Where do you find the best online marketing blog posts for 2007?

Techipedia, that’s where.

Tamar Weinberg has put together a phenomenal list of over 250 blog posts from 2007, covering everything you need to know about marketing online. Blogging, social networking, viral strategies, social media – you name it.

Here it is – Truly a great list that will have you reading for hours.

2007 has been rather quiet here at my blog, and posting has been scarce. It’s been a busy year for me, changing jobs (on 2 occasions), getting married, buying a house and starting a business. Not sure if 2008 will be any calmer, but I hope to blog more in the new year. Thanks for reading!

Facebook Tip#2 :: Listen

Facebook is the new and hip social media tool right now, just like blogs were before it.

But the rules of Facebook and blogging are the same – With social media, you need to listen before you talk. So before you commit to doing anything on Facebook – be it a group or application – you need to do some listening.

So start by doing a search for your brand on Facebook, just as you would a Technorati or Google search to see if anyone has been blogging about you? What do you find?

If you’re an evil company, like Exxon, you’ll find a lot of “Boycott Exxon Mobil” groups. If you’re a good company, like say, Cooper’s Beer, then you’ll find a real community of Coopers addicts.

It’s the same rules as Blogging 101, except that it’s another place online where you need to have your ear to the ground.

Second step is to engage in the conversation. If your customers know that you’re listening, and are prepared to take heed of what they have to say, you’re well on your way to knowing how to ride the choppy seas of Facebook and new marketing in general.

wispa.gif A good example of a big company that has listened to their customers on facebook is Cadbury. After seeing the petitions of thousands of Facebooks users to bring back their Wispa bar, they have done just that. I’m with Shel – I think that this is a very smart move by Cadbury. They have listened to their customers and responded accordingly (And have had a lot of positive press coverage as a result).

Sound familiar?

The Onion’s take on Facebook

I quite like The Onion’s take on Mark Zuckerberg:

zucker.jpg

(Thanks netzkobol.de!)

Facebook Tip #1 – Applications

In a previous post I promised a few thoughts about how you might be able to use Facebook as a marketing tool.

I should start by pointing out – There are no shortcuts in Facebook. Just because Facebook is a viral marketing phenomena, doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to be just by experimenting with Facebook. As with anything, your business or brand has to remarkable if people are going to remark about it.

A few other key things to remember:

  • Friends is the key word – People are on Facebook to connect with friends. So any product or service that you offer has to be useful to users and their network of friends.
  • People are here to have fun – People go to Facebook to break up their day with a little fun, so whatever you do, don’t be too serious.

That said, the first thing that I want to look at is Facebook Applications.

Back in May, Facebook opened up their platform to outside developers could build mini-applications within Facebook . Which enables the kids like you and me to share them across your network.

Example Apps

Here are some of the most notable:

ilike.gifiLike – the music discovery website that has had exponential success by building a Facebook app. The iLike app lets you display and share your tastes in music to that of your friends, and be alerted for when your favorite artists will be in town. They’ve also added a fun ‘Music Challenge’ feature – a good procrastination tool if you need one. This app has been a huge success, with over 5 million users signed up since it was launched. And that was just over 2 months ago!

CouchSwap is one of the newer apps, but I think it’s one to watch, because it’s a fun app that lets you offer your couch to friends and travelers, or helps you find someone elses couch to sleep on.

zimride have released a carpooling app, connecting you to other people in your area to share car rides. The greenie in me loves this one, because it connects people together to help the environment.

Lending club allows you to borrow money from other Facebook community members, getting better rates then you would banks. This one is really interesting because it operates solely within Facebook.

The one thing that these applications have in common is that they are providing different ways to link people up within the Facebook community.

I’m not sure that a Facebook application designed purely to ‘sell’ things would work. The most successful facebook apps in my opinion will be the ones that:

1. Provide a real benefit to friendship networks.

I think that online renting websites like Rentoid, or book and CD swapping services would work really well in Facebook, because they are services that are useful for your friends.

2. Are part of an idea that people actually want to spread.

Word of mouth marketing 101 : If you want someone to sneeze your idea, the sneezer has to feel good about sneezing it.

3. Stand out from all the other applications.

There are now over 2,000 applications on Facebook – which means it’s not as simple as launching as application. Nick has a few suggestions on how others are spreading the word about their applications. You’ll need to be creative to stand out.

4. Aren’t overtly commercial or spammy.

Remember, Facebook is about friends, not over the top marketing campaigns. So whatever you do, don’t be overtly commercial, and don’t ever spam anyone, or your application is destined for the scrap heap.

Building your own Facebook Application

“So How do I build myself a Facebook App?”, I hear you ask. Well, you could teach yourself. But with a glut of Facebook app developers popping up, there’s probably no need. Whole businesses are setting up just to develop Facebook apps. In fact, there’s even market of Facebook App developers within a Facebook App. Mental.

Feel free to contact me if you need a hand getting started.

Friends with Facebook

There’s no doubt hottest thing online right now is Facebook. As I type, I’m sure that someone is either inviting you to join Facebook, adding you as their friend, poking you or writing on your wall.

For those who haven’t heard about Facebook, I’m willing to bet that you will have by next week. It’s the latest social networking phenomenon. What started as a website for American College students has now become the next big thing. This month, the number of Facebook users reached 30 million :: and that’s users who are visiting the site at least once a month.

What makes Facebook so addictive, and so viral, is that it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends, work colleagues and anyone else you know. God knows what it has done for workplace productivity, but if you want to connect with your mates and reconnect with old ones, Facebook is the place.

When someone says 30 million users, you can smell the marketers that are trying to cash in on the opportunity. Of course they are. But traditional marketing, via ‘banner advertising’, won’t work here – Valleywag has reported that Facebook is very poor performing, based on click through rates.

I’m not surprised. After all, Facebook is about the connections of friends. And when friends are connecting with friends, they’re not in a frame of mind to be advertised to.

In fact, an application like Facebook proves exactly what The Cluetrain Manifesto promised – that the internet isn’t another marketing channel, but a place for global conversation to thrive. Friends are connecting with friends on Facebook, and everywhere you go you can see that the human voice is alive and well.

So can Facebook be used as a marketing opportunity? And how does one tap into it?

I have a few ideas on the subject, which I’ll talk to you about soon.

PS – Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, is 23! Check him out here at the recent Keynote address that he did. Utterly inspiring and (for a 30 year old like me) totally depressing all at the same time.