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6 unconventional uses of Facebook!

Most people use Facebook to connect with friends, to catch up with colleagues, to make new business acquaintances, to post family pictures and discuss hobbies and special interests. Businesses use Facebook to promote products. Social organizations use Facebook to promote causes. These are some of the more common uses of Facebook. But then, some of us like to push the envelope. To boldly go where many have not gone before. To explore unchartered waters. To use Facebook like it’s never been used before. So, here are a few very off-beat, creative uses of Facebook. Maybe, you’ll draw inspiration from them.

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Go places with Facebook Places!

“Yesterday I was at the IMAX at Bellevue watching Inception,” says Shannon. “Oh my God, so was I. Wish we could have met over there.” shouts out Mike.

This scenario may never happen again. Thanks to Facebook’s new application, Facebook Places. It’s a location sharing service that allows users to check-in their current location and also tag their friends and discover new hotspots around town. Right now, this service is available in the United States only. Read more

Lighten up (or not) on Facebook!

Shahid Kapoor - Vaseline Facebook Be prepared to face the wrath of bloggers and social networkers, if you say something that’s politically incorrect on Facebook. That’s the message that cosmetic major Vaseline seems to be getting these days. The company’s ‘Transform your face’ application to promote its skin-lightening cream has earned negative criticism across the online world. The campaign, promoted by Bollywood star, Shahid Kapoor, allows users to upload their picture, clear the dark spots and whiten the face. This has indeed attracted wide spread criticism as the promotion endorses fairer skin over the darker shade.

Though the campaign primarily targets the South Asian market, bloggers from across the world talked about being ‘uncomfortable’ with this Facebook application. In all ‘fair’ness, we may say, that it’s after all, a promotion for a skin-lightening cream. Nevertheless, companies must keep in mind that social media promotions address large audience demography from across all parts of the world. What seems perfectly normal in one country may be entirely offensive in another culture.

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FIFA Soccer World Cup 2010: Social media scores big!

It’s Waka, Waka time on social media! Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are all abuzz with football fans rooting for their team, celebrating team wins and moaning defeats. Advertisers are having a field day, leveraging the power of social media to promote their mighty brands.

Yup…there’s heavy-duty competition on the social media turf, as well. The heat is on to catch the larger social media mind space. Right now, Nike seems to have taken the early lead. According to independent studies by Nielsen and Meltwater, Nike (now, called the unofficial sponsor!) has generated the most buzz online in the lead up to the World Cup. Much greater than Adidas, it’s arch-rival and official sponsor. Coca Cola, Sony, Visa and other FIFA partners are lagging far behind.

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50 interesting social media terms!

Social media is very much a part of our cultural mosaic. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have changed the way the world communicates. And blogging has given everyone an opportunity to express their views on anything under the sun. What’s more, these new-age media channels have affected all aspects of our life and have created a parallel universe in which people converse, connect and network across geographical boundaries. So, it’s fitting that social media has generated several interesting terms that best describe the social media lifestyle.

Here are 50 interesting social media terms, have fun reading it! Read more

Why it’s social media over super bowl for Pepsi

Top super bowl ad spender, Pepsi stays clear of super bowl commercials, this year, and instead focuses on social media.

It’s the first time in 23 years that Pepsi commercials haven’t appeared during the super bowl. Instead, Pepsi has decided to focus on social media marketing. Pepsi’s social networking campaign probably costs a lot less than a full-blown super bowl ad. But the company expects to reach out to more number of people over the course of several months, through Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Pepsi’s Refresh Everything Project on Facebook has more than 350,000 fans and seeks to donate more than $1 million to worthy causes in February alone. The Pepsi Refresh project is a huge hit and has given the brand mileage that can equal even a super bowl commercial. And the great thing is the campaign can extend over a period of several months and is not restricted to 30-odd seconds.

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Did you hear the Save Our Tigers roar on social media?

header copyThe tiger is roaring loud and clear, all over Facebook and Twitter.  And the reach and extent of its roar, within just a few days is simply amazing. Right now, Stripey the Cub (saveourtigers’ Facebook profile) has 20,702 fans and the saveourtigers twitter profile has 1,461 followers.  And the numbers are growing exponentially. Plus, what’s really amazing is the extensive user participation in the form of comments, discussions and re-tweets. Facebook fans have even gone ahead to form saveourtigers local groups! And to think that hardly a few people knew that our national animal was facing extinction, until a few days ago, the buzz created by this campaign is amazing.

Saveourtigers campaign is a fine-example of how mass media and social media advertising can be successfully synchronized to produce overwhelming visibility and active user participation.

Here are a few reasons why the saveourtigers cause has received tremendous response on social media, right from the word go:

  1. The television campaign and  the use of celebrities has given the much needed visibility to the website
  2. The saveourtigers website design not only informs but also involves users. It urges users to act – by reading about the cause in the blog (which has just one post now but we are sure more will follow), viewing videos on youtube,  by donating or by joining the cause through Facebook and Twitter
  3. What really hooks the visitor on to the website is the Join the Roar application, where the user can pledge his support and help unravel a part of the tiger’s image.
  4. Facebook allows for active participation and initiates action through  discussions, comments and even creation of local groups
  5. Twitter keeps followers posted on latest developments happening on the blogs/Facebook profile/website.
  6. There is a seamless flow of information across both media – mass media as well as social media, one directing the user to the other
  7. Active exchange of information, views and ideas across all online channels, especially across social media networks – Facebook and Twitter, initiating greater audience participation.
  8. Both mass media and social media complement each other, lending maximum mileage to the cause.

We’ll be watching to see how the saveourtigers campaign unfolds over the next few weeks. We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this cause and the channels used for promoting it. Please leave your comments.

10 easy ways to promote non-profits on Facebook

Social media has opened up new avenues for networking and connecting with new people and cultures. It has also opened up a new horizon of possibilities for promoting social causes. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, when used effectively, are powerful tools that can help spread awareness about social causes, alter audience perceptions, induce change and encourage positive actions.

fbFacebook with over 300 million users is simply the best way to promote a non-profit organization. It’s flexible, easy-to-use and has a wide array of applications and tools that make promoting a social cause, a whole lot easier. Besides, where else can you connect with so many users in one go. And where else can you generate awareness about your cause at the click of a mouse.

Here are ten easy ways to promote your non-profit organization through Facebook.

  1. Create a Facebook Profile
    Start your Facebook promotions by creating a Facebook profile. It’s your online address on Facebook. Just login and create a page (the page needs to be created by a Facebook user. After logging in to Facebook go here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php to create a new page. Read this brief PDF guide to understand more about Facebook Page).
    You can add your logo and a small write-up about your organization. Add photos if any are available.
    Keep updating if you want ’em coming back for more! Add more information and update your Facebook profile regularly. Most Facebook causes fail because visitors get disinterested when there is hardly any new information.
  2. Add applications to make it interesting
    Add quizzes, add polls, get visitors to voice their views, add games, and puzzles, in order to get your supporters interested in your cause. Remember not to over burden your Facebook profile with tons of applications. Choose few and choose wisely.
    You can use this application to create interesting polls pertaining to your cause. http://apps.facebook.com/opinionpolls/create_poll.php
    Check out this interesting application that lets you create games for your eco-friendly cause: http://apps.facebook.com/planet-saver/games copy
    [Read this guide to get some help with adding applications to Facebook Page]
  3. Join relevant Facebook Groups/Pages
    Now that you have a Facebook profile and interesting content, you need to focus on building awareness about your cause and leading more people to your profile page. You can start doing this by connecting with other users through Facebook groups/pages. Take a look at a few groups that you may find interesting like:
    groups copyI Support Non-Profits
    Ngos in India

    Promote non-profits

    Visit groups like these where you can connect with people who have a passion for helping others or visit groups related to your area of operations, say, environment groups if your organization works for afforestation. Seek to genuinely help people solve their problems or give out information they need while connecting with them through these groups. That way, you can get more people interested in your work while generating a whole lot of goodwill.
  4. Support through other channels
    You can get more support for your Facebook profile and greater visibility through other channels like Twitter tweets, Youtube videos, Flickr images etc. All these channels can be connected to your Facebook profile. So, your profile gets content-rich, while eliciting visitor interest through other channels.
  5. Start blogging and connecting with bloggers!
    Start a blog. Write about your organization, your vision, your passion, your commitment, add success stories and testimonials. Promote your blog extensively through your Facebook profile. People can read about your non-profit and relate better to your cause, this way.
    Another great way is to connect with bloggers. Talk to them about your cause.  Show them how committed you are to spreading awareness. Request bloggers to give more visibility to your cause and your Facebook profile through their blog posts.
    Bloggers can help you get more mileage for your cause simply by putting in a few words about your organization along with a link to your Facebook profile. It’s a great way to reach out to a large group of audience, who may or not may not be active on Facebook. Also a word from a reputed blogger will build your brand online and add a touch good will to your organization among the online community.
  6. Raise funds
    cause copyYou can raise funds for your cause successfully through Facebook. Most of the popular non-profits are doing it and so can you. For example, organizations like The Nature Conservancy and Mercy Corps are working to raise funds through Facebook. And very recently, there is a large drive on Facebook to raise funds for the earthquake survivors in Haiti.
  7. Manage events
    You can manage events online or promote offline events through your Facebook profile. It’s a great way to encourage participation in your cause. Seven for Seven uses Facebook to talk about upcoming events and even asks for registrations online. Use the Events application in Facebook to create events for your non-profit or invite fans to your offline events.
  8. Call for volunteers
    singaporeDo you need volunteers to pitch in for a cause?  Schools and colleges are using Facebook to encourage youngsters to volunteer for social causes. Whether it’s cleaning up the neighborhood or planning a tree or visiting an old age home, you can always find volunteers from any part of the world through Facebook. Take a look at Singapore 2010 Volunteers on how to utilize Facebook to attract volunteers for your non-profit.
  9. Get into discussion mode!
    Another great way to encourage participation in your Facebook profile and keep visitors engaged is by urging them to discuss their points of view. It’s a great way to start a conversation, keep the ideas flowing and get the visitors talking about your cause. Use your discussion forum to talk to your visitors, hear them out, seek out ideas and encourage participation in your cause.
  10. Inform. Engage. Educate.
    surestart copyRemember, give visitors information that is useful to them. Like why it’s so important to vaccinate children against pneumonia (Prevent Pnemo) or how  hospital births can save more lives in a developing nation like India (Sure Start Project). Keep visitors engaged, then, educate them about your cause. When you offer information that’s interesting or useful, people are more receptive and more willing to spread the word about your cause.

A Comprehensive Guide to Playing FarmVille on Facebook

clip_image001“Howdy Ya’ll! Come on down to the Farm today and play with your friends. We got plenty of land for everyone. Come and see what everyone is hootin’ and hollerin’ about.”

If you are a Facebook user, you must have got accustomed to notifications iphone 5 replacement screen filled with invitations to join FarmVille and gifts of trees, chickens and sheep from your FarmVille-farmer friends. All the FarmVille action on the Facebook wall is drawing even the novice gaming crowd towards it. The nostalgic urban crowd is quickly getting hooked onto the virtual farming game and deriving simple pleasures from ploughing land, sowing seeds, harvesting crops, collecting fruits and raising livestock in their own virtual farm.

The game was developed by San Francisco based gaming firm Zynga and launched on the 17th of June. Despite being a fresh entry into the world of gaming, FarmVille has carved its niche and already boasts monthly stats of 30 million registered players across the globe, hundreds of them adding each day.

You have been wanting to start farming like your friends, but you have postponed the plan for quite some time. Your wall is notifying you about friends moving up on FarmVille. They are exchanging gifts, have a collection of beautiful FarmVille photographs with new animals and trees being added everyday. If you want to kick start farming now and if the activity on the wall is freaking you out, fret not!! Here is a comprehensive FarmVille guide which teaches you FarmVille farming from the scratch. Read more

Latest Privacy Changes on Facebook

Following the privacy violation charges by the Canadian Privacy Commission, Facebook announced four new privacy changes.  The privacy changes will impact all users and not just Canadian users alone.   Here’s a scoop about the issues Canadian government had with Facebook and how Facebook responded to those:

1) Retention of consumer data:

The Issue: Once a user opts out of Facebook, what happens to the information shared by the user on Facebook is unclear.  On Facebook, deactivation of account was not an option for deletion. A system that ensures complete deletion of user data upon account deactivation was demanded.

Facebook response: Upon deactivation, users will be 3d headsets notified with the “delete” option.   They have the choice to elect a complete wipe out of all user account details forever or have them saved on Facebook’s database for future reactivation. Read more

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