Facebook is the best thing to “Dislike” for “friends” that you hate

Have a friend that fills your newsfeed with countless baby photos, political rants or uncomfortable religious proclamations? Well then Facebook’s new “Unfollow” feature is just what you need. The company started rolling out a new feature this week, replacing the “Hide All” button with an “Unfollow” button. It’s Facebook’s newest way of allowing users to unfriend someone without actually having to publicly declare your lack of affection.

Can we still be friends?

If you choose to “Unfollow” someone, there will be no change from their point of view. You will still be friends on Facebook, but you will no longer be forced to read updates from that person. Users will be able to better curate their newsfeeds with just a simple click of a button and no one’s feelings will be hurt in the process.

The next best thing to “dis-Like”

Though much of the functionality will remain the same as it was with the “Hide All”, the “Unfollow” function will now apply to your friends as well as news organizations and people that you are following but not friends with. It’s the next best thing to the much-maligned “Dislike” button – which is perhaps the functionality that we all are secretly coveting.

The rollout will come to desktop users over the following weeks and then spread to mobile users in the following months.

Photo by Free Software Foundation / Watblog.com / traduction par Framablog [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

How social media can qualify the most useful product reviews

The days of a snotty expert dryly pronouncing their final word over the quality and usability of just about anything are long gone. Influence has shifted and social media reigns king. Social media is here to stay and it has put product reviews in the hands of the people.

” the judgment of the common man is here to stay”

According to KISSmetrics, over 70% of Americans look at product reviews before making a purchase.

With almost 63% of consumers indicating that they are more likely to purchase from a site that has product ratings and reviews, there is no longer any question that the judgment of the common man is here to stay. So, how can you weed through the product reviews and decide which ones matter?

1. Which Review Can You Trust?

Find a review that is trustworthy. Sites like Amazon have a ranking system, whereby the most liked reviews will go to the top. Review some of those at the top, read the comments made on the review. Check the profile of the person that wrote the review; evaluate their reviewing history. Decide if the review and reviewer themself is trustworthy. Evaluate the way the review was written. If sounds like an ad, then it probably is. If you are dubious, go to the next review or even the next product.

2. The Power of the Complaint

Beware of too many 5-star reviews. Read the complaints. The power of a review isn’t just in the quantity of stars it is given; it is also in the negative reviews given by those that gave the product the lowest rating. Valuable reviews are those that contain both positive and negative as well.

3. Seek Reviewers Similar to Yourself

Remember that not everyone is like you. Social media is faceless. This can be both good and bad. However, consider that the people giving the reviews might very well not be like you and, therefore, their opinions should be given less weight. Again, you can check the reviewers profile and get an idea of other things they have reviewed. Sites like Tripadvisor, give you to the option to filter reviews by families or couples or business people, allowing you to find reviewers similar to yourself.

4. Search Around

Check various purchasing and review websites. Check Twitter and Facebook and Google.

5. Seek Out the Most Powerful Reviews

Last, but not least, when I am really stuck trying to decide what to buy, I turn to my ability to question a wide network of social media friends by directly asking them to make a recommendation. Something like: “Please help! Which one is better: the Toyota Sienna or the Honda Odyssey?” This is a direct quote that a mom friend recently posted to her Facebook page. She got a number of valuable and honest opinions from an audience of people that are invested in her best interests.

The motto “Buyer Beware” still applies in this modern age, but these tips will help you use social media to sift through the good, the bad and the useful of product reviews.

What kind of rules do you follow when evaluating an online review?

Illustration by Allen Robert Branston [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Five common Facebook mistakes that small businesses make

I’ve worked with many small businesses, evaluating, defining and executing simple social media strategies on a small budget.

Here are five of the most common small business Facebook mistakes that are costing you Likes and valuable interaction:

1. Time It

Posting too much at the wrong time and not enough at the right time is the number one biggest offense that I see small businesses making. Many small businesses are running their own Facebook pages, which means that the amount of time available is very limited.

A common mistake is to post when it is convenient for the business, but not when it is convenient to the users. Maybe the only time you have is at night, but your customers are on during the day. This means what your posts are not reaching their audience effectively. It is quite simple to setup a timed post using the little clock located in the lower left hand corner of your status update (see below). Posting at the right time increases the interactions you will get. So, figure out when your customers are online and post accordingly.

Facebook status

2. Remove the Link

The second most common mistake I see is that businesses often leave in the actual link. This is unnecessary; once the automated Facebook link appears with the icon you can just delete the link. In the example below, I typed in www.leaderswest.com and then deleted the highlighted part once Facebook generated the link.

Facebook status and link


So, the final post should look like this. It looks pretty and so much more professional.

FB status

3. Posts Should Reflect Your Brand Image

If you sell luxury beach bags, post about the beach. Take people away to where they want to take their bag. If you sell health products, post health tips, healthy recipes and inspirational quotes. Figure out what image your brand should project and project it.

4. Spell Check

There’s no excuse for spelling errors. We all have spell check. Use it.

5. Leave Hashtags for Twitter

When I see a bunch of hashtags on a Facebook posts, it offends the social media manager in me. Hashtags are best left on Twitter for the time being. However, please note that there has been a backlash against them in general. If you haven’t seen the Jimmy Fallon clip, it’ll give you a good a idea of where hashtags are heading culturally.

Since so many small businesses are running on limited resources, make sure that you are using yours wisely.

By following these five simple tips, you will be able to increase engagement on your Facebook page without hiring a social media manager.

Illustration by Guillaume Duchenne [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Five tips to improve your social media security

My private Hotmail account was recently hacked into, causing me to reassess my entire internet security strategy. I was pretty safe already, taking common precautions such as updating my software on a regular basis and not clicking on any unknown links, but there was still room to improve. After some research I came up with a strategy for how to increase my social media security. I hope these tips can help you as well.

1. Build a Stellar Password

By Everaldo Coelho and YellowIcon [LGPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html)], via Wikimedia CommonsI once had a coworker that would implement the most impressively difficult passwords for our company accounts. Each individual password would have impressed the NSA with its carefully crafted combination of lower and uppercase letters, intermingled with punctuation and numbers. Honestly, I thought she was overdoing it at the time. I don’t anymore. Whatever you do, follow basic common sense. This means that even if you have the most cleverly crafted password creation known to man, you will not reuse it over and over again on different sites.

2. Don’t Store your Password on Your Computer

It’s not safe, so don’t do it.

3. Don’t Use Any Password that You Can Find on a Top Ten List

Sorry to say it, but this means no passwords like: password, 123456 or abc123.

4. Utilize a Password Management System

Because, really… who can remember the multitude of complicated number and letter combinations that it would take just to get through the sites visited before your first cup of coffee is finished? Oh, and it’s free. Enough said.

5. Password Protect Your Devices

Last, but not least: put a password on your devices, because you aren’t perfect and someday you are going to loose one of these babies. Or, if you are like my unlucky husband, it will slide out of your pocket during a long-haul flight and you won’t realize it until the cleaning crew has already been through the plane. Seriously people, these things do happen.

What do you do to keep your social media accounts secure?

U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger. Postwork by Dove (Derivative work from) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Everaldo Coelho and YellowIcon [LGPL], via Wikimedia Commons

How to personalize your digital brand

Give your brand a face and the customer relationships will follow.

It’s no big secret: people do not like logos, people like people. By taking this one small, but important fact into account as you consider you social media marketing plan, you can increase your brand recognition and interaction. [Read more…]