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Is Social Media Really Watching Us?

The recent warnings of the new Facebook terms of use, due to come into play on 1st January 2015, have set off some alarm bells for the more cynical of social media users.

In the most extreme cases, some have asserted that Facebook is using global positioning systems to track our locations and in turn pass our details onto the US Government. Of course, none of this is explicitly set out in its extensive renewed terms of use policy, but there are a couple of red flags for the more prudent among us.

Namely, the aforementioned GPS tracking – providing they allow Facebook to do so, from 1st January 2015, users will have their location tracked on their smartphone, using GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals. The purpose of this is so that Facebook can streamline its advertising and target location-specific ads at its users, in turn increasing its potential for higher profit margins.

So are the new changes as frightening as the conspiracy theorists claim? It’s a worrying thought when we consider the ‘Big Brother’ society in which we find ourselves. At the same time in which Facebook decided to publish details on the policy, in an attempt to be more “transparent” with users, another shocking story hit the headlines.

Last month it emerged that spies in Russia were able to hack into our personal files via webcams and even baby monitors, potentially giving burglars access to information about unoccupied houses, as well as yet more advertising revenue.

It was alleged that a simple change of password from the manufacturer’s original could prevent these sinister hackings from taking place. But how much of our private lives are we unwillingly telling these companies about, and how much are we willing to giving away?

Simply by posting our opinions about a certain topic on Facebook, we are playing into the hands of specific industries who could potentially make money from us. Take, for example, the bookmaker market – with more and more reality TV bets being made each day, a simple declaration of our opinions on social media could sway the bookmakers and in turn affect the odds.

In line with this, so too is the online gaming market affected by social media – by simply playing a game like GamingClub.com/nz/online-roulette, the new cookie tracker could in turn target advertisements at us and encourage us to play more at sites like these.

It is up to us, then, to ensure we have more control about exactly what it is we’re happy to divulge. Before January 1st, make sure you say no to Facebook’s data tracking, for your own privacy and peace of mind.

 

Twitter to Add Group Chat, Better Search and an Algorithm

Anthony Noto, CFO of Twitter shares thoughts about how Twitter can be more relevant and easier to use.

Twitter_bird_logo_2012

I prefer Twitter over Facebook because it’s easier to connect with other users who have similar interests from far and wide and it DOESN’T have an algorithm that dictates what I see. According to Anthony Noto, CFO of twitter, an algorithm may be on its way

“If you think about our search capabilities we have a great data set of topical information about topical tweets,” Noto said. “The hierarchy within search really has to lend itself to that taxonomy.” With that comes the need for “an algorithm that delivers the depth and breadth of the content we have on a specific topic and then eventually as it relates to people,” he added.

Now it may be hard for users to sort through every tweet that comes across their feed, but that is what makes Twitter so great! Facebook serves you stories that it thinks you’ll enjoy, which may not always be the case. I understand what Twitter is trying to do. They are trying to get more people using and enjoying their service. If users are getting overwhelmed with an unfiltered stream of tweets, they may ditch the service all together. How do you feel about Twitter playing with what appears in your feed?

Group Chat

We also heard that Twitter may be offering group chat in the future. Right now you can only direct message one person at a time. If there is a need for a multiple person conversation, you’ll have to leave Twitter. This is a change that I’ll welcome.

Twitter Search

Twitter also wants to enhance its search capabilities. The current search is good at best but their new head of product is focusing heavily on search for 2015. 

What do you think?

I’m excited for group chat and a better search experience, but I’m not happy about a potential interference of my feed via an algorithm. College football did away with its computer ranking because of the public outcry of its unpredictability. Don’t NCAA my Twitter feed please!

Contribute to SociallyGold.com

Guest Blog for sociallygold

SociallyGold is looking for guest bloggers that can write on topics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Blogging Tips and Tricks, Audience Engagement and Social Media Strategy.

What types of posts is SociallyGold looking for?

Your post will likely by accepted if it is a detailed “how to” with images/screen shots or social media strategies that worked well or social media strategies that didn’t work well. It can be a strategy that you implemented, or one that you have witnessed.

Other topics can include…

  • Third party tools
  • New features of an existing social network
  • Case studies related to Facebook or Twitter advertising
  • Crowdfunding strategies
  • New social networks
  • Social networking mobile apps
  • YouTube marketing
  • Opinions and editorials regarding changes to a social networks (Positive or Negative)

Please keep in mind…

You may include a link to your website, but please do not include affiliate links.

Please fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch…

Top 13 Reasons to Use Eventbrite for Events

eventbrite_logo_gradient_v2

Eventbrite is a robust web based event management software that will help you manage ticket sales, promotion, information collecting and more for your event. In this post, I’ll share my top 13 reasons to use Eventbrite for events.

I’ve written about using Eventbrite to get accurate RSVPS before, but this post will go more in depth about its features as well as a way to save $100 in fees for new members. Keep reading for that.

Free to use if you are not collecting money

I first started using Eventbrite as a non-paying user when I was organizing weekly dinners for college students. Using Facebook events never yielded accurate RSVP lists and I knew there had to be a better way. Eventbrite is free to use if you are not collecting money for your event.

Social Media Promotion Tools

Eventbrite integrates with Facebook and will tell event goers which of their friends will be attending the event as well.

Eventbrite facebook promotion

Eventbrite Social Steam

As an event organizer, when you link your social media accounts (Twitter or Instagram) you can pull in photos posted during or after your event using your event hashtag.

Eventbrite social stream

Embed event widgets on your website

If you prefer to link invitees to your website, you have a few options of how you can embed Evenbrite buttons…

Eventbrite Embed Widgets

Easily email event attendees 

Eventbrite makes it easy to communicate with your event attendees with a built-in email system. A reminder email is automatically generated, which sends 24-hours prior to to the start of your event.

You can also modify the auto-mated response that is sent to the registrant.

Eventbrite Email Tools

Discount codes

As an event marketer, you may need to incentivize people to attend your event with a discount. I offer discounts to subscribers of my blog for my social media trainings.

Affiliate Program

Eventbrite has a built-in system to encourage your event goers to encourage their friends to sign up as well. You can set a monetary incentive for friends to invite friends. I suggest adding a link to the affiliate program in the automated response email sent to registrants once they sign up. I only do this for paid events.

Credit Card Processing and Eventbrite Fees

PayPal

The PayPal processing fee is 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction in USD (fees vary by country/currency and are subject to change at PayPal’s discretion).

Eventbrite

The processing fee is just 3% of the value per transaction in U.S. dollars (3.5% internationally), and all fees are collected automatically (no monthly invoices to pay).

Example:

$100 in sales – 10 tickets sold for $10 each

With PayPal you’ll Pay $5.90 in processing fees

2.9%*$100 = $2.90 + $0.30*10 = $5.90

With Eventbrite you’ll pay $3 in processing fees

3%*$100 = $3

Whichever service you decide to use to process payments, you are still responsible for Eventbrite fees, which are separate from credit card processing fees. 

Eventbrite Fees

$100 in sales – 10 tickets sold for $10 each

Eventbrite charges 2.5% of the ticket price and $0.99 per ticket sold. 

2.5%*$100 = $2.50 + $0.99*10 = $9.90

Total fees with PayPal fees and Eventbrite fees = $5.90+$9.90 = $15.80

or

Total fees with Eventbrite credit card processing and Eventbrite fees = $3+$9.90 = $12.90

If you use Eventbrite to process payments while using Eventbrite, you’ll pay less in fees then what you would pay by using PayPal. 

Payout

Eventbrite will direct deposit into your bank account 5 days after the event is over. Once you have received your payout, you won’t be able to use Eventbrite to refund any tickets.

Reserved Seating

A new feature to Eventbrite will let you have registrants pick their seats, similar to picking one on an airplane or for a concert.

Save $100 in Eventbrite fees

First time Eventbrite users can save $100 in fees with this promotional offer. 

If you need help setting up your first paid Eventbrite event, contact me and I’ll help you set it up or I can look it over to make sure you are using it effectively. Contact me to learn more. 

Eventbrite Non-Profit Discount

If you’re a 501 (c ) (3) organization, you are qualified to receive a reduced service fee of 2.0% + $0.99 per ticket. Standard credit card fees still apply.

Want to learn more about Eventbrite?

I’m hosting a free “How to use Eventbrite” webinar on September, 17 2014 at 7:30pm EST. Register now because this webinar will fill up fast! 

Social Media 102 – Expert Social Media Tips Webinar

social media 102 feat-01This video is a preview of my Social Media 102 – Expert Social Media Tips Webinar. Want to skip the preview? Download the full Social Media Webinar.

The full Social Media Webinar Covers…

  • New Trends in Social Media
  • Instagram Pro Tips
  • Social Media Contests
  • Twitter Analytics
  • Easy Graphic Design Tools
  • Website tools
  • Changes to Facebook Events
  • Changes to the Facebook News Feed

Download the social media training for a 15% discount. If you would like a more basic training, check out my introductory social media training.

Recruit for Taglit-Birthright With a Simple Photo Contest

Taglit-Birthright Israel recruitment is almost here and when coupled with the start of the semester, it can be a hectic time of year. Planning welcome back events, Shabbat dinners and intern trainings can get in the way. In this post, I’ll share a way to use your trip alumni and students to help recruit new trip participants.

Start with contacting your Birthright alumni and asking them to send you a photo of their favorite Taglit-Birthright moment. Mention that the photos will be added to an album once the submission process is over and you will add your logo and the link to register.

I’d suggest offering an incentive for the photo with the most likes, but also offer an incentive for the alumnus who can recruit the most friends.

Uploading the photos

Once you have added text to your photos, upload them to an album on your Facebook page. After the photos have been uploaded, send a link to the album to those who submitted photos.

Send the email the day before registration opens, so social shares will coincide with when folks can actually register.

You can also include a parameter that in addition to sending in a photo, entries will need to include a quote or caption to be included with the photo.

The included text will hopefully identify with students who haven’t gone on the trip. An example would be…

“The best part about Taglit-Birthright Israel is the views” – Adam G.
Register for this FREE 10 day trip to Israel at freeisraeltrip.org. This trip is a gift from Taglit-Birthright Israel.

free israel trip

This is a really easy way of turning your Taglit-Birthright alumni into your marketing team. They will be incentivized to get their friends to like their photo because of the contest prize. I call it motivation marketing. They’ll hopefully participate because you have a relationship with them.

More Marketing for Taglit-Birthright

It may be time-consuming, but as you begin to receive registrants, try calling them and personally asking them to share your registration link. You can suggest they post on Facebook…

I just registered for a FREE 10-day trip to Israel. You should too! Register at freeisraeltrip.org to join me this winter in Israel.

The Beauty of Facebook and Groups of Friends

When friends within the same “real life” social circles share the same link, Facebook groups those posts together, which may get the attention of others on the fringe of those social circles. The more sharing, the more News Feed stories it creates, and the better off you will be.

Need Help?

If recruiting for this free 10 day trip to Isreal seems daunting, you may need some extra help. SociallyGold can assist you with your Taglit-Birthright marketing campaign with consulting, image editing and more.

Contact me if you’d like to learn more about how I can help.

 

 

 

Instagram Releases Hyperlapse, a Time Lapse Video App

 hyperlapse from instagram

Instagram released a stand alone time lapse video app today. The app has built in image stabilization, which reduces shakiness. Instagram blogged about hyperlapse:

Traditionally, time lapse videos depend on holding your phone or camera still while you film. Hyperlapse from Instagram features built-in stabilization technology that lets you create moving, handheld time lapses that result in a cinematic look, quality and feel—a feat that has previously only been possible with expensive equipment.

We designed Hyperlapse to be as simple as possible. You don’t need an account to create a hyperlapse. Instead, you open up straight to the camera. Tap once to begin recording and tap again to stop. Choose a playback speed that you like between 1x-12x and tap the green check mark to save it to your camera roll. You can share your video on Instagram easily from there.

Currently hyperlapse is only available for iOS. What do you think about this new app? Let me know on Facebook. I’m excited to use it while playing with my dog Rigby. Stay tuned for videos of him in 12x haha.

 

Facebook News Feed Takes On Click Baiting

The Facebook News feed is taking a stand on click baiting today. Click baiting is when a page uses an engaging headline that keeps the user wanting more. Facebook wants users to know what they are clicking, so these types of posts will not be shown as often.

Today Facebook announced that they will punish posts with an image and a link in the description. Instead, you should post the link, let Facebook generate the thumbnail and go from there.

If you continue to post photos with a link, you’ll start to see diminished reach. Facebook is striving to make the user experience better by showing more of what you enjoy. The more you enjoy your experience, the longer you will spend using Facebook and the more ads you will see.

Facebook is taking its cues from a survey and feedback from users. Posts with attractive headlines and poor content will be seen less and less. Currently, these types of posts get increased engagement because of their engaging headlines and the curiosity of users.

Facebook is also measuring the amount of time a user spends on a web page outside of Facebook to determine the quality of the content. The longer you are away, the better Facebook will think the content is. The News Feed will also see if you like or comment on a post after returning from the outside website. Posts that keep users away from Facebook longer and receive a like, comment or share after they return, will be rewarded the most.

Does that mean you should be writing longer articles? Perhaps. Longer articles are also weighted favorably by Google in regards to search engine optimization. Try 250-300 words at a minimum.

If you produce good content, Facebook will reward you. If your post does not receive any likes, shares or comments, Facebook will deem it as poor content.

Pro Tip: At the bottom of your article include “If you are reading this article from Facebook, tell me you enjoyed it with a like, share or comment.

What do you think about this change to the News Feed. Let me know on Facebook. :)

 

4 Instagram Pro Tips for Brand Managers

Instagram

Instagram is a platform that is growing and growing everyday. Engagement levels on Facebook are decreasing while they are increasing on Instagram. In this post I’ll share six Instagram pro tips to convert you from a novice Instagram brand manager to a pro. This article is geared towards those using Instagram for businesses or organizations.

1. Contests

Instagram contests are a great way to engage your fans and earn user generated content. User generated content is the currency of your marketing plan and you want as much as possible to become a wealthy marketer. Petco’s summer photo contest asked fans to upload a photo of their pet paired with a weekly theme. In order to win, entrants had to follow @Petco and use their branded hashtag #PetcoPlayList.

The winner for that week would win $1,000, which is a high value prize.  A high value prize is important because it needs to be worth while for your fans to participate. Realizing that not everyone has $1,000 to dedicate to a contest, try soliciting for prize sponsors.

It’s a win win for both parties involved. Once the winner is chosen, upload the photo to your feed, tag the winner and watch the likes roll in. Ensuring that entrants need to follow you in order to win will help your account grow at a rapid rate.

Important note:

Do not have likes be the determining factor for the winner of the contest. There are services that let users fake likes, which will ruin your contest and upset your fans who legitimately tried to win. You can have likes account for 50% of the criteria, but try using a panel of judges instead.

You may also be interested in Using SnapWidget to embed Instagram photos on your website. You can also embed Instagram photos using their built embed code.

2. Hashtags and Tagging

Hashtags have evolved since they originated on Twitter. Now on Instagram and Facebook, hashtags are a fantastic way to categorize your posts and they are useful for branding content and user engagement. Petco used a branded hashtag to allow their fans to enter their summer photo contest. It also makes it easy for you to see what photos were submitted to your contest.

You can also use a hashtag to insert your image into an existing conversation. It’s especially helpful for events that someone else has organized. You’re likely to pick up new fans from people peaking in on that hashtag.

3. Links

Instagram does not allow live URLs in the comments of your photo. You can get around that by changing the link in your profile and telling your fans to “click the link in your profile to learn more.” To change the link in your profile from the mobile app, click the profile icon at the bottom right and then you will see an “Edit Your Profile” button.

Underneath your name and username is the option to add a URL. Keep in mind that if you ask someone to click the link in your profile for a photo posted two days ago, and do it again the next day. Someone who is behind on their Instagram feed may not be clicking a link you want them to.

I use goo.gl to track how many clicks those links are getting. The stats for those clicks let me measure the best day and time of the week to post for my audience.

4. Use Locations as Links

I learned this trick from the Miami Marlins. As mentioned in #3, you can’t use live links in the comments, but you can provide a URL as a location. Notice their use of www.marlins.com/SocialMedia. Again, this is not a live link.

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 5.16.34 PM

These Instagram tips should help you become a pro Instagram brand manager. If you are interested in learning more with a one on one training, consider booking a live social media training.

3 Expert Ways To Engage Your Fans on Twitter

Twitter_bird_logo_2012

 

A Sweet Way To Engage Twitter Fans

Here’s a few valuable ways to engage your fans on Twitter. A well-organized social media strategy does not come easily to all brands, but some just get it. In this post, I’ll share three interactions I’ve had on Twitter and what you can learn from them. My number one rule for being social media successful is the ability to engage your fans.

Asking trivia questions is a great way to engage your fans, which is a trend I have been seeing a lot of lately. Let’s start with Publix, my local grocery store, who asked a trivia question about their owner.

 


I’ll give kudos to Publix for their ability to engage me, but I was disappointed with their response when I asked if I won anything. I do want to point out that their commitment to customer service is fantastic. I’ve had a few problems with their online deli ordering lately, but their social media team was quick to respond and they even sent me a $10 gift card for my trouble. I had another online ordering problem a few weeks later, tweeted them about it and they had the manager call me.

No gift card the second time, but I appreciate their attentiveness to customer service. Needless to say, I googled the answer to the trivia question and they did have a cutesy response letting me know I was right (thanks Wikipedia), but I would have enjoyed winning something for my efforts. If anyone from Publix reads this, can I suggest you offer social media dollars for trivia questions like this? Your fan base would grow exponentially if fans knew they could earn discounted groceries and incentives. I’d be happy as a customer and as a social media enthusiast.

The Sweet Stuff

This is the best way to engage your fans on Twitter I’ve seen. Citrix, the makers of GoToMeeting, the software I use for my social media trainings and coincidentally headquartered in the next town over, deserves a medal for how they engage their fans on Twitter. Citrix also tweeted a trivia question, on Throw Back Thursday (brownie points for that), of an advertisement from many years ago which included fax instructions.

 

I didn’t google it this time, but my first few guesses were wrong. I took a closer look at the image and saw a 95 in the corner, so I tweeted another guess. The next day, Citrix tweeted that another user and I got it right. Sweet!

The other user beat me to it and asked Citrix (“and we win a….?)” I jokingly asked for a free year of the webinar software I mentioned. The other user already had that, but Citrix did have something better in mind. Also, kudos to GoToMeeting for jumping in on the conversation too. It could be the same person managing both accounts, but still, it’s a great way to engage fans on Twitter.

What I won

I thought it was a joke and that I was just going to get a picture of a cupcake, but au contraire! I am physically getting a cupcake in a jar, mailed to me, courtesy of Citrix and GoToMeeting.

Enter TwitGift

I really thought it was a joke, especially because of my recent Twitter trivia experience with Publix. I clicked the link in the tweet, and was asked for my address, and boom, my cupcake in a jar is on the way to me at work. I wonder if it’s from Wicked Good Cupcake?

TwitGift is a service that allows companies to send gifts to their fans on Twitter. They seem to be in a beta program right now, but this is an unusual, fantastic, amazing and wonderful way to engage an audience on Twitter. I did some research and Citrix uses this often, especially if a customer has a complaint.

Image Credit: Twitgift.me 

What amazes me is that Citrix, a tech company, sends me a cupcake in a jar for getting a trivia question right, but Publix, a grocery store, didn’t send me anything. Thanks for spoiling me Citrix, now I’m going to expect a cupcake in a jar from every trivia question I get right. Kudos to you for knowing how to engage your fans on Twitter. I’m going take a photo of my own cupcake when it arrives, post a thanks and a link to this post.

The $12, which is peanuts to a tech company, will pay dividends on the word of mouth front. This post is exhibit A of the payoff their TwitGift purchase has given them.

Honorable Mention

At every Miami Marlins home game, they run a promotion called #TweetYourSeats. They ask fans to tweet their seat location at a given time during the game. Their social media team picks a few winners and offers them “social media dollars”. The dollars can be used to purchase concessions throughout the stadium. I’ve won a few times now and it’s always fun knowing the beer I’m drinking was sourced via a tweet. Thanks social media!

 

 

These examples are fantastic ways to engage your audience on Twitter.