Facebook to trademark the word "face"

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FacebookFacebook has moved one step closer in its efforts to trademark the word "face", after receiving the green light from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The Office has issued a notice of allowance to the social networking juggernaut, allowing the company to own the word after paying a fee, the NY Post reported.

The trademark will allow Facebook to challenge any of the 89,000 websites using the word "face" in their domain name.

The trademark would cover "telecommunication services, namely providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars".

A Facebook spokesperson would not reveal why an exemption was given to cars.

Several companies are considered to be in the sights of Facebook’s legal department, including Apple over its video conferencing service Facetime and a pornography website called Faceporn.

Facebook has also sued websites Teachbook, Placebook and Lamebook in order to protect the social network’s identity.

Facebook has already been successful in trademarking the words "Like" and "Wall".

Source: ninemsn.com.au

How Consumers Interact with Brands on Social Networks

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Consumers do want relationships

The social networking audience in the US has reached critical mass. eMarketer estimates that 57.5% of all US Internet users, or 127 million people, will use a social network at least once a month in 2010. By 2014, nearly two-thirds of Internet users will be on board.

Marketers have been chasing this audience for several years, but the question remains: Do consumers notice, or care?

“Those who still think that social network users are too busy engaging with friends to notice marketers must change their viewpoint,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Brand Interactions on Social Networks.” “Brand interactions are real, valuable and growing. “

According to a February 2010 survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a market research firm, 33% of Facebook users have become fans of brands on the network.

Graph of US consumers

Another survey, by Edison Research, found that 16% of social network users had friended brands there. And half (51%) had done so on Twitter.

Coupons remain a leading driver of brand interactions in social networks. Learning about sales and new products is also a strong motivator for people to interact with companies in social media. Beyond the tangibles, such as coupons, consumers do gain positive feelings about a brand as a result of their interactions.

Still, social networks are not seen as primary research sources when consumers are looking to buy. Although people are very inclined to take advice from friends and family about products they are interested in, they are not nearly as likely to seek out their social network friends when they are researching online.

According to a study by PowerReviews and the e-tailing group, only 3% of online buyers said they sought recommendations from social network friends first, compared with 57% who started with search engines.

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“More than half of all Internet users now use social networks, and the percentage of social network users who talk about companies, either in organic conversations or on branded company pages, is growing,” said Ms. Williamson. “Consumers do pay attention and they do value positive interactions with companies.

“But while people trust their friends for advice and use social networks as part of their research process, social networks are long way from replacing search, if they ever will, as a source of information leading to a purchase.”

Is it Really Worthwhile to Market on Twitter?

A new study by Edison Research provides a complex and multi-layered picture of Twitter – along with some interesting data points that suggest it may not be worthwhile for some companies to focus their online marketing efforts on the micro-blogging site.

This, of course, contradicts other studies – at least about social media, not necessarily Twitter – as well as what has become conventional wisdom on how to advance a brand, according to MarketingVOX.The other studies include a small but now infamous study by Vitrue that found one fan on Facebook is worth $3.60 and a Facebook Page with one million fans is worth a minimum of $3.6 million in earned media annually.Then there is a study by Hubspot.com, which found that many B2C and B2B companies are successfully using social media networks to acquire customers, with more than four in 10 companies overall having acquired a customer from four major social media channels.

Brand Aware
The Edison study doesn’t discount the popularity of Twitter – in fact it reports that 87% of respondents have heard of Twitter, compared to 88% who had heard of Facebook. The findings also suggest that Twitter users are hyper-aware of brands on Twitter. The study found that 42% learn about products and services via Twitter and 41% provide opinions about products/services. An additional 19% seek customer support. A grand total of 49% follow brands or companies.

“Twitter users talking about marketing and brands far exceeds the usage on the other social networks,” said Tom Webster, the VP of Strategy & Marketing at Edison (via Social Media Today).”Combined with their above average income and above average education, Twitter users’ propensity to interact with brands make them a huge potential source for Mass Influencers,” Social Media Today concludes.

Does Not Convert into Interaction
Here is the rub: the data also suggests that Twitter users do not necessarily convert brand awareness to usage, Social Media Today says. Although 87% of Americans have heard of Twitter – only 7% actually use it. Compare that to Facebook, where 88% have heard of it, and 41% have a profile, which is a conversion rate approaching 50%, Social Media Today notes.Clearly some companies belong on Twitter – namely brands that are seeking to shape consumers’ opinions and possibly engage them in a conversation.

Who Shouldn’t
And just as clearly some companies don’t belong on Twitter – or at least shouldn’t be spending a significant portion of their marketing budget on it. These include:

Companies that don’t have a mobile strategy or presence.
There is a strong tie between Twitter and mobile, Social Media Today notes, with 63% of Twitter users accessing social networks via mobile phone, and 73% sending SMS text messages multiple times per day.

Mass-market brands with straightforward products.
Gillette is a good example, says Fast Company. Brands such as Gillette that are positioned based on functionality superiority are not likely to benefit from a social campaign, according to a study by Vivaldi-Lightspeed.

In that study, 96% of respondents in the study tout Gillette’s good quality and reliability. At that point, Gillette should take that goodwill and run, the study goes on to say.”Conversation might lead to a discussion of downsides such as price and alternative products,” says Markus Zinnbauer, a director Vivaldi. (via Fast Company).

Small businesses that don’t have a significant online or social media presence.
That group is far larger than one might realize, according to a recent Citigroup study.  Most small businesses today aren’t leveraging the basic online tools readily available to them to help grow their businesses, the study found.

Namely, in the last year 37% of small businesses have not used a website for marketing or expanding their business and 84% have not used e-commerce to sell their products or services. Additionally, 62% aren’t using basic email for marketing their business.Before such a company jumps on the Twitter bandwagon it would be far better off to master these fundamental online marketing tools – particularly email marketing. Local reputation tools such as Yelp would be the exception.

Women Flock to Social Games

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Nearly one-half of US social network users now play social games, according to Lightspeed Research and Trendstream’s Global Web Index. That makes it the fifth most popular social networking activity, ahead of watching videos or searching for new contacts.

Women are taking to the casual gaming environment in greater numbers than men. Among all female Internet users, 28% play games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars; men were 6 percentage points less likely to do so. Several other types of gaming, including offline and online console gaming and play in virtual worlds, were more popular with men than with women.

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“Women are particularly attracted to short, casual games involving an active community like FarmVille, Cafe Wars or Pet Society,” said Tom Smith, managing director of Trendstream, in a statement. “Women also spend more time on social networks in general.”

Earlier research from PopCap Games also found women ahead in social gaming.

Q Interactive reported that 36% of female Web users played social games in January 2010. Slightly fewer than one-half of that group were used to seeing brands affiliated with the casual online games.

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“Women are particularly attracted to short, casual games involving an active community like FarmVille, Cafe Wars or Pet Society,” said Tom Smith, managing director of Trendstream, in a statement. “Women also spend more time on social networks in general.”

Earlier research from PopCap Games also found women ahead in social gaming.

Q Interactive reported that 36% of female Web users played social games in January 2010. Slightly fewer than one-half of that group were used to seeing brands affiliated with the casual online games.

Social Media Aids Customer Acquisition

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Many B2C and B2B companies are successfully using social media networks to acquire customers, according to [pdf] the “State of Inbound Marketing Report” from internet marketing firm Hubspot.

Major Social Media Channels Provide Leads to 4 in 10 Companies

More than four in 10 companies overall have acquired a customer from four major social media channels. Forty-one percent of companies have acquired a customer from both Twitter and LinkedIn. That figure rises to 44% for Facebook and 46% for a company blog.

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Social Media Especially Helps B2C
When social media customer acquisition figures are broken out by B2B and B2C companies, it becomes clear that B2C companies generally obtain much more value from their social media marketing efforts. Fifty-one percent of B2C companies have acquired a customer from Twitter, compared to 38% of B2B companies. The difference is most stark in customer acquisition figures for Facebook, which 68% of B2C companies have obtained a customer from but only 33% of B2B companies.

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When it comes to professional social media network LinkedIn, however, the usefulness trends reverse. Forty-five percent of B2B companies have obtained a customer from LinkedIn, compared to only 26% of B2C companies. Figures for company blog customer acquisition are closest in range, with 57% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies obtaining a customer through this channel.

Blog Post Frequency Makes a Difference
Examining company blogs closer, the unsurprising finding is that the more posts a company makes, the more success it will have driving new business. One hundred percent of companies posting multiple times a day on their blogs acquired a customer, and 90% posting daily acquired a customer. This figures declines to 69% for companies posting two to three times a week, and all the way down to 13% for companies posting less than monthly.

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Most Business Blogs Post Weekly
The majority of business blogs in 2010 post weekly (38%). Another 29% post two to three times a week, and 17% post monthly. Only 3% post multiple times a day. Only 58% of companies making weekly blog posts acquire a customer, meaning most companies are leaving a significant tool for customer acquisition on the table.

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Bigger Business Blogs Better Lead Bringers
Business blogs begin generating significantly more leads when they have a median of 24 or more articles posted, according to other research by Hubspot.

Businesses with blog article numbers above this critical threshold are likely to have enough content to make a significant impact on search engines through additional indexed pages and new keywords with which to associate. In addition, other sites are more likely to link to a blog that offers a steady stream of content. Businesses with blogs of 24-plus articles are more likely to be committed to updating their blog frequently and, thus, are likely to generate more traffic from referring sites.

Business blogs that have 0-11 articles posted will generate a median of three leads. Once blogs reach the 12-23 posted article threshold, this median dramatically rises to 10. However, blogs with 24-51 posted articles generate a median of 13 leads, and will generate a median of 23 leads when the posted article threshold reaches 52. This represents 77% lead growth, more than twice the 30% lead growth that occurs when the number of posted blog articles reaches 24.