Friday, 07 June 2013
As Facebook continues to grow and more and more companies (and users) sign up, we can start to see patterns among the types of people who join Facebook and how they use the site. No longer is it just for college kids and social media dorks; Facebook is for everyone. But everyone doesn’t use it in exactly the same way.
Think about your own behavior. Do you connect with only close friends, or people you’ve met in real life? Or do you accept every invite that comes your way? Does that extend to connecting with brands as well? For example, you could connect only with real friends and family, and brands that you use frequently. But you might also want to see what your old college roommate is up to, even if you haven’t spoken in awhile, or “like” a more aspirational page of a vacation destination you haven’t traveled to yet but hope to visit someday.
And what do you do with these friends and brands? Are you a compulsive liker who thumbs-ups everything, or more of a lurker, quietly observing? When it comes to brands, a new infographic polls a variety of sources to develop a personality report for the 7 most common fans.
It’s interesting (and often humorous) to read these somewhat-caricatures of fans you have undoubtedly encountered if you manage any social media marketing initiatives. It also raises a very valid point: fans are different, and we need to speak to them differently, based on their preference, needs, wants and current attitude or state of mind.
A social media customer service plan can help you get ahead of the game and not only identify your core customers, but how to reply to them for continued social media success. Understanding their needs and wants, and translating that into a carefully crafted social media message, can win you fans for life, both online and off.
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Wednesday, 29 May 2013
As many of you know, I’m a Boston girl, born and raised, who only recently moved away. I’m not sure I can put into words exactly what I felt as I first learned of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, and I needed to take some time before publishing this post. I was hurt. Angry. Very, very sad. But also proud. Proud of Boston and the many people who call it home. Proud of the many more who consider it home, even when they can’t be there. And proud of the many heroes who showed what that town is all about in the hours and days following the marathon. But I’m not proud of the actions of many social media users who took this opportunity to further their agenda.
Social media played a major role in the wake of this event, providing a news source for many and a way to reconnect with loved ones as cell service became difficult but wi-fi stayed strong. Information spreads quickly on social media, and while not always a reliable source, it’s preferable to many than living in the dark. For me, being thousands of miles away from the local news, I was able to get information much faster from Twitter. My feed is full of friends in and around Massachusetts and mostly contained updates about the event. But before the full story had even unfolded, already my feed was also marked by hate.
More than one social media expert was quick to recommend halting scheduled tweets. But they weren’t tweeting friendly advice. They were spewing vitriol at anyone who dared to post anything unrelated to the attacks at the Boston Marathon. In the moments following such tragedy, they turned to petty arguments over social media strategy.
Let me be clear: I, personally, could think of nothing else all day, let alone tweet. But I understand and respect that this is not the case for everyone. But the idea that someone would try to publicly shame a person or brand on Twitter for posting any unrelated content, under the pretext of sensitivity, is appalling. And the fact that they would then turn this tragedy into a general “social media lesson” about scheduled posts sickens me.
There is the slim chance that someone may have scheduled something with a term that could be deemed insensitive in the wake of the bombing. A post with the word “explosive,” for example, would be in poor taste and should probably be removed. But should a global brand pause all efforts, around the world, immediately without knowing the situation? I argue no, while a local-only Boston company would likely need to hold messages. But these so-called experts decided that no one, anywhere, should tweet anything else.
Out of all the messages of hope, all the news articles, what stuck out to me the most was people taking this opportunity to talk about the fact that you should never schedule a post. Ever. I’m not going to argue strategy here; that’s a debate for another post. What I’m talking about is their misuse of tragedy for personal gain.
The blatant agenda pushing was not appropriate at that time. Nestled alongside tweets reading “#prayforboston” were messages that read “This is why I never schedule anything. You look like a jackass right now.” Tell me, is hate a more helpful or hopeful thing to read than a brand mentioning their product? I don’t see how it’s preferable to see namecalling and bullying.
And that’s what it was. Bullying. It doesn’t stop after high school; the internet is full of bullies who hide behind an avatar and throw stones as anyone who says or does something they don’t like. It’s often without an intelligent argument or much thought; our fingers type much faster than our brain can process our feelings. Which is why I waited to post this. But I felt it was important and needed to be said, especially as tragedies such as the Oklahoma tornado continue to rock this country and bring up this same subject, over and over again.
We can argue about scheduling posts or not scheduling posts any day. But in the minutes after the explosions went off in Boston, I think perhaps we should have been arguing about building bombs or not building bombs. We were all angry, and hurt. And I hope that those that used this event to preach their social media gospel were simply lashing out at nearby targets while the real culprit went unknown. Because if not, if they used this tragedy for personal gain, that is yet another tragedy for this country.
Some may disagree with this post, and that’s fine. And the merits of scheduling a post should be debated, and often. But bullying is not OK. How many times have we seen children scarred for life, or teenagers that take their own lives? Respect the power of the internet, and respect each other.
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Wednesday, 08 May 2013
With all of Facebook’s changes, it’s hard to keep up with what size an image should be, where posts will appear and how often to post. So when the team at Salesforce sent me this handy infographic, I knew I had to share:
While it doesn’t go into all the specifications for every type of post, it’s a handy reference for day-to-day posting that reminds you to use an image, keep it short and timely and keep those fans engaged. Happy posting!
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Tuesday, 07 May 2013
You see it all the time: people tweeting to, or about, companies they’ve been wronged by. Far less often you see them raving about a company that has gone above and beyond to provide excellent service. And while I’ve been guilty of ranting about a few brands, I always try to give props to those that work hard, online and off, to provide a great customer experience. But is that part of their social media strategy? And should it be?
A lot of brands don’t think that social media is a customer service channel. Perhaps it wasn’t intended for that, but for better or worse, customers are using social media to communicate. With friends, with family, and yes, with the companies they do business with. So if they choose to tweet about you, it has now become a customer service channel, whether that was your goal or not.
As a brand, the moment you joined Facebook (or Twitter, or Instagram…), you invited customers to contact you. And guess what? They were talking about you before you got there, too, and they are chatting away even if you aren’t listening. Social Media is a part of everything we do, including customer-brand interaction, through the good, the bad and the ugly.
Many arguments center around the importance and weight of a social media complaint. Does a negative tweet get you to “skip the line” of a call center queue to resolve an issue? And, more importantly, should it? That depends on a lot of factors, but the good news is that we can measure the impact of that tweet, and that customer’s experience, more so than ever before. A company used to have no idea who was badmouthing them to their friends and how many people they were telling; on Twitter, it’s public knowledge what they are saying, and to whom.
How you handle customer service issues via social media is up to you, but there is no doubt that you need to handle them. Ignoring complaints is one way, but would you let your phone ring unanswered? Probably not. However, it’s also not advisable to let Twitter users get preferential treatment just because they are more vocal. The solution is unique for each company, and often, each situation. Social media customer service is a complicated process full of questions that you need to ask, and answer, for both your employees and your customers. The only one that’s easy? Yes, social media is a customer service channel.
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Wednesday, 27 March 2013
We’ve all got an annoying friend or two. And unfortunately, Facebook tends to magnify some of our pals’ less desirable traits, whether it be late night game playing (I do not care about your mafia, farm or town), incessant whining, or chronic oversharing. These friends are tolerable in real life, but sometimes seeing all their crazy rants in one long stream in your Newsfeed is just too much. But it’s rude to unfriend someone you had dinner with last weekend. So what to do?
Hide ‘em. Using a few Facebook Newsfeed tricks, you can weed out updates or people you’d rather not hear from, but can’t cut out completely by unfrieding. The best part? They’ll never even know! Unless, of course, they ask if you saw their most recent update. But that’s what a little white lie is for.
Hide Updates From Newsfeed Post
When you see a post you wish you hadn’t you can take steps to remove that friend’s updates from your feed right away. It’s simple and entirely untraceable to the offending friend. Here’s how to do it:
1. In the Newsfeed, hover over the top right corner of post from the friend you want to hide.
2. An arrow will appear. Click it, then select hide.
3. This will trigger a message telling you that the post has been hidden. From here you can opt to hide certain types of posts, or unfollow all together.
4. You’re done! No more annoying posts, and your friend is none the wiser.
Hide Updates From Profile
If your friend hasn’t posted in awhile or you can’t find a recent post, you can still remove them from your Newsfeed. Here’s how:
1. Navigate to your friend’s profile and hover over the “Friends” button.
2. An list of actions will appear. Un-check “show in Newsfeed.” Note: unfriend is also one of the options, so choose carefully.
3. Ta-da! You will not longer seen their posts in your feed.
Both methods are quick and easy. Hiding from the Newsfeed allows you a few more customization options. Currently you can hide individual stories from the Newsfeed on mobile, but you won’t have the ability to unfollow a user without logging into the full desktop version of Facebook. You can, however, opt to remove a friend from your Newsfeed via their profile in the mobile app. Looking to clean up your Facebook feed a bit more? Check out these other tips.
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Thursday, 14 March 2013
A recent study by the University of Cambridge found that you can gain a lot of information by looking at a user’s Facebook “likes.” And we’re not just talking about their favorite TV shows. Researchers analyzed 58,000 Facebook users and discovered that “intimate personal attributes can be predicted with high levels of accuracy from ‘traces’ left by seemingly innocuous digital behaviour, in this case Facebook Likes.”
What’s that mean for you? Maybe nothing. But there’s the possibility than an ambitious marketer could cross-reference the minutiae of your Facebook activity to determine, with a high level of accuracy, your political or religious affiliation. Not a big deal; many people share that information publicly, or at least with close friends. But what about your IQ, or if you are likely to have a substance abuse problem? You might not want advertisers (or anyone) to know you’re not the brightest bulb or are battling an addiction.
What Your “Likes” Say About You
Facebook has always been a hot topic for privacy guardians, but it turns out that the issue runs much deeper than apps requiring scores of personal data. Advertisers have long had access to your likes, but with the right analysis, they can gain insight into what you’re not saying or liking as well. For example, a wedding photographer can easily target women who like bridal magazine pages and recently changed their relationship status to engaged. But what if they can use other psychographic information to target women who have divorced parents and play to those emotions? Or determine wealth and gear ads toward individual budgets?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Facebook and use the site both for work and fun, but not everyone understands what they are getting into when they sign up. Facebook is designed to make you want to share about yourself in order to connect with friends more easily, particularly with the new Graph Search rolling out widely. But the real reason Facebook wants you to share is to make money off of you from advertisers.
Reading Between The “Likes”
Does that mean you shouldn’t “like” that movie you just saw? No. But tread carefully, and watch the ads that follow you around. You might be surprised at what you see. Because if Target can determine pregnancy before a doctor, what will Facebook learn before you do?
Above are 3 ads I was targeted with recently: a shopping site showing workout wear, a Vegas hotel, and 1-800-contacts. I have been training for a race and buying workout clothes recently, and I frequently visit Vegas hotel pages for research and like quite a few of them. But I have no idea how Facebook knows I wear contact lenses. There is nothing in my profile mentioning glasses or contacts.
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Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Are USBs the new status symbol? In an increasingly digital world, they might be. Once merely a dorky necessity for conference speakers, it seems that everyone has a flash drive with them at all times, ready to connect and download at a moment’s notice. And this fact hasn’t been lost on the fashion world.
MIMOBOTS were some of the first USB drives to really make data transport fun. Cute little critters promised a smile with your file. A few years ago, Fendi’s Baguette USB, modeled after their iconic purse, made headlines as the “It gift” of the season. Sharply dressed business men weren’t left behind, as USB cufflinks graced the accessory counters at high-end stores.
Today, Maison Martin Margiela offers a tasteful leather key fob with 8GB USB, and Marc Jacobs continues to design adorable characters cleverly disguising 2GB of storage. Juicy Couture make use of the traditional USB stick design, while Kate Spade brands their drive with “whistle while you work.”
But perhaps the biggest advance in tech fashion comes to us from Rebecca Minkoff through a partnership with Stellé Audio. At her runway show, models carried her latest design: an audio clutch that resembles a minaudiere but actually is a mini speaker, ready to play music anywhere, anytime, thanks to this “Boombox” clutch.
Some designers seem to have a firm grasp on the tech space, while others merely see a chance to increase sales. 2GB isn’t really worth carrying around, but it sure looks cute! And while the Boombox Clutch has no space for other handbag essentials, requiring the wearer to bring a bag for each hand, it’s undoubtedly one of the coolest digital collaborations a designer has attempted.
What do you think? Would you pay more for a fashionable flash drive? Or rock a mini-speaker minaudiere?
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Wednesday, 06 February 2013
A few years ago, seeing a #hashtag at the end of a commercial prompted a lot of offline chatter, mostly saying “what the heck was that?” This year, half of the Super Bowl commercials mentioned Twitter. Appearing so frequently during Super Bowl, also known as Advertiser Olympics, solidifies social media’s place in the world at large, perhaps more so than its inclusion in the dictionary a year and a half ago.
TV shows are also embracing social media, and not just the geeky programs either. Shows encourage real-time interaction through the use of #hashtags at key points throughout the episode. Pretty Little Liars, airing on ABC Family and aimed at teenage girls, superimposes #hashtags like #FitzFindsOut during pivotal scenes and posts exclusive content on its corresponding Facebook page. In fact, nearly every show on the network has its own dedicated social media pages aimed at increasing engagement online and viewership on TV.
Social media is a huge factor in many TV shows’ second screen strategy, and it’s paid off big. The added benefit is that more and more people outside of the social media geek community are now familiar with the term and know what they heck you’re talking about when you say you tweeted something. For the first time, I’m starting to feel like people know what I do when I say that I’m a social media manager.
What do you think? Is TV finally giving social media the respect it deserves? Is it changing the nature of online communities? I say yes, all of the above, and for the better.
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Monday, 14 January 2013
You heard it here first: the New England Patriots will beat the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, they already are, if you look at social media as an indicator. I’m not talking about fan posts or ReTweets; I’m talking about the brand power of The Patriots. Let me break it down for you.
The Patriots put social media front and center on Patriots.com, making it easy for fans to connect on all kinds of sites.
The Ravens bury their social icons on the bottom of their site, and only include Facebook and Twitter.
Within minutes of winning their game, The Patriots Facebook page was updated with score graphics and a new header image in preparation for Sunday’s game. They also have nearly 4 million likes, more than 3 times the number of fans Baltimore’s page has.
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Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Facebook privacy settings are notoriously hard to navigate. And even if you’d got a good grasp of who can see what online, there’s no guarantee that your friends are as social media savvy as you might hope. Randi Zuckerberg found that out the hard way this week, when a private Facebook photo was shared by a “friend” on Twitter. This got me thinking about digital etiquette and our expectations of privacy, both from the sites we use and the friends we make online.
Digital etiquette raises many questions. For example, if I post something on your Facebook wall, is it OK to tweet it or call another friend to share? I say, keep it on medium where you found it. Eg. you text me, I text back, not tweet. But have I lost any expectations of privacy once I share that information with you? Yes, as my “friend” you should know better than to share my private information or news. But this raises even more questions about what constitutes a friend in today’s increasingly online world.
Countless times I’ve seen people post on a newly engaged friend’s Facebook wall before that friend has announced his or her engagement online. This means that the people posting their congratulations must have heard from somewhere else, likely text message or word of mouth. So why blab online and ruin the surprise? I always wait to post on someone’s wall until they have announced their news themselves. But not everyone can be counted on for good judgement.
This leads to the separation of “real” friends, people you call or text and have likely hung out with in real life, and “online” friends, who you probably connect with in a more passing way, on Twitter but not offline perhaps. Chances are, news like an engagement, new baby, or private family photo (like Zuckerberg’s) are intended for “real” friends first. How you share information is up to you, but if you use social media, be sure you have a firm grasp on your privacy settings, and be careful who you let into the inner circle.
It sounds like Ranndi may want to take a closer look at who her friends are. For me, a great test was when we got engaged: we told friends and close family by phone or in person several days before posting online and sharing with a wider group. No one spilled the beans online ahead of time, allowing us to share the exciting news the way we wanted to.
In many cases, digital etiquette starts with you: choose your circles carefully, and use privacy features to match. And if you’re on the receiving end of some personal info, take a minute to think about how you’d like it shared (or not) if it was about you. When it doubt, stick to responding in the same manner with which the info was first shared. So, if you got a private message, don’t start sharing it to a wider social (media) circle just yet.
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