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Facebook Goes Public – Nine Things You Should Know About Facebook’s IPO

Facebook could be worth nearly $140 billion by today’s market close

The social network priced its shares at $38 apiece, valuing the company at $104 billion. The average first-day “pop” for a technology company is 32 percent; if Facebook follows that trend, it’ll be worth $137 billion by day’s end. But there’s little about Facebook that’s average, including its public offering. This is the technology’s biggest initial public offering and history’s second-biggest IPO, period, and it will raise about $16 billion. Statistics suggests that the first-day pop—if there is one—will be more modest than average.

A lot of the smart money is getting out

Early investors such as the venture capital firm Accel Partners are selling an unusually high number of shares.Nearly 60 percent of the stock sold today comes from insiders, compared to 37 percent for Google (GOOG) when it went public in 2004. Goldman Sachs (GS) is selling about half its stake, far more than the firm initially planned. “If you really thought that 12 months later the stock would be 50 percent higher, you wouldn’t leave that on the table,” Erik Gordon, a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, told Bloomberg News.

To justify its valuation, Facebook will need to annoy its users …

Thanks in large part to General Motors’s (GM)decision to de-friend Facebook, there are a lot of questions about the efficacy and future of Facebook’s ad-dominant revenue model. And it has high expectations to live up to: The $38 price gives Facebook a whopping 107 price-to-earnings ratio. (For comparison, Apple’s (AAPL) is around 13.) To dramatically boost ad revenues, the two best options are either to put more ads on the site—which would annoy users—or find more places to put ads. The latter means creating a network of ad inventory across the Web, much the way Google’s Doubleclick sells ads and places them on sites like that of the New York Times (NYT). This would give Facebook far greater reach, but could also give users the creeps. Imagine updating your Facebook status (“Really loving that new Carly Rae Jepsen song!”) and then seeing ads to buy the track Call Me Maybe at every site you visit.

… or do something besides advertising

Currently Facebook’s only source of non-ad revenue is its digital currency, Facebook Credits, which people use to buy virtual goods, such as tractors in FarmVille (ZNGA). During the first quarter of 2012, payments grew to make up almost 18 percent of Facebook’s revenue—close to $200 million in total. Overall, though, fewer than 2 percent of Facebook’s users have bought virtual goods with their payments option. There’s a lot of potential growth, in other words, along with hints that a big online operator such as Spotify may begin accepting Facebook Credits in the future.

Facebook has plenty of revenue options beyond payments and advertising

Facebook is a force: It accounts for 9 percent of all online visits in the U.S., according to Experian Hitwise, a company that measures website traffic. Hitwise also says that Americans spend an average of 20 minutes per Facebook visit. Worldwide, nearly 1 billion people have a Facebook profile. As investor Chris Dixon puts it, Facebook has real assets—including “a vast number of extremely engaged users, its social graph, Facebook Connect”—and should be able “to monetize through another business model,” apart from advertising. It could create the Social Smartphone, sell data analytics products, charge for higher-res photo and video storage, or perhaps hawk vintage Mark Zuckerberg hoodies.

There’s already a “Facebook Mafia”

Heard of the PayPal Mafia? Former executives from the online-payment provider have gone on to start big-time tech firms, such as LinkedIn (LNKD), Yammer, and Yelp (YELP). (And one member, Peter Thiel, cut the first big check for Facebook.) A Facebook Mafia has already emerged, and members have founded Asana, Path, andQuora. The Facebook Mafia is real, even though the name could use some work, says Dave Morin, Path’s chief executive officer, who previously developed Facebook’s development platform. “I guess we can’t escape from calling it that,” he says.

Facebook goes where Google won’t in photos

Facebook owns one of the largest photo repositories in the world, and its facial-recognition technology is getting a workout scanning them all, with more than 300 million photos uploaded per day. Facebook stores 60 billion images, a whopping 1.5 petabytes of data. For each uploaded photo, Facebook stores four images of different sizes. The site shows as many as 550,000 images per second. This is an area that has upset privacy critics and represents something that Facebook is willing to do that even Google isn’t: Google’s Eric Schmidt said last yearthat the company had built an app that would let people snap photos of others and identify who they are but decided not to release it, due to privacy concerns. Google and Facebook both have sophisticated facial-recognition technology, but Google requires users to opt into its photo-tagging service. Facebook users are included automatically.

Facebook’s new campus could be cursed

Late last year the social network moved into a 57-acre site in Menlo Park that was previously inhabited by Sun Microsystems. Sun’s fortunes soured shortly after the computer company took up residence there. The same thing has happened, in different times and places, to software-maker Borland, Silicon Graphics, and even Apple (which nearly went bankrupt three years after it moved into its current Cupertino, Calif., headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop). The good news: Companies that move into pre-existing campuses seem to fare better. Google, for instance, took up residence in SGI’s old digs.

Up north, Facebook is the only thing better than hockey

Facebook is one of the top two websites in every country except China. The social-networking site is most loved in Canada, where it wins 12 percent of all online visits.

Source: Businessweek.com

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Is Your Fashion Brand on Instagram?

With so many mobile applications and social networks available, it can often become a daunting task to decipher which platforms are best for your brand. Factoring in time, resources, and manpower, we have to carefully pick and choose where our brands can be socially participating to the fullest potential. It’s no surprise that Instagram has become the fastest growing mobile application recently. The easy to share functions, photo filters, and the strength of an intimate community makes Instagram an attractive social platform, where fashion brands can easily establish themselves as authorities.

Whether fashion or luxury brand, we must not forget that we are still content producers on our social networks. Instagram’s share functions allow users to snap a photo from their mobile device and add an attractive filter (to give photos that instant cool factor) with the ability to share on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous and Foursquare. Fashion houses on Instagram, like Oscar de la Renta, have done a superb job at not only sharing behind the scenes photos, but also displaying them on their other social networks like Twitter and Tumblr. This gives audiences welcoming access into the brand with just the swipe of a button.

Much like the micro-blogging platform of Tumblr, the allure of Instagram is heavily based on the distributing of visuals. Fans of fashion are visual people that are constantly looking for that conspicuous stimulation to take them outside of their daily lives and into the fantasy of glamour and luxury. Instagram gives us the space to share the small, intimate moments in our routines in a new, creative way. Kate Spade invites audiences into their world with photos of favorite New York City sightings, venues and restaurants. Using Instagram’s geo-tagging function, by citing the location in which the photos are taken, Kate Spade automatically becomes a reputable source of things to do and see in NYC.

Does your brand have a new product or piece that is need of a strong spotlight? Instagram is the perfect space for your emerging goods to take center stage, catching those prospective consumers that want a piece of your brand. The team at Club Monaco has done a great job of this, by posting images of staff members wearing pieces that have just been released or have just gone on sale.

The built in community on Instagram has a strong sense of intimacy that isn’t afraid to engage with the photos that fashion brands are uploading. The higher the level of engagement, the more likes, comments, and follows your brand can receive. Not to mention, you are presented with direct, instantaneous feedback in a single stream, specific to that image. Audiences want to know where they can get the dress that Oscar PR Girl is wearing in her style photo.

As Instagram is still considered to be in its infancy, only being launched a few months ago, every fashion brand is taking their own approach to fascinate their consumer and fan base on the application. The strengths of Instagram are the filter, social, community, and geo-tag capabilities. Never has a mobile application been able to have such a wide range of functions that users want right now. You can be en route to a meeting, see something interesting on the street, capture it, filter it, share it and you’ve already added some depth to the identity of your brand. The creativity and intimacy of communal photos uploaded on Instagram captivates voyeuristic users and it can certainly captivate the audience of your fashion brand.

Taken by Club Monaco via Instagram

Taken by OscarPRGirl via Instagram

Taken by Kate Spade via Instagram

Lala Lopez is a fashion journalist, stylist and social media expert based in New York. Her clients have included Betsey Johnson, Steve Madden, Jeffrey Campbell, and Solestruck.com. She has been featured on CNN, Teen Vogue Magazine and Chictopia. Lala shares her views on fashion, art and social media trends on her blog Lala New York City. (www.lalanyc.com)

Author: Lala Lopez

Copy Editor: Gina Conforti

Photo Credits: Kate Spade

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How Brands are using Instagram to Connect with Consumers

A picture is worth a thousand words, which may explain why Instagram has become the latest social network to catch the attention of brands. With over 1 million registered users, this photo sharing app provides a unique touch point for brands to engage their consumers while telling their story through pictures.

For those who are unfamiliar, Instagram is an easy to use iPhone application for taking, editing and sharing photos. As a user you have the ability to follow, comment and like other pictures. All these interactions make Instagram an ideal outlet for brands who are looking to explore new ways to reach their consumers. Already, nearly a dozen brands have created their own accounts, including MTV, Pepsi and even Playboy.

Instagram has been only too happy to accommodate this new interest from brands, and they have hinted that they’re currently working on changes which will allow brands to communicate more directly with users. One such change, which was rolled out last month is the launch of hash tags.

Hash tags can now be added to pictures via the caption or comment field. These tags help to aggregate pictures into their own special albums. This allows users to view a real time feed of content, based around a particular topic (similar to how hash tags work within Twitter). To view pictures associated with a hash tag tap on the tag text or use the new search functionality located under the profile tab. For those without a smart phone, pictures can be viewed via RSS feeds: http://instagr.am/tags/%5Bhashtag%5D/feed/recent.rss. Simply replace “hashtag” with the name of the tag.

Brands have been quick to take advantage of this new development. Brisk Ice Tea is using the hash tag #briskpics to collect photos, the best of which they will use to create 4000 limited edition cans. Charity: Water are asking people to use the tag #chatirywater to share images of water in their everyday life, while NPR is collecting user generated content using the tags #love and #hate to spark conversation.

So how can your brand use Instagram to reach consumers? Here are a few ideas to get you going:

1. Host a contest. Provide followers with a challenge to take a picture of something related to your brand. Alternatively you could provide the picture and ask viewers to come up with a unique caption. Best picture/caption wins.

2. Give a sneak peak. Whether it’s the first look at a new product or a few snaps behind the scenes, treat your followers to some exclusive content.

3. Create a real time album for an event. Allow attendees to share their event experiences by using a hash tag to aggregate pictures. This will provide you with a variety of content.

4. Connect with influencers. Check to see if your brand is already being talked about. Not only could this give you a hint as to the kinds of content consumers would like to see, but hash tags provide an easy way to track the people who are already connecting with your brand.

5. Show off a different side. Curate images that represent your brand personality. Connect with consumers by creating content around your shared passions rather than just your products.

Are you using Instagram for your brand? Have any other tips or best practices? Tell us below!

Original Source: Antleragency.com by Beth Tucker

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