Is it Really Time to Deactivate Your Facebook Account?

Today’s the day that Facebook comes clean about the 87 million people whose information was compromised by Cambridge Analytica. It was a lead story on the Today Show this morning.

The current Facebook controversy reminds me of my daughter’s favorite Disney flick, “Beauty and the Beast.” The villagers storm the castle with torches and pitchforks screaming, “Kill the Beast.”

Everyday I read articles about people deactivating their Facebook accounts. The trending hashtag is #deactivatefacebook. But are we really ready to kill this beast?

According to Social Media Today, the average person spends two hours a day on social media, 35 of those minutes on Facebook. Without Facebook, we might just have to talk to each other.

But maybe it’s not about deactivating accounts. Maybe it’s more about using social media responsibly and being more cautious.

Most people have never checked their privacy settings and don’t know the policies surrounding privacy and how information is shared.

I don’t believe it’s time to abandon social media. It’s about using it more responsibly. It’s important to remember why you like it: keeping in touch with friends far away, sharing photos and celebrating with friends.

The more you know, the more you can protect yourself and your information. Take the time to review Facebook’s data policy. Find out the types of information collected, how that information is shared and how you can manage and delete that information.

This breach will have serious implications for individuals as well as Facebook. But it’s been a wake up call for everyone that we need to pay attention to what we do online and hold platforms accountable when they put profit over customer service.

Being an informed user can allow you to continue using social media while protecting yourself and your information. Maybe it’s not time to kill the Beast, but rather tame it.

7 Need-to-Knows for Social Media Marketing

I spent this weekend creating my new syllabus for my next class. A couple of years ago, I began teaching health professionals social media marketing. These individuals, mostly women, will be small business owners responsible for attracting clients in an already crowded marketplace. Most of them start with little money, major debt from school and a desire to build a business quickly. My job is to show them how to use social media to grow their business’ online presence and hopefully grow their business.

We fit a lot into this class, there are a few take aways I want the students to leave with.

1. Business social media is totally different from personal social media. Even people who have personal experience with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter don’t always know what to do when it comes to their business. It’s very different.

2. Master one platform rather than trying to post on all platforms. Each social media platform has a purpose and an audience. We examine who is their target audience and which is the right platform for that audience. Too many businesses make the mistake of trying to be on every platform and then end up not posting at all.

3. Invite your friends and family to like and share your social media marketing sites. Although they may not ultimately be your customer, they have friends who may be. It’s a quick way to grow your page.

4. You have to spend money. Although social media marketing is less expense than traditional marketing, you have to be willing to commit some funds to advertising. Advertising will raise your profile more quickly and help people learn more about what you are offering.

5. Social media advertising is more targeted. Good or bad, social media knows a lot about its users. You can put parameters around your advertising so the right people see your message. You can even download an email list into Facebook so you can target those individuals Facebook pages.

6. Social media does not necessarily lead to business, it leads to exposure. Social media is part of an overall marketing plan. There is still a place for direct mail, networking and sponsoring events.

7. Consistency is key. Having a social media platform like Facebook is a responsibility. You have to attend to it like a plant or a pet. If you choose to market through social media, then you have to post, respond to comments and review the insights so  you keep getting better.

The syllabus is complete and I am excited to be starting another in June. I love helping small business owners and future small business owners. If you have more questions, contact me kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

7 Things You Need to Know About LinkedIn Advertising

LinkedIn is still the number one site for B2B commerce.  Although many companies encourage their employees to have up-to-date profiles or have company pages, many have not ventures into LinkedIn advertising. How do you know whether LinkedIn is the right advertising vehicle for you? Here are 7 facts that may help you decide.

  1. You need to have a company page before you can advertise on LinkedIn. Even if you are not sure you will need it, claim your company page today just in case.
  2. You will need to set up a Campaign Manager account on Facebook. It’s free to set up and LinkedIn has instructions on creating ads.
  3. Compared to Facebook or Instagram advertising, LinkedIn advertising expensive.  According to A J Wilcox, LinkedIn expert, LinkedIn advertising costs approximately $6 a click, which is more than three times that of Facebook. However a customer on LinkedIn could be with hundreds even thousands of dollars in business. Be ready to to spend big.
  4. With LinkedIn advertising you can specifically target the type of company you want to do business with. You can target size, industry, location and the level of the employee.
  5. You can upload an email list into LinkedIn so that your advertisement will show up on those individuals pages. Again, if your company has a list of work email addresses, LinkedIn in the place to advertise. People rarely use their work email to sign up for Facebook.
  6. You can create lead forms for your LinkedIn advertising campaign. This can help you determine individuals who are really interested in your services.
  7. According to A J Wilcox, LinkedIn is a great way to reach the real decision makers in a company. While high level executives may delegate their email to their assistants, most manage their own LinkedIn profile. It’s a place to get noticed by the right people.

If you need help with LinkedIn or want to set up a workshop for your company, contact me. I can help you and your employees make sure you are using LinkedIn to its true potential. kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

 

What I learned at Social Media Marketing World 2018?

It’s my second year at Social Media Marketing World and the most important thing I learned is that it won’t be my last.

Social Media Is no longer the domain of Millennials posting cat videos or individuals ranting about politics, it’s big business and the changes coming will be fast and furious.

Facebook, still the grand daddy of social media, was the main topic of conversation as individuals battled over whether or not Mark Zuckerberg had declared war on marketers and businesses. With Zuckerberg’s announcement about changing the Feed to produce more engagement, marketers believed their posts would be buried and their online presence diminished. But marketers who produce content that their customers want to see and who produce real engagement, will still see their posts appearing regularly. Others will have to step up their game. By producing better quality posts and increasing ad spend, businesses will still be able to leverage the power of Facebook.

Facebook is still a viable marketing tool and according to Mari Smith, Facebook guru, it will soon be expanding. Facebook owns Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and What’s App. Marketing is going to be moving from mass markets to creating an individual user experience.

In order to do this, these platforms will be making the most of the emerging technology, bots. The topic of using bots to market was front and center, Messenger will become more and more important in the United States and What’s App throughout the World.

And what about Facebook Watch, Facebook’s answer to NetFlix and Amazon Prime. Mari Smith said marketers, particularly content generators should get ready for this to be the next big thing. This is what the next generation will be watching.

Essentially Mass Marketing is over and we have gone back to what marketing was originally, person to person. Social media can allow marketers to create an experience that speaks directly to their customers and helps them achieve their goals.

Facebook probably knows more about its users than their mothers do and uses this information for effective ad placement. The upside to this is it allows marketers to create a personalized experience, which allows a business to best maximize its time and money.

As a business, if you can solve a person’s problem or fulfill a need, they will be your customer. They will not only be your customer, they will be happy. And a happy customer is your best marketing tool.

This year bots or automatic response systems will be a marketers best friend. However, overuse of any platform can ruin a good thing. As Mari Smith said, “When marketers move in, members move out.”

If you have questions or any other blog, drop me a line at kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

LinkedIn Leverage

LinkedIn may sometimes feel like the middle child of social media — living in the shadow of the older, more established Facebook and not as dazzling or exciting as Instagram. However if you are building your professional brand or are doing a business to business promotion, then it’s the platform for you.

Why LinkedIn? LinkedIn is where everyone goes to check you out. After you meet someone at a networking event or you’re recommended to fill a position, most business people will look at your LinkedIn profile.

Look at your profile and compare it against this checklist to make sure that you have a profile that will further your career..

1) How old is your picture? Does it reflect the way you actually look? If you met someone face-to-face, would be able to recognize you by your photo. Also, no selfies. Spend a little extra money and have a professional picture taken or have a friend take the picture. If you take your own photo, pay special attention to lighting and photo composition. Make sure the remains of your lunch are not in the background.

2) What does your headline say about you? Many people simply put their current job title under their profile picture. However does that title really say anything about you? Simply putting that you are the owner of a store may not convey the message that you specialize in corporate gifts.

3) Is your profile complete? Does your profile have a complete list of your employment, education, community activities, etc.? If not, make sure you go through and complete any missing information. You never know if a piece of information may be the one that leads you to your next job or partnership.

4) Check you grammar, spelling and overall language use. It’s not only what you say, but also how you say it.

5) Is there any outdated information? If an institution has changed it’s name, make sure to identify it by its current name. Also check dates, is a prior position marked as current? All of these details make a difference.

6) Ask a friend or mentor to review your profile with a critical eye. Evaluate their suggestions and see if you should incorporate them.

LinkedIn can be a great tool to enhance your career if you take the time to update and maintain it. If you need help with your profile, contact me at kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

Social Media and the Police

Lately there has been a great deal of discussion about the negative impact of social media on individuals and society. It is like the car accident that we can’t look away from. But social media has had significant positive impact as well, especially as it relates to law enforcement.

I was recently asked to put together a course on social media for law enforcement officials. While I spend a great deal of time on social media managing company platforms for a wide range of businesses, I knew very little about how police departments across the country were using it.

For example, a friend recommended I visit the Bangor Maine Police Department Facebook page. The page does not really follow many of the rules I recommend to my clients, but they must be doing something right. The page has long, wordy posts and the visuals are mediocre at best, but they have a story to tell and with 271,000 followers, they must be doing something right.

Urban police departments are using Facebook as a hub of information for the community. There are departments that are allowing officers to make reports right from the scene of an incident so the public has the information with no media filter. Others use it to catch criminals by posting photos of crimes. The old wanted posters in the post office have been replaced by digital images online and are helping police catch criminals.

Police also use social media, particularly Twitter, to inform the public of potentially dangerous situations in real time. Giving alerts so that people know to stay away. Individuals are using it to communicate with police to inform them of potentially dangerous situation and feed them information from crimes in progress.

To say that social media is changing the way the police conduct business would be an understatement. In addition, social media has created a transparency that has forced law enforcement officials to deal with problems that had previously gone unchecked. There is an interaction between the police and the public that had not previously existed and this new relationship is just beginning.

With any form of communication, there are potential downsides including possible false posts and potential hacking issues. But by leveraging social media, the police and public are working together to reduce the crime rate and potentially identify volatile situations before they arise. Unfortunately, as with the recent Florida school shooting, this does not always happen. However, police forces around the country are getting on social media and learning to use it effectively to make you safer.

I’m excited about my upcoming project and will let you know how it goes.

Gain Control Over Your Facebook Newsfeed.

After much negative publicity during the last election, Facebook is making changes to improve the user experience. Some of these changes have already taken effect and you may have noticed a big difference in your Newsfeed.

Facebook is pushing posts into your Newsfeed that have more interaction. Posts that promote conversation. Posts that not only have likes, but also have back and forth conversation between followers.

While the idea sounds good, it may severely limit what posts you see and from whom. Family, friends and business not deemed interesting to the Facebook community will not show up in your feed. You may also find that if you belong to groups, they will be the ONLY posts you see in your Newsfeed.

However with a few changes, you can decide what you want to see by making use of some of the tools that Facebook has available to you.

The key to these changes is the “Following” button under the Cover Photo of any friend or page you have “Liked.” There is a down arrow next to “Following.” By clicking on the “See First” option from the drop down menu, you will see posts from that person or page at the top of your Newsfeed. This feature also allows you to “Unfollow” people and pages. That means that you do not have to “Unfriend” people to avoid seeing their posts. With “Unfollow,” you can still stay friends with people you care about without having to see their posts. Facebook has given you the tools to control your feed. It’s important that you prioritize what you see.

If you are seeing too many posts from groups you belong to, you can also make changes in those setting. Click on the ” Joined” button and select “Edit Notifications” from the drop down menu. You can then decide how often you see those posts in your Newsfeed.

Hopefully these changes will make your Newsfeed better for the way you use Facebook.  While I applaud Facebook’s intent, its plan is not working. To keep up-to-date on all things social media, make sure to mark ItsAllGeek2Me as “See First” in your Newsfeed.

Is this the End of Facebook Marketing?

The Facebook announcement about changes to how Business Facebook pages will show up in users Newsfeeds had rocked the social media marketing industry. In its attempt to improve the user’s experience, Facebook will be limiting the organic reach of Pages that do not have significant interaction. That interaction is not simply liking and commenting on a page. Instead, interaction will be judged by users interacting with one another. While that type of interaction does happen on some pages, it is more challenging to garner.

Therefore, to make it simple to understand, NO ONE WILL SEE YOUR PAGE. With space on Facebook at a premium, this change serves two ends. It will theoretically make users happier and second it will increase revenue for Facebook as companies will have to increase advertising to be seen.

So what can you do?

It’s really difficult to know how this will affect pages until its implemented and how to counteract it, but there are still some common sense approaches that should assist you.

  • Ask Loyal Followers to mark Your Page — Encourage your followers to mark your page as See this first By changing these preferences, they will never miss a post and it will increase your page’s reach.
  • Employee interaction — More than ever, it is important to ask employees to engage with your page. They must actually go to your page to interact or set as “See This First” because it may not initially show up in their newsfeed. They should not only like and comment, but also interact with each other.
  • Share to Your Personal Page —  Even though we talk about keeping professional and personal separate, that line will blur with these changes. Share posts to your personal page to increase interaction.
  • Increase advertising budget — There will be even more of a need to advertise on Facebook since organic reach will be non-existent for many businesses.
  • Branch out to other platforms — It may be time to devote less time to marketing on Facebook and review other options. Instagram is growing everyday and with an optimum market for many businesses (individuals under 35 with discretionary income) adding this platform may be a good option. It may also be a good time start exploring videos and leveraging YouTube.
  • Post Content Your Followers Want — What posts create interaction? Review the interaction history on your page and determine what types of posts cause people to engage. Those are the types of posts that you need to focus on. Make sure you have the content people want to see and they will be more likely to seek you out.
  • Keep Following Me — I promise to make sure you have the most up-to-date information on how these changes will affect your business.

If you have questions, send them to kparis@itsallgeek2me,org.

Thank you to Michael Stelzner for clarifying this information in the following video:

 

Your Business’s Social Media Resolutions

It’s January and everyone is making resolutions. Lose weight? Stop smoking?

In fact, some people have already given up on their resolutions.

However, business owners need to take resolutions more seriously. Resolutions are important milestones that help you grow your business. Maybe using the word goals rather than resolutions will give them more credibility.

When it comes to social media, goals are necessary to ensure you are spending your time wisely. If your new to social media start slowly and check out these tips.

1. Choose one platform and do it well. Provide useful information with great visuals.

2. Post consistently. It’s the most important thing you can do. How often depends on the platform you choose. Post every week throughout the week at different times. Check your statistics to see if there seems to be an optimum time for your audience.

3. Be clear as to what are you trying to achieve. Are you trying to increase the number of people who like your page? Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Once your goals are clear it will drive your social media philosophy.

4. Be prepared to spend money on ads and set a budget. The great part about social media is that you don’t need a large budget to make an impact. Many local businesses can spend less than $100 a month. In addition, social media advertising can be targeted to the people you are trying to reach based on gender, age, interests and location.

5. Remember you are part of a community. Share posts of other local businesses and posts from local organizations. It’s a great way to build good will in the community.

Let 2018 be the year you begin or improve your social media presence. Need more information? Contact me at kparis@itsallgeek2me.org and check out my social media profiles @itsallgeek2me on Facebook and @itsallgeek2mekp on Twitter and Instagram.

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