Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Post sexually explicit status updates and graphic images without getting banned

Facebook 101: personal privacy settings
Just kidding but now that I have your attention, let's discuss privacy settings. Since Twitter, InstaGram and Pinterest (other than secret boards) are public, this blog today is specific to Facebook Privacy settings and the new, improved (that's debatable by some) Timeline.

I thought about making this a video blog but since my favorite place to work is behind the scenes (ask Shorty Rossi how many times I've turned down being on an episode of Pit Boss) I'll go with my comfort zone and post screenshots of this Facebook tutorial.

To begin, I'm sure you're really good at one thing, maybe two (if more, then come work for me), and consider yourself an expert and offer sound advice in that particular area of knowledge. I feel that way about Facebook. When I see others posting privacy warnings as their statuses, or requiring others change their settings under threat of being deleted for not "liking" a status or simply "liking" things that their spouse might not appreciate, I simply cringe. I really do.

I personally had to deal with a matter late into the night recently regarding a therapeutic venting session and rant that almost cost her a regular buyer of her products. I won't go into details but I beg of people: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Let's take that a step further: LIMIT YOUR AUDIENCE.  You may feel close to some people you've met online through some bonding experiences. I certainly have and count those people as, albeit long-distance, real friends.

When you have young children underfoot or work from home, often social media is your only social experience. And that's okay...well it is for me at least. I swear I can think of many times where I might have lost my sanity if not for a "friend" to reach out to but I don't necessarily want my children (whom I require to be friends with me online) to read every venting rant I post either, especially when it's in regards to their father.  Do I want my clients necessarily seeing every photo of me in a bikini with my kids at the beach?  Do I think that my animal rescue folk are interested in my son's latest magazine editorial photos or do my momager friends really want to  hear about the latest pit bull I'm raising funds for?  I'm known in the animal rescue world, but I don't enjoy getting back to my office after a quick pick-up run to gather up my kids from school to find 19 photos tagged of me, spamming my wall of a dog that's going to die at 5pm.

We use social media to be SOCIAL, for the most part but there is a time and a place for everything and you may want to take a walk through your own friends' list to determine what information you want the people on your list to see...

Nonetheless, on to the personal privacy, friends' groups and interest lists tutoring session. 

Before I delve into this, most of the following only applies to being at a computer, not via Facebook mobile. I'll admit, I'm not the girl to ask about Facebook Mobile and if I even attempted to do so, I'm sure one of my friends would be happy to remind me of the time 64 mobile uploads captured the interior of my purse. *waves, smiles and blushes*

The first screenshot is how to access your privacy settings. I'm not trying to insult anyone here, just making an attempt to be thorough so bear with me please.

Now that you're in (that's what she said) look around to see what your options are and which choice suits you best. I won't advise you as to what your personal default setting should be but will point out that if you're an animal rescue cross-poster don't make your default setting "friends only."  If you've just launched a KickStarter campaign, don't limit your audience.  You want people to share and network, correct?  Right.

On my personal profile my friends and I joke that it's R-rated, so I utilize my privacy options not just daily but with each individual post. I am very thankful for the changeover to being able to edit your privacy settings AFTER the fact. I think that is my favorite feature of the Timeline. No more deleting comments and complete status updates with 187 comments {[(*thud*)]}
A reminder: these are YOUR personal privacy settings for your posts only. These tools allow you to choose the audience for YOUR posts only.

I can't tell you how many posts I see of privacy concerns about public fan pages, tagging and liking images that aren't necessarily on your own personal profile.  Let me make this clear: YOU MUST CHECK THE OPTIONS OF THE PICTURE, STATUS, LINK THAT YOU ARE INTERACTING WITH.  Those privacy settings are what determine its visibility to people on YOUR lists. So, if you like scantily clad women or are a closet homophobe be aware that anything you like or comment on MAY be seen by your friends. You have no control over other pages' settings. You only have control of how you choose to interact with them.
That being said, on to tagging. 
"Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on YOUR timeline."  Let me reiterate "YOUR" - these posts may not appear on your personal "wall" (or timeline) but they will appear on the feed wall of the person's friends' list who tagged you.  Again, you can only limit your privacy settings. If you don't want to be seen somewhere with someone who's active on social media, it's time to step away from the keyboard and have one of those "real life conversations."

Again, social networking's intent is to be SOCIAL and to NETWORK.  All of us have people we don't particularly care for, we also may have others who've just caused us trouble online in the past, or you simply do NOT want your M.I.L. or ex-husband's current girlfriend to see what you're up to or where you're working.  This is why I love the "blocking" feature and the "restricted" list.

No need to cover blocking, it's pretty simple and self-explanatory once you're on the correct landing page, but let's talk about the "Restricted List" for a moment. 

You may be very private when using social media and you may be one of those people who "only add people I know in real life."  You're activity online reflects your personal beliefs and privacy and that's good.  Now for those of us who utilize social media for networking, cross-promotion and meeting and interacting with new people, we find ourselves cautious about the latest friend request.  The Restricted List is your solution.  If I don't know someone and see no mutual friends in common, it's your choice whether to add them or not, simply "confirm" or "ignore."  I'll add any new "friends" that request it, but they go on this list.  It does not prohibit them from viewing information I post publicly but they cannot see anything more restrictive than that. So you're "friends" but not really.  I usually, eventually, move people off this list on to another one once I figure out why they found the need to be friends with me.

When I add people, EVERYONE goes on to a list:
  • If they're under 18, "Adults only"
  • If they're a momager, "Industry"
  • If they're a work colleague or client, "Content" etc... 
These are my lists, folks. You can create your own, naming them whatever you want, for example: "Dog Peeps" "Trolls" "Freaks" or whatever tickles your fancy

This is where all this work in creating your lists comes into play

This doesn't have to do with privacy but it's somewhat relevant to the subject matter.
So next if you're not familiar with Interest Lists you should be if you're an online networker. Interest Lists have their own privacy settings that the creator of the list determines. I keep several lists, some public specifically my "pit bull rescue" list which by following, others, based on my privacy settings, can just cheat and grab all the effort I've put into making this list of rescue groups and resources across.

Bottom line, if you don't find this information important you may risk losing a client or a job or wondering why those graphic images you post keep getting you banned from trying to raise funds for an dog in urgent need.  
If you want your friends to continue recommending medication or to keep cussing out your friends via the mightly status update, go for it.  If you want to be able to be social the way you need to be social, if you want to network your cause without offending friends who love you (but not your cause) take the time to adjust your privacy settings and monitor your audience online. 
Or you can continue to VagueBook as to not offend anyone.
If you have any Facebook tutoring questions, please post them as comments!
Upcoming Facebook Tutoring Topics:

  • If I deactivate my Facebook account, does it also disable my pages?
  • Fundraise online WITHOUT offending or losing fans
  • Social media for the greater good

Monday, April 29, 2013

Why so serious? Let's talk about content

"All content should be linked to at least one of your products or services." according to @predaicker

I disagree.  I find fan pages and social media accounts who chronically post about themselves or their own businesses quite boring.  It comes across, to me, as self-absorbed and close-minded.  That being said, my rule of thumb in helping my clients with their social media presence is to make sure you are referring to your own business, products, cause, or project no less than every fourth or fifth post.  You DO need to remind people why they like, follow or support your business but in lieu of shoving your products (or self, in the case of celebrities) down your followers' throats, I subscribe to a good balance that can be found by utilizing nonesense and silliness when engaging your fans.

When 93% of the content that is going viral is photos, do you think it's best to share a link to your online store twice a week? Or inform your fans how many reps you did on squats at the gym this afternoon?  Let me just cut to the chase, NO.  

You can't afford to hire a Social Media Manager to handle your fan pages for you. Okay fine, but in a recent interview with an actress she disclosed to me "I'm scared to death of embarrassing myself online. I don't understand who can see what I post."  If you don't understand that fan pages, Twitter and Pinterest are public content, you need to NOT be on Social Media. Or hire someone to do it for you.  According to many bloggers and statisticians, you can't afford not to be engaging your followers.  How else will you spread the word about your crowd-funding campaign for your low budget film?  How else will you inform your (potential) audience of WHO YOU ARE?  CEOs, Board Presidents have very real concerns about the people who have access to their branded, corporate image and its adherence to their company's policy and procedure manuals.  Easy fix as far as I'm concerned, but that's because I do not fear social media and my clients trust me to have their best interests in mind as I hit publish.  Paranoia only leads to your business having check-ins on a blank page created from individuals who ARE living their lives online.  Care to join them?

According to SocialBakers, "This volume ... rose to 36.7 average 'Likes' by October 2012" per Facebook user.  You can post your status updates, preferably an original quote from the CEO of your business, feed a link or two a week back to your blog or website, but if you don't want to see an 'unlike' increase when people read that statistic and realize "OMG, I have WAY too many 'likes' on my profile, let's unlike some of these pages."  Do you want yours to be one of them?  What you want is to ENGAGE your audience, so go ahead and post something that makes them smile, chuckle, laugh, giggle or get goosebumps. These emotional responses lead to users clicking on 'like' and pressing that 'share' button 75% of the time (okay fine I made that up but look at George Takei! Come on...)

What we really care about is that little stat below "31% prompted to purchase" after connecting with a product via social media. 

The way I see social media, probably stemming from my background in sales, is that 'likes' are similar to cold-calling. Now this was way back in the days when we still used pagers but... for every 100 cold calls I made, I got roughly ten orders and for every ten orders (or 100 cold calls) I'd gain a loyal client, i.e. recurring, regular business account aka $$$$.

I can't imagine that social media isn't very much like cold calling.  I've had several people approach me with the desire of "5000 likes" or "10,000 followers" and I set them straight pretty fast that I'm probably not their type of girl and this is when I begin to talk dirty...
I am of the opinion (and I very well may stand alone) that having genuine, involved, engaged followers is far more productive than having thousands and watching your insights have a 1-2% interaction rate.  Are you sitting dormant, feeling like you're talking to a wall or are you finding like-minded individuals who will share your message for you? How many groups have you joined that are related to your company or what's YOUR engagement level?  Are you only posting when you need something from someone else, or is your business an active supporter? Maybe your project will be served better by a Private Social Networking site...?

My biggest pet peeve?  "We're only ten likes away from 1,000 fans!"  So...?

My favorite type of engagement? "For every new like in the next 24 hours, we'll donate one dollar to... Please share!"

See where I'm going?

Thank you MetEdge (at least that's who Google tells me to whom I need to give copyright credit) for taking the words right out of my head (and saving me hours of work from creating a fabulous infographic) 

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

Have you liked your own clients' fan pages? Are you retweeting your followers? Are you pinning to a collaborative group board?  Are you commenting back when your fans reach out to engage with your business?

Are you saying PLEASE and THANK YOU?

Self-indulgent, non-emotional, dry, mundane posts are NOT INTERESTING.  Your fans want to be moved, entertained or, at the very least, LOL once in a while. 

So go ahead, post a sarcastic ecard, share that meme that made you laugh on your wall.  (Don't steal and repost content, that's shitty - just share)  Hell write them like I do.  But business doesn't have to be so dry. Life doesn't need to be so serious.  Just keep it PG-13 if your corporation sells children's products and remember, that what you want is ENGAGEMENT and EXPOSURE.  Once you have them tearing up or giggling, liking and sharing with their friends THEN you can tell your newest fans and followers what they came there for.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tell a Story Day

Tell a Story Day is celebrated on April 27th each year.

Tomorrow is National Tell a Story Day.

I love National "Whatever" Days, mostly because they give me creative ideas to write about, especially if they're relevant to one of my clients' businesses.  But some of them are quite silly: Pig in a Blanket Day, Make Your Bed Day, National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day, Felt Hat Day yet others have great meaning and impact, like Autism Awareness Day.

People write every day; texting, status updates, tweets, the old-fashioned letter sent via US Postal Service, maybe even in your journal.  We write. We read.  We inform each other of things that are important to us.

I believe everyone has a story. I believe in paying it forward. I spend a lot of my time writing; sometimes offering advice, sometimes in the form of a vague ecard, but not a single day passes that I don't write.  I can't imagine many others go a day without writing. But it's not National Writing Day (that's January 29th and to be accurate it's National Handwriting Day) it's National Tell a Story Day.

Everyone has a story. We tell them to our children, our friends, sometimes anyone who will listen.  Storytelling predates writing.

"Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, images, and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and to instill moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters, and narrative point of view." (source: nationalwhateverday.com)

Our staff writes stories all the time in the form of press releases, website content, blogs (obvious, I know), promotions, proposals, emails... so do you!

Your business has its own story.  Is your "About Us" section full of information about your operating hours, locations, directions?  But does it tell YOUR STORY?  I'm sure you've told it a dozen, maybe a hundred times if it's funny, clever, interesting or if it was a difficult challenge and although "oral stories continue to be committed to memory and passed from generation to generation..." maybe your customers want to know more about you?
  • Are your competitors more expensive?
  • Do you have a unique product, service?
  • Are you the best at what you do? 
What's so special about YOU?  Cause there is...

Today's the day. Don't wait.

Tell your story.

Monday, April 22, 2013

If the old adage fits, wear it: work smarter, not harder.

I spent the day yesterday at the 27th Fallbrook Avocado Festival where nearly 70,000 visitors join over fifty vendors while The Friendly Village closes down its Main Avenue for these annual festivities.

The weather is always perfect, the music is always loud, the crowd usually annoyed and the food vendors are a plenty.  I met many creative people - artists, artisans and just plain clever folk and if something tickled my fancy, I'd pop into their booth escaping the warm sun and ask "Do you have a store? a website? Where can I purchase your fabulous goods after today?"  To which most responded, "No... but we're on Facebook."

After hearing this enough times, I realized that people who own businesses vying to sell their craft to a multitude of potential buyers who've only brought X amount of dollars along for their activities that day - most of which involve consuming some form of Avocado - aren't properly capturing their prospects.  Sure, the Avo Fest makes for a great day of spending and overindulgence, but darling, vintage salt and pepper shakers I purchased would go fabulously with that cake plate I didn't quite bring enough cash to grab yesterday.  Do I really have to wait til next year to buy it?

Do I believe having your business on Social Media is important? Uh hello... that's the bread and butter of our staff's work at Lady Luck Consulting but let's pause for a moment and consider WHY your business would benefit from a website.

Remember MySpace? MyWhat?  Yeah, that place.  The place I used to have over 3,000 "friends" and spend my time blogging about the animals in my care at the now defunct dog rescue and dissolved corporation.  The place I used to raise thousands of dollars just by saying "please and thank you."  We had a website for which the primary use was featuring our adoptable dogs.  That's defunct now too.

My point is that Social Media is every changing.  I didn't bother to ask these ambitious vendors of these creative, small businesses if they were on Pinterest, InstaGram or LinkedIn but I saw more 'like us on Facebook' posters yesterday -  hand-written, computer generated - than I could count. Yet no check-in QR codes, no mention of their URL, no mention of their Facebook name nor address on their business cards so you could follow through on that promise once you sobered up *ahem*, I mean got back home.

I didn't pitch anybody but business cards were exchanged with promises to look me up and I would do the same. You can find me on Facebook but I also have a website

Websites are not obsolete.  Websites can be anything from your online brochure that includes your mission statement to providing e-commerce (so I could've come home and bought that daggone cake plate!) for increased sales. Websites still should remain the hub of your business. Websites should link up to your Social Media accounts (where the heck will people find you if/when/once Facebook goes where MySpace went...?)
Your website should be where your business shines.

BLOG POST AUTHORED BY: Julie Miller-Hernandez, President of Lady Luck Consulting