With the increasingly “open” timeline and sharing features Facebook has recently updated, many users are finding that their sense of privacy on the site is slipping away.
As much as Facebook is a social sharing site, which is specifically designed to allow users to share comments, photos and links with their online friends, you do have to question whether it is really necessary for your entire life story – with to-the-minute updates on everything you do – to be posted out to every Tom, Dick and Harry on the site.
People can see everything you read, listen to and watch as many apps you have will be linked up to your Facebook and will post updates to the site automatically – unless you have bothered to turn this feature off.
The default timeline now shows people what (sometimes slightly cringe-worthy) status you had on your wall this time last year, alongside photos of fashion malfunctions which you would rather had stayed hidden somewhere deep in an old album and now-awkward lovey dovey comments from THAT ex who you have since been trying to forget.
So, how can you impose more privacy on your Facebook page and avoid some of these “Did I really say that in public?” moments? Here are some options to help you bump up the privacy settings on the site.
Be aware of what Apps have access to your Facebook
When you download an app it will ask you if want it to automatically update your Facebook page with its news. Think carefully about this as you need to be sure that you really don’t mind people seeing your posts from this app; as if you have secretly been playing Farmville on the bus of a morning, this may not be quite so secret once you’ve given that app access to your Facebook page.
If you do decide to give an app access to post on your Facebook wall then you may want to control who sees your activity from this app. You can select the people who this post is visible to by clicking the “This activity is visible to:” icon and making your selections from there. From here you can chose if the post goes Public to everyone, just to your Friends or a specific Friend List. By selecting the “Custom” option you can even block certain people from seeing your activity, and you can make it so that the post only appears to you.
Apps no longer need to ask your permission to share each individual post, however, and most apps will only ask you the first time that they try to connect and then will just automatically update whether you want them to or not. If you access that individual app “Settings” page you can update this feature from there.
The Facebook Timeline
If you don’t want the world and it’s missus to see all of your old status updates, bad hair styles and cringey comments from the minute you first joined Facebook, you need to alter the Timeline settings on the site.
You can delete individual stories for you Timeline by selecting the drop-down menu and choosing the “Hide from Timeline” option. To restrict the visibility of your entire Timeline, you need to go to your privacy setting page and use the “Limit the Audience” options for past and current posts.
Build Safe Lists
There’s one final feature to consider which could save you a lot of hassle, especially when it includes the likes of work colleagues or your parents. These could be two groups of people to whom pictures of boozy nights out and any other slightly embarrassing content should be kept away from at all cost – for the sake of your sanity more than anything else.
By creating groups of people from certain areas of your life – such as work colleagues or family members – you can stop them from viewing certain content on your Facebook, and keep new updates hidden from them as well.
Go to the homepage and select the “Lists” option located next to the News Feed. From there you can create a list of people who you want to keep away from certain content simply by adding them to a safe list. Problem solved.
As great as the new Facebook is, some people just won’t be happy with sharing everything in their lives all over the site so hopefully these few tips will help eradicate some of the privacy issues some of you may be having.
Every move you make in a marketing campaign should be designed to accomplish one of several goals; inform, connect, brand, serve and/or sell. The Internet has made customer interaction more personal than ever. Prior to the advent of instant online communication, talking with a company could take weeks as letters travelled back and forth through the mail. Now, communication is instantaneous and if a company takes more than a couple of days to respond to a request, it loses the opportunity to respond directly to a customer. Even if subsequent communication occurs, the immediacy is lost, and the customer will no longer feel as important. Thankfully, the Internet provides several alternatives to the plodding envelope.
A periodic newsletter is a great way to keep customers updated on what is happening within your company. Industry news and news specific to your business should be answered here. It is also a great place to post customer feedback and question and answer sessions. If you routinely answer customer questions in this section, you give customers a public place to air their concerns. This allows them to see how important they are to your company.
Business can be very impersonal, so it is important to be more than a faceless company. Every action you take needs to develop a connection with consumers. By creating an e-newsletter that is rich in detail about the people that make your company great, you give customers the connection they look for and build a lasting relationship.
Branding your company is one of the best things you can do to create simple and effective advertising. An e-newsletter is a great place to have contests regarding logo creation and ad slogans. Provide consumers with the information about your company’s goals and achievements and invite them to participate in the process. This connects them, while simultaneously helping to develop your company’s brand image.
No matter the industry, the first priority should be to serve your clientele. Even if you are in a direct sale business, where you market products rather than services, there are still plenty of opportunities to serve your clientele. Product testing and honest reviews go a lot further than many businesses realise, and an e-newsletter is the perfect place for this type of information. Small how-to guides can also be included to better serve customers.
While all marketing is ultimately designed to sell, in an e-newsletter it should be a very soft sale. Instead of selling directly, the entire newsletter should speak to the customer about the value of dealing with your company, by providing valuable content. At no point should you simply inundate them with sales speeches.
An e-newsletter gives you a great forum for marketing directly to customers and soliciting responses. The best part about them is that they are very inexpensive to produce. No company has a marketing budget that is too strapped for an e-newsletter. If you don’t already produce one, start today!
Exploring different online marketing strategies with an emphasis on social media is an essential part of modern business models. However, jumping into advertising without having a clear brand is a recipe for disaster. Company branding is the single most important part of any advertising campaign. Without a clear idea of what your brand is meant to be, it is impossible to create a cohesive advertising campaign. A brand concept should be able to be conveyed in a single image by incorporating the logo, a tagline and a single powerful image. Business owners should be very familiar with this concept, since it is reminiscent of banner advertising. Everything must be outlined clearly, so the entire business concept can be seen in a single glance.
Create a Cohesive Concept
The first step in developing a cohesive advertising campaign is creating a clear image for your business model. In order to establish this concept you must define the message you want to convey, your corporate values, what makes your business unique, displays your personality and shows what you have to offer. When all of these elements come together, it is similar to a collage where many different images are collated to create a new complete picture.
Communicate the Concept to Clients
Once you have all of the elements defined, you must decide how to put them in front of your client. Before you decide on a final method of communication, you must determine the demographic that you are appealing to. Demographic does not necessarily mean age, sex, marital status or any number of other surface things that can be used to break down a group of people. In this instance, demographic refers to whatever your customers have in common. The advertising concept must appeal to that aspect of your clientele.
Advertise to Impress at a Glance
Most advertisements have only seconds to capture interest online. Once your business has clarified its total concept, you can begin designing an advertisement that shows the entirety of your brand in one complete image. By incorporating your logo and a line or two of text along with an expressive image you can create an advertisement that will generate clicks. Not only will people respond better to cohesive advertising, they will also be more likely to remember your company and associate it with the values you consider most important.
Fractured advertising creates unpredictable responses. Branding your company creates the basis upon which advertising is formed. If your company does not have a defined corporate image, a brand, it will not be able to create truly effective advertising in any sphere.
In previous articles we’ve explored a variety of ways to successfully market a business online. Social media, video marketing, search engine optimisation and blogging have all been discussed. Now, it is time to get a little more in detail about blogging and how to incorporate it into an overall marketing strategy. Below are some suggestions to build cross traffic between your blog, Facebook page and website.
Offering a free item to thoughtful commenters is a great way to get more people active on your blog. This method also translates well to social media. The goal of this type of direct marketing is to build a relationship with consumers. By introducing a new product or service on your blog and offering a free item to a contest winner or commenter, you can bring in additional people, encourage re-tweets and forwards on your blog post. Plus, if the winner enjoys the product or service you get a customer testimonial to use for advertising.
2. How-To Classes
When you offer a product on your website, cross promotion provides the most exposure, so when a new product is introduced you may want to mention it on your Facebook and then create a short guide on the best ways to use the product. Post a link to the blog on your Facebook along with a link back to the website for purchasing information. The benefit of including the information in different ways on each medium is that you gain the most exposure. People that are already interested can simply click through and make a purchase, and those interested in learning more can visit the blog post to see the product in action.
3. Industry News and Reports
Keeping people up-to-date on exciting news in your industry is a great way to keep them engaged. New products are developed all the time, and the constantly changing technology makes news fresh and interesting to potential customers. New applications for older technology are also great things to report on.
4. Company News and Celebrations
Let people know about the good things happening in your company. Beating a sales record is something you should share with customers along with a special offer in honour of their support. Birthdays and family additions are also something people are interested in. Don’t just give readers dry information; give them personal news that makes them feel connected.
Make your blog a place people go to keep up with your company personally, find out the latest industry news and participate in fun, and sometimes lucrative, contests. The more you encourage interaction, the more page views you will get.
Google released its Google Wallet mobile payment system this week, which works with Citi-Mastercards and the Google Prepaid Card, meaning that you can make a payment simply by tapping or waving your phone over one of the PayPass systems located at your point of purchase.
This is very similar to Barclays Contactless debit and credit cards, which you can swipe over the traditional chip and pin machine to make a payment, but the Google Wallet features a fantastic new element called SingleTap – which combines users’ coupons, loyalty cards and the payment method all in the one tap.
By downloading the Google Offers app (which allows you to browse the latest deals available to you) directly to your Google Wallet you can make a payment with your chosen payment method, apply a coupon you’ve saved and add the purchase to your loyalty card for that particular store or outlet.
Although the process appears to be seamless and a great alternative to carrying around a purse or wallet full of different cards, Google Wallet will only work if you have the screen on and the phone unlocked. Plus, if you haven’t used your Google Wallet for a while you will be asked to enter your unlock code before you can use it again. Also, as there are only certain types of cards which can be tied into the Google Wallet process, it doesn’t guarantee that your card will work with the system.
As with any wireless payment method, Google has a good deal of security in place to prevent fraud, and they have also added an extra layer of protection for your Google wallet with their Secure Element which works with standard smartphones.
Privacy is another big issue with the Google Wallet, as many people wouldn’t like the idea of Google knowing what they were buying – so the good news is that for now Google does not keep track of local transactions made with your Google Wallet. So if you look at your Wallet history you will only see a date, and amount and an approximate location, which only you can view.
The one main critique which comes from this privacy issue is that receipts are still given in paper versions to you at the till, the receipts for your purchases are not yet stored within the Google Wallet app.
Once more big name financial institutions come on board with this system I can see Google Wallet really taking off, and this is sure to be the start of big changes in the mobile technology industry – that much is clear to see.
As we have discussed, including social media as part of your online marketing campaign is critical to getting the maximum exposure for the least amount of money. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter are all great resources for online marketing. Once you have become established in these arenas, it is time to consider a blog as well. While a blog is not strictly a social media, it does have a lot of the same elements through the comments option.
What is a Business Blog and How to Get Started?
For those not familiar with the world of the blogosphere, a blog is very like an online diary. When a business hosts a blog it is important to have one person write the content and it is a good idea to post their picture as well. Blog topics should include industry news and events along with daily activities. A blog is a great place to discuss changes and advancements with potential customers. Blogs should be updated on a regular schedule, preferably daily, but not less than weekly. Starting a blog is incredibly easy, and it can be incorporated into an existing website. The topic choices are endless, since it can (and should) cover both things specific to your company, like new sale offerings, and industry wide information, like regulatory changes.
Building Loyalty and Providing Expertise
A blog is a great way to connect with customers by providing information about the industry you represent. If you offer accounting services, blogging about the different types of book keeping services and financial tracking you provide can show people what you do. It also gives them an in-depth look at different aspects of accounting. By showing your expertise and responding to comments, you generate a sense of trust in potential customers. Providing the latest industry news helps keep them engaged and interested in the services you provide. Hair stylists might post pictures with the latest fashion trends, while hardware stores might talk about new power tool options. Regardless of the topic it is important to always post information that is current and that shows a depth of knowledge that you would expect from an expert.
Using a blog to expand social media marketing campaigns should be next on your list. Much like social media sites, blogging puts you in direct contact with a wide variety of potential customers. You have the opportunity to get their attention and prove your expertise. When customers acknowledge you as an expert in your field, they will be more likely to choose your company the next time they need yoru product or service.
Consumers enjoy watching video that much is clear, witness the success of the magic box, also known as the television. What consumers hate about television is the commercials. You have probably already considered adding some video content to your website, but have you thought about adding it to your email blasts, as well? Video is much more likely to generate a click thru than any other email content. However, there are some things to remember about creating video marketing content for online distribution.
Keep it Informational, No Hard Sales
Consumers enjoy watching video content, but commercials are something to be endured or tolerated. Don’t put a commercial in your email blasts; it works against your marketing efforts. Instead, take the opportunity to teach customers about solutions that may help them. Consumers are more interested in researching products before purchasing than ever before. The availability of information via online sources allows consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. You must ensure that your videos educate consumers, not only about your company or products, but about solutions to problems they experience. Keep video content focused on customer needs, rather than company sales directives. Video content needs to be used thoughtfully to build customer relationships.
Make an Emotional Appeal
Videos naturally trigger reactions that help develop trust, and including emotional content in the video will increase the potential impact. Your video should talk to customers about problems they face and potential solutions. The emotion should come out at the end, and connect with your brand. By helping customers determine what they need or want, and by appealing to their emotions, you generate potential sales. Including video content may not be something that you can do internally, so hiring a marketing company can help your business with the necessary production elements.
Email blasts are included in most marketing campaigns, and companies should always be on the look out for new ways to improve read rates. Email blasts are still popular because they are cheap to produce, but they do not have the best success rate. Many emails have a less than 10% read rate, which means that any strategy that can up that number is incredibly valuable. Video content embedded in emails can increase read rates by up to 500%. Make sure that your company is staying at the front of the marketing wave, so that you get the most benefit from your marketing efforts.
Online video is a growing advertising strategy. More often than not, when you use a search engine to find information, on the first page you will see a links to videos about the keywords. People enjoy watching videos, and will often linger longer on pages that include this type of content. Text is important, particularly for search engine optimisation, but adding additional types of communication is important as well.
What Kind of Videos Should You Film?
The first thing many people ask, after they realise the huge potential in online video advertising, is what kind of video they should post? Never film a direct advertisement. People are used to dealing with ads and tune them out or click away from the page. The goal is to keep people there longer, not drive them away. When you are looking for video content, think about questions your customers ask and build a video that answers questions or provides information. Don’t tell people all about how your service can work for them, instead give examples of problems people face and solutions. Provide step by step guides on how to fix customer issues, and establish your company as credible in your market niche. How to guides are incredibly popular and can help you increase your email list and viewership.
What Does it Cost?
After deciding on the topic for a video production, the next consideration is cost. Producing a video can be very inexpensive or it can cost tens of thousands of dollars. A business does need to produce something that is watchable, relatable and interesting, but they don’t need Hollywood quality or style. YouTube and other online videos are generally poor quality, so filming should be done in high resolution to show consumers you are serious, but an entire production company is unnecessary. You may want to bring in someone to help with a script and editing should be done by a professional. Actual filming can be done in-house, without needing to hire a videographer. In fact, many YouTube videos are produced using simple web cams. While a business should use something a little more high tech to get the clear picture quality desired, a commercial camcorder is not required. This can help keep the costs down, and the quality high.
Including a video is a great way to introduce a company to new visitors. A welcome video is always a nice touch, and a few how to guides can really help make the personal connection. When a customer sees that your company is willing to provide its expertise, free, in video format, it builds the trust needed to help generate sales.
One of the facts of the Internet is that it has made communication between consumers more prevalent than ever. There are now a range of online sites that are there only to review businesses. Businesses that don’t have an online presence can be affected without even realising it. Before making a large purchase or booking a restaurant or hotel for a special evening, consumers have started looking for online reviews. Businesses that aren’t online have no way to react to that type of customer communication, whether positive or negative. It is important for businesses to monitor what is said online about their companies. Here are some basic strategies for responding to online criticism.
If you don’t know that someone has written a negative review, you can’t pursue resolution methods. It is important to regularly run searches for mentions of your business name. You should also check all the most common review sites to ensure that no negative feedback has been left. All the positive feedback in the world can have less effect than one coherent negative comment. There are online monitoring services available for businesses that don’t have the capacity to monitor internally. A business owner should consider a subscription if they are not able to maintain monitoring.
Respond to Negative Feedback
It is inevitable that there will be customers that were unhappy with a product or service at some point. No matter how good your customer service is, there are difficult customers that can be impossible to please. When those customers leave negative feedback about your company it is important to address it in the same forum. After you have responded, it is critical to remove the resolution from a public forum. Keep further contact out of the public eye. Email, phone or in person communications are better at this point. If your company and the unhappy customer reach a positive solution, go back to the original negative feedback and post the happy outcome. Encourage the newly satisfied customer to do the same.
Never Get Involved in a Flame War
No matter how good your company is, there will always be people that complain. Responding in a caring and professional manner is the only option for online criticism. If you have already made the resolution efforts available and the customer is still not satisfied, at least other customers will see that your company cares enough to respond. Always respond calmly and professionally, and never inject additional tension into the situation.
Make your business the best it can be and you will see that negative criticism is relatively rare. As long as you run a clean, honest establishment that puts customers first, you will find that the positive reviews will far out weigh the negative.
When you see a product that has gained incredible market share it is a good idea to evaluate their marketing efforts for ideas that you can apply to your company’s strategies. In recent years, one of the most amazing success stories is Facebook and Facebook games. Looking at these games and the way they effectively market to the consumer can give you tips on ways to make your product more accessible.
Successful Facebook games generate tons of sales, but how do they do it? What makes them go viral and how can my company do the same?
Most Facebook games have several marketing techniques in common.
They Are Free To Play
While many people do spend money on the games themselves, they are totally free to most users. The free play options or slower play that is offered on a free basis is enough for most people. The bottom line is, how much time do you really have to spend playing games anyway? By offering free play and real time play, they convince people to log in regularly. The more people log in, the more likely they are to buy from affiliate advertisers.
If your company offers some kind of free service, people are more likely to regularly visit your website. Information is often the best type of free give-a-way for a business. Articles, how-to guides, seminars and other informational pieces can get people coming back time and again. The information should be industry specific, and well researched, so that customers are actually getting the expert advice they seek.
Solid information will get cross-posted and forwarded, generating marketing opportunities that are totally free for your business. This is the basic process of going viral. Once your freebie informational pieces go viral, you get leads that can turn into sales.
Service Users Market Facebook Games
Another strategy that Facebook games designers like to employ is the “post your achievement” option. When players post achievements to their wall, their friends will see it and it can act as a reminder. Seeing another’s achievement can remind someone how enjoyable the game is and convince them to login. If they have never played and are unfamiliar, it shows them an entertainment option they might enjoy. After all, when a friend posts a high score or special achievement, most people want to see how they match up. A little healthy competition can go a long way in generating user driven marketing opportunities.
You, also need to find ways to get information about your products or services out to the general public. Contact information brokers that send out e-newsletters or email blasts. Many of them are looking for information to include, and you are more than happy to provide them with content since it turns into free marketing for your company. Rewards for referrals can be another great tactic. On Facebook the referral system is automatic, but you need to find other methods to generate referrals. A great way to convince current customers to bring in referrals is to offer a discount or free item or service for each referral they bring in. A contest where the person who brings in the most referrals receives a large-ticket item can get the competitive juices flowing.