Social Media For Small Business https://socialforsmall.biz effective, efficient social media management for small businesses Mon, 26 Nov 2018 21:20:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://i0.wp.com/socialforsmall.biz/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/cropped-geariconlarge-e1448055742934.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Social Media For Small Business https://socialforsmall.biz 32 32 73699262 How to Filter Your Instagram Comments of Spam & Profanity https://socialforsmall.biz/how-to-filter-your-instagram-comments-of-spam-profanity/ https://socialforsmall.biz/how-to-filter-your-instagram-comments-of-spam-profanity/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2016 20:15:41 +0000 http://socialforsmall.biz/?p=972 Automatically Filter Your Instagram Comments For Spam & Profanity Wouldn’t it be great to be able to filter your Instagram comments for spam and profanity? Now you can! Spam and trolls have been around since the beginning of the World Wide Web. If there’s a place to leave a comment then someone at some time […]

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Automatically Filter Your Instagram Comments For Spam & Profanity

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to filter your Instagram comments for spam and profanity? Now you can!

Spam and trolls have been around since the beginning of the World Wide Web. If there’s a place to leave a comment then someone at some time is going to leave spam there. Or something offensive. Most websites moderate comments before they appear on the site or have done away with them altogether.

Unwanted Social Media Comments

But what about social media? Each platform has different options for dealing with unwanted comments from reporting them to filtering them. And now Instagram has joined the latter; it gives you the option to filter comments left on your posts.

Why Filter Your Instagram Comments?

The more popular your account is, the harder it is to find and delete unwanted comments. You can save some time by making sure some of those comments never publish to your posts.

But why should you care? Because if you leave spam or offensive comments on your posts, it looks like you don’t maintain your account. If visitors think you aren’t present, they might stop engaging which will reduce your reach. That, in turn, means that spam comments can lead to fewer people seeing your posts.

How to Filter Your Instagram Comments

Instagram’s filter tool, previously only available to VIP accounts, is now ready for anyone to use. Here’s how you set it up (screenshots and description are from an iPhone):

Tap on your profile picture icon in the lower right corner of the Instagram app. Then tap the gear in the upper right-hand corner.

access instagram account settings

Scroll down until you see “comments” and click on that.

accessing instagram comment settings

Click the slider next to “Hide Inappropriate Comments” to turn it on.

filter your instagram comments

Add custom keywords separated by commas in the box below. These can be any words you don’t want to appear in your comments like common spam phrases, profanity, insults, competitors names, whatever you see fit. Remember to use caution with the words you choose to block so that you don’t filter out legitimate comments.

Starter Sets of Words to Filter

To get you started, we’ve pulled together a couple of starter sets of spam and profanity words for you to add to your Instagram filter. Edit as you see fit to meet the needs of your brand. Edgier brands might be more lax about profanity. Conservative brand may want to filter even more words. When you receive new spam comments that get through the filter, don’t forget to add a unique word from the spam to your filter, so it doesn’t get through next time.

Spam words

Your spam list may look different than this one. There aren’t many resources online with examples of Instagram comment spam, so I relied on personal experience. Remember, it’s easy to add to your list as the spam lands in your comments.

Followers, get more followers, movie extra’s, movie extras, f0110w, follo, folllo, lb, first row, nude pics

Profanity (Warning: it’s a profane list of words, hence the title)

It looks like by turning on the filter, before you even add any words, Instagram will “Hide comments that contain words and phrases often reported as offensive.” But since I can’t find that exact list already filtered, I recommend that you add in any that you want to block. This list will get you started. [Update: I moved this list to a Google Doc to keep this blog post clean.]

Remember, you still need to check your comments and interact with your followers regularly. But being able to filter your Instagram comments should make that task easier by removing some of the garbage automatically.

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Instagram Contests – Two Different Experiences https://socialforsmall.biz/instagram-contests-two-experiences/ https://socialforsmall.biz/instagram-contests-two-experiences/#comments Wed, 08 Jun 2016 21:39:42 +0000 http://socialforsmall.biz/?p=946 Winning at Instagram Contests Lately, I’ve been playing around with Instagram contests for one of my clients. And it’s been working out well for them. After a little experimentation, we landed on the type that got the best results: comment to enter the contest and tag friends for more entries. For these contests, we’ve also been […]

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Winning at Instagram Contests

Lately, I’ve been playing around with Instagram contests for one of my clients. And it’s been working out well for them. After a little experimentation, we landed on the type that got the best results: comment to enter the contest and tag friends for more entries.

increased likes from instagram contests

increased engagement rateFor these contests, we’ve also been asking for a variety of different feedback from followers as the entry question. And aside from the possibility of winning a prize, people seem to enjoy giving their input. And the client, in turn, is learning more and more about their customers.

If you’ve ever thought of giving a contest a go, I highly recommend it. You will need to experiment a bit and try different things to see what works for your business. But this is something that can cost you close to nothing to do.

Failing at Instagram Contests

That said, I also had a big FAIL with an Instagram contest. I was helping another client promote their yearly community fundraising event. It’s a huge, unique event with something for everyone from small children to foodies to history buffs. After the success I had with Instagram contests for my other client, we decided to try one for this event. The prize was a pair of VIP tickets to the event, a $150 value.

This contest for VIP tickets posted three times and while people liked the posts Not. One. Person. Entered.

instagram contest no entriesSeriously, an open bar, exclusive entertainment and curated food provided by neighborhood restaurants and .. nothing.

What went wrong?

First, the Instagram account had been created but never used until I started posting on it earlier this Spring. I started building up followers, but most have ties to the community organization in charge of the event. Some of these people probably didn’t enter because they already had access to free tickets.

Second, the hashtags just weren’t enough to spread the word about the contest much beyond the account’s followers. The Facebook ads we bought did well. Putting a little money behind the giveaway posts may have been just the boost it needed.

Third, clearly Instagram alone wasn’t enough to make this content a success. Next time I’d recommend using something like Rafflecopter to run the contest giving people more ways to enter.

Why Try Instagram Contests?

Have you heard the news? Instagram is moving from a strict chronological timeline to an algorithm based feed. Having an algorithm means if your posts don’t generate engagement (likes and comments) fewer of your followers will see your future posts.

Do you know what can help increase engagement with your posts? That’s right, contests! The first client I mentioned above kicked off these contests well before the algorithm started rolling out. And I think it’s helped keep their posts in their followers’ timelines.

Don’t forget, though; you can’t slack on the rest of your posts. Pay attention to which posts seem to resonate with your followers and emulate them when it makes sense.

Have you been using Instagram contests? How are they doing for you?

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Prince Tributes – The Trickiness of Reacting to a Death as a Brand https://socialforsmall.biz/trickiness-reacting-death-brand/ https://socialforsmall.biz/trickiness-reacting-death-brand/#comments Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:30:42 +0000 http://socialforsmall.biz/?p=927 Prince tributes are everywhere right now. But rather than do that, I thought I’d share my earliest memories of Prince. The first time I experienced Prince was in 5th Grade. For show and tell, someone brought in Prince’s self-titled album. Oh boy did we giggle over that one! How scandalous his naked chest was! Fast […]

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Prince tributes are everywhere right now. But rather than do that, I thought I’d share my earliest memories of Prince.

The first time I experienced Prince was in 5th Grade. For show and tell, someone brought in Prince’s self-titled album.

Prince self titled album

Oh boy did we giggle over that one! How scandalous his naked chest was!

Fast forward to a few years later. Being a somewhat devious teenager, I thought I’d put one over on my mom when I talked her into getting me 1999 for Christmas. And I likely did get one over on her. She probably didn’t realize how inappropriate that album might be for a 14-year-old.

prince darling nikke lyrics

Along with millions of other people, news of Prince’s death brought me equal parts of loss and nostalgia. Sure, people die all the time, and they’re going to continue to die. But there are some people that you’re sure will live forever. And Prince was one of those. Is. Because he will live forever through his music.

That’s enough gushy talk. The real reason I’m bringing all this up is that it’s understandable that a brand or business might have public reactions to news of this nature. But you need to take extra care when dealing with a topic this sensitive.

Brands React to Prince’s Death On Social Media

brands react to prince - cheeriosI’m not going to rehash how the big brands responded to Prince’s death on social media here. Adweek already posted an excellent roundup, and I’ve nothing to add. So go check that out. The TL;DR here is to honor the man without being overly promotional. And I’d argue, avoid being promotional at all. It will rub fans the wrong way.

Offline Prince Tributes

What I’m going to add to the discussion is some examples of offline Prince tributes found in the Atlanta area.

The King & Queen

prince tributes king and queen building

These buildings sit at a very prominent place just North of Atlanta in Sandy Springs where they stand by a major highway intersection, Georgia 400 and I-285. The King & Queen are always lit up, but different colors. Lighting the tops of the building in purple was a beautiful, subtle tribute.

The Corey Tower

prince tributes Corey tower

If you commute through downtown Atlanta, you are very familiar with the Corey Tower. It’s a giant smoke stack looking thing that says “Corey” up the side right along I-75/I-85. The Tower had “Corey” painted along the side, but it now sports a fancy digital sign that usually just says “Corey.” For its Prince tribute, the digital sign displayed his likeness, symbol, and RIP.

And then there’s this menu.

prince tribute menu

Some local restaurant thought it would be clever to create a tribute menu with ridiculous dishes like “The Dish Formerly Known As Flounder,” “Nothing Compares to Ewe,” “When Curds Fry,” and “Let’s Pretend We’re Marinated.” No. These menu items are tone deaf and disrespectful. I can’t imagine anyone thinking otherwise, but feel free to disagree with me in the comments.

I’ve written about this topic a couple of times because I want you to think about what you are posting or using in any way for marketing purposes, especially when it comes to sensitive topics. If you have any doubt, just don’t.

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How to Control Visitor Posts to Your Facebook Page https://socialforsmall.biz/control-visitor-posts-facebook-page/ https://socialforsmall.biz/control-visitor-posts-facebook-page/#comments Mon, 21 Mar 2016 20:07:46 +0000 http://socialforsmall.biz/?p=894 Don’t settle for unsavory posts to your Facebook business page. You can control visitor posts to your Facebook page, and I’ll show you how! As we know, people are shameless when it comes to spam and scams. We’ve seen some pretty blatant attempts to get the attention of our Facebook audience. As a matter of […]

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Don’t settle for unsavory posts to your Facebook business page. You can control visitor posts to your Facebook page, and I’ll show you how!

As we know, people are shameless when it comes to spam and scams. We’ve seen some pretty blatant attempts to get the attention of our Facebook audience. As a matter of fact, the first time it happened, I wrote a pretty ranty blog post. So here’s a down and dirty tip that’ll help keep your business’ Facebook page free from spam or worse.

When people mention your page on Facebook in one of their updates, it will not only show on their timeline but will also show up under “visitor posts” on your page. In settings, this is something you can adjust so that you can block, approve, or allow them to post to the page unfettered.

I recommend that you allow these posts but give yourself the chance to moderate them first. Moderating these will help prevent spam, porn, a link to a virus, or who knows what from being posted to your page.

Set Up: how to control visitor posts to your Facebook page

1. Click on Settings on your business page.

how to control visitor posts to your facebook page

2. Click “Edit” next to “Visitor Posts.”

how to control visitor posts to your facebook page

3. Choose these settings, especially the last one which allows you to approve all visitor posts. You can also just not allow posts to your page here, but I don’t recommend that. That’s stifling engagement which is one reason why your business is on social media.

how to control visitor posts to your facebook page

4. Hit save & close, and that’s it! You’ll get a message whenever someone tries to post something to your page, and you’ll have the opportunity to let it through or not.

These settings are in a different place than your personal account, so I thought it would be worthwhile to show you where to find them and how to set them up. Now you’ve got more control over what appears on your page.

Happy Facebooking!

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The Instagram Algorithm – Is the Free Ride Over? https://socialforsmall.biz/instagram-algorithm/ https://socialforsmall.biz/instagram-algorithm/#comments Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:50:53 +0000 http://socialforsmall.biz/?p=878 What the Facebook Algorithm Can Teach Us About the Instagram Algorithm It was only a matter of time, especially since Facebook bought Instagram. Reports have come out that there will be an Instagram algorithm that determines which posts make it to people’s timelines. Newer business owners and Facebook users may not remember this, but back […]

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What the Facebook Algorithm Can Teach Us About the Instagram Algorithm

It was only a matter of time, especially since Facebook bought Instagram. Reports have come out that there will be an Instagram algorithm that determines which posts make it to people’s timelines.

Newer business owners and Facebook users may not remember this, but back in the day, all you had to worry about was to get people to follow your company’s page. Your updates would show in their news feed, and as long as they were relevant to your customers, there they would stay.

Then Facebook started implementing an algorithm to manage the flood of posts people saw in their timeline. This change meant that Facebook would show your post to a few of your followers and how they reacted to the content would determine if Facebook would show it to more people. So businesses had to get much more strategic about their posts.

Now, it looks like Instagram is going to get the same treatment. Instagram says they will roll the Instagram algorithm out slowly so it won’t be jarring for users. And as with Facebook and Twitter, there are outraged users. Facebook seems to have moved past the outrage and continues to be popular. Twitter is still struggling to be profitable and keep users happy.

Why is Instagram doing this? They say it’s the same reason Facebook did – for a better user experience. According to co-founder Kevin Systrom “On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed.” So they want to make sure that the 30 percent people do see is the best 30 percent.

For marketers and businesses, this means it’s time to step up your game.

How to Optimize Your Instagram Posts For Your Business

Get Better Photos

One of the best ways to get engagement on Instagram is to post better photos. Seems obvious, right? But so many business owners are rushed and just snap a shot, throw it up there, and go on with their day. Here are a few tips that will help you up your photo quality and beat the Instagram algorithm:

  1. Take multiple pictures – Professional photographers don’t show up to a photo shoot, take three perfect shots and then leave. They shoot hundreds of images, or more, to get the handful of excellent shots they need. I’m not saying you need to shoot hundreds of photos at a time, but don’t be afraid to take at least a dozen. Remember; this isn’t film – it doesn’t cost any extra to experiment.
  2. Try different angles – If you’re going to take a dozen photos, play with it! Try straight on, squat down and shoot up, get off to the side a bit, change the lighting by moving the subject or light, if possible, add different props, and so on.
    instagram photo from another angle example from thebarkshop
  3. Natural light is your friend – Not everyone has fancy lighting equipment. But you probably know of a place that has lots of windows and gets tons of natural light. Have a plan and stock up on photos when you have access to this location.
    natural light instagram example from kloweyrianne
  4. What catches YOUR eye? Emulate it! – In the Instagram app, click on the magnifying glass. You’ll see “trending” first, then “explore posts.” Scroll through the “explore posts” section. And keep it on this screen with three photos across. Which photos catch your eye even at that small size? Notice what it is that makes them stand out. Then keep those ideas in your mind for your photos.
    instagram explore posts

Here are a couple of posts with great ideas for taking better Instagram photos:

Tips to Increase Instagram Engagement

Your best bet at beating the Instagram algorithm is to make sure people engage with your posts. More engagement means more people will see your posts.

  1. Hashtags – Use as many popular and relevant hashtags as you can for each photo. Using hashtags helps you reach people that aren’t following you yet. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags and unlike Twitter where you should max out at two, the more, the better on Instagram. I like to use Hashtagify to find related hashtags. Remember to use hashtags related to your brand, particular product, and location.
  2. Filters – Instagram posts that use no filter or Mayfair drive the most engagement according to a study. But you should test out to see which work best for your business.
  3. Post at the right times – Sadly, Instagram doesn’t offer you any analytics for your account. If you already have a following built up, it is entirely worth it to invest in Iconosquare to see your stats. One of the best things it shows you is when your posts get the most reactions from your community. In the new Instagram feed, it’ll be more important than ever to hit these ideal times. If you’re just starting out, try a bunch of different times to see what works for your audience. Try between 6 AM and noon. There seem to be fewer posts during that period and less competition.
    iconosquare engagement stats can help you beat the instagram algorithm
  4. Ask questions or take polls – Just flat out ask questions. One way you can do this is by doing a visual survey. For example, you could post a collage of all the colors one of your product comes in and ask which color is their favorite.
  5. Engage with your competitors followers – This is like targeting your competitors customers with Facebook ads but free, if a bit more time consuming. The more effort you put into it, the more success you will have. You can follow your competitors followers, follow and like one of their posts, or go all out and follow, like a post, and comment on a post. You have the greatest success with the last one, but the first method still yields significant results if that’s all you can manage.
  6. Have a contest – There are many ways you can run an Instagram contest. But if you want to maximize engagement, try a comment contest. Have people leave a comment to get an entry and then give them one more entry for each friend they tag. This method will up your engagement and spread your reach. Just don’t forget to follow Instagram’s rules for contests.
  7. Engage back! – Now that you have followed these tips, and you’re getting engagement don’t squander it! On high volume accounts, it might not be possible to interact with everyone that comments, but interact with some of them and answer every direct question.

These tips should set you on your way to a more engaging Instagram account. You’ll want to get started right away so you will know what works best for your business before the Instagram algorithm is in full effect.

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Multiple Account Management Rolls Out to Instagram Users https://socialforsmall.biz/instagram-rolls-out-multiple-account-management/ https://socialforsmall.biz/instagram-rolls-out-multiple-account-management/#comments Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:29:27 +0000 http://socialforsmall.biz/?p=810 Oh man, we are so freaking excited around here today! Why? Because Instagram has been rolling out multiple account management to users and IT FINALLY CAME TO US! Up until now, Instagram has not made it easy for people to manage multiple accounts. Many people have a personal account and a business account. And you […]

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Oh man, we are so freaking excited around here today! Why? Because Instagram has been rolling out multiple account management to users and IT FINALLY CAME TO US!

Up until now, Instagram has not made it easy for people to manage multiple accounts. Many people have a personal account and a business account. And you had to log out of one and back into the other each time you wanted to post or interact with your followers and followings. Meanwhile, you only got notifications for the logged in account. As you can imagine, that lead to so many missed opportunities to connect with your customers.

Well, we knew Instagram was rolling out multiple account management to its users on iOS but hadn’t been able to use it. Until now. We finally got access! If you’re an iPhone or iPad user and haven’t got this feature yet, keep looking. It’s coming to you! Android users, don’t feel too left out. Instagram is testing it out for you as we write this and hopefully you will have it soon.

A First Look At Multiple Account Management On Instagram

First things first: how do you add additional accounts to Instagram? Go to your account profile page and click on the gear in the upper right-hand corner. Scroll down and all the way towards the bottom you will find the Add Account option.

add account to instagram

Click that and you get a login screen for Instagram. Log into to the next account there.

instagram log in screen iOS

Now, when you are on your profile screen, an arrow appears next to your username. Click that and you will see all of the Instagram accounts you have logged in. Select the one you want to work with there. You also have the option of adding more accounts.

instagram multiple account management

That’s it! Now you can flip between accounts quickly right in Instagram. Hooray!

To Answer A Few Questions…

Cool, but how do notifications work?

Very well! In your notification center, as the messages come in, there is a designation at the front of each one so you know the account to which it refers.

instagram multiple accounts in notification center

Excellent!

How many accounts can I add?

You can add five accounts, according to Instagram.

Can I schedule posts now?

No, this update does not include the ability to schedule Instagram posts.

I use Latergramme. How does this update affect how that works?

Latergrame will work just fine, even a little better. You no longer have to remember to be logged into the account that you scheduled posts for as long as it is one of the accounts you have added. You will get notifications when it is time to post similar to what you see in my notification center screen grab above. Each post will have the account designated.

How much is this upgrade?

Wait, how did I leave the best part for last? It’s free!

This news is huge for small business owners who can’t afford fancy services to manage their online marketing. Now you can easily access your personal and business account at all times. Use this opportunity to share more from your business with your customers. And don’t forget to interact with them as well!

 

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The Shady Trade in Political Email Addresses https://socialforsmall.biz/the-shady-trade-in-political-email-addresses/ https://socialforsmall.biz/the-shady-trade-in-political-email-addresses/#comments Sat, 23 Jan 2016 21:35:34 +0000 http://socialforsmall.biz/?p=743 Many politicians in the U.S. rely on sending political email to raise money. But do you know where your political donation is going? Did you know that you might be paying off failed presidential campaign debts for a candidate you didn’t even support without knowing it? I don’t spend much time listening to the radio but […]

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Many politicians in the U.S. rely on sending political email to raise money. But do you know where your political donation is going? Did you know that you might be paying off failed presidential campaign debts for a candidate you didn’t even support without knowing it?

I don’t spend much time listening to the radio but when I do it’s either NPR or college radio. And recently when I heard this story on Marketplace, it made my blood boil.

Normally I wouldn’t bring up politics at all here. But this is related to email marketing. I’m going to try to keep this post somewhat balanced even though I slant in one particular direction. Both Democrats and Republicans rent these email lists, so it’s not only one side doing this. But, one side uses this practice much more than the other.

The Shady Trade in Political Email Addresses

Political campaigns are renting out their email lists to former opponents. They either take a flat fee or a percentage of the donations. The latter is the most popular choice because it involves no out of pocket expenses for the campaign.

How would you feel if you decided to support political candidate A by sending them $100 and half of that went to former candidate D to pay off their campaign debt after they dropped out of the race? The sad thing is, this is entirely legal, and no one discloses this diversion of funds.

What About CAN-SPAM?

You might be thinking “wait, doesn’t CAN-SPAM protect us from this sort of misuse of our email addresses?” Well, no, it doesn’t. CAN-SPAM does not cover political email because it is considered free speech. Check this out from a Q&A on the Federal Trade Commission’s website:

My obligations as a marketer aside, I have a question as a consumer. Campaign season is upon us and I’ve been getting a lot of email urging me to support or donate to various political candidates. I’ve asked to be removed from their lists, but the email keeps on coming. Is this okay under the FTC’s rules?

CHRISTOPHER: The CAN-SPAM Act applies only to commercial email, whether sent individually or in bulk. It doesn’t apply to non-commercial bulk email. Furthermore, political messages are protected under the First Amendment. Of course, many groups not covered under the law have chosen voluntarily to honor UNSUBCRIBE requests. But if you’re getting unwanted email from entities not subject to CAN-SPAM that don’t offer an UNSUBSCRIBE feature, another option is to contact them directly to express your preference not to receive more messages. (Don’t just respond to the email, which may not be read.) If any group is trying to win you over – whether it’s an advertiser, an advocacy group, a candidate, etc. – it could be persuasive to let them know how you feel.

So politicians can trade, sell, do whatever they want with your email address once they have it. And they’re under no legal obligation to remove you from lists when you request it.

ain't that some shit

As a long time email marketer (I’ve been sending email since before CAN-SPAM if you can believe that) I don’t understand how this can be legal. Let’s just add this to the pile of things that are wrong with politics in America.

The sad thing is, people that need to know about this trade in political email addresses will probably never hear it. I heard the story on NPR, and they got it from Politico, both center to left-leaning sources. If your parents are die hard Fox News watchers, they’ll never hear this story.

fox news search for donor emails

How about you? Are you angry that politicians are duping people in this way? I’d like to see disclosure required on these political emails if 100% of the donation isn’t going to the candidate soliciting the donation.

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Inappropriate Social Media Posts, Marketing & Promotions https://socialforsmall.biz/inappropriate-social-media-posts-promotions/ https://socialforsmall.biz/inappropriate-social-media-posts-promotions/#comments Fri, 22 Jan 2016 16:05:13 +0000 http://socialforsmall.biz/?p=787 Hooray, a bank holiday! Loads of people are off of work, and brands start pumping out the social media posts, sales and offers to commemorate the day. But is that appropriate in all cases? No, it is not. And we, in turn, find ourselves with a load of inappropriate social media posts in our timelines […]

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Hooray, a bank holiday! Loads of people are off of work, and brands start pumping out the social media posts, sales and offers to commemorate the day. But is that appropriate in all cases? No, it is not. And we, in turn, find ourselves with a load of inappropriate social media posts in our timelines that leave us with not-so-nice feelings about the responsible brand.

You need to use some common sense here when determining if you should send promotional messages on a particular day. It will depend on your customers what is appropriate for each holiday. A good rule of thumb is that if there is any tragedy involved in the celebration or commemoration (9/11, MLK Day, etc.) don’t do any self-promotion. No sales or special deals. Because it will probably backfire on you.

Get your MLK Meal Deal right here!

This post started percolating because of a post I saw on Instagram on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which just passed. Someone I follow on my personal account posted this screenshot of a text offer they received from a local restaurant:

text offer on MLK day

The person I follow posted this screenshot to 1300+ followers with the comment “Don’t really get the correlation, but thanks.” And I have to agree with him. “I’ll take the MLK Day Meal Deal” just sounds wrong. Very wrong. At best people are going to think it’s out of place like this poster. At worst, they could get quite a bit of flack on social media for something like this.

What could they have done instead? Post a quote on social media. Share what your company is doing for the National Day of Service and ask your followers if they are participating and what they’re doing. It’s not the time for a special promotion.

Just to see what other brands were doing, I spent some time scrolling through #MLKDay on Twitter. Nothing I saw stood out as distasteful. People are learning!

apple mlk day

One brand that did get some flack though is Apple. They replaced their usual homepage on MLK Day this year with a photo of Dr. King and a quote. However, Apple is known for their lack of diversity. Their board made up mostly of white men even voted earlier this month against a proposal to bring more diversity to their senior management team.

From bad to worse

Even though brands seem to be avoiding inappropriate social media posts for this year’s MLK Day, we don’t have to go back very far to find some shameful examples of “OMG what were you thinking!” posts.

inappropriate social media posts - hat mlk day

blue nile mlk day

2nd chance mlk day

panties mlk day

Those are distasteful, but this one is really over the top. An apology was issued, of course. But seriously, what were they thinking?

lone gunman inappropriate social media post

A Positive Example

Sometimes, the best way to avoid inappropriate social media posts is to take a time out. Canon did this on Facebook a couple of years back, and their followers reacted positively.

canon mlk day

Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to shame a bunch of brands but to help less experienced social media managers recognize what is and isn’t appropriate to post. When in doubt, try running it by a few friends in private to get their input. An outsider’s perspective might save your brand from embarrassment and lost customers.

Update: You should also check out this related post by Jay Baer: 3 Rules for Dealing with Death and Tragedy on Social Media. Plus, I’ve written about the topic of social media posts and tragedy before: How to Handle Social Media When the SHTF.

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Copyright and Content Marketing https://socialforsmall.biz/copyright-and-content-marketing/ https://socialforsmall.biz/copyright-and-content-marketing/#comments Thu, 07 Jan 2016 19:38:32 +0000 http://socialforsmall.biz/?p=777 Have you ever felt like you’ve been doing battle on a particular subject forever? That’s how I feel about copyright and content marketing. Way back in the early 2000s, I managed website content and email marketing for a large media company. Part of my responsibilities included doing those things for a nationally syndicated radio talk show […]

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Have you ever felt like you’ve been doing battle on a particular subject forever? That’s how I feel about copyright and content marketing.

Way back in the early 2000s, I managed website content and email marketing for a large media company. Part of my responsibilities included doing those things for a nationally syndicated radio talk show host.

It was a weekly, and sometimes daily, battle with this host over copyrighted images. He seemed to think that if he could find it on the internet, he was free to publish it on his blog. This battle continued even after the company had to write fat checks.  You can imagine how frustrating that was.

But you know what? He isn’t that unusual. So many people think it’s perfectly okay to copy other people’s content and use it as they see fit. It’s pretty simple, though: if you did not create the content, you need to work extra hard to make sure you have the right to use it.

My Recent Copyright Battle

The reason that I chose to write about this is that someone decided to use my content without permission. Tuesday morning, I woke up to a new pingback on my business blog. Awesome, someone linked to me! I follow the link and find that what happened is that someone copied an entire blog post of mine and posted it on their site. Including the images, which they hot linked, so I was paying to serve the images to their site.

Oh man, I was hopping mad! Not only did they steal my words, but they cost me money. And that’s beyond the fact that it is my business to write blog posts for clients for money.

So I emailed them at the address offered on their contact page and asked them to remove my content. I gave them a deadline of about 8 – 10 hours.

The deadline passed, so I did a domain lookup to find out their hosting provider. It turned out to be Go Daddy. They have an online form to fill out for copyright cases. I’m sure there’s a similar process at other hosts.

Right after I submitted the copyright claim with Go Daddy, the site that stole my content emailed back. I’m not going to name the website, but I do want to share their response to me:

You were given credit for the article which was only used because it a great article. In regards to your timeline, we are located on the west coast and this would be possible to remove it by your deadline. Additionally, your links were still provided given you credit for any click through beyond our related posts. This brings traffic directly to your server. I’m not sure how you could invoice us for your server time as we aren’t using your server and we haven’t claimed the material as our own. Removing your content is not an issue but please take time to be positive that we don’t use any of your material or endorse your site in the future.

Hahaha. Initially, I thought I could have been mistaken about them hotlinking my images because after they had written back, the images were on their server. But, later on, you’ll find out why I think they had initially hot-linked my graphics, took the time to download and upload them, but somehow didn’t have time to take down the post because they were on the West coast.

Let me be clear: they did not excerpt or summarize my content and link back to my site. They copied a whole blog post, included original images, and posted it all on their site with links interspersed going back to their related content. The only “credit” was at the very bottom in plain text with no link back to my site. Just for fun, here’s my response to them:

That’s not how copyright works. You can’t wholesale copy someone’s content and place it on your site without their permission. Even if you do give credit. And I’m pretty sure you were hotlinking my images this morning when I checked it, but whatever. I appreciate that you enjoyed the content, but it’s good because that is what I get paid to do. So I don’t accept flattery as payment. You should write your own original content or pay for it. Stealing it is not okay.

So at this point, I’m just sitting tight. I submitted my request with Go Daddy already. I’d just see what happened overnight.

The next morning I check to see if they had taken down my content. Yes, they had. But at the same URL, they replaced it with AN ENTIRE ARTICLE COPIED FROM MASHABLE COMPLETE WITH HOTLINKED IMAGES! My email went in one ear and out the other.

Now, people probably copy content from Mashable all the time. Who knows if they engage in DMCA whack-a-mole or not, but I felt it was my duty to bring this to their attention. And they can decide how they want to handle it. Maybe they have some bored lawyers on retainer.

The reason I’m writing all of this, besides the cathartic effect, is that I don’t want you to be this ignorant. I want you to have at least a basic understanding of copyright and content marketing.

Copyright and Content Marketing Resources

Copyright is a confusing subject, and I am no expert. But a great rule of thumb is that if you didn’t create the work, you need to take steps to make sure you have the right to use it.

I’ve gathered a bunch of resources for you here from folks that are much more knowledgeable on the subject of copyright. Everything here is U.S. centric. Laws may be different in other countries.

Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Legal Guide For Bloggers

This guide is an excellent resource with which to begin. It focuses more on what you can do than what you can’t and introduces Creative Commons and Fair Use.

Prevent Content Theft

This guide from WordPress tells you what you can do to help prevent people from stealing your content.

Blogger Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Photos You Don’t Own on Your Blog

Don’t assume that you’re too small to be sued. Learn from this blogger what can happen if you do use copyrighted works without permission.

Copyright Infringement: What Images Can Bloggers Actually Use?

These guidelines will help you determine if you can use a particular image on your site. This post also gives you the steps to follow if someone has violated your copyright.

Have you ever had your content stolen? If so, how did you handle it?

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Free Mobile Apps to Help Manage Your Small Business On the Go https://socialforsmall.biz/free-mobile-apps-to-help-manage-your-small-business-on-the-go/ https://socialforsmall.biz/free-mobile-apps-to-help-manage-your-small-business-on-the-go/#comments Fri, 18 Dec 2015 00:19:31 +0000 http://socialforsmall.biz/?p=723 To be honest, when I first came up with the idea for this post on free mobile apps to help manage your small business, I figured there would be a dozen or so apps that I’d share. But as I started digging in I realized this list was going to be out of control! Do […]

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To be honest, when I first came up with the idea for this post on free mobile apps to help manage your small business, I figured there would be a dozen or so apps that I’d share. But as I started digging in I realized this list was going to be out of control!

Do you need every single one of these mobile apps for your small business? No, of course not! But I bet you’ll find a few in here that can help you run your business. I’ll add notes to some to help you figure that out. And remember, the apps themselves are all free.

Great Big List of Free Mobile Apps

Social Media

free mobile apps for social media

These are the biggies, apps for managing single social networks. Most are native. They are pretty self-explanatory.

Facebook Pages – iOS | Android

Facebook Groups – iOS | Android

Google Plus – iOS | Android

Instagram – iOS | Android

Twitter – iOS | Android

Periscope – iOS | Android

LinkedIn – iOS | Android

Pinterest – iOS | Android

Alien Blue (Reddit) – iOS

Beam for Reddit – iOS

Reddit is Fun – iOS

Bacon Reader (Reddit) – iOS | Android

Meerkat – iOS | Android

Blab – iOS

Tumblr – iOS | Android

Snapchat – iOS | Android

Vine – iOS | Android

Flickr – iOS | Android

Flipboard – iOS | Android
Flipboard is great for finding content that would be of interest to your followers, keep up on industry news, and promote your own content.

Scoop.it – iOS | Android
Scoop.it is similar to Flipboard, just less visual in nature.

Photos / Video

free mobile apps for photos and video

Some of these apps are similar, but often you will find one easier to use than another. So if you try one and don’t like it, try another option.

Camera+ – iOS
The native iOS camera app has improved over the years, but Camera+ still has more options for making your photos perfect.

VSCO – Android
One of the best 3rd party camera apps for Android.

Layout – iOS | Android
Create cool collages and post directly to Instagram or save to use elsewhere.

Boomerang – iOS | Android
Boomerang from Instagram is sort of a marriage between GIFs and Video. Short bursts of photos are stitched together to create a fun effect. Try it & spice up your timeline.

Phonto – iOS | Android
Add stylized text to your photos on the go!

Perfect Image – iOS
Add stickers, text, make collages, etc.

Pixlr – iOS | Android
Pixlr is a basic image editor. I recommend their web version and was happy to find they have an app too.

Snapseed – iOS | Android
This is another image editor, from the good folks at Google.

Canva – iOS (iPad)
An easy way to design images with templates, photos, and beautiful layouts.Productivity

Productivity

free mobile apps for productivity

BufferiOS | Android
Schedule your social media updates on the go.

Hootsuite – iOS | Android
Schedule social media updates, monitor, and engage with followers.

Trello – iOS | Android
Your digital kanban board. You can pretty much make it do anything.

Feedly – iOS | Android
Follow your favorite blogs and catch up on them whenever you have a couple of minutes.

Pocket – iOS | Android
Save articles here to read or use later. Then you can read or use them on the go or from your computer.

Dropbox – iOS | Android
Cloud storage for your files, photos, etc.

Google Calendar – iOS | Android
We used to use Sunrise, but Microsoft is killing it. So we’ve switched to Google Calendar. It’s lovely!

Evernote – iOS | Android
People use Evernote in different ways. We like it for collaboration and as our own reference library. But it can also be your to do list including reminders.

Google Drive – iOS | Android
Get to all your Google files from anywhere.

Google Sheets – iOS | Android
Access and work with your Google spreadsheets here.

Scanbot – iOS | Android
“Scan” your paper documents to PDF by taking photos of them. You can even set it up to save the files to Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack, Evernote, and more!

IFTTT – iOS | Android
Automate tasks to free up time.

MileIQ – iOS | Android
The easy way to keep track of your mileage so you’re not scrambling come tax time.

Spotify – iOS | Android
Drown out the loud talkers at the coffee shop. There are tons of preset playlists that are made for helping you focus.

Pandora – iOS | Android
More music to work to.Communication

Communication

free mobile apps for communications

Skype – iOS | Android
Take voice or video calls from anywhere.

Google Voice – iOS | Android
If you don’t want to use your personal number for your business, Google Voice is a great option.

WhatsApp – iOS | Android
This is the default messaging app for much of the world.

Facetime – iOS (comes pre-installed)

Hangouts – iOS | Android

Burner – iOS | Android
Generate a temporary phone number to use on a Craigslist ad, a job posting, or wherever you might want to keep your actual number private.

Slack – iOS | Android
The more of your business communication you can offload to Slack, the emptier your email inbox will be.

Email (marketing & management)

Mailchimp – iOS | Android
Keep track of your MailChimp email campaigns on the go. You can even log into multiple accounts.

AWeber – iOS | Android
Keep track of AWeber campaigns.

Constant Contact – iOS | Android
Same for Constant Contact.

Inbox by Gmail – iOS | Android
Dropbox’s Mailbox was the best app for managing all of your email accounts in one place. We’re still on a search for a good replacement, but Inbox is great for managing all the accounts you run through Gmail.

Travel

free mobile apps for travel

Waze – iOS | Android
Don’t let traffic make you late!

Google Maps – iOS | Android
iPhone users, you don’t have to stick with the installed app for directions. Many people prefer Google Maps.

Uber – iOS | Android
Don’t miss an appointment because of a flat tire. Have your Uber app installed and all set up so you can get there on time.

Lyft – iOS | Android
Another alternative to Uber. Always good to have a backup plan!

Zipcar – iOS | Android
Need a truck or van for a couple of hours? Zipcar to the rescue!

ParkMobile (or equivalent in your area) – iOS | Android
If your town has parking meters with a mobile option, make sure you have it installed and ready to go so you don’t have to waste time digging around for coins.

Like to try new things? Keep an eye on Product Hunt for newly released apps. Sometimes you can get them for free before they start charging.

This list was compiled based on the needs of my own business and the apps I have on my iPhone. What categories have I missed here? What’s on your smartphone?

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