Posts Tagged ‘best practices’

Tempted to Buy Social Media Followers?

April 16th, 2014, No Comments, be the first ».

If you get spam e-mails, you’ve probably seen subject lines like this:

“Buy followers for cheap!”

“Look more legit – Twitter followers $2.99 per 1,000”

Boosting your following on social media for just a few bucks can be tempting. Popularity increases perceived value, so a large audience might convey clout and credibility. It’s also an endorsement of you and your message by other individuals, businesses and entities that are using platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

But paying for those followers can have the opposite effect. Cheap “followers” are often dummy accounts, overseas users (many businesses pay low-wage workers overseas to create fake accounts), and inactive accounts. And there are plenty of free online tools that can quickly tell you how much of an account’s following is fake. If you’re a business or someone who is trying to market yourself or build a brand, it can make you look downright untrustworthy.

On the biggest platforms, the money spent on followers will ultimately be wasted. Twitter and Facebook now routinely delete fake and inactive accounts. Those 40,000 Facebook “likes” you bought can disappear in a matter of days. And the sudden drop in numbers will alert any real followers you have to the fact that you’ve been artificially bulking up.

Fake followers also defeat the purpose of social media marketing. They’re not real people who are going to spread your message and who might eventually do business with you. Their only value is in making it appear as if you’re popular.

It’s a good idea to periodically do some housecleaning and get rid of the accounts that aren’t doing anything for you. Our in-house team of social media strategists at EMSI Public Relations shared their thoughts on how to do this for the largest platforms – Twitter and Facebook.

  • For Twitter, use free online tools to see what percentage of your followers are good accounts. We use fakers.statuspeople.com to see what percentage of followers on an account is genuine, inactive or fake. If 80 percent or more of your following is good, you don’t have to worry about appearing disreputable. And keep in mind that the tools that tell you how many fakes you have are neither foolproof nor entirely accurate.

That said, fake and inactive followers don’t do you any good. Engaging users – having them respond to, retweet, favorite and “like” your content – is what helps create future customers. Clean house by running your account through ManageFlitter.com. This app identifies which of your followers are fake, among other details, and allows you to easily remove them.

  • Review those who have liked your Facebook page. Businesses, brands, artists and others using Facebook to interact for promotional purposes use pages specifically designated by Facebook for that purpose. People simply “like” your business page rather than submit a friend request as they do with personal pages. The number of likes you have indicates the number of followers you have.

Review who’s following you by going to the Admin Panel in the upper left-hand corner of your community page and clicking “see all likes.” Go through the list. You may recognize names of regular customers or of people who often “like” or comment on your content. Check the user profiles of the ones you don’t know or those who look less than genuine to decide if they’re real people. The list gives you the option to remove anyone with the click of a button.

If you haven’t purchased followers, cleaning house once in a while shouldn’t be much of a chore. Your reward will be a higher percentage of engaged users who will actually help spread your message to other potential customers or clients.

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By Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a 24-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations, which provides public relations and social media services to businesses, professional firms, entertainers and authors. She is the author of Celebritize Yourself: The Three Step Method to Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business. Follow her on Twitter @marshafriedman

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Communicating Face-to-Face? There’s an App for That

April 9th, 2014, Comments Off.

Technology for video-based applications has improved greatly in recent years.

Most people agree that face-to-face communication is ideal. Tone, gestures, facial expressions, vocal inflections and environment influence the meanings of our words to such an extent that to compensate for their absence within emails and texts, we’ve become accustomed to using emoticons, superfluous punctuation and other types of written emphasis to make our meanings clear.

But sometimes face-to-face communication between clients, employees or colleagues isn’t possible. Your colleagues or clients may live on the other side of the country. Or you may be attending a conference, wanting to share a message with friends and colleagues back home.

Thankfully, there are several applications and programs available that can help you communicate without losing connotation in the process. Here are some of the more popular video-based applications to explore:

FaceTime

Apple’s device-to-device video call app makes this list because it’s easy to use, adds no additional charges to your plan (barring data overages) and comes ready-to-use with every iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone (v. 4.0 and up). FaceTime operates the same way a regular phone call does: dial a number, wait for the other person to pick up, and you are quickly connected in sight and sound via the built-in cameras and VoIP in your devices.

Using FaceTime is just like having a conversation face-to-face, besides the fact that you are holding your device. The drawbacks are that both parties must own the appropriate Apple products and in most cases, must be connected to a Wi-Fi network, but with both becoming more ubiquitous, FaceTime is a convenient way to stay in sight and in touch.

If you prefer Android to Apple, or do not own a FaceTime-compatible device, a free app called Tango allows nearly anyone to talk face-to-phone. Tango’s features include video calls, video voicemails, games with a built-in competitor and group video messaging. Users can also incorporate themed animations into their messages or calls.

Skype

Launched in 2003 as a free alternative to long-distance telephone carriers, this VoIP now offers short messaging services (SMS, or instant messaging), file sharing and low-cost computer-to-landline (or mobile line) services, in addition to the still-gratis computer-to-computer call service. Sign up for an account, set up your webcam and microphone, and you’re ready to connect by voice and video with this service. Businesses and nonprofits especially enjoy the group conferencing and file sharing aspect of Skype.

Google Talk

The search engine behemoth offers two versions of its instant communication software. The first is a Web-based plug-in that operates through your browser when you are logged into Gmail, iGoogle or orkut (another Google-owned social network, popular outside the U.S.). The second is a PC-only software program that operates from your hard drive. Both programs offer instant messaging, video streams of the people you chat with (BYOW: Bring Your Own Webcam), and VoIP phone service (BYOM: Bring Your Own Microphone.)

In addition, you can transfer files through the software version of Google Talk. If you already use Gmail, Google conveniently loads your Gmail contacts into Google Talk, making it easy to instantly connect with friends and colleagues. Both are free.

Adobe Connect

More than a simple video chat program, this comprehensive software suite allows your team to set up virtual meeting rooms, share and update files in real time, watch streaming video and speak over VoIP. You can use Adobe Connect for team meetings, webinars, training sessions, client presentations and project brainstorming sessions.

Adobe Connect also allows hosts in multiple separate locations to lead a video meeting simultaneously. SSL encryption is available to ensure third parties cannot hack into private meetings or presentations. There is a somewhat significant cost for Adobe Connect that depends on usage type, volume and payment plan; however, the tech support, attendee tracking options and mobile capabilities may make the price tag well worth the expense.

There are plenty of other video applications available in addition to the ones listed here. There is no “right” or “perfect” program. Test a couple out and see what works for you. You may find these tools to be indispensable assets to your daily interactions.

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By Kelly Donovan

Kelly Donovan is the team leader for online marketing at Naylor, LLC.

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