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Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: What exactly happened?

If you’ve been keeping up with the national news for the last two weeks, you’ve heard the reports of political campaigns acquiring private data on millions of Facebook users.  It has now sparked new questions about how the social media giant protects user information.

First of all, as a business advertising on Facebook, we are all thankful for the data which identifies personalities and buying trends of users.  This doesn’t mean people’s personal information like credit cards, social security numbers and other secure information was ever shared via Facebook.

What does it mean?

When you “like” a certain post, take a quiz or share a family, friend or business page’s post, Facebook keeps track of this content.  Why? Well, when they know what you like, they know what to put in your newsfeed. 

This all plays a big part in Facebook’s algorithms, which have changed drastically in the last two years.  The algorithms now only allow content that you are interested in to be in your newsfeed.  To me, this isn’t a bad thing at all.  It is a highly intelligent way of keeping users happy and engaged.  For businesses, it also makes it more difficult to advertise because you need to pay attention to what users want to see on a daily basis and tailor your content to that audience.  Otherwise, your content will go unseen.  This is what I do on a daily basis for dozens of business accounts, study trends in order to make sure the business pages are reaching the most customers. 

Now, back to Cambridge Analytica. What’s the big deal? The firm offered tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.  This behavior was then, allegedly, used to target voters for the election.  This app has since been removed from Facebook but there are reports that the data still exists, so this is why Facebook is being scrutinized.

What kind of information was collected and how was it acquired?

The data included details on users’ identities, friend networks and “likes”.  The idea was to map personality traits based on what people had liked on Facebook, and then use that information to target audiences with digital ads.

Researchers in 2014 asked users to take a personality survey and download an app, which scraped some private information from their profiles and those of their friends, activity that Facebook permitted at the time and has since banned. 

The technique had been developed at Cambridge University’s Psychometrics Center.  Facebook says no passwords or “sensitive pieces of information” had been taken. 

Facebook has always prohibited this kind of data to be sold or transferred “to any ad network, data broker or other advertising service” so the question everyone has been asking is, was Facebook hacked? No one really knows for sure.

What is Facebook doing to fix the situation?

Really, there isn’t much they can do about it at this point. Once the data is out, there isn’t really a way to recall it. They can conduct all the forensic audits they want, but the information will remain out there in some form, and will likely remain useable and indicative. For damage control, Facebook needs to show users that it is improving, learned its lessons and their systems are actually now better for it.

We’ll see in the next year whether or not users pull away from the social giant or whether it will blow over and everyone will go back to using Facebook as usual.  As already stated, no sensitive information was really obtained but it is simply a matter of users trusting Facebook to keep up with their social habits without exploiting it for political reasons.

What do you think? Does it bother you that Facebook tracks your likes and, in turn, creates a personality profile of your daily habits in order for businesses to advertise to you? We want to know! Let us know on Facebook!

RELATED:

12 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Content Marketing Strategy

Author: Stephanie May - smay@askbisdesigns.com 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com

 


Five Facebook Marketing Tips to Help Increase Engagement

Five Facebook Marketing Tips to Help Increase Engagement

Facebook is continually using updating their algorithm to help their users see more relative content and less of what they don’t like. If you have a Facebook business page, you have probably noticed that it is more difficult to get engagement than it does on your personal Facebook page.

 
Why? 
Facebook sees your business page as a business. Essentially, you’re a business so you should pay for exposure. Before you start running Facebook ads, try these 5 Facebook marketing tips: 

facebook marketing tips, marketing tips, digital marketing, social media marketing

1.Images

Share images of real people. As a social network, people want to see people, especially people they know, like, and trust.  Lose the sales pitch. People are turned off by continuous product images. 

2. Host Facebook Contests

People want to win free swag, free product, or free/discounted services. Contests with the right prize will organically boost your traffic. You’ll increase your fan base, page likes, and grow your email list. You’ll increase your chances of going viral with the right product and right response. 

3. Go LIVE!

Facebook is very proud of this feature. It took quite a long time for this to roll out to all of their users, so those that Go Live – get seen! Going Live allows you to interact with your audience, increase your overall reach, and increase your page likes. A lot of people are afraid to go live, but the ones that do are heavily rewarded. 

4. Respond to Messages

You’ve probably seen the response time to messages on your Facebook page or another page. The better your response time, the more Facebook will show your posts to your followers/fans. Engagement is key. When you have a private chat with one of your Facebook friends, you’ll start to see them more in your newsfeed, and vice versa. 
 

5. Be Consistent 

When you are consistent, your audience will expect it. They will look forward to your engaging posts and Facebook live videos. Make sure you are posting 3-5 high quality posts per week. Create a hashtag, not only for fun, but for tracking purposes. Eventually, your followers will start using your hashtag. Be consistent, but remember, to have fun!

Facebook is meant for socializing and having fun. Re-evaluate your social media plan and determine what it is your audience responds to the most. Use the tips we suggested and just remember to lose the sales pitch and stay consistent!
If you need assistance with creating a social media plan, contact BIS Designs at 251.405.2542. 

 

 

 

 

 

BIS Designs is an internet marketing company serving the Mobile, Alabama area. Our content, development, social media marketing and search engine optimization specialists have years of experience in targeting custom audiences for the B2B community and would welcome the opportunity to help your business grow.

 

Phillip Long, CEO

 


Three Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Business

Three Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Business

There are many marketing strategies for anyone running a business or promoting a product. New and improved strategies may become global trends, however most will become a thing of the past before you even read about it. These three marketing strategies will help keep your business fresh and credible. 

 

1. Content marketing

Why content marketing? Content is king. Search engines love content. Content helps to spread the word about your business and your products. Customers are searching for what you offer online. Their search engine searches bring them to videos, blogs, and social media posts. 

Videos, blogs, and social media gives you a platform to show your prospective customers how you can help solve their problem or issue. Hang up the idea of having to constantly pitch and start showing the world how you or your product are relevant to their needs. 

 

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Gain a better reach to your prospective customers with search engine optimization, known as SEO. Once you have produced your content, your next step is to make sure that it is optimized for search engines. Having a SEO specialist optimize your content – website, blogs, and videos – will help you get an advantage over your competitors. This can be accomplished on a local and national geographical level. 

SEO is a very important process in a customer’s research and purchasing cycle. While it may not be easy to find out exactly how a customer decided to walk into your store, SEO tools can help you gather that data for online shoppers. SEO is a very effective tool for learning how to continually target and retarget the customers that actually buy.

 

3. Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)

A CRM is a Customer Relationship Manager. This database keep a list of your customers and prospective customers (also known as leads) contact information that you ask for such as: name, phone, address, birthdate, and/or email address. People willingly provide this information in order to find out more about your business via a contact form on a landing or capture page. Their information is kept in a CRM for you to maintain and follow up with them. 

CRM’s are the lifeline for your business. The size of your business has no relation to whether or not your need a CRM. You can use a CRM to send out newsletters, informational emails, email marketing of sales/promotions, follow up after a sale, or even generate a winner for a contest. 
These three effective strategies will help you to drive more traffic to your business and website, increase sales, and keep customers coming back. Content, SEO, and a proper CRM are things that must be continually updated and monitored. 

This can be a lot of work for someone who is trying to run a business. Fortunately, there are companies like BIS Designs who can help you manage these things effectively. BIS Designs is a small, but powerful firm with some of the top specialists on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Mississippi, and the Pensacola panhandle. 

Contact us for a consultation to find out the best marketing strategies that will be the most effective for your business and niche. 
BIS Designs is an internet marketing company serving the Mobile, Alabama area. Our content, development, social media marketing and search engine optimization specialists have years of experience in targeting custom audiences for the B2B community and would welcome the opportunity to help your business grow.

 

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