June 1st marked the beginning of Pride month, and last year, users who liked Facebook’s LGBTQ@Facebook page could get a custom reaction of a rainbow pride flag for a limited time. This year, that option doesn’t appear, and Facebook tells Business Insider that won’t be releasing custom reactions anymore. Facebook rolled out its expanded like […]
Saying the present generation is very heavy on social media does not totally cover it. There are approximately 2 billion internet users on social networks and these figures are still expected to grow as mobile device usage and mobile social networks increasingly gain traction.
Almost everyone has accounts on at least 2 social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, Pinterest, etc. with Facebook being the most popular of the lot.
The number of people around the globe using social networking sites is on a constant climb making Social Media the perfect space for Marketing Services. Taking advantage of the wide reach of such sites to generate leads and engage with the target audience should be the primary objective of every brand on social media.
Facebook went from being unknown to over 2 billion users strong in just a little over a decade. As of the fourth quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2.2 billion monthly active users. Brands can be certain that their target audience logs into Facebook nearly every day. The question is: how do brands reach out to these users in a way that benefits their business? Well, the answer is through well-planned Facebook marketing.
This post will highlight 14 Terrible Facebook Marketing Mistakes brands should avoid in 2018.
Mistake 1: Too Focused On Selling
This can never be overstressed: Social media for brands should be about creating a conversation and a community that promotes the brand’s lifestyle, not about spamming people with ads for their products. So many brands seem intent on pushing products in users’ faces on Facebook.
Gone are the early days of web marketing, when users weren’t savvy enough to understand when they were being sold to versus when they were reading genuine content. Now, social media users want content they can relate to.
Solution: No one is saying that brands can’t post ads that promote their products. However, it should never be just ads. Instead, it should be a soft sell that provides genuine content to the reader. The Red Bull brand has mastered the art of selling a fun-loving lifestyle which has succeeded in creating a strong community of over 49 million brand lovers.
Ideally, the 80/20 principle is considered a good yardstick for segregating posts; 80 percent of your brand’s posts should be engaging while the posts that promote your goods and services should not exceed 20 percent.
It’s okay to post announcements of sales, discounts and promo codes. Just be sure to pace these well and not overwhelm your audience. People take advantage of these deals when they seem sporadic. If there’s a new one every day, then there’s no rush to buy.
Mistake 2: Ignoring Negative Feedback
Brands quickly forget they have a face and just because users cannot directly point fingers at a particular person, brands feel they can do what they like and get away with it. Well, be aware that prospective and existing customers are watching and the way your brand responds to a disgruntled customer will affect their perception of your brand. To make it worse, there are competitors waiting to latch on to your brand’s mistakes.
Below are some of the top comments from a Nike post. Not one of them got any response from Nike.
Negative feedback is inevitable. When that happens, brands can either ignore it, fight back, or take it in stride. Some brands take the shortcut by simply deleting or ignoring the negative comments. This might seem like the easier way out, but it only does more harm than good. Be authentic. A robotic or canned response may work initially, but over time people will see the pattern and pick up on the insincerity of the response. So, make it personal.
Zappos social customer care is top notch. They have a way of responding to queries that have been noticed by social media users.
Solution: Instead of turning a blind eye, why not take advantage of such
situations to shine? How? Well, respond with a thoughtful and prompt reply to show that you are committed to highest customer satisfaction. This way, you will not only be able to calm and retain your irate customer, but also make a statement about your commitment to customer service.
Mistake 3: You Have the Wrong Objective.
Most marketers just go into their Facebook with the objective of “creating awareness” or “generating more likes for my page.” Not all brands have the luxury of big awareness budgets like brands such as Coca-Cola or Procter & Gamble. Rather than spend all your budget creating awareness, brands should note that their Facebook ads should create only one thing: a sale.
The ideal Facebook ad is one that flashes your product in front of the right person who’s ready to buy and who then immediately clicks through to your site and…makes a purchase. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world so you may have to settle for a lead. Regardless, brand ads should generate a measurable result: either cash in the bank or valuable contact information from the prospect that your sales team can then use to follow up and try to close a sale.
Facebook can be a powerful tool for customer service and engagement. But in the end, brands have to convert their spend into sales and that should be the most important objective.
Solution: When using Facebook’s Ad Manager, there are many choices available when deciding on an advertising objective. By choosing the wrong objective, your advertising efforts could lead to an unsuccessful campaign. So, brands need to be mindful of the objectives they set when creating ads.
To make it even easier, Facebook provides a guide with design recommendation and tips to help you.
As you can see, Facebook provides brands versatile tools to create ad campaigns. They’re low-cost, highly customizable, and rich with analytics. All they have to do is test them out for yourself and see what works for your brand.
Mistake 4: You Don’t Know Your Audience.
This is the secret ingredient of Facebook advertising. There are billions of people using Facebook and every brand is just trying to target that sliver of prospects who are looking to buy what they sell.
Facebook wants brands to master this task and so they have provided tools for better targeting prospects. However, there’s only so much Facebook can do, brands need to learn how to use these tools!
Understanding your audience as a brand is just as important as knowing what you want them to do. How will they use your product? What pain points do they have that you as a brand needs to solve? Even within your overall audience, different niches will have different priorities, problems, and objections.
For example, brands can advertise to “core” audiences using things like location, interests and other demographic info shared by users. Or they can target “custom” audiences by uploading a spreadsheet of their customers and prospects that they already know with the hope that they can be found on Facebook. Brands can also ask Facebook to find “lookalike” audiences who are similar to your customers and prospects.
As a brand, You have to put your target audience ahead of your strategy. Before you open your Facebook ads manager, list out a specific profile of your prospect, this will help you tailor your ads to the right audience. You have to try out a couple of Facebook-provided demographics to discover which particular one provides the largest return on investment.
Mistake 5: Posting Less Content and Inconsistently
By posting on Facebook inconsistently and inappropriately you tell your audience, “Dear customer, we are busy doing more important things, therefore, we have no time to be human and keep you updated about us”. Organic page reach on Facebook is declining. Now more than ever, engagement should be a priority.
Solution: Create an editorial calendar for Facebook, and focus on inspiring your audience. A perfect example of a brand succeeding at this would be SaaS Company Post Planner. Their Facebook updates are consistent and their content is great. Hence, engagement is off the roof.
Mistake 6: Always Begging For Engagement Or Likes
Most brands publish content that screams, “We need likes!” or they ask users to like the post and bleh bleh bleh in Dracula’s voice (like-bait post).
Well, the bitter truth is Facebook will actually bury such a post. Don’t post visuals or updates asking fans to like or comment, as this tells the world how desperate your brand is and your lack of a social media strategy.
Facebook users like myself visit to share photos, watch funny ferret or cat videos, and catch up on the latest happenings in my circle; what do you think I would do seeing a brand asking for likes? I either skip the content or come pour out my heart in your comments (you don’t want the latter).
Solution: Provide a lot of helpful content regularly, and put up “real questions” that spark engagement.
Mistake 7: Not Paying To Play
Truth be told, brands can’t market or fully reach individual Facebook audiences without paying. So to get more eyes on your content, you must be willing to pay Facebook.
You don’t publish and pray and expect it to rain likes and comments; with great content you should get a healthy organic reach but want a larger reach? Pay to play.
Solution: Facebook admitted it several times that organic page reach is decreasing. However, using the “boost post” feature would instantly get more eyes and engagement on your brand and content.
Mistake 8: Ignoring The Fact That The World Is Mobile
Facebook statistics as at March 2016 have shown that there are over 1.65 billion monthly active Facebook users, and a whopping 1.51 billion of these are mobile users or visitors.
These numbers are too huge to ignore. Brands should optimize their Facebook pages for mobile users; having cropped out visuals or missing page components damages the user experience.
Take, for example, the visuals below: the visual on Coca-Cola’s cover was optimized for desktops only, making mobile visitors to the page believe Coca-Cola has some spiritual agenda.
Now take a look at the mobile version of the same cover
Choosing what now Coca-Cola? Have they gone spiritual?
Mistake 9: Publishing The Wrong Type Of Content
You don’t plant a potato and harvest marshmallows. The same applies to content and engagement on Facebook; using irrelevant hashtags or twisting up trends can be a bad blow for business.
For example, the visual below:
Having made up Star Wars day isn’t enough, brands have to make it even more contrived and use an absurd hashtag.
Want to grow a following on Facebook or increase engagement? Posting inappropriate comments and pictures, using click bait, being all about traffic and sales would not work!
Damn, you are so greedy and we can see it! However, Facebook is cracking down on click-bait posts and will continually drown them in the newsfeed; be original and creative.
Solution: Publishing behind-the-scenes pictures of employees, pictures of products, videos or pictures of a typical day at the company or events, holidays and birthdays will increase brand perception, engagement, and page likes.
Brands should not rely on Facebook marketing to make sales. The truth is everyone hates being sold.
Mistake 10: Not Engaging Customers In Comments
Another deadly sin brands make includes not engaging fans in comments. Being social involves you interacting with fans, asking questions and responding.
Brands should be involved in the conversation in their Facebook comments, responding to feedback, lending a helping hand or increasing engagement creatively.
Solution: Engage fans in your comments, address feedback and spread the brand image.
Mistake 11: Trying To Sell Every Time
Too much of selling beats the purpose of being social. Brands should abstain from selling and focus more on user experience, building a community and providing value. That way, users remain loyal and increase their spending potential to your brand through the law of reciprocity.
Solution: Facebook is rolling out the shop store for Facebook pages, simply add your products into your shop and users can buy once they visit your page.
Mistake 12: Ignoring Or Deleting Negative Feedback or Comments
Handling trolls and negative feedback requires a dedicated Facebook team, patience and creativity. Brands are expected to respond to trolls and negative comments in a respectful and playful tone to keep the community mood light and friendly or it might result in disastrous PR for that brand.
Solution: Tara Hornor wrote an epic post with tips on handling Trolls and negative comments.
Mistake 13: Ignoring Advanced Facebook Advertising
Advertising on Facebook does not end with clicking “Boost Post”. For instance, you could create a lookalike audience based on subscribers already on your mailing list, who are on Facebook, and send targeted ads to them.
The true potential of Facebook advertising cannot be quantified; brands should take specific steps in creating ads that offer great incentives while achieving business goals.
Solution: Use Facebook’s Power Editor to create ads to gain leads and advertise new products, but don’t spam your users’ newsfeed.
Mistake 14: Refusing To Evolve Like Facebook’s Algorithm
Facebook changes its algorithm randomly; the latest changes in the Facebook algorithm include bringing content to users based on previous interaction.
Brands are expected to keep up with the latest updates to ensure a consistent user experience in regards to content, cover photos, and ads.
Solution: Brands should bookmark (literally) the Facebook for pages web page to stay updated with the latest algorithm updates and implement to increase engagement and brand perception.
Facebook marketing requires creativity, A/B testing, and constantly staying ahead of the latest changes from Facebook. For a brand to successfully reach, inspire and engage its audience, the above solutions are required.
It’s taken a long time, but people have finally discovered how much information companies like Google and Facebook have on them. We cannot keep sacrificing our privacy and dignity to continue using the internet. However, at the same time, new digital innovations that millions love and enjoy require our data. So what are we to do?
The biggest issue with the software industry’s data collection is the span of time for which it hoards information. The industry simply does not believe in a delete button. For instance, Google has records of all my locations for the last six years, and Facebook has my deleted messages from nearly 10 years ago.
This kind of long-term data storage may seem innocuous to some. To others, it may even be useful to know what exactly they were doing on a specific day many years ago, or recover messages from a loved one, or see how much their searching and browsing habits have changed over time.
Even if western governments are not enacting any Nineteen Eighty-Four-style policies of tracking your every word and executing you for any rebellious statements, the knowledge of potential surveillance can lead to self-censorship. You are not a threat and you may not have an FBI agent dedicated to you, but even the knowledge that they may look into you can lead to society operating with a subconscious fear of expressing views on the internet.
A 2013 study surveying US writers found that after they learned of the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, one in six avoided writing on a topic they thought would subject them to any kind of surveillance, and a further one in six seriously considered avoiding controversial topics.
This is why we need online privacy: we have the right to be curious or conduct digital actions without constantly being tracked, or fearing future reprisals. As Edward Snowden has put it: “Ask yourself: at every point in history, who suffers the most from unjustified surveillance? It is not the privileged, but the vulnerable. Surveillance is not about safety, it is about power. It’s about control.”
There also isn’t a strong business case for internet companies storing decades-old data. Old information is virtually worthless to advertisers and therefore not profitable for the companies to store. Why would Google need your location from six years ago, or Facebook to store your messages from 10 years ago, to target advertising? You may not live in the same location; you may not have the same friends, interests, hobbies, career, weight or even income as in that time period. Yet they just keep hoarding it.
Therefore, I propose legislation to allow companies to harvest as much information as they like, but with one caveat: they must delete the information from their servers in quarterly blocks. This would allow us to keep using the services we like in the exact fashion that we do now.
They can then offer you an option to download all the data they have on you, if you would like to keep your images or statuses or messages or emails. However, this must be an opt-out option.
The world is constantly changing. It may be too difficult or even impossible to stop entities from monitoring your internet activity, but we can at least take a first step and put a roadblock in place for any potential or future surveillance. They will not have access to your life’s diary at the click of a button, or see everywhere you have been for 10 years, or use searching or browsing history from when you were a teenager to question your character.
This Digital Expiry Date offers companies the benefits of getting your data, personalizing results and still making profits, while putting some control in the user’s hands. You will not have to worry about governments or companies in the future mishandling years’ worth of information – which would limit the damage they could do. A Digital Expiry Date would maintain online innovation and profitability, while helping to prevent any future privacy disasters. It is not a perfect solution, but it is a start.
If everyone who reads our articles and like it , help to fund it. Our future would be much more secure if you donate us as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute…THANK YOU
Facebook is tapping into the growing popularity of influencer marketing by testing a new tool that will match marketers with social media influencers.
The search engine, still in its early developmental stages, will be dubbed “Branded Content Matching.” It will let marketers choose creators based on their fan’s characteristics, see stats about their audience, and reach out to them to forge partnership deals and collaborations.
Facebook will initially be focusing on lifestyle influencers and brands. Creators that choose to participate in the test can set up a portfolio that includes their audience size, metrics, and branded content samples – ensuring a perfect influencer/marketer fit.
Marketers will also be able to search for creators based on numerous audience demographics including age, gender, education history, life events, relationship status, home type, top countries where they’re popular, and more. Based on this information, the search engine will compile a list of creators that shows how their audience aligns with a brand’s.
Marketers can save their top matches to private lists where they can go to contact them later. According to TechCrunch, Facebook is still debating whether or not it will connect marketers with influencers through their Facebook contact info or provide traditional contact info.
Facebook is Banking on Increased Ad Spend
Facebook will take a laissez-faire approach to influencer/marketer negotiations. They will not be involved in product placement, content marketing, or collaborated content creation and sharing deals. TechCruch reports that Facebook will not take any cut of revenue during the testing period but may once the search engine is officially launched.
It’s possible that marketers may be compelled to spend more on ads to promote influencer content so Facebook will get their revenue cuts that way. TechCrunch also mentioned that Facebook will prohibit re-sharing deals so marketers will not be able to pay influencers to post branded content they didn’t help create.
It’s important to mention that the search engine will only pull influencer’s audience metrics from Facebook and will not take into account their YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, or any of their other channel followings. This could prove to be detrimental to brands looking to connect with influencers who are more popular on another platform.
For example, marketers won’t be able to get the true value and reach of popular Youtube creators like FBE (Fine Brothers Entertainment), Jenna Marbles, Markiplier, or Vanoss Gaming (to name a few) who have enormous followings on Youtube but lower audience bases on Facebook.
“Branded Content Matching” Will Not Include Instagram (For Now)
Even though Facebook owns Instagram, one of the more popular platforms amongst influencers and creators, they will not be including Instagram influencers on the search engine either (at least not at first).
Considering that Facebook currently allows marketers to create and promote ads on Facebook and Instagram within the same ad creator, the move is questionable. The company may add Instagram influencers to “Branded Content Matching” later on but for now, this decision severely limits the search engine.
“Branded Content Matching” is still in its early testing stages so there are plenty of kinks that still need to be smoothed out. Once the search engine has launched, it’s likely that brands will jump at the opportunity to forge mutually beneficial relationships with artists, comedians, gamers, and other creators.
A Word on the Timelessness of Influencer Marketing
What makes influencer marketing so priceless is that creators are able to put an inspired spin on a branded message in their own wholly original way. From a simple one minute shoutout to an entire sponsored video dedicated to your brand, handing the reins to a social media influencer in your niche could showcase your brand in a positive, authentic, and less salesy, light.
For example, special fx makeup artist Madeyewlook recently created an entire look made in partnership with a TV show and popular Youtube creators Dan and Phil created a sponsored ‘let’s play’ video on their gaming channel. Check out both videos below.
Both videos were well received and none of the commenters seemed to care that the videos were technically ads. The possibilities for influencer marketing are endless and it remains one of the best ways to promote content in an engaging, fun, and natural way.
Whether you’re looking to negotiate million dollar deals with the world’s top social media creators or build a mutually beneficial partnership with a content marketing thought leader, influencer marketing can get your brand in front of thousands of faces.
People tend to buy into branded messages more when they are authentic and when they come from people they trust. Oftentimes, social media creators have intimate, strong, relationships with their fans.
Because most creators are so open to sharing aspects of their personal lives with their fans, their audience can usually tell when they are interested in a product they’re promoting or if it’s just a job to them. The more freedom you give to an influencer to re-contextualize your branded message, the more likely their audience will like and respect you.
If you play your cards right and give enough freedom to influencers to promote your brand in their own unique style, a one-off could turn into an ongoing sponsorship and your brand’s reach could skyrocket.
Influencer marketing is lucrative, timeless, and more relevant than it’s ever been. This is why Facebook, and other platforms, are so eager to give brands and influencers tools that make it easy for those relationships to bloom.
In an age where social media influencers are trusted more than movie stars, it’s never been more important for brands to be in touch with internet culture and collaborate with emerging creators. Stay current and your audience, and views, will thank you for it.
For more on influencer marketing check out Chad Pollitt’s article, “Everything You Need to Know About Influencer Marketing and Artificial Intelligence,” and review some of his influencer marketing templates here.
Do you think Facebook’s “Branded Content Matching” tool will make influencer marketing easier? Let us know in the comments.
Facebook Page views are drying up and a recently announced Facebook News Feed algorithm change all but guarantees this traffic channel will evaporate for brand accounts. But as one door closes, another opens.
It’s Time to Take a Closer Look at Reddit
I have been on Reddit since 2006 and the most common complaints I hear from many companies and individuals is that Reddit is too hard to participate in, looks too simple, or isn’t friendly to brands.
Reddit isn’t harder, it’s more real.
If you cannot succeed on Reddit in connecting, discussing, or getting exposure, it’s because you aren’t really making an effort to connect with Redditors.
Companies, celebrities, or individuals that are successful on Reddit follow the same principles you need to succeed in any social gathering.
Approach Reddit as a place to connect with like-minded individuals.
Don’t blast out self-serving messages and hope for some benefit.
While Facebook Pages are continuing to become less visible, Reddit continues to grow and evolve.
Reddit has released a number of exciting new features in the last few months that make it even more enticing for individuals and brands to participate in their communities, such as:
- Posting to your own profile.
- One-to-one chat features.
- The ability for all subreddits to get to the front page and become popular.
- The follow functionality.
- A user-friendly redesign.
- The continued growth of the community.
Here are some screenshots of the new design, click to view larger:
And here are some recent stats that Reddit was kind enough to provide us:
Ignoring Reddit for the last five years wasn’t the smartest choice, but continuing to ignore it in the future is just insanity.
Where Are Facebook Pages Going?
Last year, 94 percent of marketers reported they’re using Facebook to market their business.
So there’s a good chance you’re affected by this news.
Facebook is looking to decrease the visibility that Pages get in users’ timelines, eventually limiting public content further via the News Feed algorithm or relegating public content to a new, dedicated tab in the Facebook interface.
(Pages with a capital “P” refers to the account type secured not by private individuals but rather by businesses, public figures, community groups and a few other designations.)
Think about how you use your personal Facebook account.
Facebook is the social network where family and friends go to stay connected.
Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his latest post says that they have “always put friends and family at the core of the experience.”
The change to the News Feed algorithm is the final nail in the coffin of organic Facebook marketing as page views across the network have been dropping for years.
Just as marketers are facing decreased organic visibility in Facebook, Reddit is rolling out a fresh new design and interactive new features that borrow from the conventions we’re used to from other social channels while offering unique advantages of a highly engaged community of users keen to learn.
If Facebook isn’t forcing your hand, it’s certainly handing you an invitation to give Reddit a shot.
What Are Reddit Profile Pages?
Reddit is stepping into the void that Facebook is leaving open.
On Reddit, businesses can establish a branded presence within an engaged social community.
Reddit has rolled out a redesign to the way users can establish a profile page on the site. This is in addition to the current functionality where content is posted to theme-based subreddit communities.
With profile pages, users submit content to their own profile pages. And users can follow profiles to see that profile content added to their front page, or aggregated feed view.
With profile pages, businesses can essentially start building branded accounts, growing followers, and achieving goals similar to what Facebook Pages have provided, maybe with an even better and more engaged audience.
Who Uses Reddit? Your Customers
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest each captivated marketers’ attention over the years, passing the baton as social media’s latest shiny new object.
Not long ago we heard that Pinterest was an amazing traffic driver. What about now?
Similarly, Twitter was the hot thing for a while. Now only a handful of marketers are active there.
Facebook has been the 800-pound gorilla, but now Pages views are declining.
Now look at Reddit.
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Where social has largely been driven by hype, Reddit has demonstrated real ROI when you put in the investment.
Reddit is where your target audience has always been and its growing.
Check out the growth of unique visitors and page views.
Reddit users have a median household income higher than the average in the U.S. at nearly $68,000 a year, compared to $59,000 a year. That means Reddit users have bigger discretionary spending budgets.
They’re well-educated as a group, with 78 percent claiming college education – compared to the third of Americans with a bachelor’s degree.
Nearly two-thirds of Reddit users are looking for news when they come to the site. That makes Reddit the dominant social site for users looking to learn and engage in debate.
5 Reasons the Time for Reddit Is Now
In the last few years, we’ve seen five key thrusts on Reddit that show how it is evolving to hold a bright future for brands.
1. The 10% self-promotion guideline was relaxed last year.
There was a rule of thumb on Reddit that you should limit your posts from your own site to 10 percent or less.
During an AMA (Ask Me Anything) last year, Reddit CEO Steve Hoffman suggested that the 10 percent rule may not make sense anymore.
Rather than blind adherence to numbers, Reddit asks users to provide quality 100 percent of the time, over anything else.
Obviously this opens the door to the presence of businesses.
2. Time a post waits in moderation is way down.
There was a time when the majority of subreddits put a moderation period on all posts before a human moderator released a post for public viewing.
Moderation on posts happened roughly 70 percent of the time – users would have to message mods to release a post.
Now 90 percent of content is going live without moderation; moderators are more likely to get involved if they’re removing a post.
That’s a shift that, to me, says that Reddit will trust until you prove you’re untrustworthy.
3. We’ve seen more acceptance of brands moving onto Reddit.
Brands can be active on Reddit as long as the interactions are meaningful.
Reddit isn’t anti-marketing and it’s understood that every company needs to make a buck.
What matters is the way you manage yourself there.
4. The new peer-to-peer real-time chat allow more interactions.
On top of other named changes, Reddit created a real-time chat function on the site.
Now you can reach out and talk to multiple people.
This provides options for more interaction with other users.
Reddit is open to adding social functionality and to enable direct engagements – an environment that any marketer would jump to.
5. The new profile pages give users’ enhanced flexibility to post what they want.
If you’re one of the ~400 million active monthly users on Reddit today, you might be wondering how all these changes affect the way you use the site.
Profile pages won’t change the way you interact with Reddit at all.
As usual, follow or subscribe to what you like. Unfollow what you don’t like.
The enhancement here is that the new profile pages fix an old problem that Reddit had.
Content to the site had to be submitted to a subreddit; subreddits are privately run by a team of moderators who set often-quirky random rules. A rule might be along the lines of “must contain ‘cat’ in the title.”
When users can submit to their own profile, the user don’t have to follow anyone’s rules.
When you submit to your own profile, people following you can see your content in their feed.
In effect, Reddit has created a function that allows users to follow brands. And, if popular, that content can show up in r/all.
The new profile pages for Reddit users is available now.
Just as Facebook Pages are losing traction, Reddit profiles will give brands and organizations a new managed presence on a highly engaged social platform.
Reddit has a reputation among digital marketers as being a difficult social media channel for businesses to figure out.
But let me ask you this: are thousands of visitors to your site, branding, conversions, links or subscriptions to your list outcomes that are worth your time?
The key to succeeding on Reddit is about really becoming a Redditor, not gaming or spamming, and realizing that Reddit is the community you want to get in front of and be a part of.
Here are some tips from a presentation I did to help you get started.
As a researcher who focuses on online communities, I’m accustomed to this running meta-narrative about what it is I’m actually doing online — but usually, that narrative plays inside my head, not all the way down the feed I’m scrolling through. It’s like my research questions have sprung to life these days: What’s Facebook all about, anyway? Is this even fun? If it’s not fun … what is it, exactly?
This is an exciting time in the very short history of social media use.
Facebook’s users are becoming critical of the systems into which they’ve been conscripted. This is an important moment: Will public opinion follow the same well-worn cycle of outrage and acceptance, or will it jump the tracks and begin engaging Facebook on new, more challenging terms?
Researchers have been asking tough questions about Facebook for the past decade, but even armed with the most prestigious credentials, they pose a much smaller threat than educated consumers. And without consumer outrage, government regulation seems unlikely to move forward.
Read more: Why not nationalize Facebook?
‘Sound and fury’
So far, at least in my own feed, the same old script is being followed to the letter. The soul-searching is punctuated by passionate cris-de-coeur from the feed’s more opinionated characters: Wake up, sheeple! If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product — remember? Quit Facebook! Encrypt your data! Smash your phone under the heel of your steel-toed boots!
Next, right on cue, the incisive social commentators swoop in to remind us that these calls are coming from inside the house. “Pretty ironic that you’re posting all this stuff on Facebook!” To which everyone silently rolls their eyes in resignation. Cue the gallows humor about how we’re all under constant surveillance, rinse and repeat. The human condition’s same old two-step. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.
That this discursive cycle was triggered by the revelations earlier this year that voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica obtained the Facebook data of 50 million American accounts is beside the point.
This is only the latest in a long series of such leaks about data mining. In 2017, approximately 200 million registered voters’ personal data stored by voter profiling company Deep Root Analytics was accidentally made public. The previous year, Russian hackers accessed a large cache of voter information owned by the Democratic National Committee.
What this latest go-round is revealing is that these are industry practices that will carry on undisturbed, regardless of what Mark Zuckerberg says or does. This is not a Zuckerberg problem anymore; it’s a problem with an advertising model that is the industry standard.
Most of us Facebook users have been on the platform for about a decade, and perhaps our outrage is our growing pains.
We’ve gained some critical distance through time spent on the platform. We are less easily distracted by the ostensible fun the platform offers. And we appear to be compelled to ask questions about Facebook we’ve never asked before.
Must ask different questions
Fenwick McKelvey, co-director of the Media History Research Centre at Concordia University’s Milieux Institute for Art, Culture and Technology, wishes that the media would start asking different questions about how data is being used by platforms like Facebook.
“The media narrative still assumes that the goal of these platforms (like Facebook) is to expose people to information,” McKelvey told me. “But it’s less and less about that — the goal is to manage and control people’s behaviour.”
Among the urgent questions media commentators should be asking, McKelvey believes, is how online advertisers are deploying user data to subtly nudge people. He provides the illustrative example of SnapChat — a company with relatively strong privacy settings in place — that leaks data to advertisers with dizzying granularity that reflects the industry standard.
Through SnapChat’s protocols, your phone informs advertisers how much time passes between the moment you’re served one of their ads and the moment you make a purchase at their business, either online or in person.
Every time you walk into a retailer with your phone’s location services on, you are leaking data about your consumption habits.
Perhaps we should be burrowing even deeper into Facebook’s business practices.
Facebook tends to rely on the fact that most of its data collection practices are laid bare in its terms of service. But according to Martin French, an assistant professor of sociology at Concordia, Facebook’s notion of “consent” is flimsy at best.
Most unaware of how their data is being used
“Facebook reportedly changed its policies after 2015 to stop app developers accessing information on app users’ network. But for me the question is: Are Facebook users, in the real world, actually aware of the changing ways their data is being used, and the policies that purportedly govern these uses?” wonders French.
French posits that based on research that has been done on who reads and understands social media privacy policies, most users are unaware of how their data is actually being used. The “consent” that Facebook is talking about when they refer to an agreement with their users is not really a kind of consent that conforms to any dictionary definition of that term.
The consensus among social scientists who study life online is that whatever dynamics play out online have offline analogs.
We’ve had a decade to incorporate Facebook into our lives, and like any learning process, our success with it has been uneven.
We’re at a critical moment as users of Facebook. It’s our responsibility to educate ourselves about the implications of our participation. Deactivating our accounts won’t change how our personal data is valued to advertisers.
But perhaps, as we become mature users of social media, we can begin to demand that limits be set on how and when our data is bought and sold.
Doctoral student , Concordia University
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