Facebook’s New Privacy Settings: What Does this Mean for You?

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Social Media

The social media world has been abuzz these past few weeks over Facebook’s recent unveiling of new privacy settings on its ever-growing popular social sharing site.

Facebook recently made the decision to allow different levels of privacy for its account users. From a “please just update my family members” option to a “let it all hang out” option, Facebook believed it had found a happy medium for those users who like to share a little or a lot.

Thanks to a few new Facebook APIs sites like Time and Pandora (among many others), are using new Facebook Connect-type options to allow brand fans to see what they have in common with other brand fans. Click on an article about The Fray on Time — plan to see all of Time’s other Fray Fans in the Facebook window.

As a e-commerce retailers, this could have some great implications. If you don’t already have a “see who else likes this” option on your site, these APIs could be the answer you’re looking for.

On the other hand, you could risk losing current or prospective buyers if they feel as though what they’ve bought or looked at won’t be kept private.

As a response to the new “lack of privacy” options, some Facebook users have taken down their pages, shuttered their accounts and returned to a Facebook-free world. Others are withholding information, such as which brands they like, while others are continuing on as if nothing ever changed.

What does that mean for you?

That all depends on what you’re doing with your Facebook brand page. You may notice a slight drop in fans due to the mass exodus of “We’re not going to take it” users. Then again, if Mark Zuckerberg is right and there really is no such thing as real privacy, you may start to see an increase in people liking your brand. Either way, I wouldn’t count on Facebook closing its doors any time soon. I also wouldn’t begin taking down my Fan/Brand pages anytime soon either.

Facebook appears to be having a bit of a midlife crisis right about now. Like any good partner, it’s best to just sit back and watch and intervene when things start to get out of control.

Get Your Mobile Feet Wet by Using QR Codes

May 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Marketing Strategies, Social Media

qrcode

If you’ve been entertaining dreams of taking your website mobile, but weren’t sure where to start, consider getting your feet wet with QR Codes.

In the simplest terms, QR Codes are the 21st century version of the bar code. Standing for “Quick Response,”  these two-dimension pieces of matrix code are programmed to be used at high speeds.

QR codes got their start in the manufacturing industry, where users would point, scan, select and move on. Soon, retailers and other businesses caught on to the QR trend and began using them on everything from magazine ads and business cards to candy wrappers and store windows.

You may be wondering:  How would I scan one of these codes if I don’t have a trusty scanner like I see at the store?

I’m happy to say that if you have a mobile phone with a camera and a QR reader application, then you’ve got yourself a scanner.

Creating and using QR Codes is extremely easy.  All you need is a QR Code Generator. I’m personally a fan of Kaywa.com (http://qrcode.kaywa.com); however, if you search for QR Code Generator in your favorite search engine you will likely find one that suits your needs.

Once you’ve arrived at your QR Code Generator page, decide what you want the eventual QR code to point to. Do you want to point people to your website? Maybe your phone number? Perhaps a text message? Whatever you choose, include that information and then choose the size of code you want. The code you see above is a size L; there are smaller sizes and an extra large size available.

After you’ve indicated the size and destination of your code, select the Generate button. You’ll see code that you can then plug into a website, blog, or other documents.

You can also save the image (right click > Save As) to use the QR code on a business card or other print out.

Now that you’ve created the QR code, how can you use it to go mobile?

Remember, I said we’re just getting our feet wet. These codes won’t magically produce a mobile app for you. What they will do is help act as an extra calling card or marketing tool for potential customers who can’t make a purchase right that very instant.

As an e-commerce retailer, consider adding QR Codes to specific pages or products on your site (for example: discounted merchandise, new products, a “Don’t want to miss this!” product or page). Again, think of QR codes as an electronic flier that your customer can have handy on their mobile phone.

If you want to test if your codes are working, consider creating a special URL on your site for QR Code related items. Anyone that arrives at that page did so through a QR code.

This might be a little new fandangled for most people, but QR codes are quickly becoming the next big thing according to many industry experts.

New Google Keyword Tool Gives More Relevant Traffic Estimates

May 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Search Marketing

Anyone familiar with keyword research for paid search knows that estimating traffic is one element that can influence what keywords or keyword phrases to target (budget, bid price also play a factor of course as well as a host of other information.)

There are any number of tools that can be used to research keywords. Wordtracker and Google’s Keyword Tool are just two of them.

In September of 2009 Google released a BETA version of their updated Keyword Tool. The updated keyword tool essentially combines the current keyword tool with the search based keyword tool to provide capabilities which enable you to search by words or phrases, websites, and categories (where available) all under one interface.

A full transition to the updated Keyword Tool is being made but for the next several months at least, you will be able to switch back and forth between the updated and old versions. Eventually the updated version will take full effect (so get familiar with it while you can.) Together the two tools aim combined to provide more relevant traffic estimates.

More information can be found in the article More Relevant Traffic Estimates Now in the Updated Keyword Tool at the Google Adwords blog.