Privacy, Social Media and Mobile Devices

The original title of this was “What did you think social media meant?” But the issues we face today go beyond social media and enter into many private aspects of our lives. When, in the early 2000’s social media began to blossom, most of us were excited to be able to connect with and reconnect with family and friends both near and far. We didn’t give privacy much of a thought.

Even fairly recently a relationship initiated via a Facebook comment turned into marriage for a family member. How cool is that?

How Personal Is Your Personal Data? Is Privacy Important To You?

So let’s be clear, because our goal today is to make things more transparent, every EULA (End User License Agreement) you accept – upon joining FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. or upon setting up a new device like your iPhone or Droid – has ramifications. Ever read any of these? Nope, me neither.

So what did you agree to?

Some of the scary stuff that FB knows about you:

Open / login to your FB on a computer. Then click on settings (currently under the down arrow at the top right). Then along the left click on ads. There are a variety of things you can view here that Facebook knows about you. You can even ask FB to remove or turn off some of the items. But to get to the most personal items, click on Your Information and then on Your Categories.  Facebook knows what devices I access FB from and with what browser(s). They know my political stance. . . a whole bunch of other things I don’t think I’ll share here.

What about other social media sites? Are you on Twitter? If so, login and click on your profile photo in the top right and then click on Settings and Privacy.  On the left click on Your Twitter Data.  Some key things to review include Interests from Twitter, Apps on your devices, and Tailored audiences. One of the nifty things you can do is request an archive of every tweet you’ve ever tweeted.

Are you on Instagram? Probably the most interesting (and scary) item about Instagram is that it accesses the microphone on your mobile device by default. Whether you use a Droid or an iPhone you should be able to access the permissions in your settings. I went in to see what had access to my microphone and sure enough, Instagram was turned on. I had given Instagram permission to eavesdrop and they undoubtedly were.

So since we’re looking at devices, take out your mobile device – or devices as many have more than one. Open the settings.  On my Google Pixel (that FB knows I have), I click on Apps & Notifications then on App Permissions.  From here I can see which apps can access my camera, my contacts, my location, my microphone, my texts and more.

But to see everything that Google knows about you is probably the most alarming. Log in to your Google account and visit https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity. I log in to Chrome on my work computer. I have two Droid devices. Google tracks every app I use every time. It logs every website I visit. It knows every place I go and every place I have been stretching back to 2011. It knows where my home is.  I often speak texts instead of typing them. It knows everything I’ve said with these. It – or perhaps I should say THEY – have recordings of everything I have said to my phone. Under ad settings they list dozens of topics you like.

Some of these sites and companies allow you to remove or turn off settings to give you more privacy. Some, like Facebook, boldly tell you that turning them off might not mean you won’t get those ads anymore.

In any case we all can and should review these settings. It is your life. Take control.

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Making Connections

Your web site is a networking tool. For most organizations, whether you make stuff, sell stuff, offer services or perform some kind of service for the community (as in non-profits), your standing in the community and your connections to your community are what makes business work.

Often I talk with prospects who see their website as a completely separate entity that is somehow disconnected from their organization. This is wrong. Often it is sadly wrong.

Your website is an integral part of making connections with your community. Depending on what you do and who your market is, your web site might:

  • Reinforce your reputation: If you’ve been around for a while and you do good work, your website can reinforce that by describing jobs you’ve done (case studies), share testimonials from happy customers or even show work visually that you have done with video and pictures. These all reinforce your reputation so that as potential clients check out your website either before or after a meeting, they can get a feel for your experience
  • Generate leads: We see so many service based websites that simply describe their offerings. There is no call to action. There is no next step for the interested visitor to take. But it is often a straightforward process to add or integrate a call to action right in. We built a web site for a private school that generated, over four years, 240 concrete leads – potential students making inquiries. What would you do if you had an additional 240 customers over the last four years?
  • Communicate with customers: On the flip side, we have some customers who are so focused on using their site to generate new leads, they forget about existing leads and customers. But your web site can be a great way to communicate with people. Whether you post new information or events regularly or have logins for your customers, there are myriads of options to engage your existing customers and leads via your website.
  • 32139931 S 341X300 1Close the deal: A great way to do business. You can set it so that potential customers, as the last step in the sales process, fill out an evaluation or other form on your site and then close the deal. Closing can be as simple as filling out a form, as rewarding as collecting payment online, or as complex as creating a profile.
  • Selling stuff: Nearly identical to closing the deal, selling stuff is great. If you have a service or product that can be purchased online, handling it that way is great. Sometimes it might be as simple as putting something in your cart and checking out. Other times it might be clicking the pay invoice link in your email and going to your online payment form. Whatever works for you is great as long as you have planned your site to do this step.

So take some time today, if you haven’t already, to integrate your site into your network so it helps you grow.

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Cultivating Customer Relationships Online

One of the most difficult things for most of us to wrap our minds around is that the cyber world of Social Media Marketing works very much the same as the physical world of marketing. Relationships rule. Cultivating relationships online is not really all that different than cultivating relationships in the physical world.

We like to be remembered. We like to hear our name mentioned. We like the personal touch.

But because, in the cyber world, things CAN be automated, many people do so. I have left my Twitter direct message notification on (I get an email when someone direct messages me). Many of the people that I follow have an auto-responder on. Some of these can even capture my real name and send me a response. But the response is general and impersonal enough that I’m turned off by most.

What would be a good response? “Hey Brian, read your latest blog post. Interesting read.” That tells me you’re taking time on our relationship. I confess that I don’t do this often enough but it is taking time for REAL genuine interaction that engages people, lets them know you care, and leads to building a relationship that can turn into business.
How can you cultivate relationships online?

On Facebook:

  • Interact with fans / likers (FB has new ways they are rolling out where, they say, the Fan Page will be able to interact with users just like users can – making comments and liking other’s posts)
  • Accept friend requests and then browse through their friends to see if you have common acquaintances that you might not have connected with yet

On Twitter:

  • Take enough time to respond to followers – this is obviously important for potential customers – in a meaningful way. “Nice Tweet” isn’t particularly meaningful.
  • Follow those who follow you. I actually take time to click through to my followers profile to see who they are and what they tweet about. This would be a good time to retweet something good they’ve said, reply to a tweet or direct message them with a genuine message.

On LinkedIn:

  • If you have a good experience with someone, right a recommendation – everyone likes to have their praises sung to others.
  • Find a good group to join in – one where you can ask questions and learn and then contribute.
  • If there isn’t a group (look around first, there probably is) create your own group and invite connections to join you.

On Social Media:

  • Keep in mind that Social Media is two way communication
  • Keep in mind that folks might be hesitant to interact with your brand at first. Find creative ways to get them to start – ask your physical network to help get this started by making a comment or responding to a quiz.
  • Provide value. That means providing real content that you have created – not sharing someone else’s or simply copying other’s content (this is usually illegal as well).
  • Search out people you want to connect with – movers and shakers or even potential clients – and, once again, interact with them genuinely. Be honest about why you want to connect (I’ve been following your work / blog / Facebook page, etc and would like to connect directly).
  • Provide original content – I know I just said this but a lot of folks get hung up on this point. “I don’t have time.” “There’s nothing new in my industry” etc. I disagree. There is something unique about you as a company or individual that provides your unique selling proposition. Turn that into original content.

And I would be less than authentic if I didn’t tell you that EduCyber provides these kinds of services, whether it is helping you create a plan (Social Media Marketing Plan), setting up your accounts (Basic SMM setup), or actually implementing your Social Media Marketing plan, we can help. Give us a call at (303) 268-2245 ext. 4.
 

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Does Social Media Drive You?

I came across an article on Mashable from back in November talking about how B2B social media is on the rise.

They make some interesting points that I consistently make with clients and in presentations. Basically the point is “Create a Plan” followed by “Do some exploring to find out what works for your business”.

While there are some interesting statistics and good analysis I must disagree with the quote that says “Why not use free social media tools?” There is no such thing as a free lunch and there sure isn’t any such thing as a free tool. There is a real cost to these social media tools. That cost can be measured in time and should also be measured in $$.

It really takes a professional to make sure your Social is done right. That doesn’t mean that companies shouldn’t be engaged in their own Social Media Marketing either. I don’t change the oil on my car but I do drive it. I don’t rotate the tires on my car but I know how to change a flat when it happens. I even took Auto Shop in high school. I know enough to know I should let the experts handle my car.

In the same way, companies should rely on their Social Media Marketing company to get them set up (I don’t build cars), start the processes going (I don’t work on my car) and then show you how to “drive” (I took Driver’s Ed back in the day): what to look for, where to turn, and what to do when something doesn’t go as planned.

Setting up Social Media is easy. Just like putting a new engine in your car is easy – as long as you know where the connections go and can connect them together in just the right way. Do it wrong on your car and it won’t start or won’t run right. Do it wrong on your Social Media and you might not get any followers or actually drive people away instead of attracting them. Groupon experienced a very red face after their super bowl commercial. They were trying to attract people and instead, because they belittled the struggles of the Tibetan people, drove people away. View the ad at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXGYK1eP_wo

Of course there are different levels of Social Media Marketing as well, just like some folks drive Hyundai, some drive Fords, some drive Mercedes and others are driven around in Rolls Royces. If your company is in high gear, you might need somebody to “drive you around” in your Social Media Marketing – and there are businesses that can help you out with social media from A to Z.

And now it’s time for a little plug. EduCyber can help you whether you need help developing the plan, implementing the plan, or running the whole thing. Give us a call at 303 268-2245 to get started today.

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If the Queen can do it, so Should You

It really is time for you to get your business on to Facebook. How do I know this? The Queen of England now has her own Facebook page. Actually it is the British Monarchy but for all intents and purposes, that is the Queen.

You can do some of the many things the Queen is doing:

  • Show the world whatever you want about yourself – and being the British Monarchy, they don’t share a lot but what they do is out there for all to see.
  • Link to your Youtube account – who knew there was a Youtube account for the Queen? – and embed your videos in your Facebook page.
  • Link to your Twitter account – boy these stuffy royals sure know their Internet marketing
  • Link to your Flickr account so you can show off your pictures
  • Link to the prince’s web site. OK, so maybe there aren’t any princes associated with your business but you could link to key partners / vendors – in fact if this is done well it helps them and makes them look more kindly towards you.

If a “business” run by an 84 year old lady can get this engaged in Social Media in order to facilitate relationships and build up a public image, why shouldn’t you?

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36 Ways to Market Your Web Site

  1. Put your web site on business card
  2. Incorporate your domain name into your letterhead
  3. Buy an ad in other ezines or email newsletters
  4. Engage in online communities and make sure you include your domain where appropriate (like in your signature)
  5. Include a link to your web site in your email signature
  6. Build a corporate Facebook page and post interesting information that links back to your site.
  7. Include a link to your site in your Twitter profile
  8. Include a link to your site in your Facebook profile
  9. Include a link to your site in your LinkedIn profile
  10. Include links to your site in your Tweets where appropriate
  11. Exchange links with a related site
  12. Develop an affiliate network where others get paid to market your site.
  13. Create press releases for anything new: staff, location, service, product, etc. Be    sure to mention the web site as the source for more information
  14. Write on your blog regularly (if your blog isn’t on your web site, include links to your site in each blog entry)
  15. Create an informercial video about something relevant to your company. Upload it to video sites like YouTube. Make sure the video finished with a link to the site and that the site is mentioned in the description.
  16. Create a podcast on a relevant topic and don’t forget to mention your web site in the audio.
  17. Use email marketing (like iContact or Aweber) to regularly communicate with your customers. Include links back to your web site
  18. Write guest blogs for other sites with links in the bio back to your site.
  19. Buy an ad in the local newspaper with your domain name as a prominent part of the ad
  20. Create a TV commercial and buy some spots on local TV. Include your URL in the ad.
  21. Run a radio ad that mentions your URL
  22. Create an amusing video that highlights how your company solves problems and make sure the video links to your site. Upload it to Youtube.
  23. Share company videos that you’ve uploaded on Twitter.
  24. Share company videos that you’ve uploaded on Facebook.
  25. Create a PowerPoint presentation about something your company is good at. Include your URL. Upload this file to a site like SlideShare.
  26. Create a new award like “Best <your industry service or product> in <your area>”. Advertise it on your web site asking for submissions / nominations.
  27. Create a press release to go with this new award and send it out to news organizations, pointing them to your site for more information.
  28. Use an email blast to all your subscribers to announce the new award and point them to the site for details.
  29. Read other blogs. Engage in that community by leaving comments (with a link back to your site)
  30. Devote time to write a really good white paper on a hot topic in your industry. Provide this as an incentive on your web site for users to sign up for your newsletter.
  31. Advertise this white paper on social media sites.
  32. Post the white paper download info on sites you have access to – don’t neglect chambers of commerce and other business organizations. They’ll often share your info for free.
  33. Offer a free seminar on a popular or useful topic. Post the details on your site and then refer people to the site for details.
  34. Use social media to promote your seminar and direct people to your site.
  35. Engage in or start a group on LinkedIn regarding your industry (better to engage in existing groups) or area of expertise. Establish yourself as an authority and regularly link back from the group to a pertinent part of your web site.
  36. Blog about current events and tie them back into your topic.

 

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Factors Affecting Your Web Site Success

ъглови дивани

I went for lunch today at Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli in the Highlands area of northwest Denver. While I don’t go there frequently, I do like their food and atmosphere. But they are in trouble and they might not even be aware of it.

While eating lunch I noticed a young man photographing the street signs on the corner. “Odd behavior” thought I. After a delicious lunch and great conversation, on the way back to my car I saw another man taking a picture with his phone. It looked like he was shooting the street. Not far from him was a man on his phone and I overheard a snippet of conversation that went something like “well I want a police officer out here to look at this.”

Maybe I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but it wasn’t until I was half way back to the office that I realized someone had stuck a flyer on my rearview mirror. Only as I pulled it out did I realize that my “flyer” was actually a parking ticket. Then of course I realized why everyone else was acting odd. They too had gotten tickets.

In a tough economy it is not unusual for police departments to become more stingy in their enforcement. Today was apparently street sweeping day and if you stopped to read the small print perhaps you’ll see that on the signs (though with the way folks were behaving, maybe not).

But what happens to the stores in the Highlands area, particularly popular restaurants like Heidi’s? I can certainly tell you that I am less inclined to patronize Heidi’s again.
This is the law of unintended consequences. Something that is pretty much out of control of Heidi’s Deli is harming their business. The people who are paid to protect those businesses and neighbors are actually driving away customers.

What could Heidi’s Deli do about this? They do have some options. They could have their staff ask / warn customers about police eager to ticket. They could put signs in the doors, with warnings. They could work with the city and the police department to figure out a better way to handle parking issues. They could even put yellow tape along the part of the street that runs by their property with a warning. All of these could help their situation and make them into heroes for their customers. On this day, in this situation, they did nothing which hurts their business even more.

So what does this have to do with a blog on Internet Marketing (other than being a venue for me to vent about the DPD)? Everything. Look at your web site. What might be happening on or around your site that is driving people away just as surely as the Denver Police Department is making it clear I shouldn’t do business in the Highlands?

These factors could be things that seem out of your control but they might not actually be. Is your domain name easily misspelled? If so, people might be going to the wrong site. Unless of course you think to purchase common misspellings of your domain and capture that traffic back to your real site. Is your site hosted on a slow server? If people have to wait they simply won’t. They’ll move on to a site that is faster. But you could move your site to a faster server and keep those visitors.

Just like Heidi’s needs to be aware of factors outside of their store that could affect their business, you should be aware of and work to mitigate factors that could affect your web site.

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5 Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistakes

Everyone is joining in the Social Media Marketing blitz – or so it often seems – but not everyone is doing it well. Are you?

Here are the five biggest mistakes businesses make in Social Media Marketing:

5. Not being consistent
Some really good folks come up with a plan and start implementing it and then get distracted or busy and don’t consistently implement it. Using tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck can help you manage the flow and be more consistent.

4. Being too business focused
It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason. People want to get to know you. They want to understand you from the human perspective, not just the business side. Take some time to tell people what has your interest, even if it’s watching your daughter’s hockey game.

3. Not measuring the results
I often hear “I tried Facebook and it didn’t work.” I follow up with a “How do you know?” and get blank looks or vague answers. If you’re going to engage in social media marketing, measure your results in as quantifiable ways as possible.

2. Not following the plan
It is easy to get distracted in social media. You log on to post about your next event or a special you have coming up and the next thing you know you’re chatting with your high school football buddies or “friending” your college sweetheart. Be disciplined. Tape your plan or goals to your monitor to remind you of what you’re doing. Then follow through.

1. Not having a plan
Simple as it may seem, a huge number of businesses engaging in social media MARKETING don’t have a plan for what they want to accomplish – or their plan doesn’t fit with their business goals. I met a recently laid off individual who went on to LinkedIn and established links with 1000s of people – and he only knew about 25 of them. He asked me “What do I do now?” I had no idea what to tell him because he didn’t have a plan that he could articulate.

Create a plan that fits your business. Include measurable goals in your plan.

You’ll see results.
 

 

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Evaluating your Social Media Campaign

Question 10 of 10 Essential Questions for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign is “How do I evaluate the results?”

If you planned properly this is an easy question. At the outset you should have set a measurable goal and set a time period. So now all you have to do is, when you hit the milestone set, look to see if you reached your goal.

In our first question we talked about setting goals and what those goals might look like. The funny thing about goals though is they often change. And that’s ok. The important thing is to continually set, measure and reset your goals.  If you had said you wanted to get 200 new subscribers to your newsletter over a two month period and you hit 250 after one month, it would be a good idea to evaluate after one month and change the goal to, for example, 700.

If you only had 20 new subscribers after a month but three of them converted to customers, you might reset the goal to 50 and add a new goal of converting 10 of them to customers. But if you haven’t set a goal, how do you know if you reached it or not?

Other things you can measure as a part of your evaluation of a social media campaign include:

  • Number of Facebook fans
  • Number of re-tweets onTwitter
  • Number of profile views on LinkedIn
  • Number of views on YouTube
  • Number of click throughs from any social site to your actual web site
  • Number of new newsletter subscribers
  • Number of new customers

Note that new customers is only one measurement. And it is probably not the most important at first. Of more importance is how you engage and interact with the “friends”, “followers”, “connections” or other social media friends in order to build your network over the long term.

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Tools to Improve Your Social Media Marketing

Question 7 from 10 Essential Questions for your Social Media Marketing Campaign: ” What tools are available to make my time in SMM more efficient?” can be answered in different ways.

There are tools and then there are tools. Every day there are thousands (yes thousands) of blog entries and tweets about all the wonderful tools available to help you leverage your Social Media Marketing time to maximum advantage.

This isn’t another one of those messages. Instead, let me tell you about two that I use and point you in the direction of finding others.

The tool that I use to tie things together is Friendfeed. Friendfeed lets you tie your various social media accounts together in such a way that you can post once to one account and the post will automatically be updated across all your accounts.  What does “all your accounts” mean? Friendfeed can talk to your blog, to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to name a few. If you use pictures, it can talk to Flickr and to Picasa. If you are into bookmarking and news, it will talk to delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg and Google Reader. In fact, there are currently 58 different sites that can be tied together through Friendfeed.

That sounds a bit overwhelming.  It doesn’t need to though. You can start with just a couple and still save time by using Friendfeed. Then when you’re ready to add, you can do so and tie them into Friendfeed as you add them to your repertoire.

The second tool I use and like is TweetDeck. While it sounds like it is just a Twitter application, it actually ties into Facebook and MySpace as well, allowing you to post once but push it to all those accounts. I only use it with Twitter but even then it helps. I have a personal account twitter.com/edubrian and a corporate account twitter.com/educyber and I can post to either or both at the same time through TweetDeck.

The power of TweetDeck comes from being able to create groups. I follow more than 1400 people but it works its power even if you follow a handful. For example, you can create a group called “My Industry” and add the people from your industry into that group. You can create a group called “Customers” and add your customers to that group. And so on. The simplicity of that makes life easier and will likely encourage you to follow more people because the flow of Tweets becomes more manageable.

What else is there?

Here are just a few links I found:

42+ Social Media Marketing Tools

4 tools for easier social media management

35+ Social Media Tools That Make Life Easier

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