How To Always Lose To Your Competitor

I’m writing this at Starbucks, but I wish I was writing in the little coffee shop just across the street. However, I can’t because they lost me (and others) just a couple of hours ago. Let me explain.

This morning  the power in my neighborhood went out, and I got a report that it wouldn’t be restored until later in the afternoon.  This took away my internet and my ability to drive anywhere (car is in a garage that requires power, and thank you for the suggestions of a manual override but unfortunately it’s not an option in this case) which really leaves me stuck, as my job is to create and oversee online social media campaigns for Fortune 500 companies.  I live in a beautiful neighborhood, and one of the things that makes it beautiful is the lack of businesses.  I have two coffee shops that have wifi and good tea, practically across the street from each other, 2 miles away from my house.  I put on my backpack and started the hike.

One of the coffee shops is a locally owned and operated cafe, the other is Starbucks.  I try to support small businesses whenever possible, and though it was a bit more inconvenient, I trekked to the local cafe.

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Facebook Steps Up The War Against Spam (And Porn!)

Facebook ads more granular controls for admins of pages

Facebook adds more granular controls for admins of pages

I was excited to read that Facebook now lets page administrators ban fans and spammers! I tweeted it, and several people replied back, “couldn’t we always do that?”  The answer is that yes, you used to be able to, but recently that ability has been taken away from several areas.

The functionality of this is back, and it’s well done! I love it, if for no other reason than page admins can now ban users based upon pictures they upload! Up to this point, it’s been a real cat and mouse game, trying to pull down questionable pictures before they were up for too many people to see.

This has been particularly problematic on some of the larger pages we manage…those with over a million fans.  Porn spammers have been getting around the Facebook rules by putting up bikini or semi-nude models in the fan pictures section, then putting the porn URL in the description.  Tricky…there wasn’t really any way to ban this before, and it couldn’t be reported as pornography because it didn’t show certain body parts.

Starting now, we page admins can flag the photo AND request to permanantly ban the user from the page, as well as take down all content they have previously posted.  This is most certainly worth the price of admission.

This may be a part of a larger effort by Facebook to crack down on spam; as I take a casual glance around some pages that I know are often targeted by these types of photo-spammers, I can’t find a single questionable image.  Either the admins have really stepped it up, or Facebook has, or both! Either way, I applaud the effort.

It’s nice to see Facebook make such a pro-admin move.  Well done, Facebook.

6 Things You Need To Know About Running A Social Media Program: The Client

111-social networksPart 1 of 6

Over the years I’ve run a lot of social media programs, sometimes for companies or services that I own or manage, sometimes for organizations that have hired me to consult or drive their efforts in the various online communities.  This article is primarily aimed at those that do the latter, although several points can apply to the former.  That is to say, if you are a consultant or work at an agency whose primary focus is running social programs for somebody else, I’m writing this for you.

I’ve created this list of “things you must know” mostly based upon very positive experiences I’ve had, but also from negative ones…things that I’ve either experienced myself or seen others do.  This isn’t a tactical post, I think I write plenty of those.  Instead, this is my advice to those that are going to lend their expertise to others, and hopefully by checking these off you will avoid some common mistakes that often result in unmet expectations, from one side or the other…or both.

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Get Notified About Website Downtime

I can’t tell you the number of times somebody has contacted me to check if I can see a website.  “Is it down for you or just for me?”  9 times out of 10 I have to respond with, “just for you” followed by “just restart your computer, I’m sure it will be fine”.  It usually is.

Ding It's Up!

Ding It's Up!

There are some neat web based services available that will help you determine if a site is down.  If you run a site (corporate, personal blog, etc.) then you should pay attention to these quick and easy services.

Before you call me, please go to Down for everyone or just me? This is really simple, just put in the name of a domain and hit enter.  It will tell you if the site really is down or if you need to restart your laptop.  Very useful.

Second on the list, and most valuable, is a service that you just need to give info to once.  DING IT’S UP! is a site that lets you choose a domain and then a method of contact.  You can go with an @reply on Twitter, an SMS to your phone or an email. I went with email, I didn’t want to clog my Twitter stream more than it already is. It will tell me when a site is up or down via a quick mail message.  Very useful!

I’m adding a third, because I know that most of you want to know when Twitter is up or down.  Yes, you can use the sites that I already mentioned, but why not go to a page specifically crafted for your obsession? Is Twitter Down is made for folks like you (and me, don’t think I’m throwing stones here) that have a hard time breathing when the the fail whale rears its ugly head.  Go to this site and it will make it pretty easy for you, either a Yes or a No will greet you and let you move on with your day.

I use these services frequently for sites that I monitor for clients, I hope you find them useful as well. If there are any others that you like, please feel free to share with all of us in the comments.

Twitter Karma Lets You View Your Relationships

When I wrote a post about Qwitter, several people let me know that they just couldn’t handle knowing when somebody quits following them on Twitter, that it’s just too much of a blow to their ego.  To those who feel this way, I would caution you against using this service as well, because it will reveal much more.

Twitter Karma

Twitter Karma

While Qwitter only tells you who stops following you, Twitter Karma reveals the depth of your “relationship” with others on Twitter.  This excellent free service will ask you for your Twitter username and password, then after some time gathering info, will show you a chart of how you interact with others.  Some people follow you but you don’t follow them, and you follow some people that don’t follow you back.  Probably the majority of relationships show that you follow them and they follow you, unless you are spammer.  But then again, if you are a spammer you don’t care about this service. Also, if you are a spammer, shame on you.  Please go away.  Moving on…

Beyond satisfying your morbid curiosity for who follows you back, there is some use to this.  Through changes at Twitter and changes in peoples accounts, I have inadvertently stopped following people over time without meaning too.  I’m not sure if this holds true today, but it used to be that if you had a public profile and then changed to private you dropped most, if not all, of your followers.  I spent a great deal of time on the phone with Cynthia Ware testing this out, and we found it to be true.  If you have changed your account from public to private and don’t understand why so many people quit following you, now you know.  It wasn’t their fault…you booted them off!

There is also a neat feature that I haven’t mentioned, the bulk follow and unfollow.  You can “check all” and then click bulk follow.  You can be more selective, working your way down the page and checking only the people you want to, and click “bulk unfollow”.  I find this very, very useful.  So what do you think, is there a good place for Twitter Karma is your world?


About time someone got backup right with Mozy