Social Media

What I Really Think About Facebook

Several times, I’ve heard people refer to me as ‘the Facebook girl’. The most common questions we get involve Facebook: how to use it for business and what people can/can’t see on your profile.

If only so I have an easy thing to link to when I answer Facebook questions, I thought I’d write a post about it today.

Fact 1: Facebook is a tool, which means we need to properly use it.
Whenever people get mad at Facebook, I get annoyed. Because here’s the thing: it’s a free tool. You aren’t paying for it. Facebook is paying employees to maintain the site, create improvements, hosting costs for all those photos you upload, and more. You know how you pay for magazine subscriptions, cable television, and other sources of entertainment but don’t pay to use Facebook?  Yeah, exactly.

How can you offer something for free that costs money? You offer advertising. You take advantage of the same tax loopholes as big corporations like Walmart or Target. You sell shares. Now you are a profitable company yet still offer a free service.

The second you become a paying customer, a shareholder, or a developer who solves a Facebook problem if they would only implement it, complain all you want. Otherwise to me, it’s the equivalent of people who complain about our government but don’t get involved in the political process.

And guess what? If Facebook suddenly wanted to charge, all the power to them. It’s their website, not ours. If you want some bit of information to be yours forever and ever, put it on your website. Because you own that.

Fact 2: Facebook is the new silly email forward, which means I will ignore a lot of it.
Those ridiculous things you used to get in your email inbox have gone onto Facebook… where I will also ignore them. Let’s address these two of these things I see the most often which I am ignoring/deleting like I was doing with these email forwards way back when:

Intolerant Posts
People on both sides of the political, religious, and other aisles we’ve created in society need to stop posting negative stuff about the other side. First of all, there are plenty of ways to make your point in a non-negative way.

Second, there’s a psychological phenomenon where when you talk about other people, the person that’s hearing you subconsciously attributes those qualities to you.  So if you are saying someone is arrogant, the person hearing you saying it thinks you’re arrogant. Think on that.

OMG Privacy Posts
At least every two months, I see a bunch of ‘the sky is falling’ status updates about Facebook privacy. They are usually a flurry of activity as they get copied from friend to friend. You’ll notice me ‘the Facebook girl’ never perpetuates these.

In response to this latest one: if you really think I am going to click on and change a setting for you, you are crazy. I have over 900 friends and not much spare time.

If you are using something, you need to understand it. You wouldn’t misuse your microwave (by, say, putting aluminum foil in it and shorting it out) and then bring the microwave back to the store and tell them it’s their fault it’s broken. There are hundreds of great blogs out there including Mashable and AllFacebook which cover Facebook and how to use it in detail. You can also ask an expert for help.

The good news? Misusing Facebook won’t usually cause an electrical fire.

If you are genuinely worried about privacy settings 1) Go to your privacy settings on your profile and put your shields way up and 2) Don’t share things on Facebook you don’t want people to see. Which brings me to…

Fact 3: Facebook is my workplace, which means I will respect it.
Despite evidence I see daily, Facebook is public. If you wouldn’t want your boss and your grandmother seeing it, don’t post it.

Go look at my Facebook page if you want. These are all things I don’t mind you seeing: pictures of my dog, what I ate for dinner. Have you ever seen what my bedroom looks like? A picture of me doing any kind of illegal substance? A mean comment about someone else? Exactly. This isn’t me putting up a front; this is my public persona. A curated version of who I am that I am showing you on purpose.

You know where I go to relax? Pinterest. There, no one expects anything of me or wants to interact and instead I can just look at pretty pictures. (Alice’s version of this is Imgur.)

As Facebook evolves, it’s been interesting to watch how people use this tool. Heck, how I use the tool.

But as long as a majority of you respect this free resource by treating other users with respect, I think I will be grateful for what it does and tolerant of its shortcomings. Otherwise, I’m going to move onto the next social thing, and gladly.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

When Your Post Goes Viral

One of my colleagues is Jim LeClair, who runs the Maine Coast Welcome Center. He’s a mapping specialist who gets businesses listed in GPS units, etc.

I got a call from him last week, asking if I’d mind looking at his Facebook stats.

Because they seemed low? Nope, because they were really really high.

A simple thank you got around 30,000 shares (the photo was reposted and got 1,000 more shares from that). Even Jim, the guy who made it, is shocked.

A simple thank you got around 30,000 shares (the photo was reposted and got 1,000 more shares from that). Even Jim, the guy who made it, is shocked.

Jim thought it might be fun to post a picture thanking the plow people. He didn’t use Photoshop or do anything fancy; it literally took him five minutes. What happened next shocked him.

Over 100,000 people were ‘talking about’ his photo on Facebook and in 48 hours it got thousands and thousands of shares.

“How do I capitalize on this?” he asked.

“Did people like your page from it?” I asked.

He said about 400 people liked his page from the photo.

Sadly that’s the only way to follow up with people is if they like your page. Could Jim take out a Facebook ad with this picture and probably eek out a few more fans? I’m sure but those 30,000 fans will not hang on his every word from now on. And that’s ok.

A few takeaways from this situation:

1) Being positive will get you way farther than being negative. 
This photo generated some discussion, including some back and forth about plow drivers being overpaid. At first Jim was going to delete the negative but then he decided to just let the discussion be discussion. But his positive sentiment thanking plow drivers got him way more traction then being whiny.

2) You can’t plan viral.
Would Jim have made this photo different if he know hundreds of thousands would see it? Probably. But does it matter? This idea that you can plan for something to ‘go viral’ is ridiculous. Things online have a life of their own and you have to embrace that.

3) Some fame will linger in the way of fans who stick around… but a lot won’t.
This is why when things happen, you enjoy the exposure. Some new fans will stick around but not a majority (400 out of 30,000 in this case). And that’s ok.

Jim is enjoying the paparazzi not being outside his door (kidding), it was a pretty cool experience I’m happy one of my friends has had.

Have your own ‘going viral’ stories? How did it change your business? What did you learn?

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Fun Friday: Memes

If you’ve been on the internet for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced a meme. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, read on!

What is a meme? 

1) An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation.
2) An image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another.

Basically it is when something is taken in reused in other ways.

What are some examples of memes I might be familiar with?

An example of a popular internet meme is ‘Grumpy Cat’. She (thanks to Sarah A. for the gender correction!) is an annoyed looking cat who says grumpy things:

You wouldn't see all these images at once, you'd probably see them one at a time... but this just gives you the idea that one image can be remixed for multiple meanings.

You wouldn’t see all these images at once, you’d probably see them one at a time… but this just gives you the idea that one image can be remixed for multiple meanings.

Some memes are like Grumpy Cat: the same image with different text written on top. Other ones  like this include ‘overly attached girlfriend’ and ‘success kid’. People come up with their own fun captions using similar fonts and become part of a larger creative effort.

Sometimes, instead of the same image being used, it’s similar text being used with different images. A good example of this is ‘Call Me Maybe’. (Note we did a marketing series related to this this summer: http://breakingeveninc.com/tag/call-me-maybe/)

The refrain 'Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe.' is slightly changed and reworked with multiple images and ideas.

The refrain from the pop song ‘Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe.’ is slightly changed and reworked with multiple images and ideas.

As you can see, memes can be simple or complex. And once you are on the lookout, you’ll start noticing them everywhere.

No matter what, a meme is kind of like being a part of an internet joke, whether you make one of your own or share one that someone else created.

Are memes just limited to images?

No, people also have fun creating animated gifs and videos related to a meme. Here’s some videos that are inspired copies of Gangnam Style:

Gangnam Style inspired videos, which likely have similar crazy dance moves.

Gangnam Style inspired videos, which likely have similar crazy dance moves.

 I think I found a meme but I’m not sure. How can I find out?

Go to Knowyourmeme.com and type in a key word. For example, I typed in ‘baby’ and found Success Kid, since I forgot what that one was called.

Memes are a fun part of the internet. And now you know how to spot them!

Which one is your favorite?

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Why We Won’t Ask Facebook Fans To Add Us To An Interest List

I’ve seen versions of this message posted on a lot of Facebook business pages that I follow:

I am in no way picking on the Bangor Roller Derby. I have seen this at least 20 times in the last few weeks, which is why I thought it would be a good blog article. The rate at which it spread made it seem like some chain letter, so I looked into it.

A few things:

This will work… but differently than you think.

So people can create ‘Interest Lists’ which are basically Facebook versions of RSS feeds. Just to see what this would do, I went to a Maine-based publication and put them in an interest list I created called Maine. Where do these updates go once I do this? Scroll down you Facebook page and look left:

To get to the Interests feed you just created, you have to look low and left on the page. The updates aren't just in your regular news feed.

To get to the Interests feed you just created, you have to look low and left on the page. The updates aren’t just in your regular news feed.

Most people won’t understand this is where they need to go to see their subscribed pages, much like most people don’t know about the fact that Facebook has multiple inboxes/folders where users can get messages. In other words, we can ask ‘fans’ to add these features but if they don’t know how to use them, it won’t do a lot of good.

If you concentrate on posting good information people care about, you’ll get more interaction on your page.

There have been countless articles telling Facebook page administrators that number of fans is not as critical as interaction on the page. If more people like, comment, and share your posts, that means they are reading and enjoying the material you are putting out.

Pay to reach your fans when it will pay you back.

Facebook pages with over 400 fans,  you have the option to ‘promote’ a post. This means you can pay a nominal fee to make sure more of your fans see your post. If you are holding an event or have some other business-y post that you think would generate a return from increased exposure, I say go for it.

For someone who ran tests with a low budget spends and compared them to no-spend posts, check out this blog article: http://www.momdot.com/paying-for-promotions-on-facebook-worth-it

Asking your fans to do this above and beyond step won’t yield much.

By asking fans to take some extra steps to do something they don’t quite understand, you are making them work harder. As people who own the Facebook page, it should be up to us to provide useful information. And as most people have their own lives, on and off of Facebook, while they likely care about your business, they aren’t going to go out of their way.

For someone driving home this point a little stronger: http://www.jonloomer.com/2012/10/18/your-facebook-fans-dont-care-about-reach/

Facebook makes the rules, we follow.

Facebook is going to change its algorithm, just like Google and other information aggregators do from time to time. We can analyze every little change or just keep doing what we’re doing, enjoying the use of this free and effective platform. We’re doing the latter.

So if you want to add Breaking Even’s Facebook page to a list of interests, feel free. But you don’t need to do it to prove you care.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Why Do I Need To Claim My Venue On Foursquare

I’ve been reading ‘The Happiness Project’ for the past couple weeks and one of the small keys to happiness in it is ‘tackle a nagging task’. I added a bunch of these to my project management system and knocked them off the other day.

Hey I just checked in, and this is crazy, your venue has no address, so claim it maybe.One of my ‘finally done’ items was claiming Breaking Even Communications on Foursquare. Why else pay for this lovely office space, right?

Back in the day when you claimed your Foursquare venue (that’s what they call a business on Foursquare) you had two verification options:

1) Instantaneous (they called you with a code). Cost: $10
2) Wait for a postcard in the mail (the postcard has a code on it) which could take up to three weeks Cost: Free

So yesterday I was on Foursquare and now the instant verification costs $1. Works for me! So if you haven’t done this yet, go do it! :^)

Why You Should Claim Your Venue (Business On Foursquare)

Here are some of the benefits of claiming your venue:

  • Make sure your info is right including your business address, description, category, website URL, etc.
  • Leave tips or make specials for people who check in.
  • Leave tips on other business pages.
  • Post photos related to your business.
  • See data related to check-ins from individuals who visit your business (who came in, when, etc.)
  • Create events on Foursquare (individuals can do this too). Think of letting people check into the ‘Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner’ happening at your restaurant or ‘James McMurtry Concert’ at your theater.

How To Claim Your Venue (Business)

1) Find your business on Foursquare. Click on it to get to the most detailed info. (If you do not have a personal Foursquare account, you will be prompted to create one. Don’t worry, you don’t need to ever use it personally, you just need it to claim.)
2) Find the ‘claim’ link (see below).
3) Follow instructions.

Go to your business on Foursquare and look all the way down and right for the claim link.

Go to your business on Foursquare and look all the way down and right for the claim link.

Et puis voila, you are claimed!

Who Uses Foursquare Anyway?

In other words, for five minutes and $1, it really can be quite worth doing this small task. Foursquare users are a highly influential group of people:

  • Foursquare has 1.9 million users with 12,900 new users/day
  • 31% of mobile social media users use Foursquare
  • 2/3 of active Foursquare users post tips (mini reviews)
  • 80% of active Foursquare users have acted on another user’s tip

In other words, it’s a growing network where people are talking about businesses they visit. Sounds like a good place for any of us business owners!

Still hungry for more Foursquare? Here’s a great blog (unofficial but informative) all about it: http://aboutfoursquare.com/

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Meme Week: Google Maybe

Meme week continues and while earlier this week we did social media stuff, we’re branching out a bit with this next couple of posts. If you like what you see, share it on the interwebs. We appreciate it!

Hey I just Googled you, and this is crazy, you aren't on page one, update your website maybe.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
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