Month: January 2014

Social Media Spam — What is it?

Have you ever been followed on Twitter by someone, only to receive a DM (direct message) from them with a link in it? Well there you have it; Social Media Spam. I should end the article here (but I will keep going just for you).

A few years ago, you used to get your email bombarded with “Spam” emails containing everything from a free island to  a gold toilet. The good news, is that all the email clients out there have become incredible at detecting all those junk messages and filtering them out. The bad news is that the social networks have not. It is only natural for Spam to infiltrate the social networks, as it was the next step in the evolution of communication (after email). It doesn’t take away from the fact that it is still incredibly annoying.

FUN FACT: Already 1 in 200 social media posts is SPAM

I know what you are thinking. “Nobody clicks on those things, so how do they make any money?” My response: They must, because Facebook Spam alone is a $200 million business.

Hopefully there is some good news on the horizon, and social media networks will finally crack the code on stopping Spam. But until then, enjoy the ride and try not to click on those random links.


Facebook Announces ‘Paper’ — It’s news app

If you have ever used the LinkedIn acquired app, Pulse, then you may be familiar with this type of curated news. The idea is simple. People generally miss news because they aren’t subscribed to the right content. Facebook is aiming to fix this problem with ‘Paper’. This app will roll out February 3rd, and will deliver curated news and photos to the user’s based off of the categories they subscribe to. This marks the first project to come out of the highly secretive division of Facebook known as “Creative Labs”. Check out the video below:


10 Failed Facebook Ideas

1. Beacon

  • The idea behind Facebook’s Beacon was a great idea. It was designed to track what users purchased online so they would be able to tailor advertisements to a user’s preferences. However, it got a little out of hand when it was discovered that it was tracking purchasing habits even when the user wasn’t logged into Facebook. That’s a little too close to home for most. In the end of 2007, Zuckerberg released a statement saying that they “missed the right balance” when creating it. Personally that may be an understatement, but nevertheless, the feature was shut down shortly after.

2. Credit

  • If you ever played a game from Zynga like Farmville, then most likely you came across credits. It was a virtual currency that allowed users to spend real money for virtual goods across multiple games. The goal was to grow it into something that could be spent for any online transaction. Unfortunately that seemed like too lofty of a goal, as the operation was shut down in 2012.

3. Places

  • Most people don’t even realize that this feature was shut down. However, if you remember, Facebook places was its own entity that aimed to compete with companies like Foursquare. It tried too hard to compete in a space that it soon realized was pointless. Therefore, Facebook simply did away with the feature and incorporated GPS location checkins for status updates.

4. Deals

  • This was a smaller feature that was only tested in a few cities, and flopped hard. It was aimed to compete with Groupon and other popular deal sites. It merged Facebook’s credits (which were around at that time) with local business’ deals. Needless to say it didn’t work out at all.

5. Subscribe

  • This is a little misleading. In 2011 Facebook released it’s “Subscribe” feature which allowed celebs and public features the ability to have pages where people could “follow” them and not send them a friend request. Although they tried really hard to steer clear of Twitter’s “follow” concept, they caved and accepted the change in 2012 when they re-labeled it to “Follow”.

6. On This Day

  • Another feature tested in 2011 was the “On This Day” idea. It essentially showed you your status from years past on that exact day. It was a fun concept to show you a blast from the past, but Facebook never really pushed it hard. They came back and tested it again in 2013 but ultimately killed it in the end. They realized it was too easy to just go back with the new timeline rollout.

7. Sponsored Stories

  • Let me preface this by saying that the “Sponsored Stories” feature is still around, but it is altered a little. The Facebook “Sponsored Stories” feature originally came out and allowed businesses the ability to use a comment from a fan and post that comment along with the user’s picture in order to promote their business. One $20 million settlement later, and Facebook realized that this feature was a little too infringing on people’s privacy. The feature is now altered to where your picture can be shown and only if you “liked” the post.

8. Offers

  • A close family member of “Deals”, Facebook Offers allowed companies the ability to offer redeemable deals straight from their Facebook page. It was rolled out in 2012 but never really took off.

9. Questions

  • In 2010 Facebook added the question ability to its status updates. It gave every user the ability to ask questions as part of their status. Facebook wasn’t a fan of their new “polling” feature and cut back the feature to only be allowed within “groups”.

10. Gifts

  • Yes, Facebook has attempted to do everything. Including take on eCommerce giants by offering a “Gifts” section where users could buy real products via Facebook. The only sector of it that ever took off was the buying of electronic gift cards, so the feature was shut down in 2013.

How Does Social Media Drive ROI??

I know what you are thinking. “Social media doesn’t help me sell _____.” To a certain extent you are correct, however, for the most part you are wrong. It may not sell a product directly, but it does sell through others and word-of-mouth.

In order to figure out how social media affects a brand’s ROI, The Internet Advertising Bureau went out and asked 4,500 people what they thought about a brand’s social media. The results were pretty staggering. Over 90% of those consumers said that they would recommend a brand or product to others after interacting with them via social media. 4 out of every 5 said they would be more inclined to buy a brand after being exposed to their social media.

The bottom line is that social media doesn’t drive ROI in the traditional sense of the acronym. It isn’t a direct link like paid ads on Google. However, social media drives ROI by driving brand sentiment, encouraging consumer engagement, and increasing brand loyalty. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise for most, being that social media is the only outlet where it is possible for brands and consumers to have meaningful two-way conversations, which only make the brand connection and loyalty that much stronger. The easiest way to create that connection is to provide clear, timely, and relevant content that opens the window for conversation and engagement.



What wearable tech means to social media

Maybe Mitchell Kapor said it best when he said, “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” With all that tech out there gathering data like an episode of Hoarders, what is next in the realm of information collection? My guess is the ever-growing-in-popularity field of “wearables”. For those who have been disconnected from the cyber world, let me explain wearables.

Have you ever seen those individuals that are wearing what looks to be an upgraded version of a slap bracelet? That is an example of a wearable. Those wrist bands are actually activity trackers that put the common pedometer to shame. FitBitJawboneNike, all have products in this competing field, with each having their own perks. Other examples would be Google Glass and all the “smart watches”. Google Glass is a device that you wear like glasses and grants you the ability to be one step closer to becoming a cyborg. The “smart watches” are the love-children of your smartphone and a watch.

So why are these gadgets special? Why do these gadgets matter more than any other cool nick-knack from Brookstone? Short answer: the data. In the world of digital marketing, data is king. Thanks to social media, digital marketers can now target tiny niche communities such as “mothers who own minivans and have children who play soccer”. Next time that mother logs on to her social media, a bright new ad for a youth soccer ball is in her news feed. Data opens the doors for a new age of specialized target marketing and wearables are only going to add to that targeting.


Targeting with Wearables

Marketers will be able to pinpoint their target audiences much more granular than before. Here are a few examples of tools that will be gathering data in your wearable:

-          Altimeter: Can see if you climb a lot of stairs, or if you fly a lot, or if you are in to mountain climbing.

-          Health meters: Can track your movements, stress levels, sleep patterns, etc.

-          Microphone: Can detect noise levels in your daily environment

-          GPS: Can determine where you are, how much you travel, and if you spend your days indoors or outside

-          Air meters: Can detect the air quality of the areas you frequent, the temperatures, etc.

Picking through that data may seem useless, but if you think about it, it is really a gold mine. Better yet, it is a diamond mine. Fly a lot? *Step in* luggage companies. Enjoy mountain climbing? *Step in* Patagonia and Northface. Stress levels high? *Step in* Pharmaceutical companies. Tough time sleeping? *Step in* Tempurpedic. Spend most of your days outdoors? *Step in* Boot companies. Bad air quality at home? *Step in* Home air purifier. Make sense?

This “nano-targeting” potential of wearables will give marketers and companies endless possibilities. Although this “lifestyle-tracking” isn’t fully available yet, it is only around the corner. Most wearables need to figure out their privacy concerns associated with sharing all this data. But considering how insanely quick the market grew, it wont be too much longer.

Social media trends to look for in 2014

1. The year of Twitter

Obviously, Facebook will not be going away. It is a massive force with about 1.2 billion users. However, it has certainly reached a plateau of complete saturation among the social media market. This is where Twitter steps in.

Twitter, although being 7 years old, will be fully stepping into the limelight now that they are a public company. This means that many bystanders will want to see what it is “all about” and give it a go by joining the ever expanding Twitter-verse. Numerous studies have come out recently that are showing that more and more teenagers are jumping ship from Facebook to Twitter and Instagram. The proof is in the pudding, so expect a large boost in the Twitter market in 2014.

2. Snapchat Marketing

The founders turned down billions of dollars. They have 5 million users and counting. There is something in the works for marketing, I can guarantee it. In fact, a few companies have already started using it:

- Grubhub

- Tacobell

- The New Orleans Saints

3. Google+ to finally emerge into the big leagues

Google+ laid claim to having over 540 million active users, which makes it number 2 in the rankings behind Facebook. Nobody has really given Google+ enough credit, but with the Facebook and its clustered and hectic nature, Google+ is going to see a huge spike in 2014. This means HUGE marketing opportunities for businesses. Thanks to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, SEO and SM will be going hand-in-hand even more in 2014…especially with Google+.

4. Videos are in

I am not talking Youtube. I am talking video snipets like Vine and Instagram videos. Pictures are so 2013! Videos are the hot new thing, so expect some big traction in this area for 2014.

5. Investment into social media for your business will be a necessity, if it isn’t already.

Unless you have been around for 20 years and your customers are going to be there nomatter what happens, you need social media. People expect it, just like they expect you to accept debit and credit cards. So don’t be ignorant, and invest in a quality approach.

6. Foursquare is dead.

Don’t waste time and money on your Foursquare efforts. Let it die. It can’t raise money, it’s traffic and experience is stale, and every other social media platform has location-based features.

7. ROI will be proven

Up until this point, it has been tough to determine ROI on social media. Everyone is complaining about this. I guarantee that the social media geniuses at Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. are hearing those screams. I fully expect to see some big tweaks to social media platforms to allow for direct tracking of revenue and sales from social media.

8. Blog it up baby

Blogging is, and will remain, the #1 way to generate new business. Content is king, and blogs are the brains behind generating digital leads. Embrace it, and if your business doesn’t have a blog, now would be a great time to start. 

Big changes for Facebook pages

You know all that quality content you have been posting to your Facebook page to reach out to your community and build your fan base? Guess what? It may not matter for much longer…unless you want to pay to promote it.

Thats right, Facebook has revealed plans to slowly “kill” the organic reach of your brand’s posts and force you into paying (or “promoting”) that same content in order to simply reach your existing fans.

In a sales deck obtained by Ad Age that was sent out to partners last month, Facebook states plainly: “We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.” The follow-up sentence is flush with a direct call-to-action for all marketers to consider paid distribution “to maximize delivery of your message in news feed.”

The bottom line is this: If a user likes a brand’s Facebook page because they want to see updates and engage with them, that may not actually happen.  That is unless said brand is willing to dig into their wallet.

“We’re getting to a place where because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it”, Facebook is quoted as saying.

The deeper question is, what will this mean for Facebook as a company?  If they follow this path, could it spell the destruction of their brand?  Will businesses be less likely to work with Facebook as a result of this money grab?  This article speculates on the demise of Facebook as a result of this move.   There have also been a surge in the number of articles discussing the relevance of Facebook including this one on Mashable.  A quick Google search for “Facebook is so” turned up these Google auto-suggests:

Facebook is so


It’s difficult to say if Facebook will go the way of past social networks like MySpace as newer social networks like Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, and others snatch up the fickle attention span of the online masses.  It certainly seems like an ill-fated move to remove businesses from the news feeds of Facebook users who have decided to like brands and companies and probably want to receive updates from them.  If you are utilizing Facebook as a business owner, this is something to watch over the coming months.