So, you thought Reddit’s Ask me anything (AMA) live Q&A sessions and Twitter chats were stealing the limelight from other social networking channels? Think again, for here comes Flawk!

Flawk is a communication tool of one-to-many, a real-time engagement platform aimed at people and brands, basically anyone, who is looking to engage with their Twitter followers in a fun & safe environment.

flawk

Flawk’s interactive platform…why?

When was the last time you posted a Tweet like this…

flawk

…and got a reply?

Let me guess, never? 

So, when Flawk was launched, here’s what one of the founders responded, “Everyone needs to be heard and current solutions don’t meet needs of the audience. Why do we have to leave a message on Twitter and hope that sometime, they’ll get back to us?”

On its way to change the ‘no-instant-response’ obstacle, how?

i. Instant real-time engagement: Flawk offers instant real-time engagement for its users. So, in the near future, will this mean an annihilation of the one-to-many communication models that inundates current social media platforms? Yes, I am talking of current AMAs and Twitter conversations.

Current AMA platforms lack the depth of providing ‘instant’ feedback. You can tweet and share a video, but entities being addressed in the Tweets, remain distant.

ii. Though not face-to-face, but conversations are highly engaging: Flawk sits alongside Twitter and sets up an an instant chat system within minutes. It provides a new avenue for communication which lets users to do more than just look at content or expand Twitter conversations, it puts both sides in the same online ‘event’ as if everyone were in the same room.

iii. Flawk user interface is really easy: Twitter chats are limited in characters and participation in a Reddit AMA requires a verified account (which may alienate fans). Flawk makes hosting Q&A sessions with Twitter followers really easy. Flawk may be well on its way to get a place in business, replacing conference calls or other communication initiatives.

With Flawk you can…

flawk

What’s in it for businesses?

1. The Flawk platform can really benefit customer service executives. The aspect of providing real-time feedback could allow them to talk with customers through a platform and not a handset.

2. Company bosses, CEOs and decision makers can take part in regular chats, providing consumers a more intimate relationship with them.

3. This can be really good for marketers in terms of celebrity endorsements. Flawk currently promotes the ease at which celebrities can talk to fans. This could be a goldmine for brands which are heavily endorsed by celebrities. If brands can conduct themselves really well on Flawk, this platform also becomes a great promotional tool for businesses.

Flawk: The good & the ugly

Good:

1. You don’t need a separate log-in id, you can use Twitter to log-in. Flawk’s user interface is very simple to use and uncomplicated. (Step-by-step process discussed in detail below). 

flawk

2. The entire process is controlled by the owner of the account (the host of the flawk session) and he/she can share videos, play music and share other links to an international audience – people who are attending the Flawk.

3. Hosts have the freedom to pick the questions they want to answer.

4. Users can vote up questions they want to see answered.

5. The entire chat session runs at the bottom of the page which makes following the session easy. 

6. Each answer that the host provides (including sharing of video & links) can be shared directly on Facebook or Twitter.

Ugly:

1. There’s no way to save a Flawk session. There is a tab which does show ‘missed Flawks’, but when clicked upon, you are redirected to a page which provides no further information on the Q&A session.  

flawk

Let’s set you up…

1. Visit the website and log in with your Twitter id.

flawk

2. Once you are logged in, this is how the home screen will look like. If there is a Flawk session lined up, the host of the session and the topic will be visible on your left and and the countdown to the session & RSVP call to action on your right.

flawk

3. If a Flawk session interests you, you can RSVP the host of the session and send him a tweet about the same.

flawk

4. You can also start your own Flawk Q&A session by clicking on the link below the RSVP call to action.

flawk

So, now that you know how to get started, get going and do let me know how your first Flawk session went? I will be waiting.

So, it is adios conference calls? What do you think? Leave me a comment.

The much-awaited Facebook Video Ads are finally here. Over the next couple of months, users will come across ‘Premium Video Ads’ in their News Feed. The 15-second video ads have been launched on both, desktop and mobile. Facebook has been testing these ads since September 2013 and now, it has finally rolled out and offered this advertising medium to a select group of advertisers.

Facebook Video Ads

So how will this benefit advertisers?

“With Premium Video Ads, brands now have another way of engaging people on Facebook with compelling video experience. We’ll roll out Premium Video Ads slowly and monitor how people interact with them. This limited introduction allows us to concentrate our efforts on a smaller number of advertisers with high-quality campaigns to create the best possible experience on Facebook.”

Facebook is working with a company called Ace Metrix, to evaluate ‘how engaging the creative is for each ad’, before they go live on Facebook. The two companies will collaborate to objectively access the creative quality of the video. The ads will be reviewed and evaluated in terms of their

  • meaningfulness
  • emotional resonance
  • watchability

Facebook_Video_Ads

Key features of these ads:

  • Scheduling of ads – This feature allows advertisers to select the day and time of the launch of their ad on Facebook
  • Set up of promotion’s reach and frequency – This feature will enable a marketer to space out its campaign across several weeks, hence, driving engagement and curiosity among customers.

What else has Facebook done this year?

Facebook has been on a roll this year as far as changes and launches are concerned. Shortly before the launch of video ads, the company rolled out a new ‘streamlined’ look for Facebook Pages. However, this new look is only available on the desktop as of now. The mobile look will roll out in a couple of months.

The webinar “11 Marketing Offers for Lead Generation” emphasized not only on the what the offers are, but also on the best practices and suitable channels for each of them. A number of interesting questions were asked by the attendees. If you missed it, you can watch the webinar here.

11 Marketing Offers for Lead Generation

View the Recording

It looks like Google is already in the process of launching a new design and layout of Google Search Results Page. If you have noticed carefully, Google has been experimenting and testing many layouts, making subtle changes here and there, to make the process seamless for the average user.  These include font size, a neater look and feel, and removal of underlines for hyperlinked content.  Take a look at the image below (courtesy Search Engine Land) and see for yourself.

Comparison_of_the_search_results

Google ads in particular will appear to be different. You can see it in the image below. The word ‘Ad’ is just mentioned once at the top and not before or after every ad. So the user may forget it is an ad and click on it.

Mobile_Ads

While reading up on these changes, I came across an interesting article on Forbes, that highlighted four crucial areas that will be impacted by these changes. Here’s a gist of it.

Google Ads Google ads are expected to become subtler, making it difficult for the user to distinguish between organic search results and Google ads, thus, giving advertisers more exposure.
Knowledge Graph The Knowledge Graph is expected to gain prominence and appear as much as possible, to give users as much information possible about that specific query. However, this also means that traffic to certain sites, that might have been helpful in  providing answers, may reduce.
Authorship As mentioned time and again, authorship is becoming more and more relevant and important for marketers. In order to provide the best and most relevant content to users, content of well-established organisations and authors will be given preference over regular content. In other words, Google will try to push content from experts in that field rather than regular content available online.
Personalization If you haven’t got a Google Plus account yet, now is the best time. Google will be pulling in data from your social activities and past searches, maybe even your location and other favourites, to provide the most relevant search results and create a customized Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Participation in Google Plus and Google Authorship is particularly important if you are a marketer.

The biggest changes will be seen in mobile SERPs. More and more people are accessing most of their online content, using their mobile phones. Since mobile device usage is on the rise, it has also become a very important platform for advertisers as well.

Google is trying to push quality content to the top and provide users with information most relevant and useful to them, in a manner that is effortless and rich in quality. Users can expect a better and richer Search Results Page. As for marketers, only time will tell how these changes have affected your revenues.

Search Results Page

So, last week after news broke out about Facebook buying social messaging app WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion, all eyes lit up, while most marketers and analysts were questioning the price tag, others were worried as to how this deal will affect them. This deal is the second-largest in the last decade and a half after Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition of Compaq in 2001. 

facebook whatsapp deal

Why WhatsApp?

Attention is a zero sum game; every minute spent in Snapchat or LINE or WhatsApp is a minute not spent in Twitter or Facebook or Instagram”

– Ben Thompson, Technology Blogger

facebook whatsapp deal

Here is a graph to reinforce my statement.

facebook whatsapp deal

The Facebook WhatsApp deal makes a lot of sense because WhatsApp is giving people an opportunity to share and connect at a cost which is much much lower than sending SMS & MMS. Plus, marketing gurus have also predicted it as a medium for sharing visual content, a lot like Facebook’s IM. Thus, even if WhatsApp is not being used as an advertising vehicle, it is in line with FB’s long term goal: that of keeping people connected.

There was a recent scare in Facebook when young adults were moving away from them to mobile messaging/chatting apps such as WhatsApp. So, the Facebook WhatsApp deal will help Facebook, which was loosing numbers, to connect with this set of audience who are always looking for newer ways to communicate.

So, what does the Facebook WhatsApp deal mean for marketers?

facebook whatsapp deal

Though Facebook has clearly mentioned that despite the deal, WhatsApp will run independently, here are a few implications that may take place should Facebook decide to integrate the two:

a.) Through WhatsApp, brands can embrace marketing on mobile as a core philosophy and ensure that all or most of their products/services are designed for mobile phones. They can reach out to fans, market their brand offerings on mobiles etc.

b.) If Facebook lets marketers integrate their business pages on WhatsApp, it would open a lot more channels of communication. Website visitors first visit your business page, then get directed to other apps/pages.

c.) If Facebook allows ‘Poke’ on WhatsApp, this will give marketers the opportunity to create immediacy by sharing offers, promo and branded content for a limited time period. Poke is an app to send messages, photos and videos, to a friend or multiple friends at once. When you send messages, photos and videos, you can choose how long they’ll be available for your friends to view. They can be live for 10 seconds, post which they will erase.

d.) It may only be a matter of time before WhatsApp is commercialized. Brands can leverage their products/services with targeted location-based ads. With WhatsApp’s voice communication, brands can get celebrities/endorses to market their products through voice messages. This could also offer e-commerce brands to directly sell to customers via WhatsApp.

If done well, the Facebook Whatsapp deal can be a great offering to brands! What do you think? Leave me a comment. 

Facebook Pages

After redesigning its news feed, Facebook is looking to redesign Facebook Pages as well. The sharper, neater and ‘streamlined’ look, seems to have gathered fans already. The new look for Pages will continue to roll out in the coming weeks, as stated by Facebook.

“This week, we’ll begin rolling out a streamlined look for Pages on desktop that will make it easier for people to find the information they want and help Page admins find the tools they use most.” 

The new design, as shown in the image below (courtesy Facebook) is similar to the old version with a few but significant changes here and there. The new look was designed keeping in mind the needs of visitors as well as Page Admins.

Facebook Page New Look

Easy on the Eyes

The redesigned look has two distinct sections for the different categories.

On the left side, you will find

  • Information about the business (map, hours of business, contact number and website URL)
  • ‘Invite Your Friends’ section
  • Photos
  • Videos

On the right side, you will find

  • Text Box for posting
  • News feed
Facebook Page Timeline

Ease of Access to Admin Tools

A metrics section has been incorporated on the far right-hand right side,  making it easier for the Page Admin to view notifications, ads running, likes, and post reach from anywhere on the page. The top of the page has new navigation options, making it easier for Page Admins to access activities, insights and settings. The ‘Build Audience’ menu offers direct access to the Ads Manager account.

Easy Navigation

There’s more for Admins!

Facebook is rolling out a new feature called “Pages to Watch”, that will help Page Admins compare the performance of their Facebook Page with other similar Facebook Pages, based on metrics such as ‘Likes’. Here’s a snapshot (courtesy Facebook).

Snapshot

The changes for Pages on the desktop are set to roll out this week. A redesign for Pages on mobile is expected to be launched in April.

Facebook Pages