-important task of identifying, hiring, and retaining employees. It features a short case study on how Joe, a Chicago-based headhunter, uses Facebook and LinkedIn to source new candidates, keep in touch with candidates who might not be ready yet to leave their current roles, and maintain personal relationships with successful placements. The chapter concludes with a short set of suggestions for job seekers on how best to use online social networking to find and land the right role at the right company.

Part III: Step-By-Step Guide to Social Networking for Business

  • Chapter 9, “How to: Develop Your Facebook Era Plan and Metrics,” walks through the tactical steps to defining and implementing a multi-stage social media strategy, including resource allocation and budgeting, organizing the team, and measurement. This chapter also introduces social customer lifetime value, a conceptual metric I developed to give companies a starting point for calculating the return on their social initiatives.
  • Chapter 10, “How to: Build and Manage Relationships on the Social Web,” details how individuals set up a social networking account and provides tips for creating effective profiles, establishing friend connections, organizing contacts, and managing different identities across one’s personal and professional contacts.
  • Chapter 11, “How to: Engage Your Customers with Twitter and Facebook Pages,” guides companies through the process of creating, managing, and facilitating successful customer communities on social networking sites. Featured examples include Ferrero, H&M, Coca Cola, Sears, Newbury Comics, Nestle, and others.
  • Chapter 12, “How to: Set Up Ad Campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn,” is a step-by-step set of instructions on how to tactically execute and optimize hypertargeted ad campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn using many of the social marketing techniques described in Chapter 6. This chapter includes tips on how to optimize your Facebook ad campaigns from Tim Kendall, director of the ads team at Facebook.

Part IV: Social Networking Strategy

  • Chapter 13, “Advice for Small Business,” is geared toward small business owners and employees, sole proprietorships, and others who may not have someone assigned to looking after a social media strategy (or in many cases any form of marketing support), and how these types of businesses should be using Facebook and Twitter.
  • Chapter 14, “Advice for Nonprofits, Healthcare, Education, and Political Campaigns” has specific case studies and advice for charitable organizations, political candidates, and others whose constituents may include volunteers, donors, voters, aid recipients, and others who don’t fit the traditional model of a for-profit customer.
  • Chapter 15, “Corporate Governance, Strategy, and Implementation” speaks to the challenges, obstacles, and realities of implementing social networking technologies in a corporate setting. This chapter urges businesses to consider the risks around privacy, security, intellectual property, confidentiality, and brand misrepresentation, and the importance of partnering closely with legal and IT departments to put the right systems and policies in place to mitigate these risks.
  • Chapter 16, “The Future of Social Business,” explores the general trends emerging from the Social Web: flatter organizations, greater collaboration across organizations, and a continued movement toward applications and experiences that are personalized, social, mobile, and real-time. Despite there being many unknowns and certainly more change, companies need to start thinking now about how social technologies will affect their business and take the necessary steps to adapt and thrive in the Facebook Era.

Thank you being the inspiration behind this book. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

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