April 2nd, 2013

Facebook_April02_BCommunication is an important part of business, and one of the more popular communication mediums is Facebook. It's hard to find a business that doesn't use the platform. If you have been using Facebook since its launch you will know that there are occasional changes that sometimes make it better, others worse. The company has recently announced changes to the layout of your News Feed - are they any good?

Here's an overview of the new changes introduced in Facebook's News Feed overhaul.

Bigger, more engaging content The biggest, most obvious change is that the new News Feed is wider. That's because the menu bar that traditionally has taken up the left-hand side of the window has been more or less removed. It's now a hovering bar that can collapse to the left-side of the screen. If you've seen the recent Android and iPad/iPhone layout, where you can press a button to see your friends menu, it's similar to that.

Because of the new layout, the content shown on the feed is now larger. This means larger images, news stories, events and maps. To better take advantage of this, it is recommended that any images you upload to your profile be around 600X600 pixels - no smaller than 200X200 pixels.

There is another change that could pose useful: When a friend or local business appears on a user's wall, they will see the entire Timeline badge and location if they have allowed it.

New feeds To get the most out the new layout, Facebook has also introduced a number of new News Feeds to explore. Before we get into the new feeds, it would pay to talk about how Facebook has become smarter. Over time, as you comment on posts or share items, Facebook will start to show recommendations based on your past activity. For example if you are sharing news about cloud storage, you will begin to see suggestions around other cloud storage posts, articles or programs that could interest you.

This new layout comes with a few different feeds that can help filter the content you see. The announced feeds are:

  • Music - Shows you posts related to the music you listen to. This likely won't be the most useful for the majority of companies out there.
  • Photos - Displays only photos that have been uploaded by friends or pages you like. This could be important, especially if you have a visual based profile e.g., restaurants. Because of this new feed, it would be a good idea to ensure you are sharing high-quality images.
  • Following - The latest news and information from Pages that you have liked. This feed could be quite interesting to companies, as it only shows Facebook Pages. What this means for most Page owners is that they had better be sharing good content, as they just became more visible.
  • All Friends - Shows the traditional News Feed namely everything your friends and Pages you have liked are sharing and commenting on.
  • Close Friends - This is a bit of a dangerous view for companies, as it will only show information posted by their friends. All business and ad-related content is not shown.
The same views across all platforms Finally, Facebook has noted that with this new layout, the News Feed will be the same across all devices. No more looking at a completely different News Feed on your phone or tablet. This is a good move, and should increase your company's exposure over time.

If you access Facebook on your mobile phone - Android or iPhone/iPad - you have likely seen the new changes, as the apps were updated in mid March and included the new mobile version of the News Feed. The company started rolling out the new layout on March 7 and has noted that the change will take place over a couple of months. Some lucky users may even have it now.

Looking forward to the new changes? Or, perhaps you are a little apprehensive? Why not contact us today to see how we can help you get the most out of any change Facebook introduces.

Published with permission from Source.

March 5th, 2013

Facebook_Mar05_BFacebook, beloved by many, is an ever-changing and evolving entity. One of the latest updates is the introduction of Graph Search, which makes it easier for users to find each other based on their likes, photos, comments, etc. Before this new feature is turned on, it would be beneficial to you to perform a profile audit.

There are three main parts to this audit, which will ensure that your personal profile is ready for Graph Search. Bear in mind that this is for your personal account, not your business Facebook Page. This audit is ideal if you would like a more professional looking profile.

Step 1. Check who can search for you
The whole idea of Facebook is to be social, however you may not want to be found by every man and his dog on this platform. You can check who can search for your profile by:

  1. Clicking the Lock icon in the top-right hand side of the screen.
  2. Selecting Who can contact me?
  3. Looking at Who can send me friend requests? By default it is set to Everyone, but you can change this by pressing the downward facing blue arrow.
  4. Looking at Whose messages do I want filtered into my inbox?

Step 2. Check your Activity Log
The Activity Log is essentially a journal for Facebook. It covers everything you have done on Facebook, and provides you with a quick way to edit your profile. You can access it by:

  1. Clicking on the Lock icon in the top-right hand side of the screen.
  2. Selecting Who can see my stuff?
  3. Click on Use Activity Log.

Depending on how active you are on Facebook, it could take a bit of time to look through your activities. If you see something you don’t like, or would like to change, press the pencil at the right-hand side of the activity. This will allow you to edit the post, remove it from your timeline or delete it. Note, that if you remove it from your timeline, the information won’t be deleted.

If you press the Lock icon you can change who can see the post/activity on your timeline too. It would be a good idea to look through your whole timeline and ensure that any unprofessional comments, links, likes, etc. are either deleted or removed from your timeline. It wouldn’t be a good idea to make your profile completely private however, so ensure some posts – maybe ones related to your business, hobbies, interests, etc. – are still visible.

Step 3. Check who can see future posts
Facebook has included an option that allows you to set who can see future posts on your timeline. This will lessen the need for a future account audit. You can set this by:

  1. Clicking on the Lock icon in the top-right hand side of the screen.
  2. Selecting Who can see my stuff?
  3. Pressing the downward facing blue arrow under Who can see my future posts? and setting it to the desired level of security.

In order to ensure your profile is optimized for Graph Search, carrying out this audit would be a great idea. As we stated above, you don’t have to make everything private, after all, this is a social network. Just make sure that anything that is unbecoming of the professional you are is removed or hidden from prying eyes. If you would like a little help ensuring both you and your business are ready for the next big Facebook feature, contact us today.

Published with permission from Source.

December 26th, 2012

The venerable Winston Churchill once said, "to improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." There is great wisdom in those words; they pretty much summarize the tech industry. We think that Facebook takes Mr Churchill's words to heart as they are always changing. The latest development brings a whole bunch of updates, mostly related around security and how Facebook presents and uses your information.

Facebook's changes should have been made to your profile by the time you read this. If not, you should see them by early January. Below is an overview of the more important features.

Security shortcuts One of the more common complaints about Facebook was that it's hard to change or even find your security settings. The update puts a button in the blue bar beside you name at the top of the window (it looks like a lock). When you press on it you are given three of the most popular Security requests:

  • Who can see my stuff?
  • Who can contact me?
  • How do I stop someone from bothering me?
You'll notice grey arrows beside each choice. Pressing these will bring up the associated options and allow you to easily adjust your security settings.

App permissions The app is an essential part of not only Facebook but the tech industry. When first introduced apps could collect your data and send it to the producer of the app. This managed to tick off a lot of users, so Facebook started giving users the option on whether the app was allowed to send their information to the app's producer or allow the app to post on your wall on your behalf.

With the new update, when you try to add an app to your profile you'll get a big pop-up window asking you to grant the app access permission, or the ability to collect your information. You can then pick the settings you prefer.

Timeline clarification When Timeline was introduced, the vast majority of users disliked it. Now that some time has passed they have gotten used to it. The big problem most have with Timeline is that anything you posted, commented on or did stays visible on your profile. You had the option to hide stuff but it was terribly confusing as it still stayed on your profile.

The update clarifies this by giving you a warning when you hide something from your Timeline. If you want to expunge something from your timeline, you need to delete it, otherwise it will still show up if someone does a bit of digging.

No hiding from search In the past you had the option to keep your profile and information from showing up in search results when someone looks for you. Facebook has removed this option, meaning you will now show up in search results. We don't think this will harm many companies seeing as this is a social network and you really do want to be social and be able to be found by interested parties.

Improved Activity Log The Activity Log tracks everything you've done on Facebook. Keen on Farmville? Every action and achievement is recorded here. The big change here is that Facebook has made it easier to browse your activity by implementing a timeline to the right of the window. Facebook has also made it easier to find specific things like pictures and change them all in one go.

Overall, these changes appear to make Facebook better and easier to use. While not major differences, it's now easier to maintain control of your profile. If you would like to learn more about how Facebook can help your company please contact us.

Published with permission from Source.

November 13th, 2012

Social media, and to a larger extent the Internet, has become the new domain for marketing. If you're not marketing online, or don't have an online presence, your company is really missing out. Facebook, one of the most popular mediums of social networking and marketing has some great advantages for companies. Unfortunately, some people are out to cause harm and do this usually through posting damaging comments, or rude things on your wall. There is a way to control this however.

Here's how to delete posts and comments on your Facebook Page.

Delete a post or comment To delete a post:

  1. Go to your company's Facebook Page and scroll to the post you would like to delete.
  2. Hover your mouse over the top right-hand corner of the box containing the post.
  3. Press the Pencil and select Delete...
  4. Select Delete from the pop-up window that appears. You can also select Delete and Ban user which will delete the post and ban the user from posting on your wall.
To delete a comment:
  1. Go to your company's Facebook Page and scroll to the post that contains the comment you'd like to delete.
  2. Hover your mouse over the right-hand side of the comment until an X appears.
  3. Click on the X and the post will be removed and marked as spam.
When you click Remove, a message will be shown telling you the post has been deleted and provide you with some extra options. You can either ban the user, undo the action or delete the post, as well as ban or report the user.

When should I delete? In an ideal world, you wouldn't have to delete or remove any posts, simply because the idea of Facebook for businesses is to show the human face of companies and that they are worth interacting with. Some negative comments, when addressed correctly, can help illustrate that you care, and will go the extra mile to ensure people with issues have a way to communicate, and that your company values its relationships.

Sadly, this isn't an ideal world, there will be times when people post things that should be deleted. These include posts that:

  • Are overly hurtful.
  • Are hateful.
  • Contain information or words deemed to be unacceptable by the local and professional community.
  • Are so off topic they are useless.
  • Sell other products, usually spam messages like: ‘Buy Gucci Bags only USD$11’.
It's important to remember that some posts, while they may irk you or even make you angry, are actually feedback. If you delete these comments other users could notice and this  could harm your reputation more than the initial post itself. Think of these comments as a chance to interact with your customers and as a warning that you may need to work on some aspects of your company or service.

What about mistakes and typos? Ideally, there shouldn't be any, but we're all human and we make mistakes. Facebook allows you to edit comments, which can be done by clicking on the pencil and selecting Edit. Beware that users will be able to see that edits have been made, as Edited is added below the comment. Currently, the only way to actually edit a post is to copy the content, delete the old post, repost it and then change the date back to the original post. This is hardly ideal, so it's better to be 100% sure about what you want to post and do a quick spell check before you do.

If you'd like to learn more about using Facebook to leverage your company's marketing potential, give us a shout.

Published with permission from Source.

November 6th, 2012

One of the hardest things about operating smaller businesses is often competing with larger businesses that have marketing budgets equal to your yearly profits. Where and how do you compete? One of the best ways is through the use of the Internet, more specifically social media sites like Facebook. A little apprehensive about how good of a service Facebook can be? Some facts and figures might help.

Here are some interesting Facebook facts and figures.

Number of active users: over 1 billion. Number of mobile users: 600 million. That’s right, over half of the users access Facebook from their mobile phones. Number of likes since launch: 1.13 trillion. It’s crazy, thats 1,130 likes per person. Number of connections: Facebook's 1 billion users are connected to 140.3 billion other users. Talk about six degrees of separation! Number of locally tagged posts: 17 billion. The ability to add your location to posts was introduced in August 2010, and this statistic came from September 2012.

These are just a few Facebook facts associated with the recent 1 billionth active user milestone, reached in October. It’s amazing to think that 1/7th of the world’s population are active Facebook users. Imagine what the number would be if it wasn’t blocked in China?

So, what do these numbers mean for you? Well, first of all, it means a huge potential network of clients/friends. If 1 billion users are connected with 140.3 billion other users, that means that the average number of friends a user has is 140.3. Imagine running an ad campaign on any medium, having 140 of your closest friends see it, and share it with their friends. Your brand has the potential to go global and viral in a very short amount of time.

How do you leverage these numbers? Most companies use Facebook Ads, a service which allows you to place ads that users will see and potentially click on. If leveraged correctly, Facebook is one powerful marketing platform, regardless of the size of the company. If your company doesn’t have a presence on Facebook, you’re missing out on the potential it can bring. Call us. We can help you establish a presence.

Published with permission from Source.

October 9th, 2012

Hold up your hand and count your fingers. Five fingers right? Did you know that’s about the same number of countries that block Facebook? You can access Facebook, in one form or another, in nearly every country. It just goes to show the reach and popularity of this platform rivals those of Coke or McDonalds. Businesses mostly benefit from its great marketing potential, which has recently been made even better due to a new feature.

Custom Audiences is Facebook’s new marketing feature, available through a plug-in called Power Editor for Google Chrome. If your company utilizes the Facebook Advertising API (Application Programming Interface) to manage Facebook related advertising, this feature is also available to you.

What exactly is Custom Audiences? If you conduct any form of email advertising, you likely have a list of email addresses that you send content like newsletters to on a regular basis. If you have this list saved as a single column CSV - Comma-Separated Value: A document that stores tabular data (e.g., Excel files) with no formatting, separated by commas - you can import it into Power Editor. Power Editor will match the email addresses with Facebook users and allow you to create ads to target just those users.

If you have a phone list, you can upload that to use as well. This is a good feature as it allows you to reach out, through Facebook, with ads to clients or customers who aren’t currently your fans or don’t like your page. In other words, your marketing reach through Facebook has just expanded.

Because you do upload your customer’s information to your Facebook account, the information is stored on Facebook’s servers. This move has come under scrutiny from many security experts, to which Facebook has responded that all data uploaded is hashed for security. On top of this, advertisers must have consent from data owners to use their information and agree to remove it when asked.

For now, this feature is only available through third-party vendors or to users of the Power Editor script. Power Editor is an extension for Chrome which helps users to create, edit and manage Facebook ad campaigns.

How to create a Custom Audience If you have Power Editor installed, navigate to it and you’ll notice a new tab labeled Custom Audiences. Click it and a pop-up window will open. In the window you’ll be able to pick a name for your audience and upload the file with the contact information and type of information. Select the relevant information and click Create.

After the upload is complete, you should see the new list on the main window. Select the list and press Create Ad Using Audience. You will create your ad as you normally would, and it will be sent to the list you selected.

If you are looking to expand your marketing platform or reach out to your customers in a new way, this is a good feature to do so. While it is free for now, it’s yet to be seen if it will become a paid feature in the near future. To learn more about how to use Facebook for your marketing, please contact us.

Published with permission from Source.