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Tips and tricks for skyrocketing visibility for you and your business in the social media era

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The mainstream definition of the word friend

We call it friending online, but is it really, in the American sense of the word? My European, African and Asian friends make fun of me because they’re frankly not as uptight about the label “friend” as we are here in the States. Yes, I get it, you’re better than me in your respective parts of the world.

For our discussion, let’s reference the American definition of friendship, which in mainstream culture is “individual I really know, in person.”

Clearly, accepting a friend request, following them, or any other way of making an electronic connection to another individual through their profile isn’t truly friending. At its best, this part of the process is getting acquainted.

Of course it would be useless to discard or discount the idea that we are sometimes more intimate, more emotionally tied even, to the people we form relationships with online than the people we know in person. After all, if we chose to connect that way, and we’re adept at sharing ourselves and allowing other people to share with us, we get to know people from the inside out, to mingle with their souls in a way that allows us to bypass all the little prejudices we have in the offline world.

In our offline lives, we will sometimes sort people out of our interaction with the most ridiculous things – geekiness, weight, height, class, coolness. Not so online, which sometimes helps with faster, deeper connections. Far be it from me to deny it.

The steps that follow are not “friending”

But if we’re looking at it in terms of the process, and in the situations that generally result form the kind of business contacts a startup or entrepreneur would be most focused on making online, then truly, this process and the steps that follow are not friending.

We’re becoming acquainted. Nothing wrong with that. The thing we want to examine is – how do we turn all these fledgling relationships into the best case scenario? How do we go from prospect to customer, from visitor to subscriber, from peer to partner, from follower to brand evangelist?

Let’s not be coy – social media connections aren’t just about finding like-minded people to play virtual mental footsie with, by any means. We want to provide customer service, we want to crowd-source ideas, we want to have open channels for feedback.

And when we write a blog post, it would also be great if 50 to 10,000 willing minions would retweet that bad boy.

Assuming we have locked down the mandatory prerequisites of creating our best content and releasing it in a shareable way, what is the next step to massive visibility?

The next step to massive visibility

I mean, besides realizing it will happen in steps and that you’re not just going to wake up one day with thousands of engaged followers, and their ongoing attention as well as affection, without doing anything.

The next step is strengthening those connections as much as you possibly can. And to do that, you need to get more intimate. Ew, no, not like that.

Though dating metaphors help – what do you do when you meet someone you think is special in a group setting? You steal them away from the group for a one on one discussion or interaction. Then you propose another meeting for a date, often a casual one in a public setting. As you trust each other more, the settings for the encounters will often become more intimate.

And on and on it goes until you’re comfortable enough to be completely alone. And varying levels of magic may occur.

Yes, the key to advancing from casual acquaintances in dating is intimacy. And it is online but in a different way.

How to get the magic to happen with your social media “friends”

These are different settings and different circumstances, where you’re looking to achieve another type of goal. However, intimacy is still the key. The problem is, it’s logistically harder to create an intimate experience. For 100 – 20,000 people. At the same time.

I could lie in this part of the article and say that I’ve mastered this and who would know? People who I’ve succeeded with this would cheer for me – they know the affection is mutual. Anyone I’ve failed with wouldn’t be reading anything I wrote any more. If you’re reading this because I’ve been honored with a placement on AGBEAT, you trust them, not me.

Tips and tricks:

So, not because I’m a good person, but because honesty saves everyone a lot of time – some of these tips I have tried, and can share personal stories about. Others are hunches based on observations of clients and colleagues that have worked for them. Unlike my usual batch of tips, these are anecdotal and not one shred of science has been used in jumping to these conclusions.

But.

I’d bet my 13 years of experience in the area of online visibility that taking the time to create a more intimate experience with the people crowding around you is worth it. Specifically, it will make a noticeable difference in your success rate if you have to ask them to do something for you in the future, be it subscribe, buy or spread the word about you.

Make some public discussions private

This works especially well with peers and colleagues. Once a public back and forth discussion of business has gone to a second round, take it to email or private message. Give them your full attention behind some kind of closed door. If there’s an important, prolonged discussion that needs to be had, think about scheduling a time to go into a web chat or voice instant message session about it.

Tinu Abayomi-Paul is the CEO of Leveraged Promotion and a member of Network Solutions Social web Advisory Board. Her website promotion company specializes in reputation management, and engineering demand generation system for businesses, integrating search, expertise marketing and social media.

Social Media

Can Twitter ever secure data privacy, like even once?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter releases private information affecting already hurting businesses, should this even be a surprise anymore? They have a history of privacy breaches.

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twitter privacy

Dear Twitter,

I don’t know if you’ve seen the news within the past two years, but Facebook’s been under continuous scrutiny for privacy malpractices that affected millions of its users, so unless your goal is to be the next social network to infringe upon our first amendment right to privacy, I suggest you GET IT TOGETHER!

Over the weekend, users, specifically businesses, realized their billing information was being stored in their browsers cache. This is devastating news for business owners who rely on Twitter to promote their product, or stay in touch with their customers, who over the recent months have already faced monumental challenges. It is hard as a business owner to not feel this is an intentional overreach of privacy.

In an age where we have actual robots to vacuum our floors, and 3D printing, I speak for the people when I say this is unacceptable.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has been caught privacy breaching. A little over a year ago, Twitter announced that they were fixing a bug, many weren’t even aware of, that released phone numbers, location, and other personal data. AND GET THIS, even those who selected the option to keep their information private were affected, so what the hell is the point of asking us our preference in the first place?!!!

What about the time that Twitter accounts could be highjacked by ISIS and used to spread propaganda? All because Twitter didn’t require an email confirmation for account access. Or what about when Twitter stored your passwords in plaintext instead of something easily more secure. Flaws like these show a distinct ability of Twitter to just half ass things; to make it work, but not think about how to keep the users safe.

Like I said in the beginning, get it together Twitter.

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Social Media

Facebook’s Forecast wants ‘qualified’ predictions, but no one’s asking why

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook is asking a bunch of so-called experts to chime in on what the future holds, but can we trust them with the information we’re giving them?

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Forecast app

These days, trolls don’t necessarily lurk beneath bridges in order to ensnare unsuspecting travelers. Instead, they hide out in the comment sections on social media posts, ready to incite wrath and stir up controversy with their incendiary remarks. Because Facebook knows how quickly reasonable discourse can quickly devolve thanks in part to these online trolls, they’ve made a move to establish intelligent discussions through their new “Forecast” app.

The premise of Forecast is fairly straightforward. Facebook has invited an assortment of so-called experts (whether they work in the medical field or academia, or some other field) to cast their vote on predictions about the future. Not only will they share their vote, though, they’ll also pitch in their own two cents about these predictions, sparking what is expected to be insightful and reasonable conversation about the topics.

However, while the premise is exciting (smart people! not basement dwellers! talking about serious stuff!), there’s more than a small amount of risk associated with Forecast. For starters, what exactly is Facebook planning on doing with all of this information that is being volunteered on their app? And secondly, are they going to take precautions to help prevent the spread of misinformation when these results are eventually published?

The fact is, Facebook is notorious for propagating and spreading misinformation. Now, I’m not blaming Facebook itself for this issue. Rather, the sheer volume of its user base inevitably leads to flame wars and dishonesty. You can’t spell “Fake News” with at least a couple of the same letters used in Facebook. Or something like that. The problem arises when people see the results of these polls, recognize that the information is being presented by these hand-picked experts, and then immediately takes them at face value.

It’s not so much that most people are simple minded or unable to think for themselves; rather, they’re primed to believe that the admittedly educated guesses from these experts are somehow better, smarter, than what would be presented to them by the average layperson. The bias is inherent in the selection process of who is and isn’t allowed to vote. By excluding everyday folks like you and me (I certainly wasn’t given an invite!), undue prestige may be attributed to these projections.

At the moment, many of these projections are silly bits of fluff. One question asks, “Will Tiger King on Netflix get a spinoff season?” Another one wonders, “Will Mulan debut on Disney+ at the same time as or instead of a theatrical release?” But other questions? Well, they’re a little more serious than that. And speculating on serious issues (such as COVID-19, or the presidential election) can lead to the spread of serious — and potentially dangerous — misinformation.

Facebook has implemented very strict guidelines about what types of questions are allowed and which ones are forbidden. That, at least, is a step in the right direction. It’s no secret that expectation can actually lead to the predicted outcomes, directly influencing actions and behaviors. While it’s too early to tell if Forecast will ever gain that much power, it undoubtedly puts us in a position of wondering if and when intervention may be necessary.

But I’ll be honest with you: I don’t exactly trust Facebook’s ability to put this cultivated information to good use. Sometimes a troll doesn’t have to be overtly provocative in order to be effective, and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see someone in a position of power exploit the results of these polls to influence the public. It’ll be interesting to see if Forecast is still around in the next few years, but alas, there’s no option for me to submit my vote on that to find out.

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Social Media

Well established Pinterest has a new competitor, Google Keen

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Google is constantly playing catch up, their new target is Pinterest. They have a new photo sharing social media app called Google Keen.

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Google Keen

It looks like Pinterest might finally have some competition: Google Keen. Notice the heavy emphasis on the word “might”.

It’s not hard to see why Google might feel a tad encroached upon by Pinterest, a photo-sharing and search-based platform; while Pinterest’s impact is relatively small in terms of taking traffic from the G-people themselves, any competition is unwelcome in Google’s eyes–perhaps justifying their move toward creating their own version of Pinterest.

Google Keen isn’t a direct ripoff–after all, they changed the name–but the general principle is the same: Users can create a “keen” for a specific visual topic, thus allowing them to search for, and add images of that topic. Google was quick to cite “bread” as a possible topic, which, according to Social Media Today, is a direct nod to recent Pinterest trends.

Subtlety never was Google’s strongest suit, and that seems to be a theme they’re reiterating here. Perhaps that’s why the Google Graveyard, a site we’ve addressed in the past, is full of tools that didn’t live up to their original inspiration (one of the latest additions being the half-baked Google Hangouts). Google Keen shows promise, but one can’t help but remember how Google’s Circles feature fared in Facebook’s shadow.

Keen is available for web and Android platforms, which answers one question while raising a few more. For example, while it makes sense that Google would brand Keen for their own smartphone audience, iPhone Google usage is notably high, and the Pinterest crowd loves a clean aesthetic (that’s another point in the Apple camp). As such, it might be in Google’s best Pinterests–I mean, interests–to implement an iPhone presence for the app as well.

It is worth noting that Google has taken deliberate inspiration from Pinterest in a lot of ways. So Keen may be a way for them to tout their adopted features and familiarize users with them so that, in the long run, they are able to begin migrating traffic back to their own platform from Pinterest. In a time in which any competition may open the door to disaster down the road, this is a move that, despite skepticism, makes sense.

After all, the Google Graveyard is operating at capacity, yet the tech behemoth continues to chug away. Who knows where their newest “innovation” may take them?

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