Thursday, October 31, 2013

How NowThis News Makes Us Question the Future of Traditional Media


 
nowthis news
As social media sites become more and more of a news source, particularly for young people, many are wondering if traditional media will ultimately die out. To cater to much-discussed Millennials, companies such as NowThis News are relying on the web and social media to relay the news. While some traditional media organizations are keeping up with the times and adapting to social media, others are not. As the president of BuzzFeed recently asked, has traditional media given up on young people? And even more importantly, have young people given up on traditional media?

NowThis News & Instagram Video

journalism on social media social newsAt NowThis News, 15-second news segments are the norm. Primarily using Instagram video, NowThis News targets the younger generation by relaying the news through social media as well as an app. With 15-20 million views per month on its app and over 50,000 followers on Instagram, NowThis News has proven highly successful with young people. For example, during the government shutdown, NowThis News produced different segments for Instagram, Vine, and its mobile app, drawing an average of 300 likes and 10+ comments per video post.
Editor in chief Ed O’Keefe has found that while Millennials want to be aware of current affairs just as much as older adults, they are much less likely to have cable, watch the news, or seek out news through online newspapers. Instead, they are expecting the news to come to them via social media. By posting approximately 50 news segments per day, NowThis News always has current events at the fingertips of users on different social media platforms as well as its mobile app.

How Traditional Media is Responding

As Mashable reports, the response of traditional media is a mixed bag. For the most part, traditional news organizations are not using social media to anywhere near the extent of NowThis News or similar news organizations that target Millennials, such as BuzzFeed. However, popular news sources such as The Huffington Post, NPR, and CBS This Morning are using Instagram video and posting original content. NPR in particular is planning to bring more breaking news to Instagram Video, and CBS This Morning uses Instagram Video to produce unique segments called “News in 15,” which are similar to NowThis News’s segments.

Has Traditional Media Has Given Up on Young People?

The president of BuzzFeed, Jon Steinberg, recently stated, “We feel strongly that traditional media have given up on young people.” As another news source that targets the younger generation, BuzzFeed has found that 70% of its traffic comes from social media sources. Steinberg believes that traditional news sources cannot appeal to the younger generation without putting social media at the forefront of their content sharing strategy.

How to Generate Twitter Leads With Their New Lead Generation Cards

Why Twitter Lead Generation Cards?

There are 500 million tweets sent every day (according to Twitter’s recent IPO documentation).
That’s a lot of noise to compete with.
Enter Twitter’s lead generation cards.
Lead generation cards work directly within your promoted tweet to collect users’ contact information in exchange for your offer.

What Are Twitter Lead Generation Cards?

Is your business using promoted tweets on Twitter? Would you like to get more from them?
Twitter lead generation cards increase conversion rates by capturing in-app form-fills from your followers. Think of them as embedded landing pages within your tweets, except they’re much more concise and require much less work from your followers.
Here’s an example from The Barista Bar.
attractive lead generation card
A short, yet punchy and attractive lead generation card.

#1: Set Up Your Lead Tracking System

Before you get started with lead generation cards, you’ll need to set an endpoint integration, which allows you to track your leads from your cards in whateverCRM (customer relationship management) system you’re using.
This is critical. You don’t want to go through all the work of perfecting a card only to realize you can’t organize and filter the contact information you’ve collected.
Currently, the following CRM providers integrate with Twitter lead generation cards: EloquaExactTargetHubSpotInfusionsoftLoopFuseMailChimpMarketoOptify,PardotSailthruSalesforce and Silverpop.
Contact the support team of your chosen CRM provider for assistance with configuring the endpoint. When you’re done, Twitter lead generation cards will upload leads directly to your database.

#2: Create Your Lead Generation Card

To create your first Twitter lead generation card, sign up for Twitter Ads and locate the Twitter Ads feature under the drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner of your screen.
twitter ads feature
Open the advertising interface to get started.
Click on the Cards option on the navigation bar, and on the right you’ll find the button for creating your lead generation card.
create lead generation card
Click the Create Lead Generation Card button.
This will bring you to the card editor, where you’ll be asked to provide a short description of your offer, attach an image and choose the call-to-action message that’s included on the button.

#3: Design Your Card

Here’s where the real fun begins; it’s time to create the written and visual contentthat conveys the value of your offer and captures leads.
Because these are also promoted tweets, you’ll want to carefully consider the content featured on your cards to avoid wasted dollars and opportunities for conversions.
Think of Twitter lead generation cards as a much more concise version of the corresponding landing page.
To ensure consistency, establish clear goals at the outset of the campaign. Whether your goal is to generate more blog subscribers or club members, or generate a ton of leads from your new ebook, make sure this is reflected in both the strategy and execution of your campaign.
Below are the three main elements of lead generation cards, as well as some tips to help you convey value and attract attention quickly.
  • Short Description: You’re limited to 50 characters. Convey the value of your offer with brief and compelling copy. Focus on informing users about exactly what they’re getting and why they need it.
  • Card Image: Stay away from stock images if you can. Aim for originality and use a remarkable image that ties in the value of your offer to attract users.
  • Call to Action: This is the copy that will appear on the Submit button. Consider what the user is receiving and craft an actionable message around it. For example, if you’re promoting your blog, you might choose “Click to Subscribe” as your CTA.
    card for promoted tweet
    A Twitter lead generation card awaits customization.
Below are two examples of well-executed Twitter lead generation cards.
consistent message example
Message consistency is key.
The value ExactTarget created here is one of quantity and sensitivity to your time. They offer 140 tips of 140 characters or fewer!
featured image example
A great example of a featured image that conveys value.
Copy isn’t even needed in HP’s card. For its newsletter, HP simply let the product and image speak for themselves.
Notice these companies didn’t clutter the message. They used very few characters in the actual tweet. This lets users quickly recognize the value of the offer.
Because Twitter is primarily a text-heavy platform, images like the ones you see above stand out significantly. Rely on your image to do most of the talking.

#4: Configure Your Advanced Settings

Once you’ve perfected the design of your card, you need to ensure its functionality so that everything communicates and works effectively.
Complete the following steps before you launch your campaign:
  • Submit the URL: This is where your lead information will be directed. It should be the endpoint you set up earlier with your CRM.
  • Designate a Privacy Policy URL: All cards must include a link to your privacy policy so users see what data is being collected and what’s being done with it.
  • Define a Fallback URL: Just in case a user clicks through on a non-supported platform, this is the backup link they’ll be directed to. Ideally you’d want this to be the URL to the corresponding landing page so you still have an opportunity for a conversion.
  • Rename the Form Fields: For contact information to sync correctly with your CRM, rename any form field to reflect its corresponding field name in your database. For example, if the Name field in your database is “Contact_Name”, you’ll want to make these changes under Custom Key Names.
    custom key name
    Edit your Custom Key Names on the right.
It’s critical that these custom fields match, as any inconsistencies will affect whether the leads you generate from your lead generation card sync correctly in your database.

9 Marketing Insights to Drive Online Success in 2014

Whilst we still have a couple of months left before the year is through, I thought now would be a good time to look back over what has been an incredibly challenging year for content marketers. Looking backwards is often a good place to start when it comes to predicting the challenges that lay ahead, so with 2014 on the horizon this article looks back at some of the biggest changes to happen this year and forwards, to speculate about what the future has in store.
To get a clearer idea of the future direction of content marketing, I posed a question over on Google+, asking fellow content marketers what they believed the coming months had in store. Their comments, together with my own thoughts form the basis of this article, in which I predict where the content marketing emphasis will be in the coming new year.
9 marketing insights for 2014

A Look Back at 2013

The biggest challenges this year for many came from Google in it's continuing war against web spam. Starting with the major Penguin refresh back in May 2013, followed by their stealth release of the brand new Hummingbird algorithm in early September 2013 which was swiftly followed by another Penguin refresh. Whilst most of these changes were targeted at spammers and SEO black-hatters, many reputable businesses were still affected.
Some of my own clients saw very small drops by 1 or 2 places in search results, but these loses were balanced out by gains for more long-tail keywords that they had previously not been ranking as well for. In a bid to provide ever more relevant search results, some of the tried and trusted techniques that SEOs had been using for years, were suddenly the very things harming websites, and in some cases causing Google penalties; manual actions taken against websites flagged for web spam.
Businesses slow to adapt to a content focused approach have
faced a harsh learning curve on the road back to recovery

Whilst businesses making use of ethical SEO techniques felt little impact, the Google updates resulted in dramatically changing the SEO landscape. Businesses slow to adapt to a content focused approach have faced a harsh learning curve on the road back to recovery. Content marketers who have been focusing on producing high quality content and driving meaningful engagement however, have embraced, and largely benefited from the recent changes.

What's Next for Content Marketing and SEO?

This doesn't mean that it's all plain sailing however, and looking forwards, this increased focus on content will provide new challenges as more businesses invest in the area. Competition for those lucrative top spots in organic search results, is likely to increase further as more and more businesses adopt a content focused strategy. More competition in paid search too, means that budgets will need to increase in order to support the higher bids necessary to maintain visibility.
As social media reaches full maturity, so the techniques being used to
build and grow communities will need to be revised and sharpened in
order to rise above the hubbub

When it comes to social media, in order to rise above the high level of noise generated by increased adoption, boosting visibility will become even more crucial. Paid advertising, for example promoted posts and Facebook ads, will become increasingly necessary in order to reach customers. This means that companies who choose not to invest in this area and SMEs who simply don't have the resources, will gradually loose out to competitors with deeper pockets.

2014 - The Year of Big Brands or Creative Guerrilla Marketers?

The concern is that smaller businesses will loose out to big brands, who are more easily able to pay for greater visibility across social media.  Organic activities will fail to reach a wide enough audience (Facebook story bump is a prime example of this) and will instead be buried under an avalanche of paid advertising and 'popular' content.
Google's way of addressing this is in part, Google Places/Google+ Local, which helps to provide greater visibility for location based business owners. Whilst Google Places/Google+ Local is undeniably useful for bricks and mortar businesses who want to be found in local searches, it is of little benefit to internet only businesses who service the whole of the UK and don't rely on location based searches. These are the kind of businesses that will struggle in terms of SERPs visibility, and may in fact be forced into using Paid search in order to compete.
In a recent straw poll, content marketers agreed that
greater competition will be a major challenge in 2014

Not convinced? Econsultancy.com recently reported that Google has been testing huge banner ads at the top of their search results page. This has the effect of pushing all other content way down the page giving unrivaled visibility to the brands big enough to be able to afford such exposure. Whilst I should stress that at the time of writing, these banner ads are just be trialed and are not widely available as an advertising option, their future introduction looks highly probable.
Google banner ads
image courtesy of eConsultancy
If you want to understand the difference between Google Places and Google+ Local take a look at the recent article Google Places for Business Vs. Google Local from Amanda DiSilvestro at HigherVisibility.

Is it Possible to Stand Out Without Paid Advertising?

Branding will become ever more important as businesses need to stand out from the competition. Smaller businesses whose activities are not currently strategically driven, will need to up their game in terms of both understanding and conveying their USPs and they will also need to get smart about how they measure their success and how they devise actionable insights.
If small businesses can remain both creative and agile, they will be able to grow their communities and more importantly, they'll be able to leverage the power of those communities to their advantage. I'm pretty certain then that in 2014 we will see more investment into not just content marketing and relationship building, but into branding too.
Investing in branding and content marketing isn't optional,
it's critical in order to maintain online visibility

I recently read a great article on the Jeff Bullas blog, called 10 Top Brands with the Worst Google Plus Pages, which highlighted some examples of big brands on Google+ and the woeful inadequacy of their activities, from sporadic posting to not changing the default cover image. Many businesses still just don't get Google+ but I see that as a great big opportunity for smaller businesses.
We know that Google+ is the second biggest social network and it is getting bigger every day - it's not going away and it isn't something businesses can afford to simply ignore. Carving a niche on a platform which is still growing rather than fully saturated like Facebook, makes a lot of sense.  This will help smaller businesses to amplify their content organically, in a way that is no longer possible on some other social platforms such as Facebook.
Whilst opportunities will continue exist for those of us not lucky enough to have an internationally recognisble brand or large budgets, It's not going to be easy. As 2014 progresses, small businesses will learn that investing in content marketing and developing their brand isn't optional, it's something they have to do in order to maintain their online visibility.

Marketing Insights for 2014

  1. Greater competition as the volume of content being published and promoted online continues to increase, making paid search more necessary
  2. Increased need to differentiate, making branding all important
  3. Increasingly necessary to pay for social media advertising alongside existing organic activities
  4. Social media continues to be an important communications with Increased adoption of Pinterest, particularly for online retailers and increased business adoption of  YouTube
  5. Responsive design will become even more widespread as the use of mobile devices for browsing the internet continues to increase
  6. Greater use of location based marketing, primarily Google Places/Google+ local
  7. Smarter metrics necessary in order to obtain clearer insights and more accurately measure ROI
  8. Strategically driven activities will become ever more widespread as social media reaches maturity
  9. Creativity, agility and innovation will become more important in helping marketers to grab and hold the attention of their audiences


5 Ways to Deal With Insufferable Facebook Behavior

Obnoxious Facebook users

Do you have a personal Facebook account or know someone who does?   The writer of a recent article, “7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook” divides Facebook statuses into two categories: annoying and unannoying.  According to the writer, an annoying Facebook status “primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it.” The writer then lists seven offenses that stem from these statuses. These offenses result in what the writer terms “insufferable Facebook behavior.”
Even if some Facebook users post things you may view as offensive, it’s not the content of the posts that lead you to feel upset, envious, or depressed – it’s whatever you’re telling yourself while you’re reading these posts. This is the basic premise of several forms of cognitive therapy – emotional and behavioral disturbances are caused by people’s beliefs about a specific situation and not by the situation itself.   
Facebook can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family across the world.  Why let your thoughts about what someone else posts upset you to the point where you may even consider deactivating or deleting your account? Rather than getting upset and avoiding Facebook, a better option might be to practice self-acceptance and other-acceptance. The writer of “7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook” alludes to this point:
The bigger point here is that the qualities of annoying statuses are normal human qualities -- everyone needs to brag to someone here and there, everyone has moments of weakness when they need attention or feel lonely, and everyone has some downright ugly qualities that are gonna come out at one time or another.
In Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), self-acceptance refers to the ability to enjoy life while choosing not to rate yourself. Other-acceptance refers to the ability to acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of other people without labeling them or believing they are better or worse than anyone else. Here are five ways you can practice self-acceptance and other-acceptance the next time you log in to your personal Facebook account:
Determine how you’ll use Facebook.  People on your list may be categorized by default as “Friends.” Consider your definition of friendship and how that might influence your decision to connect with someone. Also think about how your perception of friendship may influence how you maintain connections with people on your Friends list.
Be aware of your feelings and beliefs.  If you start to feel a negative emotion such as envy, consider what you could be telling yourself that is leading you to feel that way.  Identify any irrational beliefs about yourself, others, or the world. Irrational beliefs are extreme, inflexible, and unhealthy. (E.g.,Everyone else is in a relationship. I’ll never find anyone. How did she manage to find someone? Life isalways unfair.)
Dispute irrational beliefs. How is holding on to your irrational beliefs helping you? Do your irrational beliefs make you feel better or worse? Where is the evidence that your beliefs are true? What evidence refutes your beliefs?
Develop more effective beliefs. Consider the possibility that your experiences and the way you express them may be different from others. However, that doesn’t mean you are better or worse than anyone on your Friends list. Perhaps it means that each of you is a complex human being.
Develop more effective functioning. Instead of avoiding Facebook, develop mutually beneficial on and offline relationships with those on your Friends list.
So, the next time you update your status, you might want to focus on the prompt that asks what’s on your mind. Because despite any posts you come across in your Newsfeed, it’s your beliefs that ultimately determine how you feel about yourself while you’re using Facebook.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How Financial Firms Can Build Trust Through Social Media


social media and financial firms
Financial institutions face a lot of challenges in today's marketplace, especially when it comes to social media.

First, there's the regulatory issues: FINRA requires that firms must collect and store records of all business communication through social networks. This protects investors from inaccurate claims and misleading representations. It means firms must put together a policy/workflow to educate employees on what is and isn’t considered a business communication. Social media conversation, says the guidelines, needs to be regulated and monitored just like written and in-person communications are.
But what is the reason to engage on social networks in the first place? Why go through all the trouble of educating your employees, putting a policy in place, and archiving all social media posts?
Easy: Social media is a way for financial firms to not just create awareness but to solidify customer relationships and build trust.
Of course, while you are archiving your social interaction with your customers, why not look at that data in the long-term and learn from it? Social media monitoring can not only keep you compliant, but it can help you determine the language of your customers and measure the success with which you reach them.
In addition to examining the language and trends of your industry online, it's important to have some specific strategies. Augie Ray, Director of Social Media at Prudential says there are four broad ways that financial companies can build trust through social media:
1. Person-to-person - Financial advisors themselves are reaching out via personal networks and peer-to-peer communities.
2. Transparency - Making company leaders (including CEOs) available for Q&As on leading social networks helps to build trust.
3. Quality Interactions - Social responsiveness, building networks of your financial planners, and authoring valuable content build strong relationships.
4. Co-creation- Crowdsourcing ideas and suggestions helps your customers feel like they are partial owners in the brand. Ray has examples of each of these from companies like Prudential, Ameriprise, Fidelity, Vanguard, and more in this fantastic slidedeck. Check it out:
Focusing on Augie's number three suggestion -- quality interactions -- the response to that suggestion will often be "easier said than done."
For me here at Spiral16, my content strategy is always to offer/curate the best advice on social media that I can find and from my own experience. Creating content that people will engage with and share across the web is never easy, and its different for every industry and audience.
Digital Strategist Tracey Parsons recently suggested 6 different categories of great social media content for financial institutions. Sometimes the difference between a stale piece of content and something that will call people to action is the delivery, like this first example:
  • Offer suggestions about how people can GROW their money -- not just savings tips.
  • Experts are up on things. Drive people to the articles and ebooks that your experts are reading.
  • Shared passions are often the key to increasing authentic engagement. What sponsorships can you leverage that relate to a shared passion with your customers?
  • Share content that makes people feel good about your company. Remind your audience of your values; what you give back to the community.
  • Active listening means actually responding and making customers feel like part of the conversation. (This relates all four of Augie's ways to build trust above.)
  • If you do talk about yourself, make it interesting. Being clever, funny, and relevant always works.
It's no surprise that many of the ideas above dovetail into the previous ones. There's one constant here:Before rolling out any social media strategy, financial firms need to listen.
You have to archive all your social media posts and customer responses anyway, so why not actively listen and learn from the people that keep you in business anyway? They want to trust you. It's up to you to show them why they should.


Brand Management on Social Media: Be Different, Positive and Consistent


branding
At a glance, brand management on social media looks simple. All you need to do is set up a Facebook or a Twitter account, call it after the name of your company/product and use it to aid your corporate entity's branding.

However, as the experiences of many marketing campaigns show, handling your brand image on social media goes far beyond sticking its logo to a Pinterest page. 
On the one hand, there are certain pitfalls to watch out for. On the other hand, following brand management best practices will help you maximize the return on your SMM efforts.
The 3 pillars of brand management on social
As per the brand management guide we published some time ago, the three essential principles of any branding strategy include: uniquenesspositivity and consistency.
In other worlds, one needs to manage their brand online in such a way that:
  • It stands out among other brands
  • It’s associated with something positive
  • It doesn’t sink into oblivion once your Christmas promo campaign is over 
How exactly do you stick to all three principles?
1. Find your social media voice
Even though I had written about finding one's unique voice myself, I still consider the subject a bit of a grey area. That's because sometimes this type of advice doesn't go beyond "be different from the other guy".
So, what does finding your social media voice mean exactly? How different can one sound than any other brand, say, on Twitter or Pinterest?
As a company, you must have already decided on your unique selling proposition (USP) and how it should be incorporated into your bigger branding plan. Most likely, you have already defined what traits make your brand stand out. 
So, whatever you do on social media should be in line with your brand's characteristics in order for it to have integrity.
For example, comparethemarket.com - the company best known for its Compare The Meerkat promo campaign - has a Facebook page that's a logical continuation of their branding strategy.
If you look for "compare the market on Facebook", what comes up first is not the company's corporate page with just 235 likes, but the one "owned" by Alexandr Orlov, the meerkat - with 807K likes. On Facebook, the meerkat even writes in the same manner in which he talks in videos! 
reputation management
Other things you can do to raise brand awareness on social media are:
  • Brand your channel properly using the real estate it offers to remind the followers about your brand
  • Use a branded URL shortner 
branding online
  • Brand your images as you share them on social media (not a must, but it still helps build brand awareness)
social media management
2. Be the Good Guy
Now, being the good guy on social media doesn't mean that you can't allow any criticism or negative feedback to appear on your Facebook page, or Twitter, etc.
What this means is that the sum total of the negativity and the positivity associated with your brand should have a positive balance. And the bigger this surplus, the better.
One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is:
  • Ignore negative feedback
  • Respond to negative feedback by being negative
  • Lie or be elusive while trying to come out of a conflict
Experienced online marketers know that any conflict is a gateway to asserting the positive image of your brand - if you know how to handle it masterfully. However, if you just ignore it, this will render all other effort you make as an SMM manager futile.
For example, what's the point of announcing a contest on Facebook, if you are just going to let any negative comments slide (like Sprint did): 
social advertising
Another set of potential dangers lies in covering sensitive topics or asking your audiences the wrong kind of question.
Over the years, there had been many 9/11-themed tweets and image uses that incurred backlash from the community. The topic is particularly sensitive, and anyone attempting a 9/11 post must make sure it's completely devoid of any dubiousness AND doesn't exploit the topic for promotion in any way.
As Bryan Joiner tweeted: 
branding best practices online
Speaking of asking the wrong kind of question, this normally concerns instances when brands feel moved to ask their followers how the latter feel about the brand's products.
Now, unless you're absolutely positive that the quality of your products or services is immaculate, asking this kind of question is likely a bad idea.
3. Be as predictable as a Swiss watch
Last but not least, is the consistency principle one should adhere to when promoting a brand on social media. To cut a positive image for your brand, your SMM efforts should be consistent.
Sometimes, this is challenging to achieve, especially if your social media managers or marketing strategy change. But there is a way to go about it without losing your followers' credibility.
(Also consider getting social media publishing guidelines in case your social media manager changes in the future)
  • Be only where you can be regularly
It is usually not a brilliant idea to get a Pinterest account just for the heck of it. If you are not going to be posting there on a regular basis, your followers will get disappointed in you - and the brand you represent. For instance, who wants to see a Facebook post with just spam in comments:
social network
  • Let people know what to expect from you
It is equally important to be consistent about the kind of posts you create.  For example, Guy Kawasaki  is one of the top tweeps whose posts are a predictable mix of wise quotes, science news, geek fun, social life, politics and, of course, online marketing.  
This could actually be the secret behind his popularity - he is expectedly eclectic. 
online brand management

Facebook’s Next Big Privacy Change Is Still Coming


Have you seen the warning signs?
We’re all on Facebook and seemingly can’t give it up, but should we?

In 2013 there have been some big changes in the way the social network handles its users' privacy.

The latest round of Facebook changes had a huge impact on teens and their online privacy.  

You might recall that earlier in October Facebook caused a stir by changing settings so that teens could make themselves discoverable on the platform.

In an Oct. 16 Los Angeles Times piece Facebook loosens privacy policy on teens' posts Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, called on federal regulators to step in and protect teen privacy.

"To parents and teens, Facebook is claiming they are giving them more options to protect their privacy. But in reality, they are making a teen's information more accessible, now that they have the option to post publicly," Chester said, adding: "Today's announcement actually removes a safeguard that teens currently have."

Yes, Facebook says one thing but in reality seems to do another.

In an excellent piece on Bloomberg.com by Evan Selinger (a colleague at RIT) and Woodrow Hartzog Why Is Facebook Putting Teens at Risk? they argue that "… the most important reason Facebook shouldn’t have introduced this change is that teens need opportunities to fail safely. They must be allowed to experiment -- to make mistakes and to learn from them."

"As parents, our job is to encourage them to explore ideas, experiences and even personas," Selinger and Herzog say. "Responsible companies will do their part by offering teens technologies that enhance personal development and strive for minimal risk."

And the recent teen privacy changes come on top of Facebook’s earlier introduction of Graph Search (March, 2013).

Megan Marrs, in a well-written post Facebook Graph Search & Privacy Concerns: Should You Be Worried?” says Graph Search is “Now with more stalking power!” She describes how once anything that might have embarrassed you on Facebook was, over time, buried which was sometimes referred to as "privacy by obscurity." But now Graph Search means almost anyone can find anything at any time. Should you be worried? Her answer is a resounding “Yes!”

But wait, there’s more.

Facebook has a proposal in front of the Federal Trade Commission that would make your privacy even more of a thing of the past.

Vindu Goel, writing in the The New York Times’ Technology page in a piece calledFacebook Eases Privacy Rules for Teenagers, notes that the Federal Trade Commission is conducting an inquiry into other proposed changes to FB’s privacy policies.

Goel notes: "Those policies would give Facebook automatic permission to take a user’s post, including a post made by a teenager, and turn it into an advertisement broadcast to anyone who could have seen the original post."

Facebook, it seems, is bent on erasing personal privacy in every corner of its network.

What can you do?

To argue for protecting children online you can contribute to the comments section of two proposals made to the Federal Trade Commission under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule at FTC Extends Public Comment Deadlines on Two COPPA Proposals -- there is a Nov. 4 deadline.

So what do you think? Is there any expectation of privacy on social networks such as Facebook? Or should people continue to use FB and other social media knowing that sooner rather than later they will not be able hide anything?

How to Analyze Your Facebook Metrics to Improve Your Marketing

Why Facebook Metrics?

The typical Facebook marketer keeps close tabs on two main stats: Post Reach and Page Likes. While you should be conscious of these stats, they should not be central to measuring your marketing goals on Facebook.
It’s more important to understand the number of fans your posts reach, how many of those fans you engage and what types of clicks your posts receive.
While Facebook’s new and improved web Insights does share some great new information with page admins, you need to dig within the export files to find these useful stats.

Accessing the Exports

Before we get to the five metrics you should be checking, let’s cover some basics on how to find them.
insights in admin panel
Click on Insights within your Admin Panel to view your web Insights.
Now click the Export Data button at the top right.
export data button
Click the Export Data button to view documents of data that aren't shown in web Insights.
You’ll be given a dialog to tell Facebook what you want to export. It’s a tad more confusing right now because Facebook is rolling out the new exports associated with the new web Insights.
export page or post
Export either your page- or post-level data, choosing either the new or old reports.
Go ahead and select the New export. You can keep the date range as the default, or feel free to expand it as needed. Now, download both the page-level and post-level data—you’ll need to do each one separately.

#1: Fans Reached

I’m listing this metric first because so many marketers obsess over it, but they don’t know what it actually is.
By now, you undoubtedly understand that you won’t reach 100% of your fans with a single post. In fact, you may not even reach 15%.
The typical marketer looks at the total post reach or organic post reach numbers and thinks it represents total number of fans reached. Then they divide that number by total number of fans to get their percentage of fans reached.
Totally wrong!
You find the number of fans reached in your post-level export file in column T of the Key Metrics tabLifetime post reach by people who like your page.
fans reached
The number of fans reached with a post is found within the post-level export.
You determine the number of fans you reach organically by subtracting the total in column V for Lifetime paid reach of a post by people who like your page from column T.

#2: Engaged Fans

Of course, reaching your fans is only half the battle. The true measure of whether your content resonates with your audience is measured in part by engagement.
While it’s impossible to know how many users actually see your post, which is what reach attempts to measure, Facebook does tell you how many users click on your post.
This is the starting point for reach. You know that anyone who clicked on your post saw it. Beyond that, you can’t be sure of the level of engagement.
Find the number of people who have engaged with your post in column W within the Key Metrics tab: Lifetime people who have liked your page and engaged with your post.
number of fans engaged
View how many of your fans engaged with a post within the post-level export.
Now understand this isn’t the number of people who commented, liked or shared your post (although that is included in this number). An “engaged fan” is anyone who clicks anywhere within your post or generates a story about your post, even if it doesn’t result from a click.
The final five columns of the Key Metrics tab in the post-level export are all related to your fans:
  • Fan impressions
  • Fan reach
  • Paid fan impressions
  • Paid fan reach
  • Engaged fans

#3: Post Consumers/Consumptions

This is one of my favorite Facebook metrics, but it goes virtually unnoticed.
A “post consumer” is a user who clicks anywhere on your post, regardless of whether it results in a story. This would include things like:
  • Comment
  • Like
  • Share
  • Photo click
  • Link click
  • Video play
  • Expand description
  • Expand comments
  • Click profile of commenter
It’s any click at all. A “post consumption” is the click itself.
These totals are found in columns O and P of the Key Metrics tab in the post-level export.
frequency content clicked
Consumers and consumptions tell you how often your content is clicked.
Note that there is very little difference between a consumer and an engaged user. Both include any click. The only difference is that when a story is generated without a click, it’s included under engaged user, not consumer.
I prefer the consumer metric because Facebook breaks this stat down into types of consumptions. This isn’t the case with the engaged users metric.

#4: Link Clicks

This metric is one of the main reasons I like the consumers stat so much. Link clicks is a type of consumption.
The second and third tabs of the post-level export break down types of consumers and consumptions as follows:
  • Link clicks
  • Photo view
  • Video play
  • Other clicks (defined as any post click that isn’t a link click, photo view or video play)
    number of clicks
    View number of link clicks within Consumer and Consumption tabs of the post-level export.
One of your goals as a publisher is to drive traffic to your website. Therefore, the link clicks stat is extremely important to you.
If the goal of your post is to drive traffic and it receives 100 likes without a link click, was it successful? Probably not. If you ignore this stat, you don’t know that.
Consider the link click metric a starting point. You should always cross-reference traffic numbers by using URL parameters or link shorteners to track the traffic from your posts.

#5: Positive Feedback

Facebook has rolled out a new stat that is buried within the page-level export. It’s not really a new stat, but it has been renamed.
The page-level export is an enormous file with dozens of tabs. Six of the final seven tabs are dedicated to positive feedback:
  • Daily positive feedback by type (users)
  • Weekly positive feedback by type (users)
  • 28 days positive feedback by type (users)
  • Daily positive feedback by type (total count)
  • Weekly positive feedback by type (total count)
  • 28 days positive feedback by type (total count)
These tabs used to be called Talking About This and Stories. In other words, positive feedback is measured by the comments, likes or shares (described as “links” in the export) generated by users while interacting with your page.
view positive feedback
View positive feedback within the page-level export.
While you can no longer track which posts, for example, received the most comments, likes or shares, this is still a nice stat to track when you evaluate the overall impact you make with your Facebook page.
And it’s also nice to counter that dreaded “negative feedback” with a little positivity.