Tag Archives: Facebook

Online Marketing Blog: Facebook’s Facial Recognition Software Breeches Privacy

You just got caught uncompromising picture on Facebook. Although you’re a bit irritated, you think to yourself, “It’s not a big deal.” After all, all you have to do is use the magical button called untag. Sure, the picture is still out there but, unless someone deliberately goes searching for it, it’s not connected to you.

Unfortunately, people are finding out the hard way that Facebook’s new gadget may surface embarrassing photos unintentionally. The program, called facial recognition technology, is supposed to help users tag their friends in photos. What it does is it constantly analyzes your friends’ Facebook albums and determines if any of the pictures look like you.

This is pretty impressive when you think about it… and also pretty creepy. While your friends will still be the ones doing the tagging, Facebook is pointing, specifically, you out. The problem with this is that some people are saying this makes Facebook the one sharing personal information by default.

Naturally, not everyone is ecstatic— especially the people who still don’t know how to manage their Facebook privacy settings properly. And, it certainly doesn’t help that Facebook didn’t extend any prior notice about the matter.

My suggestion? If you are feeling a bit weary about the consequences of this new program, it might be a good idea to disable it. Disabling on Facebook is rather easy, once you know what you are looking for. For this particular program all you have to do is follow these steps:

1. Go to your Facebook’s privacy settings.
2. Click on “Customize settings.”
3. Look for “Things to Share.” Under which, you will see “Suggest photos of me to friends. When photos look like me, suggest my name.”
4. Click on “Edit settings.”
5. Changed the “Enabled” to “Disable” and press “OK”

And, volia! You have successfully blocked it. Just keep in mind that technology is always changing, and it might be a good idea to check out your Facebook privacy settings more then every once and awhile.

You know, just for old pictures’ sake.

Online Marketing Blog: Fired Over a Tweet – Would You Do Differently?

The tweet was innocent enough, nothing like the recent fiasco of Congressman Anthony Weiner. All Vanessa Williams typed into her 140 characters is "We start summer hours today. That means most of the staff leave at noon, many to hit the links. Do you observe summer hours? What do you do?"

However, it was this tweet that resulted in Ms. Williams loosing her job. What gets to people the most about the situation is how severely it was handled. Instead of reprimanding Ms. Williams, they fired her, and people are yelling foul!
 
But was it?

There is a reason why the term “reputation management” is around. The damage that can be done to a brand online is the worst kind. It often turns viral, and the result is instantaneous. But there are ways to minimize this damage or eliminate it entirely, making a flipside to the argument. As in, if the company knew more about social media, then they wouldn’t have been so hard on Ms. Williams.

So, what should have they done?

I, personally, wouldn’t have fired her. According to the news report, Ms. Williams was newly employed. And, I don’t know how you feel about new hires, but I never expect them to know right away how to manage their job.

To correct this particular situation, all I would require her to do is a digital clean up. She needed to inform the online community other details, such as explaining that the only time employees leave early is after they complete forty hours. This solves the problem without costing Ms. Williams her job, and it also saves me, as the employer, the hassle of finding someone new.

But if anything is to be learned here, a situation like this demonstrates the need of social media training. Perhaps Ms. Williams wouldn’t have written as she did if she had been taught otherwise. Simple steps, such as developing a code of rules for one’s employees, can often be the preventive measure.

In any case, it is unfortunate that the lack of such costs people like Ms. Williams their jobs. Hopefully, in the future, we will see less of stories like hers as people get smarter about what to say and what not to say on social media channels.

(Of course, you can always call us to set up a training session to teach this etiquette to your employees – 🙂 )

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Social Networking Not for You?

Companies are still not leveraging the power of social networking and the reasons include lack of understanding, lack of awareness of the power of social networking and perhaps the fear of the unknown.  Time and time again, I ask my prospects and clients "how many sales people do you have in your organization". And time and time again they give me a number that is much smaller than their company's total number of employees.  When I point out that each and every one of their employees is a "sales person", they are a bit embarrassed and also a bit perturbed as they never thought about it like that.

Companies are afraid to embrace social networking for more reasons than one. Most claim that they need to know the return on investment (ROI). This shows that their biggest reason for not embracing social networking is that they really don't understand the benefits. Companies are also afraid of employee abuse and not being able to determine who is doing what during company time.

The benefits of getting each and every employee of yours on social networks are many. Yes, there is potential for abuse too and I won't ignore that. However when employees are empowered, policies & procedures are put in place, and monitoring tools (kind of top video monitors for babies) are deployed, employee abuse can be managed appropriately.

Each employee can become a brand ambassador for your company helping build your company's brand awareness and brand visibility. By getting every employee trained on the various nuances of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks, your company will see an increase in connections & lead generation activity. And when each one of your employees engage with customers using social networks, you can build better customer loyalty and relationship.
 
Social networks become a great way for your employees to spread good PR about your company and its offerings. It also allows them to learn what's happening in the marketplace, see what your competitors are doing, and hear what the customers are saying. The fear of the unknown comes in when companies fear "negative" feedback from their customers who may choose to share their displeasure over something, on social networks. However, this is a great way to actually hear the negative feedback, offer a solution, implement a corrective course of action for the future, and turn the customer around to make him or her your biggest proponent.

And don't feel that you have to take the "each & every" recommendation to heart. It may be difficult to "train" each and every one of your employees to be a brand ambassador. There just may be a few employees whom you want to hide from prospects & customers due to lack of communication or "customer service" skills. By all means hide them for the greater good!

I believe that companies must embrace this new way of doing business or be left behind. Are you ready?

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Facebook for Business – Strategies for Making Social Media Marketing Work!

Ok so we know that Facebook is the most popular network and that over 500M users use it more than they collectively use Gmail, Google and Youtube. But what does that mean to you as a business owner?

How will it benefit you? The question of Social Media Marketing and ROI (return on investment) is asked of me every single time I'm talking to a prospect or even in general when I share what I do with others. My first response is a factitious "Marketing has no ROI".
However I realize that businesses need to know that their hard-earned money isn't just going down this loosy-goosy marketing strategy that has no real tangible outcome or so they think.

So I decided that this list to make Facebook work for your company/product/service is what I'm going to share with my prospects going forward:

  • Think Conversations: Social websites are about two-way, interactive dialogs and therefore your Facebook interactions must be two-way, not one-way. Try to engage people with questions that allow their responses. Share the good and the bad with your fans & followers. Even if the consumer has a negative comment or experience or is not quite in agreement with your line of thinking on a particular topic, allow those discussions to happen. That's because if you prevent them on your page, that conversation will happen elsewhere and it may be more damaging cause you can't control it.
     
  • Think Branding not SalesSocial media websites are not meant for "direct" sales. Consumers on social networks want to network with others. They know that interacting with a company profile means that they'll hear about what the company does and what they sell but they still don't want you to sell to them. By showcasing accomplishments, clients, positive news, community engagement, etc.

    Remember, we do business with people we trust. Similarly, we buy from companies who leave a favorable impression and we stop buying products from companies who are found of ethical wrong-doing. So if you as a company can engage and converse without being intrusive, when the time for buying comes, who do you think the consumer is going to think of?
     

  • Think Visibility: I tell people that "if you and I could afford it, we'd all buy billboard, television, and radio advertisement" because those are all channels designed to reach large audiences. Well, social media websites are YET ANOTHER CHANNEL. Just like radio, television, and billboards create visibility for a brand, so do social media websites because of the large numbers of people who participate. If you aren't playing on social networks, you're losing out because consumers are searching for you on social networks. And if you aren't there now, you'll need to be there soon cause guess what, your competition is already there!

Another great reason to on social media websites is to get maximum links coming into your main corporate website which helps you from an organic search engine optimization perspective.  And finally social media websites are the MOST cost effective medium to reach the MOST people, period! If a cost-per-consumer calculation were to be done, social media websites would win hands-down.

Now there are a lot of disadvantages of using social media websites for corporates too and they include distraction from day to day work, non-targeted audience reach, etc. etc. but that's to be expected. Let's take a billboard example to compare: If your ad is placed on a major freeway, is every person driving down that stretch of the highway a prospect? Similarly, every individual on Facebook may not be your target prospect but you know what, they may know someone who knows someone who can use your services. And that's the bottom-line: Networking with your trusted network – that's what social media websites offer.

Agree? Disagree? Would love to hear from you….

 

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Any rivals for Facebook on the horizon?

A new study released by comScore shows that US web users spent over 40 million minutes on Facebook in August. In contrast, they reported that US users spent a combined 39.8 million minutes on all of Google's web properties including YouTube and Gmail.
 
Google handles over a billion searches a day from probably a billion users. Youtube is a very popular website and so is Gmail. The fact that the combined time spent on these three sites is lower than the time spent on Facebook is mind boggling. Youtube is so so so popular. But even then it logged less time than Youtube. (For a minute after reading their data, I wondered if comScore got it's data right.)
 
Facebook's number one spot is no longer in question. The question then is who will give Facebook a run for its money and users?
 

Internet Marketing Promotion Blog: Do you like the Twitter Facebook App??

Ok so on Twitter, of course I'm following more strangers than I'm following friends. Maybe because some of my friends aren't on Twitter. Maybe because I don't want to follow friends on Twitter, I want to follow others who will become friends. But Twitter seems to think that instead of following strangers, people will find tweeting more fun if they can find their friends on Twitter. So they added a Find Friends feature which allows you to find Facebook and LinkedIn friends to Twitter.

You can find which of your friends are on Twitter using the Twitter Facebook. You can follow them instantly or add them to a list. Of course you can also post tweets directly to Facebook's pages when posting to your Twitter profile.

Twitter LinkedIn shows you which of your Linkedin connections are on Twitter. You can follow them and also post tweets on Linkedin.

Ok so! If you are my friend, now I can be your friend also on Facebook, and connect on LinkedIn, AND follow you on Twitter.

Uh but why do I NEED to connect with my same friend everywhere???

Social Media Blog: If Buzz not a Facebook or Twitter Rival, then what is it for?

Since Google Buzz's launch a few days ago, most people opined that Google's newest plan to engage in the social networking arena was to give Facebook and Twitter a run for their money. But Google VP of product management, Bradley Horowitz, assured critics & others that that was not their plan. Hmmmm…..

He said that Google's Buzz is focusing on creating "conversation" which is missing in most other social networks.

Double hmmm!
 
Horowitz emphasized that for Google's  Buzz conversation and engagement was the focus and it wasn't just about checking or updating status like people do on Facebook or Twitter. Google also plans to create services around that engagement and interaction.
 
OKAY! So the Buzz is different according to Google. But I just don't see the difference yet; at least not from the standpoint of engagement. I engage with people on Twitter. I do a lot more engagement with people on Facebook than I do on Twitter. I've checked out Google's Buzz and I see the same kind of opportunity to engage. Except now I can stay on the Buzz and also email people.

Anyone want to enlighten me as to what I'm missing that's so special about the Buzz that it fills a "market need"?

Social Media Blog: So Facebook was a bit unaccessible, so what?

So Facebook was a bit unaccessible yesterday. I read people complaining on Twitter and other sites about how frustrated they were that Facebook wasn't loading or had a lot of errors.

Hello!!! People! What's wrong with this picture?

Social networks are there to help us have fun and connect and interact so that we have fun in our lives. But our life should not become so dependent on social networks that their unavailability makes us frustrated and angry. I personally find it quite funny that people were complaining about their time being wasted because they couldn't get on Facebook and someone actually threatened to cancel their account if Facebook didn't get their act together.

If Facebook's down, pick up the phone and call your friends and family. spend some time with a family member. Aren't we missing the point here if our life is going to get stressed out over online networking?

Social Media Blog: Facebook the New Search Engine

If you have a Facebook account, you know how fun it is to get connected to friends and family, how easy it is to share information and photos, and essentially stay connected to others, right?

Well, all this "sharing" is making Facebook a huge traffic source for information. Compete Inc, which is a web measurement firm reports that Facebook has bypassed Google to become the top source for traffic. I don't know about Facebook bypassing Google but it certainly appears to be a site from which I personally click on a lot of links to go find information. When a friend posts something on Facebook that is interesting, and it contains a link, how often do you click on that link? I know that I do and I also share it with my friends when it is especially interesting.

So is Facebook now the new "search engine"? Well if others do what I do and if people are indeed going from Facebook to other sites, the I can see how Facebook can become the new version of an informational search engine. So instead of just being a portal to connect friends and businesses, Facebook is perhaps a great information source too.

On a closing note, did you know that recently Facebook reported that it has 400 million active members!  If you are a business NOT yet on Facebook, can you calculate the lost opportunity cost?
 

Social Media Blog: Lost Opportunity Cost from Not Leveraging Social Networks

Let's do the math:

  • Approximately 400 million users on Facebook – most are active users
  • Approximately 75 million Twitter users of which about 15 million are active Twitter users
  • Approximately 60 million LinkedIn users

(Note: I didn't do the research to come up with the statistics. These came from smarter people who love digging into data)

So why are you NOT on social networks?
 
Are these your reasons?

"Ah, our industry doesn't have too many computer savvy people"

"Advertising provides us really good ROI, no point in changing what works"

"No one searches on Facebook, isn't that just for family stuff?"

"We spend about $60K in trade shows and industry publication and it works".

"No time."

"Can't afford it"
 
Let me summarize the lost opportunity cost as follows:

  • If your competition is on Facebook and you aren't, guess who'll get the inquiry when a need arises?
     
  • If you aren't found on the first page of Google, Yahoo or Bing but your competition is, no question about who'll snag that client.
     
  • If you aren't engaging with your constituents, guess who'll get the edge? Yep, your competitor who is engaging.
     
  • If you aren't listening to conversations about your company's products, calculate how much you will be spending on damage control.


Get online. Get engaged. Listen to conversations about your brand.