Article Archive by Bea Halstead

March 6 2012

Facebook Timeline Guide for Business Pages – Part 1 of 2

by Bea Halstead

Facebook Timeline is changing the way Business Pages look, how they are managed, and how they interact with fans.  The new Facebook Pages are being pushed out to all existing Business Pages on March 30th, 2012.  Before your company’s Timeline is released to the public, make sure you have optimized what you are sharing with your fans.  This blog reviews the features of the existing Facebook Timeline and the new Facebook Page features for businesses.  Check back next week for tips to guide you through the pre-launch of the new page before the end of this month.

All Facebook Pages will look different, act different, and the tools have changed.
Many people have been getting used to the new Timeline layout within their own pages since the release in September 2011.  It boasts a much more visual experience organizing all status updates chronologically in a bi-column format with larger image areas.  Timeline includes integrating check-ins and photos onto a geographical map, and a new header design for highlighting a main image along with your profile thumbnail.  There is also a new navigation layout – below the header – with about info and image boxes that link to photos, friends, likes, apps, and more.  With this layout a new type of content is being highlighted in your newsfeed – based on a social plugin (Open Graph API) – that shares your activities, like what you are listening to, depending on the app. Going back over time, a user has more control over who can view posts by hiding them or staring them, and can add Life Events throughout the timeline at any point to note important status updates that might have been missed.

The Facebook Pages are similar in appearance/features to the individual Timeline.  The new page will allow you to interact more freely with your fans, includes enhanced graphics, the ability to feature posts, and engage in private messages with fans.  Social Media marketing strategies can leverage the large banner/header, the ability to pin a post for up to seven days to the upper left area of the page, star a post (making it appear larger in the Timeline), and also highlight the company “milestones” by adding posts to dates in the past to promote the history of the brand.

To learn more about how to leverage these new features, and what to focus on before publishing your company’s new page, look for the second part of this article in the coming week, or give us a call, 561-620-9682.

February 24 2012

Online Privacy Act from President Obama focus is on Individual Control

by Bea Halstead

Obama refers to this as the “blue print for privacy in the information age”, as of Febuary 23rd, 2012 the United States Government has released a Consumer Privacy Bill of Right’s called, “Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy”.   The addendum being presented is a guideline for the future of an individual’s privacy on the internet.  It clearly outlines the expectations for companies who use personal data and he specifically asks for voluntary corporation — since it is not a law yet – for corporations to “begin immediately working with privacy advocates, consumer protection enforcement agencies, and others to implement these principles in enforceable codes of conduct”  Daniel Weitzner, the deputy chief technology officer at the White House, told reporters Wednesday that “principle No. 1 in our Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is the principle of individual control.”

The Privacy Bill of Rights’ main points:

  • “Individual Control: Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.
  • “Transparency: Consumers have a right to easily understandable and accessible information about privacy and security practices.
  • “Respect for Context: Consumers have a right to expect that companies will collect, use, and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.
  • “Security: Consumers have a right to secure and responsible handling of personal data.
  • “Access and Accuracy: Consumers have a right to access and correct personal data in usable formats, in a manner that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the data and the risk of adverse consequences to consumers if the data is inaccurate.
  • “Focused Collection: Consumers have a right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain.
  • “Accountability: Consumers have a right to have personal data handled by companies with appropriate measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.”

You can read the entire report here.

Starting to infer how this will affect Search Engine Marketing?  What companies do you speculate will be changed the most by this Bill, or will wait to see if it becomes a Law?

February 24 2012

Photo Centric Social Networks are Looking Good for Business

by Bea Halstead

Since the emergence of the first social network, photos and videos have always been an integral part of the experience and draw. It makes perfect sense that photo centric networks – like Pintrest and Flicker focusing primarily on images, but including videos too – would become popular.  Connecting the dots from the rise in Pintrest’s success, may have created a healthy competition in this market, which prompted Flicker – the original photo/video network – to update their user experience.   Whatever the result, we like seeing the increased activity in these networks, and predict that businesses will find additional benefits from interacting in this type of social network.  If you aren’t familiar with either network yet, below is a short summary for each.

Pintrest is not the “newest” social phenomenon on the block, but it is becoming the “hottest” based on growth and interaction.  It is a pin board of interests via images that not only can expose products for a Brand, but can also generate good outbound links to the compay website.   Using its own unique verb for flagging interests, people have been creating “pins” and sharing account invites – an exclusivity feature to create an account on the site – like crazy over the last few weeks.  In a blog last week, The State of Search created a compelling infographic about the usage of the site showing a 145% increase since the New Year.   Pintrest’s exposure is partially due to the integration of the social graph, enabling it to post network activity directly to a member’s Twitter and/or Facebook account.  Also, it recommends people to follow based on the friends from those accounts that are using Pintrest too.   Recently, there has been some cautionary hype in the media due to the privacy policy, so before setting up a “pin board” for your brand, make sure it is going to benefit company interests, rather than harm them.

Flickr has been around since 2007 and is the largest photo centric network to date, but was losing interest and member activity as a social network.  This month Flickr announced it will be making a number of changes in the coming months, beginning with a new photo stream design – Justified View – and a new uploading feature – Uploadr –  to create an improved user experience.  The Justified view releasing on Feb. 28th , will be eliminating all the white space and text in a user’s photo stream – similar to Pintrest’s  design – and showcasing larger images in a single viewing area that can be hovered over for more information/actions.   Markus Spiering, Flickr head of products, discussed these updates earlier in the month with Mashable, and explains that the main focus for these updates is to increase user engagement.   Businesses that already have Flickr accounts, will experience the new look first in the streams of the people already following them.

What it all adds up to is more sharing opportunities, links, and exposure for your Brand.  It has been said this style of design appeals to the passive internet user due to the ease in creating preferences based on visual appeal within their own account.  This could mean a new audience to target that might not be as active in other more robust networks.  As a Brand, the most important thing to address in any content situation is what you can create that will encourage interaction with the populace.  To create a strategy, first do some research inside the networks to help to establish who you want to create content for, and what types of images will be shared the most.

If you’d like more information on how to create a company account, content, or social media strategies for this type of network, contact us.

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