10.8.09

How to Use Facebook for Professional Networking


How do you use Facebook? Is it to connect with long forgotten friends or share fun tidbits of your personal life with extended family? If that’s you, well… you are not alone. A great majority of Facebook users maintain Facebook profiles exclusively for personal networking and do not feel Facebook is appropriate for professional networking. I disagree with this approach. Facebook social networking experience should be what you want to make of it and more and more professionals turn to Facebook to maintain professional and/or business presence in addition to a personal one.

What’s wrong with using LinkedIn for my professional networking?

Nothing really. LinkedIn is definitely the channel of choice for professional networking. However, Facebook continues to grow and mature making its security and sharing options more and more robust. All this to ensure that you have choices and your social networking experience is precisely what YOU want to make of it. While you won’t post pictures of your family vacation on LinkedIn, a balanced mix of professional information along with a limited and tasteful glimpse into your personal life could prove to make Facebook the new LinkedIn for those who what to use Facebook for both.

Charlene Kingston in her blog post advocates keeping two separate profiles on Facebook: your personal profile for friends and family and your professional one by creating a “fan page.” This works great for small businesses where the owner of the business has the authority to set up and control the fan page. What if you work in a big company and do not have that luxury? You can still use your Facebook profile as a professional networking tool as long as your follow some basic rules.

Polish your Facebook profile for professional networking

Let’s start with some basics which includes using your real and full name in your profile. This is not only important to ensure that you are easily found on Facebook and on Google when your profile is indexed but also to keep the profile professional. Don’t use nicknames, fictional names or maiden names unless that’s the name you are using in your professional life. Remember to secure your facebook vanity domain name to make it easy to direct others to your Facebook profile with a clean and easy to type in URL.

Also, don’t forget to include your photo in your profile. No avatars, no images of kids or wedding photos please. A simple, tasteful head shot of you will do the trick.

Include detailed information about your area of expertise, your company where you work including website and any other social media channels where corporate presence is maintained. Your contact information and all of your social media channels you maintain presence on should also be listed.

Adjust your security settings

What might be appropriate to share with your family and close friends might not be appropriate to display or share with your colleagues or professional contacts. Don’t just assume the default security settings will keep you out of trouble. Take the time to go through each link in the Privacy area and make adjustments. Nick O’Neal has a great blog posts that will guide you to choose wisely when adjusting your privacy settings.

Consider setting up friends’ groups to control what information is viewable by whom. The groups are also IMPORTANT because according to Facebook you soon will have precise control of what gets shared with whom on the level of individual wall post. You will be able to direct your weekend planning posts to just your family or friends and send posts about the latest whitepaper you’ve read to just your colleagues and professional contacts. Having your friends divided into logical groups will make appropriate sharing a snap. Here is more info. about Facebook’s new privacy settingsincluding the timeline for rolling this enhancement out (courtesy of the Marketing Pilgrim blog).

Add apps selectively

There are tons of applications available for download, but it does not mean that you should go for quantity rather than quality. Yes, you can send virtual gifts to people, play games or display love quotes, but aside from being great time wasters these types of activities will greatly diminish the quality of your profile. Opt for socializing with others through conversations, asking and answering questions, sharing resources and advice rather than playing games.

Join groups related to your business interests

Similarly to LinkedIn, finding and joining quality Facebook groups opens up great opportunities to network with professionals who are interested in what you are interested in and who will pay attention if you display your subject matter expertise there.

Not sure how to find groups? Search for them and see what groups your colleagues have joined. If you find that there is no group that matches your expertise create one, but before you do that please think about your own commitment to maintaining the group. There are a lot of dead groups on Facebook. Don’t let yours be one of them.

Interact with your Facebook friends and group members

There is nothing more powerful than personal interaction. Facebook excels at it and gives you lots of opportunities to engage. Remember though to separate your personal posts from your professional content.

For your professional network interactions consider the following activities

  • Asking/answering questions or starting a new discussion thread
  • Sharing a resource on your group’s wall particularly articles you have written or articles that quote you
  • Commenting on a status message of your colleague
  • Sharing a list of your favorite industry books or online resources
  • Inviting others or accepting invitation to professional networking events

But don’t attempt to send bulk commercial or self-serving messages to all your friends. Maintaining a professional presence is about finding and developing relationships and not spamming people.

Crowd-stopping window display in Korea

Let go my boobs please??

Many people have emailed to point out the handheld-boob trend going on right now. EURO RSCG Warsaw, did an ad explaining experience in lingerie by showing a much older womans hands cupping the breasts of a young model for Aniela. They all pointed out that ALMAP/BBDO already did this for Meias Liz Underwear.The whole campaign for Meias Liz shows mens hands as various lingerie items, a bra, a demi-cup bra, a pair of knickers.
The idea isn't "have your boobs cupped by our 40 years of experience" anyway. Maybe the idea was "Feel like some random man is grabbing your crotch", I don't know. Either way, not really turning me - the potential target - on enough to consider either brand of lingerie.But, neither one of these were the first ones to cup a womans breasts.
Janet Jackson relaunched her sexy self with this photo of her then husband cupping her to kick off the nineties.

Aniela hand cupping breast ad
Meias Liz Underwear  hand cupping breast
Janet Jackson "Janet"

Longest running ad campaigns ever

Newspaper ad for the Practical English Programme

The newspaper ad for the Practical English Programme has been running since 1960. Photograph: Public Domain

It has outlived the greatest marketing campaigns of our time; the chimpanzees that drank tea, the gorilla playing the drums, even that bright orange man who used to attack Tango drinkers. But how has what is probably the longest-running advert in newspaper history managed to survive for nearly 50 years? While language, newspapers andadvertising have evolved around it, this simple ad has remained almost exactly the same.

The first thing that strikes you about the advert is that it reads like a newspaper article, complete with a headline asking, "Shamed by your English?" The text then claims that the solution is the Practical English Programme, a correspondence course in speaking and writing based out of Bowden Hall College in Cheshire.

The company's managing director, Ian Travis, estimates that 400,000 people have taken the course since its inception in the 1950s. There is, he says, no standard customer profile. People from all walks of life, from 15 to 90, have read the words "Shamed by your English?" and thought, Yes, yes I am. Tell me more.

But the advert's question hasn't always been the same. Numerous variations have been experimented with, such as "Does your English let you down?" or the more presumptuous "Why are you shamed by your English?" But the text has been left almost totally unaltered. Over the years, various photographs have been used as illustrations, although one in particular caught readers' eyes; a portrait of a man named Derek Derbyshire, an accountant who posed for a modelling agency while briefly out of work in the early 1960s. He was 33 at the time, and his fee for the shoot was three guineas. When, 37 years later, Derbyshire died, the Daily Telegraph printed an obituary, speculating that his face had appeared on their front page more often than the Queen, Tony Blair, "or even Posh Spice".

Bob Heap was managing director of the course in 1963, when it was known as the Psychology Publishing Company, a subsidiary of his father's mail-order business. "The original ad was written by an American copywriter for a company called Marcus Campbell in Chicago," he says. "We . . . well, the correct word is plagiarised, we plagiarised that ad – considerably amended, of course – in about 1960."

The irony of plagiarising an advert for your own writing course isn't lost on him, although he defends the decision. "We played about with the copy and we still could not find a formula that was as good as this one," he says. So why has it been so effective for so long? "One of the reasons is that initially the reader thinks it's part of editorial. We used to match the typefaces of the newspaper it was printed in."

Another explanation is that it often appeared on the front page, the most desirable spot in newspaper advertising. You might be surprised that a simple correspondence course was consistently able to afford such a prominent placement. Heap explains with a chuckle: "We never paid the full rate. We used to have arrangements with the advertising people of the major newspapers. When they hadn't sold a front-page ad, they'd ring us and offer it to us at a discount."

Heap estimates that the usual rate for a front page advert was £400 in 1963, and had risen to £1,900 by the time he retired in 1997. But the rising prices have never been a problem. "That advert paid for itself from the very first time it ran," he says with pride.

Travis points out that "we don't get offered the front page any more", but confirms that the advert continues to pay for itself. Although he has given it plenty of thought, he can offer no explanation for its success. "We have produced new adverts that we thought were better. We expected them to do really well but they've just been awful. When we switch back to this one the inquiries flood in again. I honestly don't know why it's so successful." All he knows is that he won't be retiring it any time soon.

Zippo Reignites Brand With Social Media, New Products

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Paragon of Rust Belt manufacturing and an icon since World War II, Zippo wears its American-ness on its sleeve. So does its VP-sales and marketing, Mark Paup, who has spent his entire 15-year career at Zippo and now leads all sales, marketing, design and product development for the Bradford, Pa.-based company. A smoker who rides a Soft Tail Nightrain Harley, you could say Mr. Paup, 44, fits the psychographic of the Zippo consumer.

Mark Paup, VP-sales and marketing, Zippo
Mark Paup, VP-sales and marketing, Zippo
Mr. Paup started out in the Zippo Manufacturing Co.'s licensing department, where he cut deals with the likes of Harley Davidson, Nascar and Jim Beam. He later spent time building Zippo's overseas business in Europe, where it is a luxury brand and appears on bags, jewelry, pens and apparel.

Now reporting directly to CEO Gregory Booth and overseeing the closely held company's $6 million to $10 million marketing budget, he's charged with finding new markets for the brand while weaving it tightly into subcultures beyond smoking, such as music and motorsports.

Social media is the focal point of Mr. Paup's marketing strategy right now. Proof positive of Zippo's continued brand relevance is its ubiquitous iPhone app, created by Moderati, which has been downloaded 5 million times. Zippo is actively participating in social networks under the handle ZippoDude1932, and it has launcheda Facebook page, which is getting an app with a Twitter feedcreated by Buffalo-based indie agency 15 Fingers. But by far the most popular Zippo-themed Facebook page has nothing to do with the company. (Memo to Facebook user "Zippo:" The guys in Bradford would like to speak to you.)

But the question remains as to whether Zippo can participate in the conversation with its core audience of 18- to 34-year-old males and whether that will translate to a needed sales boost. It's weathered the anti-tobacco movement, airline regulations that for years after 9-11 kept lighters off planes and floods of knockoffs from China, but the 67-year-old company's U.S. sales are down 7% so far in 2009, after remaining flat in 2008. The company, which produces 10 to 12 million lighters a year, laid off 117 employees in the past year.

Still, Zippo expects to sell its 475 millionth lighter this year. It continues to diversify its offerings, broadening its base in the United States beyond its core of smokers with "multi-purpose" lighters sold in places like Bed Bath and Beyond. It even has a line of outdoor products planned, to be sold in outlets such as Dicks, REI and True Value.

In an interview with Ad Age, Mr. Paup discussed Zippo's new markets and how it's capitalizing on brand affinity on Facebook and Twitter.

Ad Age: Zippo is synonymous with lighters; can the brand be something more?

Mr. Paup: Flame is our core competency, but we've already proven we can move into other flame-related products. Our biggest success has been with the female audience in accounts like Kohl's, Target, Yankee Candle and Bed Bath & Beyond. These would be establishments that would not be selling Zippo pocket lighters. We've done a lot of research that tells us we can extend into the outdoor market in various categories in flame, such as heat- and safety-related gear, barbecuing on the patio, and possibly grills.

Ad Age: How do you increase lighter sales when smoking is in steady decline, or is that no longer the goal?

Mr. Paup: Lighter sales are what feed us every day. We know it is a declining market, but it is still a large market. Our objective is to continue to drive and increase our share in a declining market. If we can do that there is still a healthy, viable business for us.

Ad Age: How is the effort to have 50% of your revenue come from non-smoking products by 2010 going?

Mr. Paup: We were sidetracked a bit. We're moving into camping; we bought Zippo Fashion Italia and W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Factory. There was also a major development in our core lighter business, the Zippo Blue Butane Lighter. We wanted to make that in the United States, but it took us longer to develop than we anticipated. This is a much higher-end refillable butane product that appeals to a cigar smoker. But it wasn't a great time to introduce new products in the market. We could have gone to Asia and easily sourced this product, but we wanted to make sure we could stand by it with our lifetime guarantee and say it was made in the USA.

Ad Age: Who is the Zippo buyer and how do you reach that person?

Mr. Paup: We call him "Sean," an 18- to 34-year-old high school grad with maybe some college. He loves music, doesn't go anywhere without his iPod. That is the universal lifestyle we look at and what ties it all together. It is a place in which we can stay relevant, engaged and in support their lifestyle, and they will support our brand. [To cultivate that target,] we started several years ago with the concept for the Zippo Hot Tour. With it, we were supporting bands and they could upload music to our website and they could vote on it. We sponsored the rock stage for several years. This year we tied in with Live Nation in 10 markets for 200 shows. ZippoEncore.com, a partnership with Rolling Stone and Shinedown, further ties Zippo to music. We're also giving away a Harley and the company is offering two exclusive Harley Davidson lighters on the site.

Ad Age: Your iPhone app was released last September and has become one of the Apple Store's most popular. Does it have staying power?

Mr. Paup: We do see people continue to use it and recommend others to get it as well, which is encouraging. There is a novelty factor, and there may be a short period when they actually use it. We are looking to release an update before year-end with a concert mode, a left-handed version, and perhaps trying to monetize it -- by upselling some designs that aren't available on the free version that we license with artists or brands or other properties.

Ad Age: Your official Facebook page is dwarfed by one set up by Zippo fans. Have you tried to work with your fans on Facebook, and perhaps partnering with them, as Coca-Cola did earlier this year?

Mr. Paup: We are discussing that and contemplating that right now. We haven't been able to contact him, but we're checking with Facebook to see if we can reach out to that individual who started that. You want to be amicable with the person that started that page because they have an audience of 25,000 Zippo fans and could speak poorly of Zippo if you make the wrong step. However, Zippo is our brand and our trademark, and we want to be careful with how people use it.

Ad Age: Zippo has a huge profile on YouTube. Have you thought about how it can leverage video on the web?

Mr. Paup: Some guy started zippotricks.com; we engaged with that person, who was from Norway, in 2003. He created a platform where you could upload and vote on videos. But in the end we became concerned that the age group was getting to the point where we didn't want to be promoting playing with fire. We backed off and turned it back over to him and it becamelightertricks.com. We didn't want to put our thumbprint on it.

Ad Age: Is there any evidence that your social-media presence has affected sales?

Mr. Paup: It is challenging to measure the return because in most cases we are selling through wholesalers and retailers and a lot of those retailers we don't know. It's hard to measure sales as a result of the coolness of the iPhone app. We do see some nice increases this year in our online sales, which are up more than 20%.

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