Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Tag

Social Media and SEO   19 comments

As people interested in growing website traffic, it is important that we understand social media and SEO. SEO is the one that, through time and understanding, will bring you the most traffic, most consistently. But social media can do some surprising things for your business.

The main way that SEO and social media intersect is in the area of links. Social media sites have them, and SEO needs them. You can use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to generate inbound links from popular, high-TrustRank websites. You could use social media campaigns to attract links from news sites, social bookmarking sites, and popular blogs.

Social networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter represent the masses. And while a single link or status update on one of these social networks has no significance, there is great power in numbers. If you post a link to a video you took, and it strikes a chord in the average person, she will share it with her friends, who will share it with their friends, and so on. If you are the creator of a piece of content that goes viral, your website can get links rained upon it. This is why social media is a powerful complement in the world of SEO. In the future, SEO and social media will evolve together to incorporate our profiles, preferences, and relationships into search results.

The flow of information: Traditionally, the most powerful ways of getting exposure have been advertisements, press, and word of mouth. Although these tools have always been the backbone of marketing, the rise of social media websites has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for online marketers.

In the past,you might see an ad in a magazine, stare at it for a few seconds, and then either remember it or forget about it. Now the same company might place an ad on Facebook. Recognizing the company, you might click Like underneath the ad, indicating your acceptance of the brand. The next day, because of that “like,” you might get a status update showing you a YouTube video that the company made as part of a campaign for a new product. Finding the video interesting, you might then post it on your friend’s profile page. His 1,000 friends might then see it, and 3 of them might post it on their friends’ profile pages. An additional 2 of your friend’s friends might tweet about it, exposing it to their 800 combined followers. One of those peoples’ followers might then submit it to a social bookmarking site such as Digg, where the best content of the day gets posted on the home page. If enough people voted for this video, it would hit the front page of Digg, get 150,000 additional views and 550 comments, and even more sharing would occur. Because of the Digg exposure, 15 blogs might repost the video, including a major outlet that gets millions of visitors per month. And on goes the sharing. That entire journey started with just one click.

The significant event, SEO-wise, in that story was the part where the blogs reposted the video to their sites. If 15 blogs repost a video, that’s 15 links to a single web page. In this case, the web page hosting the content was on YouTube, but it could easily have been hosted on your website. As you know from earlier chapters, acquiring a link can be pretty tough in an age when most webmasters understand the value of linking.

Social Location Marketing   1 comment

Social location marketing has the ability to impact the purchase decision cycle at all points—brand awareness, brand elevation, brand consideration and purchase. The concept of the purchase decision cycle is best defined as the continuous loop through which customers become aware, consider, select and finally reconsider purchases.

In the pre-social media market place, the purchase decision cycle involved much less influence from strangers. Purchasers were influenced by a closer network of people. Purchasers were also unable to take part in the level of comparison shopping that they are able to do now. With the advent of the internet the travel requirement declined but it still took time to visit all the websites and make notes on which product had which features and which site was offering the best prices.

Price comparison sites quickly became popular with members posting coupon codes and special offers as they became aware of them. Social media took all of this to the next level. Twitter and Facebook users can post a question and receive hundreds of responses about the best deals, perhaps even getting responses directly from brands themselves.

What differentiates social location sharing from much of the rest of social media marketing is that it is specific to allocation. It happens as someone becomes or is in the process of becoming a customer,visitor, or user. When users check in at a specific location, they are publicly declaring an affinity with that location. Wittingly or unwittingly, they are making the statement that they use this location as part of their lives. Whether it is a grocery store, a clothing shop, a restaurant, or a hair salon, the effect is the same. They are telling the people in their networks, all of whom they have selected to share with, that this is a place they go to.

Perhaps at times they want to promote a local business because of the great service they have received from them. They believe that by announcing this location and its great service, they are helping to promote and prolong the business. All of these motivators can be leveraged by marketers and all have their place within the purchase decision cycle.

Brand Awareness: Making the target audience aware of the existence of the brand. This is traditionally something that is associated with advertising, but in the current environment of a society that is more “word of mouth aware,” getting existing customers to be your advertisers/advocates is a much more common effort. Social location sharing tools are
most definitely achieving that. These tools broadcast the fact that the user is not only grocery shopping but is shopping at a specific grocery store.

Brand Elevation: Making the target audience aware of a brand is not usually enough to trigger a purchase. Rather, having made the target audience aware of the brand, the next step is to move the brand into the consideration stage of the purchase decision cycle. To do that, the brand needs to position itself as a better choice than its competitors. Again,
social location sharing tools play their part here. Having an advocate in the form of a social location sharer share her decision to make a purchase at a location immediately aids that business in providing a reason why it is different from its competitors.

Consideration: This stage can be immediately before purchase or can be several months, even years ahead of purchase. Much of this depends on the immediate need of the purchaser, the price point of the product or service, and the amount of information available. A customer looking to buy a pair of jeans is unlikely to spend the same amount of time in the consideration phase as a customer buying a new car or even a home. However, social location sharing tools can and do play a part in all these decisions. Users checking in at the Apple store, for example, are stating a preference for a particular brand, but they are also stating a preference for a particular type of technology.

Purchase: Checking in at the time of purchase, and announcing that a purchase has been made, is obviously the most powerful use of these tools. Each of the tools allows for this in different ways, but at the most basic users can tag their check-in and in doing so start a conversation on other platforms such as Twitter.

Coupons,Deals and location   5 comments

As competition is heating up online deals and coupons are getting easier to find. To compete, online businesses are offering free shipping on some online orders and even special parking space. Bigger online businesses are offering coupons and other incentives to encourage customers to spend more.

Mobile deals easier than ever to get it on, too.  Discounts are popping on packaging and displays: all you need is a smart phone to scan the codes. Some smart phone apps even use GPS technology to determine customer location  to send deal alerts when they are near the store.

Coupon sites and Apps: The biggest selection of coupon sites are found online. Sites such as Coupons.com and SmartSource.com usually have up to 100 deals at any time, compared with no more than 30 coupons in newspaper circulars. They also have new mobile versions that let you scroll through offers and pick the coupons the customers want from their phone without downloading special  software or apps. More stores and manufacturers are loading their websites and smart-phone apps with great deals, tracks items and prices from the latest store circulars, then cross-references all possible manufacturers’ coupons with the circulars and shows the bottom line for each item. These apps track down coupons in real time. When the customer creates the shopping list, items that have online coupons are highlighted.


Handheld Scanners:
are used for ringing up products while shopping. Customers using this device get extra discounts based on where they are in the store. Another way to get more discounts by looking for kiosks in front of stores. Scan the loyalty card and offers are loaded directly onto the customer’s card. The discounts are applied at checkout when the products are bought.

Store Sites: There are  dozens of sites and apps for finding and managing coupons. Customers  check websites  and circulars  for list builders and downloadable apps of stores where they shop weekly. And ask stores whether it accepts  other stores coupons.

Loyalty cards: Customers can download coupons from a retailers website to a card. Instead of sorting coupons at checkout, they only need to swipe out their loyalty card. Loyalty cards help retailers track customers spending habits, information they use to gauge which coupons and deals to offer.

Groupon offers subscribers deals through their store loyalty cards. The discount is taken off at checkout, so no coupon printing is required. The have money-back deals if customers buy a minimum number of products from a single manufacturer and use a store loyalty card.

Social Network offers: Customers can use Foursquare on their phone to get deal alerts when driving near a store. Others use Facebook to post coupons as well as specials at the store closest to their Zip code.

QR codes: Another way companies are linking customers to savings is through quick response codes  or QR codes. They appear as bar codes on products or store displays. The deals can be accessed by scanning them with an app loaded smart phone.

Security Leaks   5 comments

Companies are taking measures to protect their systems from security leaks that can make them vulnerable to external attacks.

Unauthorized Smartphones On Wi-Fi Networks: Smartphones create some of the greatest risks for enterprise security, mostly because they’re so common and because some employees just can’t resist using personal devices in the office.

The danger is that cell phones are tri-homed devices — Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GSM wireless. If you use a device like a smartphone that spans multiple wireless spectrums, “someone in a parking lot could use a Bluetooth sniper rifle that can read Bluetooth from a mile away, connect to a smartphone, then connect to a corporate wireless network. Bluetooth thus becomes an open portal that allows hackers to access Wi-Fi and therefore the corporate network.

Only approved devices should access the network. And that access should be based on MAC addresses, which are unique codes that are tied to specific devices, making them more traceable.

Another tactic is to use network access control to make sure whoever is connecting is, in fact, authorized to connect. In an ideal world, companies should also separate guest access Wi-Fi networks from important corporate networks.

Open Ports on a Network Printer: Printers have had telephone lines for faxes for several years, and some are now Wi-Fi enabled or support 3G wireless connectivity. Hackers can break into corporate networks through these ports. A more nefarious trick is to capture images of all printouts in order to steal sensitive business information.

The best way to deal with this problem is to disable the wireless options on printers altogether.Make sure all ports are blocked for any unauthorized access.

Custom Web Applications With Bad Code: One common trick is to tap into the xp_cmdshell routine on a server, which an inexperienced programmer or systems administrator might leave wide open for attack. Hackers can use that opening to gain full access to a database, which provides an entryway to data and a quick back door to networks.

Small coding errors, such as a failure to use proper safeguards when calling a remote file from an application, provide a
way for hackers to add their own embedded code. A company can also be open to attack if it has a blog with a trackback feature (to report on links to its posts) but doesn’t sanitize stored URLs to prevent unauthorized database queries.

The obvious fix to this problem is to avoid using freebie PHP scripts, blog add-ons and other code that might be suspect. If such software is needed, security monitoring tools can detect vulnerabilities even in small PHP scripts.

Social Network Spoofing: Facebook and Twitter users can be fooled into divulging sensitive information. Usually, these types of attacks are subtle and not easily traced. Someone claiming to be, say, a employer, contacts an employee, and the employee believes that the caller is, in fact, a employer and doesn’t attempt to verify his credentials.

Companies should use e-mail verification systems that validate senders’ identities by generating return messages that ask senders to confirm their credentials.

Downloading Illegal Movies and Music: In a large company, it’s not uncommon to find employees using peer-to-peer systems to download pirated files or setting up their own servers to distribute software. The P2P ports should be completely shut down at all perimeters and ideally at the company’s endpoints. P2P programs can be stopped through [whitelists or blacklists] and filters on the enterprise servers. Injecting hostile code into P2P files is not difficult. organization.  A technique called “resource isolation” that controls which applications users are allowed to access based on permission rights.

SMS Spoofs and Malware Infections: Hackers can use SMS text messages to contact employees in direct attempts to get them to divulge sensitive information like network log-in credentials and business intelligence, but they can also use text messages to install malware on a phone.

An attacker can send an invisible text message to the infected phone telling it to place a call and turn on the microphone. That would be an effective tactic if, for example, the phone’s owner were in a meeting and the attacker wanted to eavesdrop.

it’s possible to filter SMS activity, but that’s usually handled by the wireless carrier because SMS isn’t IPbased and therefore isn’t usually controlled by company administrators. The best option is to work with carriers to make sure that they’re using malware-blocking software and SMS filters to prevent those kinds of attacks. Creating smartphone usage policies that encourage or require the use of only company-sanctioned or company-provided phones and service plans can reduce the risk.

Search Services   Leave a comment

Apart from Google, Twitter and Facebook there are other useful Search services to capture conversation. Though Facebook is the largest social networking site, its in-site search may not be the best way to see such data.

Youropenbook.org: is a simple to search and you can see what others are searching for.  It has the unique ability to search Facebook  for male and female Facebookers and is useful if you need to search on gender.

Facepinch.com: Can view the most recent searches if you need to know what’s happening at present. Its is also possible to browse recently updated profile pictures of facebook users’ names and thumbnails. You can select specific countries if you are interested in a particular geographical area. Lets you view hot trending topics and see what is being sought on Facebook with the top 100 popular search list. You can search Facebook’s 500 million network or Twitter’s network instead.

Booshaka.com: Can have  real-time look at what is trending on facebook based on open search keywords or using a specific topic. You can select from main topics like news, music, sports, politics, fashion or movies provides a stream of updates from recent accounts. Displays number of  ”likes’ and comments a Facebook post has received and narrow down the results by what’s trending and what’s popular.

Kurrently.com: is a dedicated search engine for Facebook and Twitter, but you can narrow down to see results from one service or the other. The search results continue to refresh after after you’ve looked up a word or phrase.

Optimizing for Facebook and Search Engines   9 comments

You’re probably familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) tactics for improving your website’s search rankings in Google and other major search engines. But have you thought about how to incorporate social media into your search strategy? Optimizing for Facebook and search engines is benefits overall search rankings.

Facebook can be a valuable asset for search results. The volume of content and variety of places to add keyword-rich content can help you attract new Page members on Facebook, while providing more natural search results.Facebook is indexed by search engines and also has deals with Google and Bing to display social search results that include posts from your friends.

In the more general natural-search realm, a well-optimized Facebook Page can help you overtake a competitor by providing a second set of Pages (in addition to your own website) to display on the search results page. This can also be helpful when you’re looking to do some reputation management. A Facebook Page can also give you the opportunity to add a few more keywords that didn’t work as well on your website.

Places to Put Keywords:

Page name:    Your Facebook Page name or title is one of the first things both users and search engines. Create a keyword-dense title, but make sure it’s clear who you are and what you do.

URL:    You can also choose a vanity URL for your Page, which is another great place to include branded keywords like your company name. Facebook Page URLs are a large part of optimization, as content space is limited.

The Info box:    This small, 250-character box located below the Page icon is an underused gold mine for both traffic and SEO purposes. It’s one of the first things a current Page member sees when looking at either the Wall or Info tab. The keywords you use in the Info box can go a long way in search. With its prominent placement, the Info box is a great place to optimize a little info about your Page, because it’s the highest place in the Page code that allows custom text. You can even put a clickable link in there. You just need to include the http:// part first.

Keywords on Facebook Tabs:

The Facebook tab structure creates a helpful hierarchy of information and the ability to add lots of keyword-rich content. Facebook offers several standard tabs for your Page, including the Wall, Info, and Photos or Videos tabs. You can also add your own custom tabs.

Default landing tab:    Facebook allows you to choose a specific landing tab for new Page viewers. This is the first tab they
see, and its primary goal is to encourage them to click Like for the Page. It is also the first Page crawledby search engines. This default tab can be a custom tab you create, so make sure it contains relevant text that explains to both search engines and Facebook users who you are and what you do.

Info tab:  The standard Info tab has fields containing important descriptive data about your Page. It’s important to fill out all fields, as they provide an opportunity to include keywords and links for both local searches in the Location field and more general product or service queries in the Company Overview section.

Other Content:  

It almost goes without saying, but it’s important to continually share interesting content on your Facebook Page and always use all available descriptive fields on each type of content shared. Facebook allows nearly every piece of content to be indexed by search engines, so use the tabs, tools, and input fields that Facebook provides to your full advantage.

Media:   Post photos to multiple albums and include keyword-rich descriptions of the album and each photo. Every event or topic should have its own album for easier searching. Allow Page members to post their own photos and comment on or tag your uploads.

Events:  Use the Events feature for both real and virtual events. Always fill out all fields with a full description of the event, and make it open to the public.

Status updates:  There is a lot of debate about the extent to which updates help with search engines, but it’s clear that they are a big factor in Facebook searches. Take your time when planning content and include keywords; this is the bulk of what Page members will see on a daily basis.

Increased Interactions:
User interaction is a crucial yet elusive factor in optimizing your Facebook Page and improving search presence. Facebook views interactions with your Page (likes, comments, and posts) much like a searchengine views links pointing to your site. A user interaction is a vote for the content of your Page.

Facebook’s focus on user behavior and interaction extends to visits, clicks, and Event RSVPs as well. The exact weight or algorithm the site uses to calculate interaction is unclear, but the higher the engagement on your Page, the higher you will rank in Facebook searches and the more prominent your placement in a suggested search.

Encourage interaction on your Page by posting frequently and including lots of content that asks users directly to interact.

Security Threat in Social Networking   Leave a comment

A message from one of your friends appears in your in box, sent via a social network site that you use regularly. The message promises a big deal and points to a Web site you’ve never heard of. You click the link—and the next thing you know, your PC is misdirected to a phishing page that steals your log-in details or to a drive-by download site that infects your system with a password-stealing Trojan horse. And your friend says that she never sent you the message. This is a security threat in social networking.

Whether the culprit is a fake LinkedIn profile page that serves up URLs leading to dangerous Web sites or a bogus Twitter message that purportedly comes from a friend, social networks are rapidly becoming the newest medium for malware attacks. As operating systems and applications became harder to hack directly, online criminals came to realize that it was much easier to fool people into clicking bad links, opening dangerous files, and running malicious software. They also figured out that the most effective place to exploit the trust that naturally exists between friends and colleagues was within the mechanisms of the online social networks themselves.

By now, most Internet users are savvy enough to recognize spam e-mail. But what about a spam tweet that seems to come from someone in your circle of friends and links to a page that looks almost exactly like the one you use to log in to Twitter? A week may go by, and suddenly the data thieves who now control your account begin sending messages with URLs—some of which perform drive-by downloads and infect the recipients’ PCs with malware—to everyone in your social network.

Facebook and MySpace users have already had to deal with a number of worms and other nasties that are designed to spread independently of any action taken by the account holder.

If you think that details of your social networking account may have been stolen or compromised in some other way, report your suspicions to the site’s support team immediately. Change your password frequently, and avoid clicking message links that purport to transfer you back to the social network site. Instead, to get back to your account, type the site’s address directly into your browser

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