Archive for ‘Facebook’

September 21st, 2014

Facebook Tightens Privacy Controls – How This Could Affect Your Marketing

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As Facebook has exploded in popularity over the past 10 years, it has been dogged by issues regarding the privacy of user information. To make matters worse, Facebook also has a knack for sabotaging their own cause, as was the case when a researcher at Facebook released a study on emotional contagion — the transfer and manipulation of others’ emotions via the Facebook News Feed.

And that’s just the beginning.

Earlier this year, Facebook was forced to retire its ‘Sponsored Stories’ feature – an extremely popular advertising option among brands on Facebook – due to an uproar about using user profile pictures and information in Sponsored Stories without explicit approval from the concerned users. In August 2013, it paid $20 million in a settlement of a class action suit filed in California over how its Sponsored Stories program overstepped users’ right to privacy.

The F8 conference that Facebook hosted in April this year shone the spotlight on a slew of privacy changes that Facebook was making to avoid similar situations in the future.

Read on to see what these changes are and how they could affect your social media marketing.

‘Friends’ instead of ‘Public’ default visibility setting for all posts by new users

In the past, if a user had not specified their privacy settings for their posts, they would by default be open to public viewing. Typically, this would happen to new Facebook users who hadn’t discovered the right privacy controls for their profile yet.

This practice has been labeled exploitative and has come under sharp backlash from privacy supporters. Facebook, which till now ignored this altogether, did an about face in May and limited the display of all posts by new users to their ‘friends’ unless specified otherwise.

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This means two things. One, the user data that used to be mined by various social media apps will drastically drop, hence reducing the ability to tailor your marketing content to user profiles. Two, discovering new content on Facebook will be harder as keyword searches and hashtags will only pick up content specifically labelled for public consumption.

‘Privacy Check’ for existing users

In a corollary to the default ‘friends’ setting for all posts by new users, Facebook will allow existing users to choose their audiences much more easily.

People who haven’t updated their privacy settings in a while will get automated messages asking them to carry out a ‘Privacy Check’ for all their older posts and renew settings for future posts.

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In a nod to the rising use of social media via mobile devices, the Facebook app for iPhone features a simplified audience selector making it equally easy to maintain privacy while surfing Facebook on iPhones.

This is increased control over post visibility is another spoke in the quantity and quality of data social apps and advertisers will have at their fingertips.

Users can now alter their Ad Profiles

In an attempt to soothe the growing distrust that users have started to develop towards Facebook thanks to increasingly intrusive Facebook ads, each user will now have access to their own Facebook Ad Profile.

Users can now see the records of their likes, interests and usage behavior that Facebook maintains about them. They can also add, delete or modify information on these ad profiles directly.

This is a huge blow to advertisers, as it reduces the objectivity of the user profile data that Facebook now offers. The new ad profile data is likely to be less rich, less accurate and less in quantity than before; hence making decisions regarding Facebook advertising even more difficult for brands.

Users can block out your ads

Users can now block specific ads or advertisers that they find irrelevant or irritating, directly from their timeline on Facebook.

 

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Facebook serves ads to its users not just based on their profile information, but also based on their browsing behavior outside of Facebook. Many users have protested against this practice calling it overtly intrusive, as a result of which Facebook now offers users an option to opt out of retargeted ads as well.

While awareness of this measure is low among average users of Facebook, advertisers can expect to see some drop in the number of quality and quantity of retargeting data available on Facebook for advertising.

Anonymous Social Login

Social logins are popular among users who want a seamless user experience between the various websites they use on an everyday basis. Social login allows users to log in to websites using their social media credentials, doing away with the need to remember dozens of username-password combinations. In the process, it allows the owners of those sites to gain access to the user’s social media information.

Acknowledging the uneasiness that many users feel in sharing their profile information with random apps and ecommerce sites in return for the convenience of seamless login, Facebook will now allow users to log in to partner sites in incognito or ‘anonymous’ mode, thus restricting their access to the user’s profile and post information.

This feature is being rolled out slowly for now and will apply to all apps and sites in the near future.

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Great news for users, but definitely bad news for sites that use social login apps and plugins.

More informative App Control Panel

The newly redesigned app control panel offers users a bird’s eye view of what apps have access to their information and what information they have access to.

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It also helps them modify, add or delete the personal data that can be accessed by external apps easily.

Another example of the reduced data access that apps and marketers can foresee once users start using this feature more extensively.

Final words

Facebook has always lived in a grey area between privacy controls and privacy intrusion of its user base. As more and more people become aware of the various ways in which their personal information is up for sale by social media platforms like Facebook, they lash out against what they see as privacy transgressions by digital media.

With Facebook taking every step possible to minimize the negative PR that its privacy issues create, the extent and quality of data available to marketers will definitely reduce. Our job as marketers is to ensure that we remain updated about every way in which we can maximize Facebook marketing without getting on the wrong side of our users.

Rohan Ayyar works for E2M, a premium digital marketing firm specializing in content strategy, web analytics and conversion rate optimization for startups. His posts are featured on major online marketing blogs such as Moz, Search Engine Journal and Social Media Today. Rohan hangs out round the clock on Twitter @searchrook – hit him up any time for a quick chat.

 

Book by Jamie Turner

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Archive for ‘Facebook’

July 8th, 2014

Google vs. Facebook: Who Will Come Out on Top? [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Facebook and Google: they are, inarguably, the two giants in the Western world (and arguably the entire world) when it comes to technology and the Internet. They make big moves, and they do so with confidence and purpose, even if that purpose isn’t apparent to the layman. This infographic from Who Is Hosting This? highlights the “tech cold war” these companies have been in since around 2009, including:

  • Company acquisitions,
  • Developments,
  • Innovations, and
  • “Doctrine.”

Who do you think will come out on top? Check out the infographic here:

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Archive for ‘Facebook’

June 12th, 2014

Top Tips for Skyrocketing Your Facebook Engagement

 

6.12.14 Facebook Blog Post copy.001 Looking to spice up your posts and engage with your audience? We’ve got you covered. Follow these 10 quick steps, adapted from a blog post by Facebook itself, and you’re off to the races!

1. Use images and videos that engage your audience.

Many readers are drawn to visually appealing messages. ‘Rich’ media such as photos and videos will grab the readers attention and aid your posts to stand out on their News Feed.

Do your best to share images of your products, as stated above,  readers are drawn in by visuals. Even better, try sharing photos of your cutomers enjoying your products/services.

Keep your posts short and to the point – between 100 and 250 characters. Posts of these lengths typically show more engagement, and they support rather than distract from the visuals.

2. Create a conversation with your audience.

Ask your customers to share their thoughts on your product/services. Feedback is key! Listening to your customers will improve your business as well.

Take this feedback into consideration and implement it. This can build customer loyalty and show that you value their opinions.

Application: This is demonstrated well  in the business model of Modify Watches, a company that creates mix-and-match watches. Modify Watches asks customers for input on watch design and titles and uses this feedback to feed into future designs.

3. Use your posts to share exclusive promotions and discounts.

Offer special promotions or perks to your customers via social media posts. This will keep your customers interested and drive online sales.

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Application: BarkBox creates posts that share exclusive promotional codes. Their findings have shown that valuable offers, like buy-1-get-1-free or dicounts over 20%, have a higher likelihood of being shared. This helps the company to spread the word about their business.

To add a sense of urgency and improve audience engagement with your promotions, include clear calls to action and redemption details, like when the promotion ends.

4. Provide access to exclusive information.

Provide rewards for customers who are connected to your social media pages, and drive online sales by sharing exclusive information and deals with them.

Application: For Mother’s Day, PhotoBarn engaged in a 10-day Giveaway of PhotoBarn products on their page.

5. Be consistent and timely.

Your customers and audience will engage more with posts if the posts are related to current subjects, i.e events or holidays.

Consistency and timeliness are very important when replying to comments on your posts. The faster the response, the more likely it is that customers will engage in the future.

Tip: An inside look on upcoming product sales a couple of weeks prior to big sale events (such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday) can help drive up sales.

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6. Plan an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar can be used to stay in regular contact with customers and keep up with ideas about what to talk about each week/month.

Planning can be very helpful when it comes to your business. This type of calendar planning will not only help keep you consistent with your posts, but it will also ensure that the content you’re posting is well planned and interesting.

7. Schedule posts.

Scheduling your posts in advance can help you better manage your time and plan for upcoming holiday events and specials.

Find out when the majority of your customers are online by visiting your Page Insights and going to the Posts tab, then use this information to schdule your posts accordingly.

You can choose to manage your scheduled posts by going to the top of your Page and clicking “Edit Page,” then “Use Activity Log.”

8. Target your posts.

FaceBook allows you to target your audience for each post. To do this, click on the target icon at the bottom left corner of your Page’s sharing tool and select Add Targeting. This will allow you to target your post based on the audience you are trying to reach such as gender, relationship status, educational status, interests, age, location and language.

9. Incorporate link posts to drive people to your website.

Link posts are now larger and have a clickable area that helps drive people to your website. To try them, follow these steps;

  • Go to your Page’s sharing tool, enter the offsite URL and hit enter.
  • The title, description and image will be taken from your webpage, but you are still able to customize the text and image of the post.
  • Again, Facebook has increased the size of the image for these posts, so you will want to choose an image that is compelling and will blend freely with the News Feed.
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10. Review your posts’ performance.

Checking your Page Insights reguarly will help you to undertsand what in your posts is working. These insights can help you keep your posts relevant and engaging. This page will also help you to understand your customers and what type of content they are interested in.

 

About the Author: Grace Turner works at 60 Second Communications, a marketing communications firm working with top brands from around the globe.

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Archive for ‘Facebook’

April 21st, 2014

Facebook May Be Great FOR Marketing, but It Sucks AT Marketing

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Facebook does what it’s supposed to do very well. It has very robust capabilities as a platform. It has a decently intuitive user interface. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s the most popular social network on Earth.

But what Facebook doesn’t do well is Twitter. The company chose to have a presence on other social media networks (primarily Twitter and Google+), but it fails to actually use those platforms to effectively market to the users.

The reality that Facebook is likely aware of is that people wanting to engage with their brand will probably go to Facebook.com. It’s household enough for that. But there is such a large number of users on these other sites that they just may be missing out on an important marketing (or at least community engagement) opportunity. To better understand what Facebook is doing wrong on Twitter, let’s compare the account to Twitter’s own on the Facebook platform.

Facebook on Twitter vs. Twitter on Facebook

Let’s start by looking at Twitter’s presence on Facebook. First of all, there’s a nice blend of update, instruction, and entertainment available on the page. Second, there’s a relevant cover photo, as well as engaging visuals throughout the content. The page has 12 million likes.

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Facebook’s Twitter account actually has over 13 million followers, so at least by the numbers it’s ahead. But when you take a look at the content, it leaves quite a bit to be desired. Facebook hasn’t moved out of the broadcasting phase, meaning its feed is just a continuous stream of updates from the blog and announcements about Zuckerberg-related events. There are rarely any accompanying visuals, and the background (a pair of what seem to be some kind of military jets) makes little sense contextually.

Facebook’s Twitter Campaign Basically Just Gave Up

Let’s get one thing straight: the people at Facebook are smart. They know that most people are not going to look at one social network’s account on a competing social network to gain insights or receive updates when those same pieces of information are available on their own, more popular site. They assumed no one would be looking, and they may be right. We may be the first people to ever notice a fault here (probably not). But that doesn’t mean that Facebook’s Twitter Campaign can be viewed as a marketing success, or even a marketing draw.

No, Facebook’s Twitter campaign is a marketing failure, and here’s why.

The average audience member for Twitter is vastly different from that of Facebook. In fact, there are many people on Twitter who don’t have Facebook accounts. And with Facebook trying so hard these days to continue to grow their audiences to be more attractive to advertisers, those users should be pursued wholeheartedly. The number of people who follow the account indicate a vast number of users who want more engaging content from the brand. After all, a follow on Twitter is a lot harder to obtain than a like on Facebook. You would think Facebook would take a cue from their 13 million followers and step up their game.

But instead of creating a highly targeted, highly engaging Twitter campaign — instead of learning the competition — Facebook seems to just give up. They simply smile at their follower count, publish headlines and tidbits from preexisting content (both on their blog and their own Facebook page), Retweet a few relevant announcements, and call it a day. Unacceptable.

Facebook is missing out on an opportunity, but they’re too pessimistic and intimidated by the competition to see it through. It would be better for Facebook not to have a Twitter account at all than to half-ass it like they currently are.

Don’t Be Like Facebook: Have a Robust Presence on All Your Networks

Clearly, Twitter is the company to emulate in this scenario. Here are three things you can take away from the Twitter/Facebook comparison:

  1. Broadcasting is not marketing; it’s advertising. Marketing in the digital age involves intentionally building a community of followers who will advocate for your brand.
  2. Create a vibrant mix of content appropriate to your desired audience. Be intentional by targeting the fans that will really be interested in your product or service, and then deliver what those fans are expecting. Be sure to publish entertaining and instructional content in addition to updates and insights.
  3. Visually represent your brand in an engaging and appropriate way. Facebook’s visuals are irrelevant and un-engaging, while Twitter’s are relevant and fun.

Remember, social media marketing should mean that all of your audiences across multiple platforms are being given the same level of attention and engagement. Facebook fails to do this on Twitter, despite the number of loyal followers it has. Twitter, on the other hand, shows a firm grasp of social media marketing form by being equally as engaging on Facebook as it is on its own platform. By taking notes from these brands and creating visually interesting, varied content, you can grow your own brand and stand above the competition.

About the Author: Samantha Gale is a social media and content marketing specialist working for 60 Second Communications, a full-service marketing agency working with brands around the globe.

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Archive for ‘Facebook’

March 17th, 2014

Facebook Paper: Is It the Next Big Thing in Social/Mobile?

Facebook Paper App

iPhone users in the U.S. have already begun using Facebook Paper as an alternative to the typical way to access their Facebook accounts on a mobile device. The no-nonsense repackaging of a user’s news feed into full-screen content that is quickly navigated (and without any sidebar ads or recommendations) feels to many like the way Facebook ought to be.

Of course, like every Facebook update, it is often the businesses who are first to adapt to new layouts or features that reap the biggest benefits from them. So should your business be developing plans to utilize Facebook Paper as soon as possible? Is it going to negatively impact businesses? Or is this a non-issue altogether?

Does Less Adspace Mean Less Attention for Businesses?

Ask yourself when the last time you felt even remotely tempted to click a Facebook ad was. For most people, it might as well be a pop-under or banner ad – it’s just space needed to put more money into Facebook. And even though the capture rate for these ads tends to be extremely low, Facebook won’t be getting rid of them any time soon for this very reason – people keep trying.

The way most people interact with and are marketed to on Facebook is through brand connection; that is, by liking brands or by having their friends do so, content creeps its way into the news feed from time to time that may be of interest to each user. And when it is, they “like”, share, and in the best case scenario, they follow the page. Now they’re a member of a captive audience.

This kind of marketing is not going to be impacted by the changes in Paper, and perhaps could benefit greatly from it. Now as users are swiping from story to story, they’ll get a full-screen ad for your business, and they’ll be interested to read through with nothing else vying for their attention.

Image of Facebook Paper

Early Adoption is Not Always the Solution

Many believe that like Facebook in its early stages, Facebook Paper is more of an experiment than something indicative of a finished product. There is speculation that in later updates, traditional ads will be supported as well, though how or even if that will be implemented remains to be seen. Sometimes the smarter course of action is to sit back and see how these things play out. People might never be using Facebook Paper by this time next quarter.

For those who have a lot of text rather than visual presentation, or those who tend not to be trendsetters even if they adopt best practices, Facebook Paper probably shouldn’t even be on the radar. If it becomes a big enough phenomenon, reaches other devices, or ultimately shapes the way Facebook is used on all platforms, then it may be time to revisit the issue.

Facebook Paper Image

It’s a Matter of Image

Facebook Paper is the hot new thing right now, with lots of buzz behind it. If your business is the kind that benefits from being among the first to try out new tech, then there probably isn’t any conceivable harm behind trying out a Paper-focused marketing strategy.

If your brand is more conservative, restrained, or just not a hit with the “brand new app” crowd, then give it time, see how things pan out, and check in every so often to see if it’s a good idea yet.

But if you aren’t even excited or interested in trying out Facebook Paper for yourself, there probably isn’t much of a reason your business ought to be.

About the Author: Russel Cooke is an online writer who spends most of his time researching and sharing new marketing strategies, unified communications, and branding methodologies with other businesses. He also often contributes to the blog of VirtualPhone-Number.com. He is honored to have had the opportunity to share his insights of what Facebook Paper may mean for business with 60SecondMarketer.com’s audience.

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