I was asked to give some tips in ten minutes to my Rotary Club on how to use Social Media more effectively. The average member might access Facebook casually and has limited time for Social Media involvement. After looking at their situation I came up with this presentation and delivered it this morning. It is a quick read but the suggestions I made could easily be applied to any business or cause.
This morning I saw something new in a Hyper Alert notice that provided a hint of a potential monetization strategy:
The “We are hiring” portion of this alert is new, and could just as easily have been a paid advertisement for a product or service. This is both brilliant and appropriate as long as the ads don’t get more and more annoying and disruptive. If Hyper Interaktiv were to ask me my opinion about monetizing their service, here are some tips I would give them:
- Limit the ads to one very small ad at the very top and any additional ads after all of the alert content.
- Bend over backwards to protect the privacy of your users.
- Build a community around your application and enlist the support and ideas of that community to keep your product viable.
The big concern with advertisements would be cramming too many of them in-line and ruining the clean and easy to read alerts that your system produces. A very small advertisement at the top of the page would be easy enough to read or skip over and one larger ad after all alert content could be easily ignored or read/clicked if they had interest. If ads were included in the alert stream itself it would disrupt the value of the alert messages.
Privacy is of utmost importance
Your users are already feeling pinched on privacy, there is a vacuum for leadership in this area from the provider side. Too few companies take the high road with this, the temptation is evidently too great to opt people in to features that they are not fully aware of these days. One classic example here in the USA is how we have to mail, call or fill out a form to opt out of our information being shared by our creditors.
Too few companies fail to really engage and enlist the support and ideas of their users, or they do it too late. There seems to be great opportunity in this area to build a much stronger community and product/service by really listening and engaging the audience that is ready to be heard and to participate. @Ginidietrich really nailed this issue in a recent comment on my post about Headup closing shop:
See…we’re all becoming social companies yet so few actually engage their users. Sad. – Gini Dietrich, Arment Dietrich
It is evident to me that this is an example where a more robust community could have taken up the charge to help the product become viable and be a commercial success.
Hyper Interaktiv Weigh’s In
I contacted Are Sundnes to find out the official company position on this feature. He indicated to me that right now quality of the service has been the top priority:
This is all in a very early stage, and our main focus now is to make the service as good as possible. -Are Sundnes, Hyper Interaktiv
When I queried him more directly about any plans to monetize the service he said only:
We don’t know where Hyper Alerts will take us, but as for now we’re not trying to monetize. -Are Sundnes, Hyper Interaktiv
So what do you think, do you like my advice?
Facebook recently added alerts and other changes to the Pages Interface in fact I have a video and post about it Facebook makes big changes to Pages Interface. This will be handy for people who don’t want to bother setting up a Hyperalert but there are 7 reasons you should still use Hyperalerts for Facebook Page notifications (5-7 were added on 2/13, read on to see why):
- You can use Hyper Alerts with ANY page (not just those you admin)
- You can sign up from ANY Email address (even one that forwards to multiple recipients)
- You can receive your own content (imagine if you have multiple admins)
- You can control WHEN you receive the updates.
- The quality of the hyper alert emails is excellent, complete with comments so you get the context.
- Hyper Alerts provides a dashboard to manage your alerts (and add more, etc)
- Hyper Alerts provides a record of all alerts in your Email folders (Mari Smith mentioned this in her post)
So don’t go and delete your Hyper Alerts just yet, it’s still the best tool for the job. If you want to learn more about Hyper Alerts check out my recent post Monitor any Facebook Page for Posts, Comments and Content.
Here is a sample of what the Facebook option looks like:
Here are the superior Hyper Alerts options:
So what do you think, will you still use Hyperalerts for Facebook Pages or is Facebook alerts enough for you?
Update 2/11/2011: a Skype chat with Are Sundnes of Hyper Interaktive
I wrote the above post on 2/10/2011 and scheduled it for 2/14 before receiving an Email from Hyper Alerts detailing why they feel Hyper Alerts is still a better option. After receiving the Email I did a minor investigation to see if I could find someone at the company to chat with. I went to their site and it was in Norwegian, but I did recognize “Kontakt” so I clicked through and found an Email address. After sending an Email I got a Skype connection from Are (pronounced Ari) Sundnes. Within minutes (and being the wee hours of the morning his time) Are agreed to chat with me about Hyperalerts.
More about Hyper Interaktiv developers of Hyper Alerts
Are Sundnes is a concept designer and programmer for Hyper Interaktiv. His company does creative advertising and development. They have 24 employees and as a small company many of them multi-task. Are is just one of those people, you see while being a digital artist by trade he actually programmed the Hyper Alerts system mostly by himself in response to needs they some of their clients had. It would be just our luck as I am very impressed with what they’ve done and I suspect there will be more to come in the future. Are would not give me any specifics but he did tell me they have lots of plans for Hyper Alerts and that they are in the process of prioritizing them. I also learned that the proliferation of their Hyper Alerts service has been completely organic. They have done zero marketing in fact due to the strong response they are working on a English language version of their website as you are reading this.
As someone who manages and participates on a number of Facebook Pages, I have always wondered why Facebook does not give us the means to monitor user activity on pages such as posts and comments. Until recently I used a Google Reader entry that uses Feed My Inbox to deliver this content from other pages, but I’ve been stuck with manual visits for user comments and posts. Earlier this week I saw a wall post from my Friend Shonali that pointed to the Facebook Page Alert App SmackDown. The authors statement really sums up which app was worth even trying:
All I’ll say about Hyper Alerts is this: it is THE BEST THING EVER. It’s free and sends you real-time updates when people post AND comment on your posts. I’ve been managing Facebook Pages for two and a half years and I’m telling you right now, the past week since I’ve started using Hyper Alerts, have been a freakin’ cake walk. – Maggie at Mizzinformation.com
That was the kind of reference that I can appreciate, so I tried the app out. Since using it I have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to share how much butt it kicks to anyone who does not want to constantly “spot check” pages for updated content, comments and posts. You all know who you are, you are the ones who are getting excited right now.
How to use Hyperalerts
Using Hyperalerts is extremely simple, you navigate to their site and setup an account. Once your account is created you are able to add alerts. I started by adding what was the most critical page for me to monitor, my businesses Facebook page. While creating the alert you are able to choose how frequently you will receive alerts and what type of content you will receive alerts about. The user interface is very simple, but I will of course be happy to provide a video tutorial for anyone who’d like a little extra help. For demonstration purposes I setup a second alert for my Rotary Club’s Facebook page, because unless I am posting something there I don’t want to visit it unless I know there is something to comment on (or delete if someone has spammed the wall, though this is becoming less common). My alerts are now setup, this is what the page looks like where I can edit them or add more:
Now that the alerts are in place I receive notices when the criteria I have setup are met. This saves me from those periodic “spot checks” that I was doing previously. Now that it is setup there is nothing else required. Here is an example of an alert:
Fresh from the idea farm
Since this program uses Email and you can monitor essentially any Facebook page, it could easily be used in to achieve some heavy lifting. In conjunction with an Email list you could distribute content notices to a number of users. For example, with a club you might be a part of you could with a little tinkering allow the entire club to receive notices when a particular page had been updated. Or you could even have alerts from your businesses (or a customers, competitors?) page go to a team of people who are at the ready to respond. You could also feed the notices into a system that creates tickets for a team to assign and respond. These are little hacks that might make this already powerful and useful application even more so. Do you have any other suggestions?
Update: 2/5/2011 – Hyper Alerts just got easier!
I was pleased when I logged in to Hyper Alerts today to notice a new button “Add alert from your Facebook user” this makes adding alerts so much easier. Nice to see great changes so soon!
Update: 2/11/2012 – Facebook Pages now do alerts but they stink
Facebook included an alerting function with their big changes to Pages but it is not very user friendly. I still strongly recommend Hyper Alerts.