Wednesday, February 29

Brands can now post to your Facebook page: How to Opt Out

Seems Facebook is selling space on your Timeline page, (Info in AP story below). If you don't want these ads to appear - and you want to block brands from posting in your Timeline, or using your photo in ads. This might work: 
  • Click on the drop down menu next to HOME on Facebook Nav bar
  • Select Account Settings
  • Click on Facebook Ads in the left hand menu
  • Edit "third party ad settings" to "No one" and Save
  • Edit "Social Ads settings" to "No one" and click Save.
That "should" opt you out - Good luck!

Brand-name deals to mix with Facebook friend posts

Fb

NEW YORK (AP) — Messages from brands such as Walmart and Starbucks may soon be mixed in with your Facebook status updates and baby photos from friends and family.

Facebook unveiled new advertising opportunities Wednesday to help the world's biggest brands spread their messages on the world's largest online social network.

Brands you've endorsed by hitting the "like" button will now be able to push deals and other updates right into the news feeds that show your friends' updates, photos and links. These marketing messages could also show up if one of your friends has interacted with a brand, such as by liking it or commenting on a photo.

The new approach also means that advertisers will be able to reach users on mobile devices for the first time, giving Facebook a new and lucrative source of revenue.

The changes come ahead of Facebook's initial public offering of stock, expected this spring. The IPO could value the company at as much as $100 billion. That means Facebook has to prove it can bring in real advertising revenue from Target, Procter & Gamble and other massive brands.

"Facebook is making serious money from ads right now, but they are not making serious money from major brand advertisers. That's where the ad money is," said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst with the Altimeter Group. "They currently have rather low-rent, shoddy ads on Facebook."

That could change as Facebook starts integrating brands' messages into the news feeds of its 845 million users as part of a long-term vision of moving from ads to stories about brands.

Rather than bombarding people with flashy ads, Facebook is urging companies to integrate themselves into what people are already doing on the site — talking to their friends and family, commenting on photos or posting news links.

"The definition of the word 'advertise' is to draw attention to," said Chris Cox, Facebook's vice president of product. "The definition of a story is narration, which you'd think is what people prefer."

Facebook has a vast trove of information about its users' lives, hobbies, likes and dislikes, yet the company has kept advertising fairly unobtrusive to date. Ads for teeth-whitening, wineries and laundry detergent and the like are relegated to the right side of users' Facebook pages. Over time, Web-savvy users have grown used to ads and many are tuning them out.

Those ads are not going away, but brands will now be able to push updates — or as Facebook likes to call, "stories" — right into the news feeds. Facebook's challenge will be to keep these ads as unobtrusive as possible so that users are not alienated or driven to "unlike" brands.

"A typical page post reaches 16 percent of our fans," he said. "Now we have the opportunity to boost that to 70 to 75 percent."

Companies can continue to set up Facebook pages on their brands for free. They'd pay to insert updates into news feeds and elsewhere based on the number of fans they have. In other words, posting the message will remain free, but getting more people to see it will cost money.

Facebook will collect feedback and test how users respond as it rolls out the changes gradually. At first, users may see just one message a day from a brand inside their news feed, or even less. And they won't see messages from random companies they are not connected to in some way — directly or through a friend.

Beyond the updates within news feeds, Facebook will also start showing ads when people log out of the site.

AP Retail Writer Mae Anderson contributed to this report.

 

Thursday, February 23

Transaction Problem on eBay or PayPal? Enter Twitter Customer Service: Why It's Time

Huzzah! eBay and PayPal have taken the steps to give customers a place to easily reach them on Twitter: @AskeBay and @AskPayPal. I find the Paypal account to be anxious to please and it's good that they post their availability hours, but they often work past the posted times. The current PayPal Twitter-team includes includes Adrian (^AM), Olivia (^OJK), and Frank (^FG). The @AskeBay account has been online since December 2011 as part of eBay's push into social media. Here's how frequently they actually tweet:

My email has been deluged for the past 15 years with email from readers and eBay members who want me to help them. I help most everyone who emails me, but the intrinsic problem is, people don't understand that I don't work for eBay. I can't get into existing transactions. What I can do is give you best practices both on Paypal and eBay, but I have no "inner connection" to anyone at the company.

It's serendipitous that @AskPayPal has been active on on Twitter since 2009. Around the same time, I blogged  Social Media Marketing? Learn from Successful eBay Sellers and eBay Founder, Pierre Omidyar re-Tweeted the post. That's when I knew I got it right. That's when I knew that I had to expand my books to include customer service.

Customer service is the key to success for any eBay seller or brand. I've been beating this drum for over a decade and it is great to know others finally agree. I wrote a book (aimed at small business) The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide: How to Connect with your Customers to Sell More and gave examples of small business successfully conncting online.

What's very telling about a brand is what they tweet about, especially if they are a customer service account. Here's theTweet-Cloud (from TweetStats.com) on the two accounts:

On Twitter we have a customer service chat every week and we've been discussing the importance of this outreach for almost two years. If customer service is important to you or your business - why not join in? Tuesdays 9p ET/6p PT hashtag #custserv 

My personal brand of customer service is refelcted in my writing. All my books are written from my own experience and research. I have never recommended any tool, app or product that I haven't used myself satisfactorily. Writing these books, is a responsibility; one I owe to the people who read them. I've never charged people for help because I feel we are in a community. You read my books, we chat online and we are connected. That's how I connect.

I wrote the first eBay For Dummies in 1997, and the 2012 edition just published. If you want to do business on eBay, it just might save you some panic-filled tweets.

 

Parallels Cloud Summit INFOGRAPHIC of Tweets


The Creative minds at Banyan Branch designed this amazing Tweet cloud of my Twitter followers who tweeted during my keynote at the Summit. Pretty interesting!

Monday, February 20

Celebrating and Remembering Presidents: Their Contributions to Technology, Innovation

Presidentsday

George Washington 1789-1797

The first president of the United States has been credited as being the “inventor” of our nation. On April, 1790, President Washington signed the bill (U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 8) that laid the foundations for the modern American patent system. The U.S. patent system was unique in that for the first time in history the intrinsic right of an inventor to profit from their invention was recognized by law.


Later in 1790, Samuel Hopkins of Pittsford, Vermont was granted the first U.S. patent, for an improvement in the making of potash, a plant byproduct used in the making of soap. The reviewer of this patent was Thomas Jefferson, the then Secretary of State and himself an inventor, Jefferson next passed the document to the Secretary of War for his review and then obtained signatures from the Attorney General and, finally, from President Washington.


The Patent office had issued nearly 10,000 patents by December of 1836 when a fire destroyed many of the original records.

President’s Day originally celebrated Washington’s birthday. So, we join American inventors in wishing President Washington a Happy Birthday and thanking him for the foundation of the nation’s innovation and technology leadership.


"Congress shall have the power...to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." - U.S. Constitution  Article 1. Section 8.

 

Thomas Jefferson 1801-1809

President Jefferson is by far the most inventive leader this nation has ever voted in office. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, founded the University of Virginia, and he’s credited with having created and improving dozens of inventions.


"The fact is, that one new idea leads to another, that to a third, and so on through a course of time until someone, with whom no one of these ideas was original, combines all together, and produces what is justly called a new invention." -Thomas Jefferson


A few of his inventions are as follows: personal plow, macaroni machine, portable desk, a dumbwaiter for wine bottles; a polygraph machine that enabled him to make exact copies of letters as he was writing them; Venetian blinds, an achromatic telescope, the Great Clock, hideaway bed, the pedometer, a revolving bookstand, spherical sundial, an improved swivel chair, the wheel cipher .


During his presidency innovations such as the battery, gas lighting, the first steam-powered locomotive and the first electric light were invented. President Jefferson’s contribution to thought, invention and technology is its own study and is strongly encouraged.  

 

Abraham Lincoln 1861-1865

While much of President Lincoln’s time in office was spent in a time of Civil War, for most technologists, he’s known as the only U.S. president to hold a patent. Patent number 6469 was issued to President Lincoln in 1849 for his “floating drydock” for a “manner of buoying vessels” and which was never manufactured.


Lincoln called the development of patent laws one of the most important developments "in the world's history." He thought it "added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius."


The American railroad was by far the greatest innovation and technology of the time Lincoln served as president. The railroad combined with a “small” invention, the tin can, with key opener, maybe had the most profound advancement for American society. The two technologies enabled food to be preserved and shipped far distances. This helped the expansion west. In addition, there were many technological advancements in weaponry during his time in office like the machine gun, dynamite and the torpedo.


Other key technologies developed during Lincoln’s presidency were the elevator, the cotton gin, the telegraph, the bicycle, the lock, new surgical instruments and procedures including using antiseptic, the coffee percolator, refined sugar, the chronograph, plastic and the first gas auto engine.


Teddy Roosevelt 1901-1909

Theodore Roosevelt is best known for his innovation in public policy and diplomacy, but his curiosity and determination left quite a mark on the United States. He coined the name, The White House. He was the first US president to ride in a car, to own a car and to ride in an airplane.


The turn of the century brought many innovations and technology achievements that still shape America’s culture. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the radio receiver, sonar, the electronic amplifying tube (a precursor to the television), color photography, the helicopter, windshield wipers, the Model T, and maybe most importantly, instant coffee.


President Roosevelt’s plan to build the Panama Canal enable America to conduct commerce on both coasts and defined his contributions to American policy. While President Roosevelt “spoke softly and carried a big stick”, it was his softness during a hunting trip that left a lasting impression on every young American. While on a hunting trip Pres. Roosevelt couldn’t “bear” to shoot a black bear cub that was provided for him. After a cartoonist depicted the satirical scene, a Brooklyn toy store owner created a stuffed bear. With Theodore Roosevelt’s permission, the bear was named “Teddy” and the cute, loveable Teddy Bear took its place in American homes and hearts. 

This President's Day Trivia is a guest post by Matt Ceniceros PR Director, Applied Materials

Thursday, February 9

5 Ways For Your Customers to Find You Online: Dominate Local Search

If you are a business owner that would like to dominate local search, there are some items of importance you’ll want to consider. A lot of the local search results in many areas have undergone a complete overhaul within the search engine results pages or (SERPS). These changes have happened across the board with all major search engines. So in this post, you will discover 5 ways to dominate local search, and do it in a way that is extremely effective in capturing new and relevant targeted traffic.

1.)    Google Places listing

Claim your Google Places listing and make sure it is completely optimized. Setting up this listing is not difficult; however, to optimize your Google Places listing may prove to be a bit more difficult. You may want to hire a professional service to make sure your listing is optimized for your local area, which in turn will bring more targeted traffic.

2.)    Local business directories

Submitting your business information to local directories is extremely important. You will want to submit your information to places like LinkedIn, Google, Yahoo, Yelp, Local.com, Yellowbook, Yellowpages, and Merchant Circle, as well as a variety of others. The more listings you have, the better it will be for total domination.

3.)    Article marketing that targets local keywords

Article marketing is very effective, but using it for the local search domination will require a few tweaks. You will need to target a few specific local keywords in order for your articles to drive traffic to that respective area. City names, local business names, local addresses, local phone numbers, or anything local will help your articles get seen by local searches. Make sure you have relevant links in your articles that point back to your web presence.

4.)    Use local phone numbers

Many do not realize but this is a powerful tool when it comes to local search domination. Instead of using phone numbers such as 800, 866, 877, or the like, use local numbers. Use the area code for your local area because many people will search businesses by the local area code.

5.)    Citation gathering

When people talk about your business on the web, Google considers this a citation. When many of these citations are found, they tell Google that your web presence has become popular, which translates into indexing your site higher in the rankings. Social networking sites, bookmarks, groups, and forums are all ways to create citations and these will help with total domination.

Using the 5 ways to dominate local search will help your business with exposure, visibility, and getting targeted traffic to your web presence. 

 

Saturday, February 4

Facebook Files S-1 for $5 Billion IPO - Know the risks (revealing stats & revenue)

Facebook’s S-1: 845 Million Users Every Month, More Than Half Daily and Nearly Half Mobile | TechCrunch

Brian Solis is updating as this plays out with deeper analysis and links

Just a few moments ago, Facebook officially filed an S-1  for an initial public offering seeking to raise $5 billion. Here are a few key findings…

- 845 million monthly active users, year over year growth of 39%

- 483 million daily active users as of December, year over year growth of 48%

- 425 million monthly mobile users

- 100 billion friend connections as of December 31, 2011

- 2.7 billion Likes and comments per day during the last quarter of 2011

- $1 billion in profits in 2011

- $3.7 billion in revenues in 2011, soaring 88% between 2010 – 2011

- Profits grew 65% from $606 million in 2010

- Zynga makes up 12% of overall Facebook revenue

More data available at SEC.gov.

For press seeking analyst commentary, please contact Altimeter Group at 650-212-2282 or via email.

UPDATE 1: The Hacker Way

Really appreciate the culture of Facebook as mentioned in the S-1 under the heading “The Hacker Way.” Here’s an excerpt:

The Hacker Way

As part of building a strong company, we work hard at making Facebook the best place for great people to have a big impact on the world and learn from other great people. We have cultivated a unique culture and management approach that we call the Hacker Way.

The word “hacker” has an unfairly negative connotation from being portrayed in the media as people who break into computers. In reality, hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done. Like most things, it can be used for good or bad, but the vast majority of hackers I’ve met tend to be idealistic people who want to have a positive impact on the world.

The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo.

Hackers try to build the best services over the long term by quickly releasing and learning from smaller iterations rather than trying to get everything right all at once. To support this, we have built a testing framework that at any given time can try out thousands of versions of Facebook. We have the words “Done is better than perfect” painted on our walls to remind ourselves to always keep shipping.

Hacking is also an inherently hands-on and active discipline. Instead of debating for days whether a new idea is possible or what the best way to build something is, hackers would rather just prototype something and see what works. There’s a hacker mantra that you’ll hear a lot around Facebook offices: “Code wins arguments.”

Hacker culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people.

UPDATE 2: Risks

As a matter of disclosure, Facebook must release risks to caution investors against buying blindly. Here is the full list as pulled from the S-1. I share it here with you to learn from Facebook’s diligence in constant innovation or as they say “shipping.” It’s a healthy form of inspiration to always compete for the moment and for relevance over time.

1. users increasingly engage with competing products;

2. we fail to introduce new and improved products or if we introduce new products or services that are not favorably received;

3. we are unable to successfully balance our efforts to provide a compelling user experience with the decisions we make with respect to the frequency, prominence, and size of ads and other commercial content that we display;

4. we are unable to continue to develop products for mobile devices that users find engaging, that work with a variety of mobile operating systems and networks, and that achieve a high level of market acceptance;

5. there are changes in user sentiment about the quality or usefulness of our products or concerns related to privacy and sharing, safety, security, or other factors;

6. we are unable to manage and prioritize information to ensure users are presented with content that is interesting, useful, and relevant to them;

7. there are adverse changes in our products that are mandated by legislation, regulatory authorities, or litigation, including settlements or consent decrees;

8. technical or other problems prevent us from delivering our products in a rapid and reliable manner or otherwise affect the user experience;

9. we adopt policies or procedures related to areas such as sharing or user data that are perceived negatively by our users or the general public;

10. we fail to provide adequate customer service to users, developers, or advertisers;

11. we, our Platform developers, or other companies in our industry are the subject of adverse media reports or other negative publicity; or

12. our current or future products, such as the Facebook Platform, reduce user activity on Facebook by making it easier for our users to interact and share on third-party websites.

 

Thursday, February 2

9 Super Insider Secrets of Puppy Bowl VIII +Kitten Half-Time Video

On the heels of my last post about the Puppy Bowl - thought you'd like to see a preview of half-time!

Featuring fan favorites like the Water Bowl Cam, tail-gating fans, and the Ice Breakers blimp, this year's big game is sure to be a tail-wagger. 

  1. Fifty-eight canine athletes will face off in a miniature stadium filled with chew toys, water bowls and mini footballs.
  2. Puppy Bowl competitors are no more than 10 weeks old (but what they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm) and are rescues. According to the International Business Times most have been adopted by the time the show airs.  
  3. Live tweeting the play-by-play action for this years Puppy Bowl will be @MeepTheBird.
  4. The ever-popular Kitty Half-Time show is back with 20 kittens dancing and playing with lights, laser pens, balls of yarn, a scratching posts and more.
  5. Hamming it up will be 5 piglet cheerleaders: the "Piggy Pep Squad".
  6. The infamous hamster crew will fly over the Puppy Bowl in a Goodyear-style blimp to get the best live-action shots.
  7. The show is filmed in a mini stadium that is 19 feet long and 10 feet wide.
  8. It takes about 3 three days to film and generates over 50 hours of unedited footage. Almost 30 staffers produce the show.
  9. Unlike the Super Bowl XLVI, the Puppy Bowl will not be live. It is filmed in advance a few months prior to airing. 

Don't miss it! Tune in Sunday, Feb. 5, beginning at 3 PM E/P! Visit the Puppy Bowl site for more breaking news!

 

 

 

Wednesday, February 1

Keynote: "Online Strategies for Improving Marketing & Customer Service" (Free Reg code)!

If you’re interested in launching or building your business in the hot cloud and web hosting space, or just want to learn more about the cloud, you can’t afford to miss Parallels Summit 2012, February 14-16 in Orlando.  Parallels Summit will feature cloud industry leaders and successful service providers, addressing how not to get left behind the cloud, and how you can profit from the explosive growth of cloud services for small and medium businesses.

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I'm honored and excited to be presenting a keynote entitled “Online Strategies for Improving your Marketing and Customer Service.”  All attendees at Parallels Summit 2012 will receive a copy of my latest book, “The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide: How to Connect with Your Customers to Sell More!” 

Marshacollier-fores003

Guy Kawasaki, the foremost authority on technology adoption, was the original chief evangelist at Apple. In his second act, Kawasaki’s excelled at being a serial entrepreneur and networker, social media guru, best-selling author and featured columnist for American Express OPEN Forum for small business on his blog, Powering Small Business Success. In his keynote, Kawasaki will share insights from his life experiences on how to tap into the potential of customer “Enchantment” — the Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions, as chronicled in his recent book of the same title. Regardless of your company’s size or how you deliver services, Kawasaki will explore why enchanting your customers is the key for service providers (or any entrepreneur) to build a business — it’s the path to differentiate yourself in the marketplace as you earn likability and trustworthiness.

Tiffani Bova, Vice President, Gartner Research, is a 15-year IT veteran, who cover IT Sales and Channel Strategies. Bova's area of specialization includes the development of comprehensive indirect channel programs, the impact of alternative models on the traditional channel, and trends in IT distribution.  Bova will provide insight for channel partners and the requirements they need and should expect from their vendor partners to be successful in today's market in her keynote session, “The Role of Cloud Services Marketplaces in Your Value Chain Strategy.”


For more info and to register, go to : www.parallels.com/summit/2012 and use the code #NU3MC2for your free registration. 

See you there!