Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Facebook Profiles vs. Facebook Fan Pages for business use

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Many people think that Facebook is just Facebook! Wrong! When used properly, Facebook can be a fantastic social media tool for businesses. Unfortunately many companies (people) do not realise that there is a certain way to go about using Facebook as a platform for business.

The difference between Facebook Profiles and Facebook Fan Pages

Using Facebook on a personal capacity (Facebook Profiles) is extremely different to how businesses should be using the platform. Facebook Fan Pages offers a vast range more to companies and is in fact beneficial to their ranking on Google. Most businesses do not necessarily see the value in using Facebook and other social media for their business because they do not understand the benefits.

SEO

Facebook can easily be integrated into an Search Engine Optimisation Strategy and what many people do not realise is that Facebook Fan Pages are indexed by search engines whereas Facebook Profiles are not. This means that you are maximising exposure online. Companies who use Facebook Profiles are at a distinct disadvantage in this case because the only people who will be able to view the page, are friend.

It’s “illegal”

Facebook has strict guidelines which clearly state that no business is legally allowed to create a Facebook Profile. Should the Facebook gurus pick up on this, they will terminate the account. Facebook Fan Pages have been specifically designed to offer companies an effective social media space.

There are numerous other reasons as to why companies should be using Facebook Fan Pages instead:

  • Facebook Profiles only allow for 5000 friends (this is limiting)
  • Inviting “friends” to a Facebook Profile is in essence spamming the person, whereas with Fan Pages, “fans” willingly “like” the page. This makes a huge difference in the quality of follower
  • Sending people information without them subscribing to it, will soon be legal in online/ direct marketing

The safest and most beneficial avenue to take when taking on social media is the right one. Once the Facebook Fan page has been set up and it starts attracting fans to it, there are numerous benefits that businesses should never ignore:

  • Great way to get to know what your target market wants (Insights)
  • Interact with your customers/ target market (this often leads to increased customer loyalty)
  • Direct more traffic to your site
  • Improve your SEO

Fan Pages are an ideal marketing vehicle for businesses to utilise. The trick is to always keep content fresh, current and to interact with those who have joined the page.

Facebook Timeline Apps.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Facebook Timeline has been around for a while now, worldwide (available on Mobiles too) and it’s already offering more to the user.  It wasn’t going to be long before we were able to dress our Facebook Timelines up and make them even more personal. It was promised after all, that Facebook Timeline would be able to “tell your story”.

Facebook Timeline Apps have arrived and give Facebook users a chance to share their interests and activities with their friends. There are literally hundreds of Facebook Timeline Apps that are available to add. These range from travel, cooking and scrap booking to fitness and news.

Facebook Timeline Apps give Facebook users the chance to personify their profile and make it unique to their personal interests. By adding as many apps as desired, Facebook Timeline users are able to build up a personal portfolio of interests.

So what do I do once I have added an App?

Facebook Timeline Apps create a platform for Facebook users to interact with others who share in the same interests. It is a great way of sharing recipes, workouts, reviews and ideas. The benefit of Facebook Timeline Apps depends on the App itself and the amount of interaction the user has with it.

Once the App has been added, Facebook users are able to delete posts that appear in their Timeline Feed. It is also possible to control who can see the Timeline App and your activity on it. This is done through the personal settings which are edited through the Activity Log.

Share, discover and learn! Facebook is certainly encouraging more and more interaction! Find a Facebook App that you can enjoy.

Facebook Timeline: the evolution of online socialising

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

We’ve been hearing about it for a while and it has finally been released publically, well in New Zealand at least. Facebook Timeline may one day be the default setting for all Facebook users, however in the mean- time it will slowly become available in various parts of the world. If you would like to enable Facebook Timeline now however, you are able to, in a few simple steps.

Facebook Timeline is in essence, a collection of items that Facebook already allows you to post up on your profile. Photos, videos, posts and other experiences appear in a chronological order. At first, your Facebook Timeline may appear to be rather “incomplete” but over time, as you fill it up and add more to it, a “story of your life” will start developing. Your friends will be able to add pictures etc. to your Facebook Timeline, as they may currently do on your Facebook profile.

Facebook first announced that they would be releasing Facebook Timeline, back in September. With its sudden release in New Zealand, it shouldn’t be too long before all South African Facebook users get to play around with it, if you haven’t already enabled it.

Allowing you to document a “timeline” from your date of birth to present, Facebook Timeline is allowing Facebook users to engage with their friend’s online scrapbook, whilst enjoying the ease of a well- designed interface. Facebook Timeline users will be able to get creative with their profile page and cover photo, a new feature that allows a personalised image at the top of the page.

We certainly think that this is an exciting step in the world of social media. Facebook Timeline shows us that there really are no restrictions to how creative and exciting a Facebook profile can be. Who knows what they will do in the future or how other social media platforms will evolve in time.

Social Screening: the online FBI

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Gone are the days when a great CV and interview were enough to get a job. Most companies are taking advantage of social networking platforms to screen (social screening) potential employees and to get a deeper understanding of who they are.

There are over 535 million social networking users across the world. These users have one or multiple accounts across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Any company looking at hiring new staff, looks for the most qualified and talented people as possible candidates. This is where social screening is an effective method.

Facebook is the ideal platform to investigate further into a person’s character and personality, whilst Twitter identifies a person’s interestsetc. LinkedIn offers a more professional insight into who the person is, as well as their working history.

With companies using social screening to find out more about the people they consider hiring, potential employees should consider “cleaning up” their social media accounts. According to mindflash.com there are 5 ways of ensuring you never get hired, based on social screening:

  • Digital dirt (inappropriate images)
  • Terrible Troll (swearing and adding annoying commentary to blogs posts etc)
  • Big Mouth (negative comments about previous employers etc)
  • Numerous contacts and comments (having inappropriate contacts and participating in inappropriate conversation with them)
  • Being constantly negative (never posting positive comments etc)

Although there are ways to limit the amount of information people are able to view on a personal account, being cautious about what content appears on the social media platform is the safer bet.

Numerous recruitment agencies and companies use social screening to head hunt a potential employee. However social screening is also used to dismiss staff. Although using social screening may take time and possibly cost money (Facebook Ad’s, etc) many companies find it to be the better long term option when trying to find the ideal employee to fill a position. Using social screening also increases the candidate pool.

With social media becoming more and more useful to businesses, it is important to ensure that the content that is visible to the public, compliments who you have said that you are in your CV, etc. Especially if you are looking for a new job.

Social Media Strategy Info-graphic

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

As Social Media becomes more and more entrenched in marketing strategies around the world; we need to be sure that we know how to use it. This is a short info-graphic which touches on the 3 main social media networks that businesses are using in their social media strategies.

An info graphic showing social media usage

Twitter

Twitter is a social network with a business edge, that is used to share and push information across to a select group of followers. Followers on Twitter are those people who have committed to receiving communication from you on a regular basis in the form of a tweet (140 characters of information) which needs to be compelling enough to entice the reader to click on a link within the tweet and engage further. There are currently over 55 000 registered South African Twitter users with over 1.5 million tweets a month. There is no opportunity to advertise on Twitter at the moment.

Facebook

Facebook is a social network that is primarily used for exactly that, staying in contact with your friends and their daily activities. Facebook however does allow for businesses to have a Page which people can like of become friends of. These pages get a fair amount of traffic, but it is very important to ensure that your business is right for Facebook as very often a business might not have its primary audience on a platform such as Facebook nor will its ideal clientele want their friends to know that they are making use of its services (ie – private investigators, debt councilors). Facebook does allow businesses to advertise their products or services and these adverts can then click through to either the businesses Facebook page or a specific landing page on their website. There are currently over 3.76 million South African users on Facebook with the greatest percentage of them being between 18 and 30 years of age.

LinkedIn

Linked in is a decidedly business orientated social network. There is little social interaction between users even though you can integrate it with your Facebook and Twitter accounts, being social for socials sake is not its primary focus. LinkedIn is for keeping in touch with business professionals who can either be potential or current clients. There are currently over 1.1 million LinkedIn users in South Africa and this makes it the largest network focused on professional individuals with the largest demographic being users between 25 to 35 years of age. LinkedIn allows businesses to showcase their products and services and have these recommended by their customers. Advertising is also available and users can then click through to a specific page determined by the advertiser. LinkedIn can be an excellent platform to contact potential customers as a platform to initiate communuication.

When looking at which networks to use from a business point of view; a combination is definitely the approach, rather than a mere single focus option. Each network has their own nuances and intrinsic benefits and each should be explored in turn.

Bing and Facebook’s Popularity Contest! And why Google will win

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Bing and Facebook Social Search AnnouncementIt was announced last night that the social media giant Facebook, would be sharing the social context of its information database with the search under-dog, Bing. In other words, Bing will now know what every Facebook user “Likes”. Bing announced that it would be incorporating this information into its search algorithm to help increase the relevancy around its results.

An example of how this would work would be: if you search for hotels in Johannesburg, and your friend Jack has “Liked” the Nicol hotel in Bedfordview, Bing would give this more preference in the search engine results. Your friend’s name would also appear alongside the listing stating that he/she liked this hotel.

Popularity vs Relevance

While this does provide another level of intelligence to the search algorithm, is it not one that doesn’t really matter? Does this new addition not measure popularity over relevance?

Relevance: Relevance is a term used to describe how pertinent, connected, or applicable something is to a given matter.

Popularity: The quality or state of being popular; especially, the state of being esteemed by, or of being in favor with, the people at large

In short, are they not just making it more difficult for the potentially relevant under-dogs (less popular) businesses, ideals and people to be found high up in the search results pages? Just because I liked an article doesn’t necessarily mean I found it particularly useful or relevant. I could have just “Liked” that article as it was someone I admired who posted it. Once again, this proves that people with many connections and friends will have the upper hand in getting their content “Liked” and displayed higher up in the SERPS.

By using the “Like” button as a guide we are placing a lot of trust in our “circle of friends”. If I’m looking for something technical, who is to say my friends are well versed in the technology that I’m looking for.

Google has spent years refining its search algorithm and fine tuning it in to what is today, a highly relevant set of results. Granted, Google is going to have to find an answer to Bing’s heightened social search. But I highly doubt that Bing’s 10% market share of search is going to keep the developers and mathematicians at Google awake at night. Not to mention that in the announcement they said that 4% of their searches were of a social nature (searching for people). If this is their target market for this algorithm update is it really worth all the hype?

Next Step

If they are truly trying to measure relevance, then surely the next step would be to have the long awaited “Unlike” button. If we are just measuring what people like, as apposed to their likes and dislikes, are we not only looking at one side of the coin? Surely these results will be skewed as they are far more things in Facebook that have not been liked than the ones that have. Again this goes back to our initial thoughts on popularity versus relevance.

Irony

Ironically this article is highly relevant in terms of the Bing and Facebook announcement. Does that mean if no one “likes” this article, does that mean that it is not relevant in the eyes of Bing?

Written by: Nick Duncan and Jonathan Houston

Facebook Places – The ultimate stalking tool

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Yesterday, Facebook announced the release of Facebook Places, a strikingly similar application to that of Foursquare (They even use the same lingo!). Facebook places allows you to share your current location with your friends, and the rest of those people you have added on your Facebook account to look “cooler as ekke”. Once you share your location, you can then add a comment along with it to let your friends know what you think of the place you are visiting.

“Places is a Facebook feature that allows you to see where your friends are and share your location in the real world. When you use Places, you’ll be able to see if any of your friends are currently checked in nearby and connect with them easily. You can check into nearby Places to tell your friends where you are, tag your friends in the Places you visit, and view comments your friends have made about the Places you visit. Use Places to experience connecting with people on Facebook in a completely new way.”

Facebook Places makes use of W3 geolocation functionality thats already built into your iPhone or Blackberry and lets Facebook know where you at any time (and you thought Facebook facial recognition was scary). This opens up a multitude of possibilities both good and bad.

The good.

As I mentioned in one of my posts a couple of days ago, the marketing potential of an application such as this is immense. Your business can run specials that only apply to users that “check in” to your store using Facebook Places. These specials have more of a chance of becoming viral than your average Facebook fan page update. If marketing is not your style, its still cool to know where your friends are at.

The bad.

As with any technology that is released in today’s times, there are those people (if I can call them that) that make use of  it for ulterior  motives. If you havent done so already, enforcing  your own and your family’s correct privacy settings should now be top of your list of things to do.  Not sure on how to set up your privacy settings correctly, check this article.

The “unfortunate”.

Facebook Places has only been launched in the United States for now. When it will become available in South Africa is anyones guess but from previous experience with Facebook, it could be in the next few weeks.

Facebook hackers- they are closer than you may think

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

It’s interesting that when you search “facebook hackers” on the internet, a variety of “how to hack facebook” results are shown. Worrying? Perhaps, but the reality is that this information is probably easier to get your hands on that you initially thought.

Why would hackers want to log into a Facebook account you ask? There are probably many reasons for this. Bored internet users who get a kick out of playing around in other people’s lives or perhaps people are hungry for important information that could help them get their grubby hands on money.

Facebook hackers have become interested in independent applications. It seems that application developers have been putting private user information at risk of exposure. This is due to the fact that they have not applied any security settings to their applications. Application creators or hackers are able to have access to the personal data of anyone who has installed that application. There is information available on Facebook that notifies users who install applications that developers will have access to their personal data. It does not however notify that the developers (potentially the hackers) also have access to that person’s “friends” personal data. As a result of this, Facebook hackers are able to change private information that the user may have on their Facebook profile.

As frustrating as this may be to Facebook users, Facebook as a company has its legal bases covered. The Terms of Service clearly state that Facebook is in no way what so ever responsible for anything that developers may do with personal data.

There are various ways in which Facebook users can make it difficult (but not impossible) for hackers to get hold of data.

▪ Change passwords weekly or monthly.

▪ Use a strong password.

▪ Use an up- to- date browser. (IE6 is not an up-to-date browser)

▪ Use and run antivirus.

▪ Don’t run any javascript in the browser.

▪ Do not click on suspicious links.

▪ Do not provide sensitive information on your profile.

▪ Do not install any third party applications.

Yammer Me

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Forget Twitter, soon everyone will be “Yammering”. Yammer is the new networking site for companies. Through private, internal communication, staff in an organization can keep in touch with one another. Pre-designated groups can also be formed to enable group conversations.

This micro- blogging service was launched in September 2008 and is unlike Twitter as messages are not available for public display. Over 70 000 companies use Yammer as a way to communicate. Only those with appropriate email addresses may join the respective networks. In February 2010 Yammer launched “communities”. This allows businesses to communicate with other groups such as clients, partners or suppliers.

The idea behind Yammer is to ensure that people inside a company know at all times what each person in the organization are working on. The founder of Yammer, PayPal’s COO, David O. Sacks, has created a platform upon which companies can improve internal communications. Research has found that people prefer short snippets of information rather than longer conversations. When information is documented it also makes it easier to refer back to points that otherwise may have been missed in a face to face conversation.

Yammer is certainly less invasive than instant messaging and does not require the effort and time that emailing involves. In fact this networking site finds itself in between the two, making it perfect and convenient for business purposes. It is less time consuming to check your Yammer account throughout the day when it suits you. Being bombarded with instant messages however is distracting and can become a nuisance.

Yammer allows for management to keep up to date with work that is completed or still being worked on. This helps to understand the progress that their business is making. It also means that fewer meetings need to be held because everyone knows what everyone else is doing.

With social networking evolving like it has over the last few years, it only makes sense that something like Yammer be created to assist the corporate world. We have all become accustomed to the terms “Facebooking” or “Twittering”. Soon enough companies all over the world will be “Yammering” each other information back and forth.

To find out more about Yammer or to sign up to Yammer, visit www.yammer.com

What’s private might not be so private anymore

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Facebook- the social media site that has taken the world by storm. With 1 million users in 2004 to over 400 million users in 2010, Facebook has become one of the most common ways to communicate with people not only on the other side of the world but next door too.

Despite the number of users, Facebook has recently been taking slack from many of its followers. It has slowly been increasing the amount of data that can be shared with “friends” on Facebook. Between December 2004 and April 2010, Facebook has increased the amount of items that are available for public viewing from 4 to over 8. This means that information that is put up on Facebook has gone from being available for viewing for Facebook users, to available for the world to see. Not a good thing if your mate put pictures up of that time you passed out drunk, hugging the toilet bowl.


Facebook suicide

There was recently a website formed, www.quitfacebook.com, that petitioned the privacy settings. The plan that was to follow was for Facebook users to “kill off” their social network profiles. Quit Facebook Day on the 31st May 2010 had almost 30 000 members who planned to say goodbye to the addictive site forever. They felt violated by Facebook’s privacy policy and settings. However not all of the angry users did delete their profiles.

The creator and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and the rest of the team have nothing to worry about should more people decide to cut ties with the popular social site. Facebook is gaining a monstrous 35 000 users an hour. To break that down for you, that’s about 10 users every second, all over the world.

Privacy control on Facebook

With so many complaints about Facebook privacy settings there have been changes made to try decrease the amount of personal information and data that is available to the public. A privacy setting has been added to all content. It applies to contact details, photos and status updates. Facebookers can now decide whether or not they want to share their information with Facebook friends, friends- of- friends or everyone on the internet. Less information will be available to the public from now on and games applications on Facebook will have to ask the Facebook account holder for permission to access private information.

Over the last few months, Facebook has received harsh criticism from regulators. The European Commission and advocacy groups such as Electronic Frontier Foundation have made remarks and complaints about Facebook’s privacy settings. Facebook was accused of steering users towards sharing private information instead of keeping it private.

Mark Zuckerberg says that because so many new applications and features have been added to Facebook, it became almost impossible for users to control the privacy settings. They became complicated and difficult to use. Let’s just hope that they have overcome this hiccup and that we can continue posting those crazy weekend pics up without the rest of the world having a good laugh at us.