Facebook

Do you seek attention?

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Generally speaking most of us do seek attention, we’ve been seeking attention ever since we were a pregnancy test. 

And as luck would have it you have probably been receiving unsolicited attention through all your baby, toddler and teenager lives until you reach so-called adulthood. I say so-called because young people believe it’s when they reach 18, parents believe it’s not until you’re 21 and science says your brain doesn’t fully develop until you’re 25. I’m with the science community. I have first hand evidence of living with a 19-year old. 

So when you’ve been receiving attention for at least a quarter of your life, it’s not that easy then to make the transition to start giving attention to others. Maybe that’s why 50% of all marriages fail? #justsaying

Anyway let’s apply this to business and brand development. When you advertise you’re basically asking for attention aren’t you?

And these days that’s what everyone is doing or planning to do. Mark Zuckerberg is very happy about this and definitely his employees, because job security is important to them of course it is. Facebook is probably going to be the largest benefactor of your need to get attention. It’s a very clever choreographed process to make you feel that if you don’t advertise, nobody will give you attention. In fact the algorithm has been changed on Facebook business pages to ensure this is the case. If you have a company page, have you ever noticed how any time you post an update Facebook follows this up at least the next day with a notification? It says that ‘when you’ve finished boosting your post X up to X number of people will see it in their newsfeed for just a couple of bucks.’ (See image example below).

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Generally speaking most of us do seek attention, we’ve been seeking attention ever since we were a pregnancy test. 

And as luck would have it you have probably been receiving unsolicited attention through all your baby, toddler and teenager lives until you reach so-called adulthood. I say so-called because young people believe it’s when they reach 18, parents believe it’s not until you’re 21 and science says your brain doesn’t fully develop until you’re 25. I’m with the science community. I have first hand evidence of living with a 19-year old. 

So when you’ve been receiving attention for at least a quarter of your life, it’s not that easy then to make the transition to start giving attention to others. Maybe that’s why 50% of all marriages fail? #justsaying

Anyway let’s apply this to business and brand development. When you advertise you’re basically asking for attention aren’t you?

And these days that’s what everyone is doing or planning to do. Mark Zuckerberg is very happy about this and definitely his employees, because job security is important to them of course it is. Facebook is probably going to be the largest benefactor of your need to get attention. It’s a very clever choreographed process to make you feel that if you don’t advertise, nobody will give you attention. In fact the algorithm has been changed on Facebook business pages to ensure this is the case. If you have a company page, have you ever noticed how any time you post an update Facebook follows this up at least the next day with a notification? It says that ‘when you’ve finished boosting your post X up to X number of people will see it in their newsfeed for just a couple of bucks.’ (See image example below).

I appreciate totally that if you’re in business and you have a message or a mission you need to get people to pay attention. Advertisements are not always a great way to do this though. There are many other routes to market but here lies the problem, there are far too many routes these days and to test them all, you need a serious bag of cash to do so.

So let’s just say that someone is paying attention to you, your process, whatever that may be, actually worked. They actually clicked through an advert and you got an order. Because it worked you will repeat the process again and again, continuing the advertising paradigm and many of you will even be advocating this to others, some of you might even be making a living out of training others to advertise as well. And so it grows and the advertising barons will be raking in the cash, buckets full of them. 

Every social network depends on advertising for its survival. You can see that the vast majority of their innovation and creativity is directed towards how to leverage their advertising engine even further. More development, updates and improvements are seen in their advertising platforms compared to the social networks themselves. The updates on those are far and few between. In fact they don’t even have great customer service, it is impossible to communicate one on one with a customer service representative, you are cornered into reading pages and pages of manuals and forums before giving up in despair.

They are amongst the worst companies on the planet for their customer service, not to speak of their failures in dealing with abuse of all kinds on their sites.

I’m not trying to bash social networks by the way, I know it sounds like it, I’m just highlighting that we’ve all fallen victim to them, whether it’s the addiction to them and their consistent exploitation of companies that are seeking more and more attention for their product or service.

So what’s the solution? Well if I knew I’d probably be a billionaire by now, but one thing’s for sure paying social networks to advertise on your behalf for me is not the right way.

Instead of seeking attention, maybe we should be inviting audiences to articulate what great would look like for them. Inviting them to share in a journey, become part of the story to greatness instead of just adding their funds to ours. Minimalism is on the rise and companies will need to become even more innovative if they wish to survive the path towards all of us needing less instead of more in our lives.

I would love to hear your perspective on this. Share your comments or tweet me using the hashtag. #attentionseeker

@stayingaliveuk

How do you know if your content is any good?

And how do you know if your content is appealing to the correct audience? Data suggests that there are around 200+ million blogs in the world. I researched some data up to 2011 suggesting 181 million, so I've conservatively increased it. 

Can you imagine just for a second that all these bloggers are looking for eyeballs to engage with their content and in some cases its advertisers. That is an awful lot of competition!

Then add to that the amount of social media posts and sound bites in the form of likes, shares and comments that are also competing for eyeballs.

As of April 2017, there are 2.907 billion active social media users in the world of which Facebook owns 1.968 billion active users. All these active users are engaging with content in one way or another and that makes the job of content marketers even tougher. 

Facebook spotted the trend for companies needing to get more eyeballs on their content and that organic engagement was declining rapidly. Therefore low cost advertising is growing allowing many small businesses to get into the advertising game and getting involved with the chase for more eyeballs on their content and products.

Now big and small business are competing with each other for eyeballs like never before.

But how do you know whether you are targeting the right audience? Well advertising nowadays is so sophisticated that you are able to target every single aspect of that prospect's life! This is why Facebook ads are probably the most popular advertising platform around. 

Facebook will make nearly $61 billion per year from just mobile advertising by 2021.

Whether you are targeting Millennials, Baby Boomers or Gen X you can now do this with super laser accuracy. And you thought the ads in your Facebook newsfeed were random!

As a consequence the amount of Facebook ads consultants are expanding rapidly. Not that it's difficult to master the ads platform, the trick is to know how to write the copy, choose the right images that will appeal to that Millennial, Gen Xer or Baby Boomer and know the right keywords and all the other multiple targeting options. There is a lot to consider for sure and in the process of learning and failing you will make Facebook a little richer in the process.

Personally I would recommend that if you are serious about getting closer to your target audience, that you plan a better and more personal engagement plan. Yes it might be slower but it will potentially develop long term raving fans one person at a time. 

Experiment, experiment, experiment with ads, with email, with calls, with meetings and develop an understanding of what your audience engages with the best. 

I would love to hear what's working for you today or what you are experimenting with currently to ensure more eyeballs on your content.

Success!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Have you ever compared Facebook groups vs LinkedIn groups? [Infographic]

When LinkedIn changed their groups at the end of 2015, there was outrage by the group managers and moderators. LinkedIn had gone one step too far in trying to make groups more accessible to more people. Result?  A lot of groups folded, moved to Facebook.

I'm noticing each day that Facebook are doing many things right, so I decided to examine the major functionalities and compare them on each platform.

I thought I would create an infographic.  Superman (Facebook) vs Batman (LinkedIn).

Points are awarded merely based on the amount of functionality options that exist on each platform. 

There is no doubt that Facebook has a significant advantage over LinkedIn in many areas and it makes it a far better and more enjoyable experience for the user and the manager.

Every business needs to have a Facebook group and indeed there are 620 million Facebook groups already in existence, compared to the very small 2 million on LinkedIn.

I hope you enjoy the infographic.  I would love to hear your comments and opinion on groups?

@stayingaliveuk

data about the no of Facebook groups dates back to 2010

Do You Have Suicidal Thoughts?

Most of you who are reading this are no longer teenagers. But do you remember having suicidal thoughts when you were? It’s being reported regularly that teenagers these days are very prone to having suicidal thoughts and there may be no logical explanation for it. However it appears to be contagious.

Research showed that 32 per cent of young Britons have had suicidal thoughts, while a similar proportion (29 per cent) of young adults deliberately harmed themselves as teenagers. And more than one in 10 (12 per cent) felt a failure almost every day when they were under 16. http://styin.me/1ewlGuB

- flickr | Ktoine

I read some teenagers twitter feeds (no I wasn't stalking) I was intrigued and yes I was spying on my stepson’s feed because he was saying stupid things and he thought it was private!

But one feed lead to another and I could see a pattern of comments for example; ’I wish I was dead’ and ’I'm so close to taking as much pills as I can right now’ and ’Guys, don't any of you ever kill yourselves. If you are ever feeling suicidal just dm me, you can trust me, and I will try to help you <3 xx’.

At home we even had to call the police, because someone said on twitter that they had actually swallowed a load of tablets. When we also reported this to the head teacher at the school of this youngster, she confirmed that the instances of these are on the rise.

So why are youngsters having these thoughts and why are they sharing these openly with not just their followers, but if they realised, with the whole world!

Is it just attention seeking or is something fundamentally wrong with society, education, parents, nutrition (sugar overdose), lack of exercise, social media, television, gaming, greed, government or something else?

I know teenage years are about self-expression and finding your place in the world around you and yet for some reason they appear to be obsessed with wanting to end it all?

How do parents and teachers deal with this heightened threat of suicidal thinking in kids? Surely this must be playing out in their minds all the time and putting them in a place of fear themselves?

Do teenagers even realise what they are doing with this behaviour? Do they realise this behaviour increases further stress on their parents, who are already under pressure having to deal with a world of expectation, financial worries and keeping their kids happy.

Does one tell them to stop behaving so stupidly or do we take them to counselling? Is it just a phase of hormone development or are there serious underlying issues?

I can't help thinking that when they finally want to find a job their social feeds will be explored by employers (it's not illegal yet), who will find all sorts of silly communication on there and thereby making up their mind about whether to give them that job or not. And unfortunately teenagers don't see that as a potential threat at all!

- flickr | ohmann alianne

If we want our kids to be successful no matter what their background, then we seriously need to tackle this epidemic of suicidal thoughts in young people.

Should this become part of the curriculum at schools, should teachers openly discuss this with students and get them to open up and discuss these feelings in group sessions? Should we encourage their friends to speak up about those that are openly declaring these thoughts?

I haven't got the answers but one thing’s for sure something needs to be done.

What are your thoughts? And if you have youngsters go and talk to them and find out what's going on in their heads, that is if they'll tell you!

Success

Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?

As published in The Non-Significant Journal of Business & Consumer Psychology Issue 2.1 - Spring 2013

Background

In recent years, an increasing number of scholars have sought to study and measure the impact of social networks (social media).

Social media network connection concept
Social media network connection concept
  • A 2010 study by the University of Maryland suggested that social networks may be addictive, and that using social networks may lead to a "fear of missing out", also known by the acronym "FOMO" by many students.
  • It has been observed that Facebook is now the primary method for communication by college students in the U.S.
  • According to Nielsen, global consumers spend more than six hours on social networking sites.
  • Consumers continue to spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites—roughly 20% of their total time online via personal computer (PC), and 30% of total time online via mobile.
  • Tim Berners-Lee contends that the danger of social networking sites is that most are silos and do not allow users to port data from one site to another. He also cautions against social networks that grow too big and become a monopoly as this tends to limit innovation.
  • According to several clinics in the UK, social media addiction is a certifiable medical condition. One psychiatric consultant claims he treats as many as one hundred cases a year.

Introduction

Networks are not new; they have existed since the very first existence of cells on planet earth. It's quite amazing to know that our cells work together in networks to achieve tasks together. One such example is wound healing. For wound healing to occur, white blood cells and cells that ingest bacteria move to the wound site to kill the microorganisms that cause infection. At the same time fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) move there to remodel damaged structures. This is a wonderful example of how cells behave together in networks.

Even our brain neurons wire together in associative networks to create our memories and skills. Cell division even mirrors the way that networks grow.

We humans are no exception in nature. We exist and flourish as part of networks. We seem to have some inborn instinct to behave in this way, actively involving ourselves in many different systems of connections.

Thumbs up like button on white background.
Thumbs up like button on white background.

The first network we experience in our lives is the immediate family, where we learn how to be social by watching our parents and siblings. Beyond that, we soon learn how to ‘network’ with other groups of adults and children. We then start our social journey by joining many different networks, the nursery, primary and secondary school, the college and university and then our work and leisure networks.

The size, membership and complexity of these networks may grow or contract during our lifetime, but they always remain an important part of our experience. There are several theories put forward to explain this networking phenomenon, from Social Comparison Theory,Role Theory,Homogeneous Theory and the Social Identity approach. The evidence seems to point to the conclusion that networking is in part driven by our genetic make-up.

Tribes

These networks have a major impact on our lives. They determine how we see the world and how we see ourselves; we constantly monitor how we are accepted in our various networks.

Perhaps another word for these networks could be 'tribes'.

Belonging to a 'tribe', gives us the feeling that we are part of ‘something bigger’ then we are. It helps to give our lives more meaning and significance. The belief that you belong to a ’tribe’ is reinforcing, as it encourages you to relate more strongly with the other individuals in that ’tribe’. It helps with the identity that you have given yourself as you became an adult.

When your ’tribe’ behaves in the same way that you do, you will consider them the same as ’you’ and somehow feel a connection. It triggers an automatic approval, telling yourself that they are OK as they behave in a similar way to you.

The way that this translates in social networks is that individuals will follow people on twitter, send each other friends’ requests on Facebook or ask to be connected inside professional networks, like LinkedIn. We may have never met the person but for some reason we want to share intimate details of our lives with them.

Facebook
Facebook

Never in the world have we seen this kind of behaviour before. It did not exist before social networks appeared on the worldwide web. You could not have imagined walking up to strangers, people you have never met and suddenly start sharing your personal life with them. It just didn’t happen. We as humans need to trust someone first before we will share personal details. In social networks personal details are being shared all the time without any apparent shyness or reservation.

And the only reason this happens is because we have connected at some level with this stranger in a social network where their behaviour mirrors our own. In social networks we behave for around 80% of the time exactly the same way as everybody else. Just the act of being in a social network together, posting updates, sharing content means you are doing the same as everyone else and that makes you part of that tribe.

Significance

Social networks give us a platform for significance. According to Anthony Robbins, significance is one of the 6 human needs as per his Human Needs Psychology model.  We all have a need to be significant in our lives and when family and friends, like, comment or respond to our activity inside social networks, we feel good, we feel loved, we feel significant.

Dopamine is closely associated with reward-seeking behaviours, such as approach, consumption, and addiction. Recent research suggests that the firing of dopaminergic neurons is motivational as a consequence of reward-anticipation. This hypothesis is based on the evidence that, when a reward is greater than expected, the firing of certain dopaminergic neurons increases, which consequently increases desire or motivation towards the reward. This is why social networks are so addictive and why games inside social networks (e.g. Farmville) are so popular. Equally though, aggression is also evident in social networks and recent studies indicate that aggression may also stimulate the release of dopamine.

Why do humans enjoy social networks?

Humans are social beings, they thrive around other humans and other humans make them thrive. Without human interaction we have no reason to exist. Compassion and love is a ready built-in operating system, which we are born with. Without the love we experience on the day of our birth we would probably die. Throughout our lives we crave that love and connection with other humans. Especially as those humans are the same as us or expressed in another way, exist in the same tribe as us.

Anthony Robbins’ Human Need Psychology says that one of our 6 human needs is love and connection15 .

Physical social networks, whether it’s the family unit, our workplace unit or other tribal social networks, which we belong to for our sport, hobbies and political activities, all exist because there is some love and connection that takes place.

Virtual social networks via the web also exist for the same reason. The creators of these networks have been able to create certain activities to allow us to feel love and connection with a connection or a tribe that exists inside these networks. Whether it is ’liking’, ’commenting’, ’sharing’, ’re-tweeting’, ’favouriting’, ’re-posting’, the user feels good when this takes place or in other words they do feel loved. This is very addictive and when dopamine is released in the brain, we want to experience more of this feeling16 .

As human beings we also want to give out love and this is another one of the human needs and is called ’contribution’. And therefore in social networks we also like to contribute to our fellow human beings.

The way that this translates inside of virtual social networks is no different. For example by actively ’liking’, ’sharing’, ’commenting’, it makes us feel good and drives us to do more of it, whenever the recipient rewards us in some way for taking this selfless action. And guess what happens more dopamine is released and the more addictive it becomes.

Put on top of that Ivan Pavlov’s dog experiment

and ’ding, ding, woof, woof’, every time our mobile device makes that familiar notification noise, we know that this could mean more dopamine and more love, so we’ll react instantly to the need of that possibility.

How social learning grows networks

In 1961 Albert Bandura conducted a controversial experiment known as the ‘Bobo-Doll ‘experiment, to study patterns of behaviour associated with aggression. Bandura hoped that the experiment would prove that aggression can be explained, at least in part, by social learning theory, and that similar behaviours were learned by individuals modelling their own behaviour after the actions of others. The experiment was criticised by some on ethical grounds, for training children towards aggression.

Bandura’s results from the Bobo Doll Experiment changed the course of modern psychology, and were widely credited for helping shift the focus in academic psychology from pure behaviourism to cognitive psychology. The experiment is among the most lauded and celebrated of psychological experiments.

Penguin points
Penguin points

This study can be viewed as quite significant and why social networks grow so fast. When we see the activities of others in social networks, we start to wonder if we're missing out on something and whether we need to start involving ourselves. When we then discover that our tribe, (whether family, work, hobby or other tribe), is doing the same, we will stay and investigate it further. And that is when we start enjoying shots of dopamine in our brain and when the addiction of this social network interaction starts working.

CAUTION: NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS

Conclusion

Social networks are here to stay, they've always existed and whether they are physical or virtual they are an important piece of our human make-up. My personal view too is that back in the times when humans went through war and terror they would draw closer to each other and grow closer socially. For example, during World War II, it was easier to connect with our fellow humans as we were all going through the same terror and strife. We would look out for one and other and support each other.

Basically we were giving each other a lot of love.

Bird Doodles
Bird Doodles

As the human population has grown and spread across the globe, some of the physical connections may have been lost. Virtual social networks have allowed us to make that re-connection with each other and in fact get in touch with people who we may not have seen for many years.

Of course this makes us feel loved and appreciated too.

And now, because these virtual networks show us how many fans, followers, and friends we have, this is proof to the world and ourselves how popular we are.  We take this metric as an important measure of how many people approve of us or rather love us, a kind of ‘love-o-meter’!

...or in Bryan Ferry’s - Roxy Music words...”Love is the drug I’m thinking of...”

 

Are You Wasting Your Time on Social Media?

More than likely you are. Be honest with yourself, how much time are you now spending on social media compared to say 2 years ago? It's addictive right? Don't worry I am not judging you, and it's not your fault. All the social networks know that we as humans are curious by nature and very very interested in other people's lives. Yes you are, whether you wish to admit it or not. It's not an issue, really it's not. And...you just need to be aware of it.

The Power of Social Media.009

Peer pressure exists too, how many times have you heard someone say, you're not on twitter really?? Or...well I use Facebook to spy on my kids that's all I use it for. Liar!!

The majority of 16 - 24 year olds will be massively engaged with social media. Wind forward 10 - 15 years, what will the world look like?

OK so you're a baby boomer and don't think much of this social media lark and will not get drawn into to it. Wrong!

flickr | meijergardens

You are already part of it whether you like it or not. Whatever you say or do in business or in your private life, people (and family) around you may be tweeting, facebooking, linkedinning you (for real Michael??).

Yep, before you speak and if you don't wish to be quoted, tell your gathering that they haven't got permission to share what you say via their social media channels.

So whether you're part of it or not, resisting or engaging, annoyed or happy, you do have to get your time spent on it back in check. Become more targeted and laser focussed on what you wish to achieve. Random doesn't work any longer and you'll get found out. Just this morning I saw someone on LinkedIn (no names) who had posted 18 articles from their website in a matter of 2 hours. Wondering who's in charge of their marketing efforts?

I've been studying social media for 5 years now and after several years of intermittent study with the thought leaders in the USA, I've recognised where this is going. No I'm not unique in my thinking.

Firstly social media is no longer a new phenomena it's now part of the marketing mix, except that it should in most organisations expand into customer service, sales and the executive floor as well.

flickr | smi23le

Social media has expanded into social learning, social selling, social marketing. But in a few years the word social will start to disappear. You will be left with the originals, learning, selling and marketing.

The only difference will be that the major platforms that support these activities will become synonymous with them.

For example LinkedIn will be known exclusively for selling. Indeed what was once a recruiters website with employees CV’s is becoming THE most powerful lead generation platform in the world.

FB will become the product marketing platform in the world. Just imagine all those people on FB that could be watching your product advert on their 4G mobile.

FB has enabled message voice recording already and its just a matter of time that they will introduce video message recording technology. Your written messages will be video email instead. We are already tired of reading, but will we be happy to watch a short video?

Camera shy?? You'll get over it!

flickr | Rego - d4u.hu

I was involved with video email even before YouTube, the only problem was that most people were on dial-up then (2005). Now with 4G becoming standard and super fast fibre broadband, it will open possibilities we've not even imagined yet.

flickr | Gavin St. Ours

Video cameras in your smart phone or tablet are common now, but you've heard about google glasses right?

So just imagine a world where your glasses are connected to your smart phone and whatever the camera (in your glasses) sees it can find on your smart phone, of course no need to tap on your phone, you just do it via speech if at all. The mind boggles!

flickr | Stuck in Customs

I'd love to hear your views, good, bad or indifferent about social media, technology and where this is taking us. I'm excited, are you?

Success!

Facebook, Death and Timeline

Facebook is amazing and with an end of year (2012) forecast of 1 billion people who have a profile on Facebook, it's a brave person who says that they have reached their peak. Even those people who criticise Facebook are eventually convinced by their family members to get a profile and connect with them there.

But one thing that I believe they will be remembered for most is the ability for anyone who upgrades to "Timeline" to have their life history in activities, photos, videos and events for family members and friends, young and old to view.

I have always been fascinated by my own parents' history and indeed my family history. It's even more interesting that my Dad was Dutch and my mother was Anglo-Indian. Can you just imagine what their timeline would look like if I had their full history from their birth until death for me to review on Facebook?

And my family is not special in fact everyone's family is special to them and just think how grateful your children and grand children will be if you were to complete your full life history inside Facebook's "Timeline".

This became even more evident when my father-in-law passed away on the 10th January 2012.  I only knew him a few years, but even in this short time I learned that this man had a very interesting history.  He was a criminal lawyer, a glass expert and an enthusiastic letter writer to national and local newspapers.  He even managed to get on BBC Midlands Today in the past 2 years.  It would have been really interesting to review his full life history.

So the best thing my wife Clair could do, thanks to Facebook, was to set up a Facebook page to allow people to post photos and messages about him. The local press in his hometown, Stourbridge, also included the page URL in their online and off line news reports about him.  I did not have this opportunity when my parents passed away and now anyone can create a Facebook page in the memory of a loved one.

Thanks to Facebook, all of us have a fantastic opportunity to create our own life story there and when we do eventually cross over to the "other" side, there will be a history for our loved ones who remain on earth to look at and remember us by.

So my message to all of you is convert to "Timeline" and start populating each of your years since birth with your key events, photos and activities.  Not only is it a great way for you to review your own life and remember everything you have done, it will also provide a rich picture for your family and friends and understand your history right now whilst you are still on planet earth.

Success!

This article is dedicate to John V. Sanders who passed away peacefully on the 10th January 2012.