Twitter’s New Face(book) Lift

There’s a new look for social media birds to discover. And it’s very reminiscent of Facebook. Unlike many of Facebook’s tricky-to-navigate “enhancements,” however, this Twitter change is largely intuitive.

Twitter’s clean, simple design is meant to highlight you or your business and what you have to say. When you first make the switch to the new look, pop-ups will guide you on how to make changes and draw your attention to new functions, but here’s a rundown of what you can expect:lavi-twitter-before-and-after

Photo Alterations

Twitter hasn’t eliminated the profile picture or profile header, but both elements are now larger. The header fills the top of the screen, similar to but even wider than a Facebook page header. Rather than your profile description covering this large image as with the old Twitter design, the header is now unencumbered (making it a great spot for a logo or other branding) and the description has been relocated to under the profile picture in the lefthand column.

In another nod to Facebook, Tweeted photos now appear within the middle column of a profile rather than remaining as links that people have to click to see more.

What You See and What You Get

Similar to the ability to hide posts written by certain Facebook users, or minimize the number of updates you see from particular account holders, Twitter now has Filtered Tweets – you can choose the timeline you want to view when you’re looking at other users’ profiles to view 1) Tweets, 2) Tweets with photos or videos, or 3) Tweets and replies.

An automatic face lift of the new profile page comes courtesy of how much others interact with what you’ve Tweeted. Best Tweets are categorized as those that receive more engagement (replies, retweets, favorites) and they appear in a slightly larger font in your feed. That makes it easy for you (and others) to find your best and most popular content.

You can customize what gets attention with the Pinned Tweet function. You can pin one Tweet to the top of your page, no matter when it was posted, so your followers can see right off the bat what you’re all about, what you’re currently promoting, or what they need to know about your Twitter voice.

The New Menu, Etc.

Twitter now offers a horizontal menu of viewing options underneath the header, similar to Facebook’s menu. You can choose to view your own Tweets, Photos/Videos, Following, Followers, Favorites, or Lists. The Following and Followers tabs now show accounts with a tiled look rather than a list, making it far more pleasing to the eye.

Seems like everyone is taking a page from Facebook’s, well, book. Even some recent LinkedIn changes mirror Facebook. Twitter, though taking a few cues from the original social media giant, still has its own personality. Twitter demands brevity, and, in the beginning, was more about fun than function. Now, however, Twitter is just as much of a marketing tool as a flyer, commercial, or business card. Get with the flock and start Tweeting. It’s easier, more interesting, and more influential than ever.

[VIDEO] Ford CMO Jim Farley Interview on Social Media Success

Shift to Social Media Has Meant Big Changes and Big Cost Savings at Ford

Some key points:

  • It’s important to create an entertaining experience for people on social. Engaging people is fundamental to the campaign’s success
  • Social has improved product awareness and consideration of Ford’s products tremendously 
  • Ford has seen massive savings as they’ve shifted away from traditional advertising budgets and started using PR and internet marketing agencies.
  • The skills Ford needs to run their marketing has shifted along with their shift to social.  


Transcription of Ford CMO Jim Farley Interview


What new insights has Ford learned from interacting in social channels, and how has that impacted Ford’s view of the customer experience?

We’re really excited because one of the things we’ve learned at Ford as we’ve launched more and more vehicles using social media is the importance of the actual experience of being involved in the launch. We’ve always thought of the customer experience as when you buy or service the car but in the case of the Fiesta Movement or the Focus Global Test Drive or even the Explorer launch, when we ask people to get involved in the launch of the product, we have to really think carefully about what we’re asking them to do and how much we give back to them in their life as they are involved in the launch. And that’s a new element that we never thought about. Going into social media launching, we were a little selfish at the beginning in the sense that we wanted the exposure. And now what we’re learning is the more entertaining we make it for the participants, the better it is for us as a company. And that’s probably the biggest linkage between customer experience and social media and launching new vehicles

Have you found social media most useful for loyalty, consideration or customer service?

We’ve really seen social media have the biggest impact in consideration because it’s allowed us to grow the awareness before the vehicles’ launch. Like the Ford Fiesta Movement did and grab attention from people who normally wouldn’t look at Ford. So social media has allowed us to connect with people authentically about our new vehicles and most of them wouldn’t had been considering Ford at all. In fact, we saw the Focus’ sales spike after we launched Fiesta because so many new customers came in looking at the Fiesta and discovered the Focus for the first time. At Ford, we knew we had the Focus but we were surprised at how many people didn’t know we had another small car.

Are there any areas that Ford can point to where social media has either lowered business costs, or improved existing process?

One of the real benefits of our benefits of social media is the dramatic efficiency we’ve seen. And it’s kinda in a unexpected way. By launching the vehicle early and getting people to talk about the new Global Focus and the new Fiesta in the US before it goes on sale, we can lower the amount of traditional advertising we can do after the vehicle goes on sale. That’s where really the massive cost savings have been. I’ll give you an example, in the Fiesta Movement, we have higher unaided nameplate awareness than Fit or Yaris and we spent 10 cents on the dollar compared to a traditional TV ad campaign. So by starting earlier and using social media to spread the word about the new product, we’re really reducing the amount of traditional advertising we have to spend.

How has your marketing team evolved in the past 24 months given your investment in social media?

The cool thing about the complexion of our marketing team at Ford has been over the last 24 months, especially as we’ve gotten into social media….well first, we’ve been growing. We’ve had 22 out of 23 months of market share growth, so we have added people to our team, especially in areas like Lincoln. The biggest change we’ve seen is in the kind of skills we need. What we’ve found is that the traditional lines between PR and the advertising team are gone. You know, the ideas have to be paid and earned and they have to be sorted out seamlessly. And so we need different kinds of people than we’ve ever had before and not only here at the company at Ford but also at the advertising industry and the kind of PR agencies we need to help us. More than the number of people, it’s really required us to have different kinds of skills and we’re still evolving. We need more people who can think creatively who can come up with ideas for a Facebook application; we can’t just delegate it to the agency. We have to, as a client, come up with these ideas. And then as we execute it, there can’t be any boundaries between the PR team and the traditional advertising team.

Ford made one of the most aggressive shifts into social media, while slashing advertising budgets. Were there any points at which Ford questioned this strategy?

Frankly, the biggest surprise to us is how mainstream this media has become for us. The Fiesta Movement is so popular, it really changed our thinking about the Explorer launch. That’s why we decided this summer to launch the Explorer on Facebook and have that one day where we celebrate Explorer around the world. And now we’re taking those ideas and going global with the Focus Test Drive that we’re announcing today. Have we been surprised? Absolutely. One of them is, “how do you execute something globally, how do you really get a global audience on Facebook activated around the new Focus?” It takes a lot of new thinking. Are there things that we would do differently? Probably. We probably should have moved a little faster and we probably should have done this a long time ago.

The New Facebook Ads: Game Changer for B2B Marketers?

Bringing Content and Advertising Together

Facebook’s new advertising products look like they may be a game changer for B2B marketers. 

You will now have the ability to use your own Facebook Page content to make your own ads.

Here’s why should you care.

Read more

Is Facebook Made for B2B Marketing?

Should my B2B business be on Facebook?

At Spark, we get that question a lot from our clients.  And rightfully so.  Facebook seems like a huge marketing opportunity for B2C companies but it’s not clear when it comes to B2B.

We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t matter.

It’s About Long Term Brand Awareness

Master marketers like Coca ColaStarbucks and Ford understand that the Facebook platform is very good at helping establish long term brand awareness.

With fun posts, promotions and giveaways, Coca Cola and Starbucks keep their brands positive and top of mind in the hope that consumers will associate that positive experience with their brand. And buy more products. 

Ford knows people do their homework before buying a car. For the new Explorer SUV,  they publish useful posts, hold discussions and allow people to post videos and photos.  This positive engagement with the consumer creates a  positive association with the Ford Explorer brand.

Is B2B Any Different?

Sure, B2B buyers are different. Sales cycles are longer. Politics, approvals and shrinking budgets play huge roles.  These factors just don’t exist when you’re at Starbucks ordering a Venti quad shot, 1 pump Vanilla, 2 sugar in the raw, soy, non-fat, extra dry Cappuccino. 🙂

But just like B2C, B2B companies still want people to have a positive association with their brand.

[box color=orange size=normal type=quote] People buy emotionally then justify it later with logic.

Buck Rodgers, Senior VP of Marketing IBM, Author of “The IBM Way“‘


And people make B2B buying decisions, not companies.

Treat Your B2B Community as a Privilege

When someone Likes your brand on Facebook, your posts automatically go to their default home page News Feed.

This buyer attention is a precious commodity.  Don’t waste it. You should treat that Facebook Like as just another opportunity to impress the heck out of someone. It’s another opportunity to earn their respect, admiration and create a positive association with your brand.

As Chris Brogan has often said, Treat Your Community as a Privilege.

The Internet was Tailor Made for B2B Marketing

Your customers’ problems are not solved by a 12 ounce can of sugar water.

Sales cycles are long.  Educating prospective buyers can take months. Products and services are complex and ever-changing. Successful relationships are measured in years.

So what can you do? Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Write three white papers that address your customers’ top three problems
  • Produce a series of videos clarifying aspects of your product you know your customers don’t understand well
  • Interview current customers. Ask them to honestly respond. Even if the feedback is negative. (Funny thing about negative comments is that it makes you look authentic and makes the positive reviews look even better 😉 )
  • Ask Questions. Did you know on Facebook you can create a Polls page that asks people questions. Use the results to improve your products and customer support.
  • Become an industry source of information by taking 20 minutes every morning to post interesting industry news or whitepapers
  • Respond to Comments within 24 hours
Then promote your content, activity and information on your Facebook Page.

In a word, it’s about community engagement. We know, it’s a buzzword. But it’s a buzzword for a reason.

Facebook Marketing at Spark

We know this whole social marketing thing is not easy. That’s why we’re here to help. If you need a little assistance with all this Facebook stuff, give us a little love. We won’t bite.

Give Me Facebook Likes or Give Me Death

That little ubiquitous Facebook Like button is everywhere these days. You see it on web sites, billboards and blogs.

Your boss wants one yesterday.

But what’s the big deal?

Why do we all have to Like each other?

Exactly what does being Liked do for your business on Facebook anyway?

The Importance of Being Liked

A recent comScore study The Power of Like, showed that in May 2011, 27%  of Facebook users’ time was spent in the Facebook home page News Feed. (The News Feed is the constantly updating scroll of posts coming in from all of your friends on your Facebook home page.)

Time spent on the News Feed was greater than any other area of Facebook.  More than Profile tweaking, playing with Apps (Games) and even viewing Photos.

Source URL:

And this makes sense. People go to Facebook to socialize and catch up with their friends and family. They always have.

And they do it in droves.

Facebook has 720 million registered users as of August 23, 2011. (Source:

So how do you get your business in front of these millions of people? You guessed it. Get into their News Feed.

And how do you do that? Right again. Get them to Like you.

So if you get them to Like you, are you on the road to blissful Facebook marketing heaven? Mission accomplished? Big raise in your future?

Not so fast.

Nobody’s Paying Attention

Another study by PageLever in June 2011, reported that for every 100 fans a company has, only an average of 7.5 posts were counted as impressions.

Facebook impressions are defined by Facebook as any post that scrolls through a Facebook user’s News Feed while they’re logged on. This includes impressions that might scroll by while you’re on the phone, washing the car or even just checking your email in another browser tab.

In other words, just because Facebook counts 7.5 of your posts as impressions, doesn’t mean any of your fans are actually paying attention.

And it gets worse.

The study found that only 3.2% of fans actually visit a company’s Facebook Page. And the more fans you have, the less percentage of your total fans go.


The Importance of Being Awesome

So is all this Facebook stuff even worth it?

Are you throwing your time away with all this Liking business?

Don’t you have a business to run?

The answer is yes, it’s worth it.  And here’s why:

Social Media offer an unprecedented opportunity for your business to connect with your customers, prospects and fans.

  • You can have conversations with existing customers and find out exactly what they’re thinking.
  • You can offer amazing customer service that delights them and gets them talking about you to others
  • You can get feedback on product ideas before they come out
  • You can keep them up-to-date on all company developments. (good and bad)
  • You can help solve their problems with amazing content

It’s not about being Liked so much as it’s just being liked. People will like you because of your awesome  products,  customer service or design. They’ll like you because you’re authentic and transparent. They’ll like because you treat them like human beings instead of just another sale.

So whatever your business does, be awesome at it.

Do that and you’ll have more Likes than you’ll know what to do with.

Social Media Consulting at Spark

At Spark, our mission is to provide our clients with authentic, tool-agnostic advice on social media for business. If you need some advice, let us know. If not, that’s cool too.

By the way, please Like this post. Thanks we really appreciate it 😉

Google Once Again Enters the Social Networking Arena with +1

Google +1This past week, Google unveiled its latest social networking tool, called +1.  The new product is Google’s broadest attempt yet at social networking and personalization of search results, and the company hopes +1 will help it overcome two major hurdles it has faced previously: privacy laws and competition from Facebook.

The privacy battle

Google faced criticism from privacy advocates and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its previous social networking practices, which allegedly were not transparent enough. In fact, at the same time that Google was unveiling +1, it was wrapping up an FTC settlement, which fined Google’s Buzz social networking tool for “deceptive privacy practices.”

Competition – that not-so-little company, Facebook

As if battling privacy violation allegations weren’t enough, Google has been going after Facebook for the share of the social networking pie. Facebook’s popular platform has been capturing more time, information, and ad views from online users, and many people turn to Facebook for search queries, instead of relying on search engines such as Google.

So how is +1 different from Google’s previous social networking tools?

Enter +1, which was designed to be a social networking tool that helps people recommend search results and ads.

During Google’s unveiling of +1, it took special care to differentiate the product from Buzz, which debuted in February of 2010. Buzz automatically included users’ email contacts in their social networks, which was a feature that privacy advocates fought against. In contrast, +1 is meant to help personalize search results and publicly recommend pages. For those familiar with Facebook’s “Like” button, +1 is similar.

For example, if you are logged into your Google account (Gmail, for example), and you click the +1 button on a search result, your “vote” will show up on the page result, so that people perusing like-topics will be able to see how many other Google users recommend a page. The feature will also work on ads.

Eventually, Google will also link +1 votes through contacts in people’s Twitter and Flickr accounts. However, due to Facebook’s insulated nature (what happens in Facebook, stays in Facebook), +1 will not be linked through Facebook contacts.

The Power of +1

Google has designed +1 to help people easily share search information on product and page recommendations. For example, if you’re searching for a product or information, and you see a result with +1 recommendations from your friends or multiple Google users, that page will most likely have a stronger influence than a paid-advertisement message would.

The obvious next question, of course, is whether these +1 recommendations will affect search rankings like we’ve seen in local search where reviews and ratings affect rankings in the local search results.  Google says it’s still considering this.

Will Google’s +1 Impact Your Business?

While the jury is still out on +1’s potential impact on rankings, we know that any time consumers are given the power to vote on, comment on, or rate a product or service online it has an effect on buyer behavior. If +1 takes hold and people begin +1ing your company’s or your competitors’ products, ads, and websites, there will likely be an impact.  So the question then becomes, how can you make it a positive one for your brand?  There’s no trick to it, unfortunately. Quite simply, to win at this game you’ve got to offer something that people are compelled to share with and recommend to the world.

At Spark, our inbound marketing services are designed to turn your brand into a magnet for your prospects and customers. Learn more about our inbound marketing agency and request a meeting to discuss your needs.

30 Marketing Tips in 30 Days: Tip #29 – Customize Your Facebook Page

Marketing Tip #29: Customize Your Facebook Page

It was recently announced that Facebook had more visits in 2010 than Google did.  The excuses to ignore Facebook as a viable marketing tool are really over now.  A great way to use Facebook to attract more attention to your brand is by customizing your Facebook presence.  TechCrunch recently published the 12 Best Ways to Customize Your Facebook Pages.  In this article, they described tools that can be used to overcome Facebook’s creative limitations to create a page that truly reflects the uniqueness of your brand.

Check out the TechCrunch post and checkout this gallery of customized Facebook pages.

Need help?  Request a proposal and let us customize your Facebook page for you!

30 Marketing Tips in 30 Days: Tip #10 – Create a Custom Facebook URL

Marketing Tip #10: Create A Custom Facebook URL in Two Minutes or Less

Creating a custom URL for your Facebook page makes it easy for customers to visit and remember the location of your Facebook page — and it’s better for search engine optimzation.  A customized URL also looks more professional than the assigned, indecipherable default URL that Facebook automatically assigns to you.

Creating a customized (or vanity) URL is simple and just takes a few minutes. Just follow these instructions: As the Administrator of your Business Page, go to Using the drop down box, select the page you’d like to (re)name. You’ll need to check the availability of the name. After you’ve checked and created your name, click the save button and voila: your new, simplified Facebook  Page URL. It’s really that easy.

30 Marketing Tips in 30 Days: Tip #9 – Earn More Facebook Fans

Marketing Tip #9: Earn More Facebook Fans and Followers

Marketing Tips - Facebook SuggestIn case you haven’t heard, the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook is 35 years and older. This makes Facebook THE social media website of choice for reaching a wide range of consumers — more than 500 million of them.

If you’re wondering what all these people are doing on Facebook, check out these Facebook statistics.

As a business — assuming you have a company Facebook page — there are actions you can take to earn more Facebook followers.

Here’s a simple one that you can do today:  “Suggest to Friends.”

To do so simply visit your company page and look for the “Suggest to Friends” button beneath your profile picture.

If you’ve got a great product — and we’re sure you do — your friends will be happy to take your suggestion and “like” your company. And when they do, the updates you make will post to your followers’ walls where each of their average of 130 friends or connections can see it.  Not only that, but your friends have the ability to suggest your company or product to their friends, and the chain continues.

Even if you’ve had a company page on Facebook for a long time, we recommend sending out invites every few months to new friends who may have joined your network.

So do it today:  Take a simple step to build fans and followers for your business.  And if you’re looking for social media marketing help, contact us.