Friday, November 9, 2012

What you should and should NOT post on Facebook

This past political season has been full of heated debates, finger pointing, lies and mis-direction and not necessarily all from one political party or the other. It seems that everywhere you looked there was someone posting on Social Networks something political in nature.

One of my favorite Memes on Facebook are the SomeeCards that are constantly being posted and this one is truly reflective of the past political season:

But even with as many political posts as I came across on Facebook, nothing was quite so alarming as some of the posts found on a newly elected Kansas State Representative's facebook page.  Now it's one thing to post such content on your page and keep the privacy settings limited to just your friends and entirely different thing to post that content to your page publicly for all the world to see.

Rightfully so, people began complaining about his Facebook content to the local news station, which eventually prompted an investigative report which aired on the 10 o'clock news.  I was asked for my professional opinion related to these posts, which I replied immediately that they were in violation of Facebook's rules of conduct.

See the entire interview here:

If you read Facebook's rules, you can clearly see several items which the Kansas State Representative was in violation of.  I explained how you can report the images to Facebook to have them deleted.  Facebook has been known to close your account if they find you in violation of the rules, so it's best to play things on the safe side, especially when you are a public official.

Visit the Facebook Community Standards Page

 After reviewing the rules and the images and videos on the good Representative's page, it was clear that they were in violation. Even though the images were posted by someone else and shared to the page, the Representative can still be held accountable for the content.

There are ways to report the images to Facebook, which did on several of the images. Surprisingly enough, Facebook refused to take the offensive images down.  It's not clear whether more people need to complain before Facebook will actually enforce their own rules, or if it was just a matter of not having a real person to follow up with the claim.  We'll make sure to stay on top of the situation to see what Facebook's response will be.

For now, it is unclear what is really allowed on Facebook. The rules should be evident enough, but with no one to enforce them, it really is like having no rules at all.

What do you think? You can watch the interview and see the images in question for yourself and we'd love to hear what you would do.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why Facebook will have to start charging for Pages.

As a Social Media Manager, I have access to dozens of Facebook pages and I am also listed as a Facebook Developer.  This usually means that I find out about interesting things going on with Facebook before most normal users.

Today, as I was perusing one of my client's Page Insights, I noticed a pop-up message that was asking me if I would like to do a survey. A survey for Facebook? How can I resist? I have LOTS of feedback for Facebook!

So the survey started innocently enough. It asked what I liked about Facebook Pages. For me, the things I love most about the Facebook Pages are the customizable options with the Timeline covers and the applications with custom tabs.  Things like that really make me happy, but I am kind of geeky that way.

The next question from Facebook asked me what I DIDN'T like about the pages... even daring me to "BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE".  Oh boy, they asked for it.  Here is what I said:

1.  I don't like that Facebook applications (the custom tabs) cannot be accessed with your mobile device.  I have been reading so many studies that indicate more and more people are accessing Facebook with their mobile devices rather than a computer so it didn't make sense to me WHY we can't see the custom tabs on Facebook Mobile apps.

2. I don't like that the Facebook mobile app didn't allow for SHARING of posts.  Sharing is the most important form of engagement that your page could possibly receive. It pretty much guarantees you new likes to your page with high amounts of sharing.  Why can't we share posts and pictures from pages with our Mobile Apps?  Now, I have seen that there can be ways to do it, but it is very limited.

3. Finally, there needs to be a better solution for advertising on Facebook.  I have the ability to drive ad traffic to custom tabs which, if done correctly, can be used like a landing page. But what I want is for it to be a legitimate "choice" under Facebook advertising to drive traffic to your custom tab or better yet, give us the ability to drive all new incoming traffic to a landing page like in the olden days.

Facebook then said that they were considering offering Businesses a special "Package" for their Page with a long list of great things that they said would be included, which I am putting here for your review (along with my personal reactions to each):

1.  Mobile apps that will show custom tabs (Hooray!)
2. Availability of Email and Chat to report problems with your page (What's this going to cost?)
3. 5 Free Promoted Posts each month (Nothing's free on Facebook anymore...)
4. Access to PHONE SUPPORT for your Pages (now I KNOW this is going to cost us...)
5. Removal of all ads from the right-hand side of your page (Really? This seems lame...)
6. Option to respond to comments and wall-posts through private message (Taking things off the mat... I like that)
7. Option to post to page as an employee personality and not the page (we sort of already have this option)
8. Prominent Business listing in Facebook search (as opposed to what?)
9. Access to yearly discussions with Business Page owners who are "successful" (I already do this as a professional, year round, it's what I DO)
10. A listing of other Pages in your general field and how their success compares to yours (this could be good or bad, depending on what your line of work is)

I'm sure there were a couple of more options there, but unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to write all of them down.  Once I was finished giving them feedback as to how "valuable" I found all of the special options, they asked me if I would consider paying $50 a month for this Package.

Many of these options really won't affect my client's visibility but it could affect a lot of others in a positive way. For example, one could easily spend more than $50 on promoted posts each month, which to me really is worth the funds as it greatly increases your Page's visibility more than the traditional Facebook ad.

The truth is, now that Facebook is trading on the market, they have to look into all possible revenue streams. Advertising is pulling in a lot right now, and they have changed their Newsfeed Edgerank Algorithm so that Pages feel the need to promote their posts in order to stay in front of their followers' top stories.  Finding ways to "sweeten the pot" for Pages both offers businesses a way to have more advanced Pages than other businesses as well as adds an extra revenue stream for Facebook.

Businesses should prepare their budgets for 2013 to allow for extra Facebook spending if they want to stay on the cutting edge.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Social Experiment - Part 1, Starting a Movement

President and Owner of LileStyle Productions, Angie Lile, has many passions. She loves to play around on social media sites and absorbs social media news at the same rate as her coffee/smoothie.  She loves her kids and family and how much time she gets to spend with them when she's not on Facebook. She loves her friend and LileStyle's Senior Writer, Susan Stocking and her extreme abilities in the kitchen and uncanny way of finding a great deal.

But recently, Angie was consumed by an all new passion: flat-packed furniture. Particularly the kind you find at Ikea.

Having driven with Susan to an Ikea in Chicago and making their first ever purchases, walking through the vast spaces filled with every kind of room configuration imaginable and playing with all of the cabinets and drawers, this dynamic duo decided to begin a new social experiment with grand ideas of accomplishments.

Hence, the "Bring Ikea to Kansas City" movement was begun.  Susan and Angie sat down to discuss how to start a movement and quickly decided that a Facebook page would be the easiest and quickest way to start.  They talked about what they could provide on a Facebook page that would get people as excited about Ikea as they were.  There were many ideas tossed about and Angie used her Facebook technical skills to formulate the new page.

She added two very custom tabs to the page which would serve to (a) raise the overall visibility of the page to others and (b) give people who supported the page a reason to come back to the page over and over again.

"The first tab was easy," said Angie of her experiences. "I had just returned from a social media seminar where there was a lot of talk about Pinterest and how the demographic of Pinterest was about 75% women. This is the same as the demographic we had assumed would be interested in our page, so we decided to start a Pinterest account for uploading pictures that we had taken at Ikea to the board. Then I created a custom tab with "" and embedded our Pinterest board into it."

The response with Pinterest has been very slow, but mostly because the team has not been actively pinning things to it. The plan is to increase pinning so more followers will pick up Movement.

The second tab that was added to the Facebook page was a community tab which allows users to post when they are planning a trip to Ikea. Others can then either plan their trip at the same time or give a list of items to the ones going and ask them to bring the items back.  According to Lile, "Since we don't have Ikea in Kansas City, most people are faced with a minimum of 7 hours in a car to get to the nearest store. With a drive like that, I would ask my friends and family if they want me to bring them anything. The 'Ikea or BUST' tab does the same thing on a larger scale."

The Facebook page is only one week old and has garnered an amazing 400 Likes, mostly through word of mouth. The next phase of the plan will involve an investment of $25.00 into advertising to see if more people will see the page. We'll make sure the advertising is focused on the four states closest to Kansas City:  Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa.

As the movement continues to build, LileStyle will implement many other tactics and document them here. This will also cover the content type that we use. So far, we have noticed that pictures of locations in Kansas City that have an "Ikea" sign photo-shopped in, are the most popular content.  People also love the photos which depict Ikea used in functional ways.  Please be sure to follow this blog or sign up for our newsletter to see how this social experiment unfolds.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How do the new Facebook Pages Timeline affect you?

Screen Shot from the Information Page on Facebook

It's been a flurry of activity in the LileStyle office where we spent the entire day listening and reading about the new Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages announcement.

Many are asking the same questions we were asking... "What happened to the landing pages?"

Facebook specifically dodged and avoided all questions regarding landing pages, but it is clear that the option is no longer available under the management tab with the new timeline feature. You can have custom tabs (which most landing pages are), but you cannot send new traffic to a specific tab. All new traffic will now go to the default home screen for your page.

So why hasn't Facebook just said, "We dumped this feature.."?

Our assumption is that Facebook has not yet decided to scrap this ability, but will wait to see what kind of feedback they will get once people realize it is not there. So they are remaining tight-lipped, but we also know that there are new features coming that have not made it to the test site as of yet.

Those changes include:

1. Administration levels.

No admin is created equal so they are creating 5 admin levels which would mean that you could avoid the problem of having a disgruntled admin kick everyone off the page and take over. This is great news for anyone with multiple admins on a page.

2. Real-time insights.

Insights currently operate with a several day delay so it may take that long to see how well your posts are doing. With real-time insights, we'll get to see immediately how the post is being engaged with, and we'll be allowed to make edits to the post to create more engagement. This is a great tool that can be used for fine-tuning your message.

So what's new?

Some the the biggest changes that are in place right now:

1. Message feature.

We know that people are trying to figure out how to message their fans. Facebook has brought us ONE step closer by adding a "message" button to the page.  You have the option to not display this feature, but the default is set to be there.  This allows followers to open up a message box to send a message to the page.  It will show up in the admin area for all of the admins to see and respond to right from the interface.

As far as we can tell, this does not mean that the page can just randomly message followers, rather it is a one-way request for conversation that must be initiated by the follower.

2. Custom Cover Creation.

This will be an amazing way to create a more dynamic page because you can change your cover out as often as you like.  Watch the video below to learn how to create and change your cover.

3. Custom Application Icons.

Now you can create custom Application Icons and replace the old ones with something that better ties in the theme of your page.  Take a look at LiveStrong's page and how the application tabs match the cover:

Watch the video below to learn how to change your application tabs.

4.  New Admin Panel.

The admin panel is now streamlined to show you what you want to know at a glance. This is also where you can find the message panel to respond to messages.

How to customize your Page

Watch this informational video where we walk you through the changes and show you how to customize your page:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A lesson in failed Facebook security and 5 tips for prevention.

We provide social media management services for various clients. Some of these clients are very high-profile clients with what you would call “Celebrity” status. This is a story about one of these clients, who I will not name since we usually operate as ghost managers. Let's just call this client “Mr. X.”

One day, Mr. X, who has a personal account on Facebook as well as a Facebook Celebrity Page, had his Facebook account hacked. Our first warning came in the form of an email from Facebook, letting Mr. X know that his email address was being changed from an “aol” account to a “yahoo” account. This was strange since Mr. X knew that he did not have a yahoo account.

That was when Mr. X forwarded the email to our team. We immediately went to the Facebook account and attempted to log in as Mr. X, only to get a failure saying that we did not have the correct password. We immediately followed Facebook protocols to report the page as a hijacked page.

As it turned out, the hacker had not just created a Yahoo account for Mr. X, but also a new Facebook account using the old aol email account. So when we put in the aol account, we discovered that there was a second account and all of our attempts to retrieve the password would only succeed in getting us into a fake account. This was set up as a decoy so that we would not attempt a recovery on the true account.

Seeing through the decoy, we used the Yahoo email address that was not connected to the true account and followed Facebook procedure to report the account as hacked. This allowed us to regain control of the true account. However, the damage had been done. The page in which Mr. X was an administrator, was now no longer in his control. The hacker had gone to the page administration settings and removed all of the administrators from the page and assigned his/her personal account administration access instead. We had officially lost control of the page.

We have been on Facebook, managing accounts and various issues here since 2006 and have never seen this happen. Mr. X had a very large audience and the hacker was now “posting” malicious links all over the page to no end. We anxiously searched through all of the help links and articles on Facebook and found several instances where this had happened with no happy resolution. We had no choice but to report the page as having illegal content on it, so that the page would be suspended immediately. Since that time we asked a panel of experts at the Ragan Social Media and PR Conference in Las Vegas to see what they had to say. No one had an answer.

If you have a Facebook page and have granted access to various administrators to help you run this page, then you need to pay attention. We have determined that there could have been measures in place to help us avoid this situation. These measures include:

  1. Creating a centralized email account where all social media notifications go and that the social media team has access to 24/7. This gives the team the time they need to respond immediately to any notifications that come from Facebook. In this case, the hacker attacked in the middle of the night, when we were all asleep. The damage had been done and no one could see what had happened until hours later.

  2. Create a strict schedule where all social media accounts and email accounts have a password change once a month.

  3. Make sure all passwords are different for all social accounts. Do not repeat passwords for any of your accounts.

  4. Make sure all passwords are a minimum of 8 characters, contain a mix of alpha and numeric and include at least 1 symbol. Have you social media team create the passwords for you. Keep the passwords in a secure location and do not email them to your personal accounts.

  5. For Facebook administration, create a new Facebook account that is specifically used to administrate the Facebook page. This account has a special password that is changed monthly and it is completely blocked from public view, reducing the risk of being hacked. Make sure that the Facebook page is ONLY managed by this one account.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How Simple is Social Media?

"How Simple is Social Media?" 

We recently received this question in our inbox from Christina on February 17, 2012. It was really great timing too because Angie Lile had just returned from the Ragan Social Media Summit in Las Vegas. This was a large culmination of social media folks from all over the globe who come together to learn from each other and from the top experts in the field. We heard presentations from Southwest Airlines, The Discovery Channel and Zappos, just to name a few.

The top experts consisted of BrianSolis and Chris Brogan who closed the event out with a plethora of F-Bombs and social hilarity mixed with sound advice for how we should approach Social Media.

One of the common themes that Angie noticed with all of these social strategies was that social should be simple and that you should be using social to connect with individuals rather than counting them as a “Like” or a “follower”. Social followers are not statistics, they are people and if you expect for this to work for you, your actions should definitely follow this belief system.

There were several questions that you can ask yourself to find out whether you are in alignment with your beliefs or not and we've compiled them for you here:

1.  What are your company/brand's values? What do you believe in?

Your company is not just about making a profit, it actually has a value system, a belief system. Typically it mirror's your own belief system. The more you are in alignment with this the more your business will grow to incorporate those beliefs. Think of your social sites as your company's personality. As such, it would operate under the same beliefs. It would react with real-world environments in the same way.

2.  What goals have you established for your social media efforts?

If your only goal is about driving traffic to your website then you are setting yourself up for failure. The number one reason for social followers to move away from your social sites is because they feel like they are being spammed each time they see you. Not only that, but you run the risk of being excluded from your followers newsfeed because you lack engagement with your content. Create a goal list that includes other things such as creating a community space, providing customer service, or building relationships with your fans. For example Zappos rarely markets their shoes to their followers and instead they use social to interact with their followers on a more personal level. Sending pizza's to a random follower is considered the norm for Zappos. They don't ever think about selling when they interact with people so they have a very loyal fan base.

3.  What kind of business or company do you see yourself having in 10 years?

Do you want to be the company that gives rewards back to their employees? Will you have employees? Brand advocates come in all shapes and sizes, but research shows that the most valuable advocates can be your employees. Southwest airlines encourages their employees to share work-related stories which generates a huge amount of buzz for the brand on all of the social channels. Not everyone has Southwest's 45k employees but even 1 can be a great asset to your message.

4.  How do you see followers benefiting from your content?

If a follower is benefiting from your social feed, they will want to share that with others. With each post that you create, really ask yourself if this is something that you would share with others? If you have any doubts about putting it out there, then don't do it. If you don't want to read it, others will not want to either. It's that simple! If your company is mirroring your values, then it will be easy to find those pieces of content that inspire you and you will know instantly that this is what you want to share.

5. What are your followers saying about you or your company?

Don't be afraid to dig deep and see if your followers like what you are putting out there. You will want to change your strategy as you go along and see what works best. This is no place for a set-it-and-forget-it mentality. This includes opening a dialog when someone says they don't like what they see. If you start receiving negative feedback, make sure you stick it out and figure out how to find a solution. Even if you need to stand your ground. This shows that the social presence that they are interacting with is not just some inanimate thing not worthy of interacting with. You might even be surprised to find a few fans in your corner when things go that way. The obvious goal here is to be transparent and people will respect you more.