Want to promote your company on Facebook? Know the rules!

Nearly every day I see organizations violating Facebook’s rules for promotion and it’s not just small businesses; major brands are executing Facebook schemes that could result in the company being banned from the site, which has started to crack down on violations.

Before you engage any promotion on Facebook you need to review the official promotion guidelines, but here are the basic rules you need to know about promotions on Facebook:

You must use a third-party application to manage any contest on Facebook, no matter how big or small the prize. What is a third-party application? Check out any of the following providers: Wildfire, Fanappz, Vitrue, BuddyMedia, Votigo, ContextOptional, BulbStorm, NorthSocial, Momentus Media, Friend2Friend or Strutta.

You can not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter users into a promotion.

You can not require users to take any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you can not hold a contest that requires users to like a post, comment on a post, or upload a photo.

Facebook promotions are a very effective way to build up your fan base and generate buzz – just make sure you are following all guidelines or you risk your organization being banned from the site. Have questions about social media promotion? Contact me.

Oprah by the numbers

The Nielsen Company reports that the Oprah Winfrey Show drew a 13.3 household (HH) rating in the metered market overnight ratings. That was the show’s biggest overnight rating in 17 years. That compares to Monday’s 10.2 HH rating, and Tuesday’s 10.7 HH rating. For the week ending May 15, Oprah averaged a 5.4 HH rating and 7.345 million viewers. No official word from Nielsen on average viewership yet but it should be somewhere around 17-18 million viewers.

Here are some other numbers:
$2.7 billion: Her current net worth according to Forbes.

9 million: Number of people who watched each of her shows on average between September 2004 and September 2005 according to The Nielsen Company.

6.5 million: The average number of viewers who watched each show during her most recent season, a 27% drop.

294,000: The average number of people watching OWN during prime time, according to Nielsen.

$1 million: Cost of a 30-second ad on Oprah’s final show on May 25th. That’s half what advertisers paid for the Friends finale in 2004.

6.1 million: Number of followers Oprah has on Twitter (as of May 26).

826: Number of times Oprah has tweeted.

Salesforce.com and Toyota to Create Social Network for Customers and Their Cars

New “Toyota Friend” to Be Powered by Salesforce Chatter

Salesforce.com and Toyota Motor Corporation announced today that they have formed a strategic alliance to build “Toyota Friend”, a private social network for Toyota customers and their cars. Toyota Friend will be powered by Salesforce Chatter, a private social network used by businesses, and will be offered, first in Japan, initially with Toyota’s electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV) due in 2012.

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Social Media Makes Local News Participatory, Provides Instant Viewer Feedback

Even in today’s digital era, television news remains the most prevalent source of daily news for Americans, according to the Pew Research Center. A recent Pew study shows that television remains the dominant source of news; 58% of Americans say they watched the news or a news program on television yesterday, a percentage that has changed little over the past decade. Even so, local television stations must be innovative to remain competitive and there are some interesting adaptations happening in the Phoenix market.

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Facebook Now Accounts for Nearly 1 in 3 Online Display Ads in U.S.

comScore says U.S. Online Display Advertising Market Delivers 1.1 Trillion Impressions in Q1 2011

comScore today released an overview of the U.S. online display advertising market for Q1 2011 based on data from comScore Ad Metrix, indicating that nearly 1.11 trillion display ads were delivered to U.S. Internet users during the quarter. Facebook accounted for 346 billion impressions, nearly double the number it delivered in Q1 2010, and accounting for nearly one third of all display ad impressions delivered.

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Tweet to local reporter turns into TV story seen all over the U.S.

Here is a real life example of why Twitter is essential to public relations, whether you are a P.R. pro or business owner trying to promote your company.

It’s no secret that Twitter is a powerful tool for connecting and interacting with local reporters; this week provided a good example as to why Twitter is essential to public relations – whether you are a verteran P.R. pro or business owner trying to promote your company.

I saw a tweet from Tim Vetscher, a Phoenix TV reporter who works for ABC 15. He had a story lined up, but something fell through and he turned to Twitter for any quick story ideas.

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$#*! P.R. People Say

Last week I read this blog The Problem With Public Relations on the Small Business section of nytimes.com. Written by Bruce Buschel, the owner of Southfork Kitchen, the blog chronicles his frustrating journey with finding the right P.R. firm to create a big splash for the grand opening of his new restaurant in Bridgehampton, NY. He writes:

“It would be crazy to categorize all public relations people as crazy, so let’s just say that P.R. people drive me crazy. All of them. As a client, as an interviewer of clients, as an avoider of clients they are selling too hard, and now as a client again. What I have finally come to understand is that P.R. people are paid to twist reality into pretzels and convince you that they are fine croissants. At some point, they actually believe their own concoctions.”

Buschel’s plight sounded eerily similar to a recent conversation I had with a new client as I was preparing a strategic P.R. plan for his business. I was hired to replace a previous P.R. firm who, in the client’s words “were good at invoicing and counting hours but that’s about it.” They made big promises but didn’t deliver, he said and his biggest frustration was “they didn’t understand my business.”

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Big Brands More Likely to Directly Engage Users on Social Media, Study Finds

A new Burson-Marsteller study shows that sixty-seven percent of Fortune Global 100 companies on Twitter are using the “@symbol” to directly engage with or mention other users, and more than half (57 percent) are “retweeting” content from their corporate accounts. This represents a 76 percent increase in companies using the “@mention” function and 78 percent increase in retweeting to interact and engage with stakeholders compared to last year. These are some key findings of the Second Annual Burson-Marsteller Global Social Media Check-up, which examines the Fortune Global 100’s use of popular social networking platforms such as: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, corporate blogs and other local and language-specific social networks.

The “@mention” or “@reply” function on Twitter is most often used to demonstrate that a user is directly responding to or mentioning another Twitter user.

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LivingSocial Boosting Business, Saving Consumers Money

LivingSocial (www.livingsocial.com), the online source for people to find handpicked experiences at a great value, today reports the impact its Daily Deals program has had on Washington D.C. small businesses. The company first launched its Daily Deals program in its hometown in July 2009, and local business owners have thrived, welcoming hundreds of thousands of LivingSocial subscribers through their doors. More than 400 DC-area merchants have marketed their establishments, experiences and services with LivingSocial’s Daily Deals program, saving shoppers more than $13 million to date.

“As a startup, we value LivingSocial’s inherent support of the small business community here in D.C. and now, around the world in more than 100 markets and five countries,” said Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO and Co-founder of LivingSocial. “By having experts on the ground working with small business owners we are better able to craft deals that appeal to the local consumer while delivering both immediate and long-lasting results to the merchant. It’s a win-win for local consumers and merchants.”

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LivingSocial Continues Rapid Expansion With Launch of 9 New Markets

Today, Leading social discovery network LivingSocial (www.livingsocial.com) announced the launch of 9 new markets in the U.S. and UK including St. Paul, MN; Mesa, AZ; Eugene, OR; West Chicago; Columbia, South Carolina; Liverpool, UK; Brighton, UK; Bristol, UK and Birmingham, UK. LivingSocial is now live in 111 markets in the U.S., Canada, UK and Ireland, with more than 10 million subscribers.

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LivingSocial’s ‘Pick Your Five’ Surges On Facebook

 LivingSocial, the social discovery tool for reviewing, sharing and organizing favorite things, today announced its new “Pick Your Five” feature, a viral phenomenon that has soared at a rate of up to 150,000 new users per hour, with more than 6 million new users creating 9 million lists in the first week since launching on Facebook.

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