Monday, September 15, 2008

Facebook Doesn't Want You To Network

For most of us in the adult world, meeting people (i.e. networking) is the life-blood to generating new opportunities for our business and advancing our careers. Yet, it has become quite clear that some of the larger networks are making it very difficult for people to use these platforms to meet new people. Case in point, a recent Facebook response to a user who they deleted because he was, well... networking!

Dear Sir,

Please note that Facebook accounts are meant for authentic usage only. This means that we expect accounts to reflect mainly “real-world” contacts (i.e. your family, schoolmates, co-workers, etc.), rather than mainly “internet-only” contacts. As stated on our home page, Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you, not a “social networking site”. It is meant to help reinforce pre-existing social connections, not build large groups of new ones. If this is in direct contrast to what you expected as legitimate Facebook usage, I apologize for any confusion. This is simply the intention behind the site.

Thanks for your understanding,

User Operations

As many of you who have read my blog know, I've been fairly critical of Facebook as a platform for doing business. My criticism to this point has been two-fold: 1) The network is inherently too 'social', 2) There are very few features (if any) that help you market your business.

Well, now it's time to add a third reason:

Facebook doesn't allow you to network!

By Facebook's own admission, it is okay for Facebook to use your profile to make money (advertising)... but god forbid you use your own profile to try to sell something to anyone other than the people you already know.

Good Luck!


Friday, September 05, 2008

Talking Points Memo...

Last week it seemed I spent a majority of my time on the phone and at events talking to an array of reporters, thought leaders and top networkers from around the world. The increased interest in Fast Pitch! was noticeably significant from weeks past and is an obvious result of the success people are having with our network to help them grow their business.

When speaking to people, it's rare that I ever use notes or visuals. Part of the reason for this is that I like to feed off of the audience (or an indivduals) verbal and non-verbal reaction to what I am saying. This tactic helps make presentations more conversational and quite frankly more interesting for me. More importantly, it allows me to treat each conversation as a focus group which ultimately helps us at Fast Pitch! better craft our own internal messaging within our network.

Despite my intent to make each of my 20+ conversations unique last week, there were a few common themes that were repeated which I feel are always worth reiterating. Some of the major talking points included:

  1. We COMPLIMENT other networks. Our approach to social/business networking is completely different from some of the more well-known networks like LinkedIn and Facebook. Yet, at the same time we compliment both very well by filling a void between socializing (FB) and job seeking (LI) by giving professionals who are looking to grow their business the ability to promote that business.

  2. Fast Pitch! is not in the NUMBERS business. One of the dirty little secrets amongst the larger networks is that a very large percentage of their users don't really exist. For example, how many of us have created an abbreviated profile on a network to see what's behind the curtain, only to never return? Do these larger networks delete the profile? No. Why? Because there's advertising value in those millions of abandoned / useless pages as people spend their valuable time searching and attempting to connect with people that do not really exist. Impressions = Money

    Unlike most of the larger networks, Fast Pitch! is not in the advertising business and therefore we are not interested in attracting faceless users and traffic for the sake of traffic. Our business model is based on subscriptions in return for the ability to connect with a far more engaged and qualified audience in addition to the 30+ features we offer to help you do marketing. To ensure our members are engaged, we regularly remind them to login and remain active. Those members who are not active are ultimately purged from our system, which in some cases may decrease our overall userbase from time to time. Ultimately, our goal with purging useless profiles is to elevate the overall experience people have when using our system.

  3. More FEATURES and INNOVATION. I've spoken at length about all of our features in the past... yet, it's worth repeating even to this day. No other network in the world offers as much value to it's users as Fast Pitch! Given our small size, lack of beuracracy and the talented team we've assembled, we're confident that we will remain at the forefront of technology.

  4. We're RECEPTIVE, NIMBLE and HUNGRY. Compared to larger networks, we're still a relatively small company and ALL of our employees have a stake in the success of our business. Additionally, we're privately funded and not beholden to investors or board members that have the potential to cripple our progress. In other words, we can turn on a dime and continue to innovate faster than most to ensure our members are receiving the most opportunity imaginable to promote their business.

  5. We truly CARE about your experience. Going back to talking point #4 (all of our employees have a stake in the success of our business) - EVERYONE here at Fast Pitch! (including management, development, etc...) look forward to spending time discussing your business. Most of our best features have come as a result of thousands of one-on-one conversations with users all over the world. Our motto: If your business grows, so will ours.

That's today's talking points memo...

Good Luck!