The world population is approximately 7 billion with 5.6 billion on mobile phones.  Of those, only about 2.2-2.3 billion are internet users.  This means that roughly 1/7 of the world is on Facebook, and almost 50% of the people who have internet access are using Facebook.  However, it’s hard to really conceptualize how big a billion is an what it means.  Mega events like the Superbowl only garner a 10% of that  (111.3M), and even Justin Bieber’s fan page reaches a mere 4.65%. Facebook is more then 3x the USA’s population, and almost big enough to match the population of India (14.2% vs. 17% ).

This statistic is even more impressive that this is their “active” user base, so these are not empty accounts. Consider the social aspect of having 1B people “actively” sharing, creating, and remixing content. 600 million are accessing their accounts on mobile phones. Users have liked 1.18 Trillion things, checked in at 17 billion places, and shared 219 billion photos (Today Show, 10/4/2012).

Facebook is also shaping other web user experience trends such as using the social graph to expand their activity to other non-Facebook websites, social commerce, and deciding what news content get shared around the web – helping shape the media agenda.

Today’s announcement should not serve as a benchmark of size, but a wake up call to Brands and Marketers about how they approach creating sharable content and how media is syndicated across the world. With so many people out there, what models and strategies does a brand have to use to reach their potential and existing customers? Data driven models can pinpoint specific influencers and thought leaders to encourage community building and engagement.  With 1 Billion people waiting to share new refreshing content, brands must rethink content creation for a low spend / high share potential to begin to even catch up to Justin Bieber.

Facebook is no longer a social network, but a media ecosystem.  Paid, earned, owned, and shared content must be integrated into brand programming to maintain healthy communities and maintain relationships.  The real question becomes having a strategy, knowing what individuals drive a conversation around a brand, and having the right models in place to create sharable content for this new generation of fans? They are waiting, and we can help.

Special thanks to Aaron Strout & Matt Snodgrass for help with the statistics. 


US Census
The Today Show

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In this episode of the WCG ThoughtLeaders podcast, NextWorks Group Director Matthew Snodgrass talks with Stephan Merkens, Group Director for WCG and Patrick Donnelly, Manager of Corporate Development, about the release of the new iPhone 5 from Apple.

This latest phone iteration from Apple brought about a few significant changes for both consumers and for those companies who create software or hardware for i-devices. We discuss those updates and what they mean to you, your company, and your consumers.

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Good writing takes on a new spin when you’re asked to write for short (and very short) form media like Facebook or Twitter. In this episode of the WCG ThoughtLeaders podcast, Matt Snodgrass speaks with WCG Director Brian Reid, an accomplished journalist himself, on how to repurpose your writing for short-form media. It’s not just a matter of “cuttng it down” — you need to consider the audience and the medium itself.

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As a social marketer by profession, I counsel on the virtues of Facebook to many different people and companies. As a parent, I’m now faced with my oldest child (age 12) pleading for his own Facebook account.

My wife and I have decided that the answer, for the foreseeable future, is no. There were arguments for (from him) and against (from us), but ultimately the decision is ours. Since we do our best to reason with our children, I knew I had to come armed with a good argument for our position. For the sake of others on the fence when it comes to social media usage for children, I figured I’d share some of the research and counsel in this post.

The simplest and most direct case against this is Facebook’s terms of use. They clearly state that you should not create a Facebook profile if you are under 13. However, a recent study from New York University showed that 55% of parents of 12-year-olds say their child has a Facebook account. What’s more, 76% of those parents said that they helped create the account for their children. So is this age restriction an arbitrary, self-imposed rule from Facebook? No. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) dictates that online services employ the 13-and-over age restriction. As simple as that argument is, that’s the one that seemed to resonate most with our son. He simply didn’t want to break the rules.

The next argument we considered was one of safety. Allowing social media access to those too young to properly deal with it opens them to possible exposure to any number of dangers: pornography, profanity, violence, and – most disturbing – cyber-bullying. The tragic deaths of Megan Meier and Ryan Halligan have taught us that bullying takes on a more dangerous and public tone when it happens online. In fact, this was the subject of this episode of Glee.

The final argument is one that is least tangible or evident. It’s the future. These children who create and use Facebook accounts are leaving a digital footprint of their lives – the good, the bad, and the ugly. This footprint will most likely be checked by prospective colleges and later, employers. A quarter of U.S. colleges and half of corporate HR departments currently do this, and that practice will only increase. With all due respect to my 12-year-old, he and his friends can be idiots (no offense to actual idiots), and that idiocy will be laid out like a résumé from hell a decade from now.

All this adds up to him waiting for – and griping about – a Facebook account that must wait for now. And I suppose I should present his counter-argument … that timeless classic, “But all my friends have it.


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Today, Facebook is holding their Facebook Marketing Conference. They will be discussing some big updates to their Pages. WCG will be providing another post at the end of the conference to recap the news, but here’s what we know so far. Facebook is making some major design and layout changes to their brand Pages, which companies employ. In short, they’re instituting the Timeline feature that you may already be familiar with in your own Facebook Profile.

  • Timeline: Pages will now look like Timelines
  • Cover Photo: A new large banner image will occupy the top of the Page. It will be a 851×315 pixel photo to convey a brand message. See Ben & Jerry’s Page as an example. The only restrictions are that this image can NOT be promotional (include calls-to-action, coupons, deals, etc.). It can only be for branding purposes.
  • Admin Panel: Page admins will now see an Admin Panel that gives them a snapshot of the Page Insights (reporting). From there, you can also request a name change for your Page.
  • Activity Log: You can now more easily navigate to older posts to edit/delete them.
  • Applications: These are the custom tabs that have been lined down the left side in small fashion. They will now be larger and be lined across the top. You’ll also see fewer of them at a time (only 4) with a link to see the others. This is seen as a move by Facebook to phase out the custom app tabs, since they’re looking to bring the Facebook experience onto other websites instead of bringing those websites into custom tabs.
  • Pinning: Taking a cue from Pinterest, you can now pin any given post to the top of your Page to feature it, for up to 7 days.
  • Direct Message: This is an important one for companies (especially pharma). Users will now be able to send a private message to the Page admins. This could be a means by which a patient could notify a pharma of an adverse event, or a customer could notify a company of a customer service issue or sensitive question.
Any companies can take advantage of these changes starting today if they choose to publish their Timeline. You can see we did this with WCG’s Testaquel Page. Please note that you have only until March 31, when the timeline will automatically be turned on, so:
  1. Let your internal stakeholders and agencies know of this change.
  2. Prepare a 851×315 pixel image to use as the Cover Photo that meets the restrictions above.
  3. Upload that image and Preview your new Page’s look.
  4. For Pharma clients, get regulatory sign-off, since it is a major change in the look.
  5. Publish the update by March 31, 2011, or it will be done automatically.

If you have questions, please contact WCG for counsel.


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Riding on the tail-ends of the Iowa straw polls, a different kind of election announced its 2012 hopefuls last Monday.  Although (arguably) not as impactful on the future of our national debt, the opening of the SXSW 2012 Panel Picker caused its own special uproar among techies and corporate CMOs alike. And the campaigning has surely begun- producing a steady stream of tweets using the hashtag #sxsw since Monday.

But in addition to the promotion and voting, there’s something special about this “democracy”.  In the large (but small) social media community, the SXSW panel picker has become a reflection of not only the direction and transformation of our industry, but also an ideology of sorts- not just where we are, but where we’d like to go.

Here at camp WCG, we’re proud to showcase our fearless nominees, speaking out across a variety of industries and technologies:

  • Ultimate Healthcare Reform – Reshaping Our World – Bob Pearson, WCG’s Chief Technology & Media Officer, sits down with Jeff Arnold, founder of WebMD and Sharecare, for an epic discussion on how the technology leaders at SXSW can take people from information to action to create healthier world.
  • Social Media…A Responsibility of WHICH Department? –Matt Snodgrass tackles the elephant in the room during this solo presentation that will dissect various industries and companies to examine where social media responsibility should lie.
  • Friending Pharma: Patients, Industry & New Media – Last Monday was a big day for pharma too. WCG Director Brian Reid joins a sundry team of health influencers including Pfizer VP Ray Kerins, Cancer Health Activist and Patient Expert Alicia Staley, and diabetes bloggers and patient advocates Kerri Sparling and Allison Blass as they examine the risks and benefits of connecting patients and biopharma companies online.
  • My Doctor Poked Me. Giggidy! – Anecdotal evidence suggests that health care providers’ use of social media is in the early stages of an explosion.  Social media analysts Andy Booth and Naimul Huq sit down with long-time MD and leading blogger Dr. Bryan Vartabedian to explore how social media is changing the future of the doctor-patient relationship.
  • Social Networks are Killing the Company Org Chart – Every company has an org chart – but we all know intuitively that work is done based on relationships and connections across the organization.  Mapping those connections can reveal a whole new world to smart corporations. Greg Matthews (a former HR exectutive) and Humana’s Director Learning Innovation Brian Foye explain how social media can map and measure the real corporation underneath the org chart.
  • Inside Out: Internal Social Media & Big Business – Industry leaders Brian Snyder, Jonathan Mast and Blair Klein join WCG Director Brad Mays to bring together the collective insight of some of the biggest corporate brands on best practices for using social media for internal collaboration and productivity.
  • Future of Location Marketing: Dummies Perspective – 2012 marks the three-year anniversary of Foursquare’s launch at SXSW.  Location-based gurus Aaron Strout and Mike Schneider will walk through the 5 golden rules of location-based marketing and how to leverage the “there” there.
  • Social Media Strategies of Top Tweeting Businesses – WCG’s Ricardo Guerrero understands the business of Twitter- if fact, he created most of Dell’s Twitter accounts, which generated $6.5M of revenue in their first 2.5 years.  During this panel Ricardo will examines the top 1,000 business Twitter accounts to analyze whether or not Twitter success translates across social media channels.


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Jenny Dervin, Director of Corporate Communications for JetBlue, speaks with Matt Snodgrass, Social Media Director for WCG. Jenny talks about JetBlue’s stance on social media, the 2007 ice storm that thrust them into social media, the recent flight attendant incident, and using social media in a regulated industry.
JetBlue’s success in social media can be best summed up by Jenny’s statement that social media is now part of the company’s DNA.
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