Facebook is Sharing Data? Shocking!

The main question I have about Facebook allowing apps to collect (and keep) user data is, “Who didn’t know this was going on?”

Seriously? You play the FB games to learn which celebrity you’re most like or what your “real” age is or what your personality IQ is, and you don’t think that someone, somewhere devised the quiz for a commercial purpose? You get asked questions about your habits, likes, and dislikes, and you don’t suspect that the software is collecting data about you for some reason?

When you click to play/answer a quiz you’re told that the app is going to have access to all sorts of your personal information, often including your contacts. You have to say, “Okay”!

Hootsuite Login ScreenPerhaps the most obvious collectors/sharers of data with Facebook  are the other websites and services that allow you sign into them using your Facebook (or Twitter or ….) accounts.

You have to agree to let them see and use at least some of your Facebook information as part of the login process. Did you think that these other sites and applications were not getting information about you and your habits from Facebook at the same time they were telling Facebook what they knew about you? Again, seriously?

Facebook — and many other social sites, games, and apps, are free. They sell ads like the free old-time television. But, they know more about you than the broadcasters who sent the same commercial to everyone in America. Apparently people didn’t expect that Facebook would use the knowledge they have to sell more ads and make more money.

Facebook has made mistakes. It said that it didn’t share information when it had, and it didn’t get back information from places like Cambridge Analytica it said it would. And, Mark Zuckerberg and others have dissembled on the topics of privacy and data sharing.

But, I worry about the uproar focusing on Facebook and the follow-on idea that you can pass data storage laws that are going to keep your information safe on the Internet. Laws and a contrite Facebook are not going to keep your views, demographics, and interests private if you publish them online. And, if you take a poll/survey/test for the fun of it, you have to expect that the hosting site is doing something with your information.

We are each responsible for determining what we want the world to know about us and we should expect others to react positively, negatively, or commercially to what we share. Frankly, I thought this was understood by all of us Internet-savvy folks including Facebook users, bloggers, and Pornhub contributors.

The New York Times published a handy list of commonsense steps you can take give yourself marginal protection on Facebook, and most of their advice applies for other sites and apps.  Read it and take their suggestions.

But, really. The outrage over Facebook’s “data breech” sounds a little like the indignation and surprise of the bordello piano player. I don’t need Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress to know what’s being going on upstairs in the rooms.

 

Is Google+ Worth the Effort?

A client found a YouTube video extolling the virtues of Google+ for businesses. He wanted to know if he should invest time and energy in setting himself up on Google+.

The video he watched is long and the people in the video are supernaturally pleased with Google+  !    If you have 43 minutes, go for it…

The clip was posted on YouTube in 2013, and the predictions for the success of G+ were not accurate.  It is not the social media place to be, if you’re only going to do one spot.  The #1 place remains Facebook and there are many contenders that I think of as equal of G+ (LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.).

In fact, for the past 9 months I have heard rumors that Google is about to announce the end of G+ as we know it. I don’t know if they will kill G+… there really isn’t a need for them to admit failure.  But, G+ failed in its intention to take the dominant position in social media. So, posting to G+ just isn’t required social media marketing.

The video also touts the instant availability in Google searches of what you post to G+. Having your comments quickly available is great, but I have seen entries in this blog and changes to HTML pages show up the same day in Google.  So, using G+ doesn’t feel like an overwhelming advantage in becoming visible.

Benefits aside, the real issue in mounting a G+ presence is the cost. One of the commentators said that you should do 30 minutes of G+ before you start your business day and another 30 minutes at the end.  I wish I had that time for social media!  Do you want to invest in that much time?  30 minutes a week taxes a lot of business owners.

So, I don’t know whether investing in G+ is worth it for small businesses.  I am not saying no, but I suspect that there is a diminishing returns. Spending a lot of time creating content just for G+ doesn’t seem logical.  Instead, create a Google+ business page that puts you on the map. Then, include G+ in the list of social media sites you feed your comments to using Hootsuite or other posting app.

If you want to do more, them commit to a limited trial period of posting with a time budget.  After 30, 60, or 90 days, do you see any increase in rankings, sales, or even engagement with clients? Let me know if the extra effort got you enough business!

Sex Sells and Facebook Knows It

Facebook Come-onI was somewhat startled when I went to Facebook to catch up with news and encountered a provocative photograph in the sidebar.

Facebook taunted me that the post they were displaying received 95% more “engagement” than the my own recent pitiful posts.  They suggested that the remedy to my isolation was to Boost Post — to pay them to display my posts in more places more frequently.

Puppy PictureWell, okay.  Maybe paying Facebook to display my posts as “sponsored” in the newsfeeds of people I don’t know would get some new people to read the Ozdachs page, like it, and buy our services.  Maybe.

But, what I really took away from Facebook’s recommendations was a reminder that sex sells.  The post that received 95% more attention was a crotch shot posted by a bar whose business page I had set up.  The client is now publishing his own posts, and I confess that I admire his talent for grabbing eye balls and getting people to LIKE the photo or click through for more information on the featured event.  He used a classic marketing technique: he used sex to get attention for his business.

I suggest to clients that we illustrate their pages/posts/hard-copy material with photographs of babies, puppies, and pretty young women.  Research shows that images of those subjects gets readers to pause and pay attention to the material.  It turns out that pictures of kittens and well-endowed young men are equally effective.

My own preference is to get users to stop and click by using pictures of adorable dogs.  They can be used in any forum, and puppies don’t risk offending the sensibilities of more traditional or conservative viewers.  Maybe the impulse to pet a dachshund isn’t as strong as the sex drive, but in my opinion a puppy is a more appropriate graphic for a business-to-business focus.

Of course, if you are attracting customers to your bar, you might focus more on sexy photographs.  Or, if you’re selling estate planning, you would be smart to load up your site with smiling babies of the inheriting generation.

In business, your task is to create an appealing image that will stand out from the crowd of messages hitting your prospective client.  Pretty women, babies, and puppies stop people from paging down or tossing your flier away without a second glace.  Give your message a chance to reach a customer.

Do what Facebook does. Let sex sell for your business!

PostRocket to Shut Down

PostRocket LogoAnother company that has tried to help automate posting to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms announced today that it’s quitting.

Postrocket is shutting down on August 15th.  This leaves HootSuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, Social Bro, and others in the field.  So, it’s not exactly like social media players won’t have any options.

But,  I had picked a favorite tool, learned it, and used it.  And, now it’s gone!

I found PostRocket affordable — something like $15/month for my purposes — and straight forward.  I had tried HootSuite on a free trial and found it very, very, very flexible. That translates to “A lot of work to learn and set up.”

But, I guess I am going back.  HootSuite is $10/month and other options for my size of business are several times more.

BTW, a good comparison of tools I found was this May, 2013 WordStream posting.

Finally, here’s the announcement from PostRocket <sniff>… notice how responsible they are to return any part of the monthly $10 that will be unused:

Hi Galen,

 

This is really disappointing to say, but I must inform you that PostRocket will be shutting down its products and services next Thursday, August 15th. Right off the bat, I’d like to ensure you that you will be refunded any remaining credits by filling this form out.

 

When we first started PostRocket, we wanted to not only help marketers like you succeed in Facebook marketing, but do so with an exceptional product and service to back it. We were never able to reach the high bar we set for ourselves. Our product had many issues and even through the down-time and bugs, you stuck with us and even became paying customers. We thank you for that.

 

We should and could have done much better in bringing you a reliable product that expanded as quickly as the landscape of Facebook marketing changed. You will be refunded any of your remaining prorated credits as of today 8/6/13 and will be able to continue using PostRocket to migrate your data or find another provider until 11:59PM PST 8/14/13, at which point all data will be erased and removed.

 

If you’re looking for an alternative service to migrate to after PostRocket, I *strongly* recommend using Facebook’s all new native Insights product. I would have never recommended using native with FB marketing, but their new product blows any other service out the water. They are rolling out this Insights product and you should expect to receive it in the next few weeks, if you don’t already have it.

 

Here’s the full link to the refund form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1g19Qb2P1DOb-_-X7Dl9fAy9570YGPsV252gkM3vs7A0/viewform

 

Again, thank you so much for being a PostRocket customer. We really do appreciate you believing in us. We wish we could have done better for you.

 

 

On behalf of the PostRocket team,

 

Tim

 

Would You Read Your Own Post?

San Francisco Internet marketer knows what grabs attentionSurfing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vines, and other sites has become an exercise in speed reading.  My little finger is getting callouses from all of its hits to the  “Page Down” key.

Whether it is newsletters I have subscribed to or a Facebook wall, I am giving everything less and less time to grab my attention.  I do appreciate a well-reasoned argument on stopping nuclear proliferation.  Really.  But, I don’t often click on a link that a friend has posted as “important” in a good-for-you way.

I admit it.  I am looking for instant gratification for my intellect, wit, and aestetic sense.  I make split-second decions on whether to skip or linger.  And, if I have to think about whether I want to read your post, it’s too late.

If I, a 59-year-old sophisticate,  am giving you a second to make me want to read your stuff, see your deal, or learn about your company, how much time do you think a  20- or 30-something prospect gives you?

Fortunately, the basics of marketing are unchanged whether the medium is a high gloss magazine or an  app that shows a photo that self-destructs in 15 seconds.  People are attracted to pretty women, puppies, and cute babies.  “Women” includes “men”.  “Puppies” includes “kittens”.  And, “children” includes “toddlers”, “children”, and sometimes even “young adults”.

Right now Facebook and other top-tier sites promote users’ photos and videos more than text links.  That’s because their metrics show that users click on those type of stories more often.

So, make sure that you remember to include lots of pictures of women/puppies/babies… or similar gut-grabbing ones… in your online activity.  I am happy to help businesses develop attention-getting photos and campaigns — just give me a shout for  professional marketing help.  Of course, you may have all the ideas and photos you need on your smart phone with its pictures from the last family vacation.