The Word Strategist

Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

My Experience With Buying Twitter Followers And With Fiverr

Posted on: August 11th, 2013 by Wendy Gittleson


A few months ago, I wrote about the boom industry of fake Twitter followers. Since then, the practice has become even more mainstream – so much so, that I thought I would try it out for myself.

Very recently, I began a personal side project (no clients involved) with a brand new website and a brand new corresponding Twitter feed. There’s nothing more discouraging that looking at a Twitter page with a single digit number of followers, even if you know that that number will grow fairly quickly. So, I thought about buying some Twitter followers.

I didn’t want my new Twitter page to explode overnight, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the experiment, so I turned to the site, Fiverr – where people do any number of things (from singing Happy Birthday in a Marilyn Monore voice to SEO) for just $5.00.

After doing my due diligence and reading reviews, I settled on a “seller” named “everythinggirl,” who promised me 1,000 “real” (as opposed to bot) Twitter followers within seven days. I approved the $5.00 charge through my PayPal account and reluctantly gave everythinggirl my Twitter password, which she said she needed because my account needed to follow people to get followers.

It didn’t take long. Within hours, Twitter followers started dribbling in. After around 24 hours, and a couple hundred Twitter followers, I logged into my new Twitter account to see what was happening, only to find that Twitter had suspended my account for following people to aggressively.

I checked the box promising to never do it again, changed my password and immediately instructed everythinggirl to stop the campaign.

Everythinggirl responded with a curt message blaming me for the suspension – saying it was because I was unfollowing her followers. Even after I explained that I didn’t start unfollowing people until after the account had been suspended, everythinggirl continued to blame me. She also continued to correspond with me, even after I left her several messages asking her to cease.

Eventually, she offered me a refund, which I refused, saying that I’d rather review her services. I have also taken the matter up with Fiverr and their response, thus far, is that I cannot review her services because she didn’t complete her services – despite the fact that she didn’t complete her services because I wasn’t happy with her services. Quite the Catch-22, huh?

In all sincerity, I don’t want a refund of my $5.00. I learned several valuable lessons, including a how-to in the relatively seedy world of fake Twitter followers. If you so desire, you can gather fake followers with a simple search. Today’s fake follower thread is #follobackinstantly. If you follow the person posting that hashtag, they will, presumably follow you back. Interestingly, all of the followers everythinggirl provided had similar hashtags.

I also learned that the reviews on Fiverr are rather suspect because if a buyer does get a bad service, the service has to be complete before it can be reviewed. If a buyer cancels before completion, their opinions will not be registered. If the seller fails to complete the service, the buyer can’t register a review – they can only get their money back.

Twitter seems to be on to the scam of fake Twitter followers. There are more “legitimate” companies who provide fake followers, and presumably not through the various “I’ll follow you back” users. Of course, they do cost more money.

As a business owner, you have to ask yourself if fake followers are worth the risk. Even if they get by Twitter, your feed will be loaded with “people” who seem very out of context with the rest of your Twitter page. It will be clear to any Twitter savvy real followers that the others are fake.

My new fake Twitter followers are now gone. Within a bit over a week, I have almost 100 real Twitter followers. Sure, that number is still very low, but it’s growing on a daily basis.

 

The Absolute Best Way To Build Your Facebook Page

Posted on: July 23rd, 2013 by Wendy Gittleson

If you’ve spent much time on Facebook in the last year or so, you’ve probably noticed that the vast majority of what gets shared is in the form of a meme (an image that is passed around via social networks). That fact hasn’t gone unnoticed among Facebook statisticians.

According to a media analytics company called, SocialBakers, a staggering 93% of shared posts are images. Only about 2% of shares come from links like this article and 3% of the shares are status updates. Perhaps most surprising is that only 2% are video shares.

Of course, for Facebook page holders, especially Facebook business page holders, this poses a bit of a conundrum. How do you find compelling photographs that are free to share and that will draw attention to your Facebook page?

In theory, Facebook is designed with the idea that people should share and share away. The problem, when you are trying to build a page, is that when you hit the “share” link on a picture and post it to your page, your page will get lost in the shuffle when it’s re-shared. Credit will still be given to the source that you shared from.

If you want your page to show in the shares, you have to post the photo yourself. You can’t share it to your site. Obviously, if you have your own photos, that’s the best. If you have simple meme generator software or if you have something like PhotoShop, you can add inspirational sayings to pretty pictures and, voila! You have a very sharable image. If you are unfamiliar with how to upload photos, here’s an easy step by step. It’s not advisable to choose watermarked photos or copyrighted photos from the internet.

If you do want to post a link, make sure you post a photo with the link. Sometimes, the link automatically posts a great photo. Sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, I recommend posting an image you like with an excerpt and a link to the article in the comment field.

There are three kinds of things you want to post. The first are things that are directly relevant to your business…for example, a blog post written by you or for you. You can also post things that you’ve accomplished or any sort of community activities. In an ideal world, these are the posts that will drive people to your page – and that’s a very compelling reason to make your blog posts interesting to more than just your customer base – but in the shallow Facebook world, they probably won’t drive a lot of people to your page.

The second type are things that are indirectly related to your business. For example, I have one client who is in the home improvement business. I post a variety of home improvement related items on their Facebook page. I also post pictures of beautiful home decor and of beautiful homes.

The third type are simply images. You can create inspirational or motivational memes or you can post pretty pictures. If you want to share from another page, there is a way to do that that should make everyone happy. First, click on the link. The picture should increase in size. Right click on the image and save it to your computer. Then, you can post it to your page. Before you hit “post,” thank the page you are sharing it from by saying something like “Thanks to @____________ for this share with @The Word Strategist.” The @ symbol will simply bring up a drop down list of pages once you start typing the name. Choose that page and the @ symbol will go away and Facebook will insert a link to the page. The page will receive a notification that you linked to them. Well, they might. Facebook isn’t real consistent with that.

Supposedly, images that are on Facebook are free for people to share, but anecdotally, I have seen accounts suspended when someone claims that they own a particular image. I can’t stress strongly enough that it’s best if you post your own images, but I also recognize that it’s not always possible.

The images are what likely will draw people to your site. Once they are there, they can see all that you have to offer and they will hopefully feel compelled to hit the “like” button. The more newsfeeds your page appears on, the more exposure you will have and the more “likes” you will have.

Unless your business is explicitly political, I recommend staying away from controversy. And, please, be a good sport. If one of your competitors is doing poorly – for whatever reason – give good wishes if they are appropriate. Otherwise, leave it alone.

Your page won’t grow overnight and like a garden, it needs constant attention, but you will see results. With time and work, a good small business page can grow to over 10,000 followers.

How Small Businesses Navigate the Digital World Better than Big Businesses

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by Wendy Gittleson

Katy Keim of Ad Age recently wrote an op-ed in which she warned of the fickleness of social media followers.

A customer’s love for a brand is nothing close to the unconditional positive regard we give and receive in relationships. The second you slip, deliver a disappointment, stop giving them reasons to engage, or stop acknowledging and rewarding their participation, they’ll drop you in a heartbeat.

Today’s brand-consumer relationships are not balanced. Make no mistake, the consumer is in control. Never before have consumers been so empowered. Social media today lets customers broadcast their sentiment over brand experiences – good or bad – to enormous audiences.

……..

Today’s consumer-brand dynamic is decidedly lacking in many of the characteristics we normally associate with relationships. There is little forgiveness, zero privacy and customer love is 100% conditional. There’s no kissing and making up with social customers when you disappoint them. Further, they turn others against you when they go. Fifty-seven percent of social customers say they won’t buy any more of a company’s products or services after a single negative experience, and 40% say they are also likely to warn others to stay away after a poor experience.  And with social media at their fingertips, they can exercise those inclinations in just 140 little characters.

There is a lot truth to Keim’s observations, although I’m not comfortable placing the blame entirely at the feet of social media. Never before have consumers had so many choices. Gone are the days when a trip to the grocery store meant choosing from a handful of brands of toothpaste or laundry detergent. Supermarkets and big box stores have doubled, tripled and quadrupled in size just to keep up with all the product they need to stock – and their selection dwarfs in comparison to what you can buy on Amazon.

Services are no different. In the past, the best even an educated consumer could do was to pick up the Yellow Pages and maybe talk to a few friends and neighbors. Today, we have not only social media, but auction sites and sites like Groupon which offers dramatically discounted coupons for everything from cruises to yoga classes to plumbers. Some of the most savvy shoppers I know refuse to buy anything without a Groupon.

A popular trend in TV reality shows is “extreme couponing,” where consumers, generally women, spend countless hours collecting coupons and arranging their shopping schedules around supermarket sales. They often walk away with hundreds of dollars in free groceries. While the wisdom of making buying decisions around coupons can be debated, coupon shopping is not a behavior that leads to brand loyalty.

Consumers are fickle but it doesn’t have to be that way. The reality is that consumers don’t complain as much as Keim would have us believe. Two years ago, a Spanish company conducted a survey of 90 million reviews – across the review site spectrum. The result was that 60% of reviews were positive and only 12% were negative. The rest were neutral. Granted, if one of my small business clients had only 60% positive reviews, I would consider it something to work on, but those statistics are a good place to start.

Small businesses have a tremendous advantage in the social media world. People are far more likely to post positive reviews and (more importantly) to return to a business if they establish a personal relationship with someone at the business. Recently, one client had a customer who was relatively unhappy with the service but because he had such a great rapport with the owner, he still gave a four star review. The owner, of course, did his part by bending over backwards to rectify the customer’s complaints. The customer is now expected to change his review to five stars – the maximum.

A restaurant I frequent knows me by name. Like all businesses, they’ve made mistakes. There have been times when the food wasn’t up to my expectations, but for the most part their food is excellent. I forgive their occasional screw-ups in the same way I forgive the screw-ups of my friends and loved ones – because they feel like friends to me. I doubt I could ever have the same sort of relationship with an Olive Garden or a Red Lobster.

Another example of how less is more when it comes to navigating shrinking brand loyalty is Trader Joe’s. While Trader Joe’s is far from a small business, they act like a small business. They treat their employees very well. The employees generally stick around long enough to know many of the customers by face, if not by name. A funny thing happens to businesses that treat their employees like numbers – they also treat their customers like numbers or in the case of many big box stores, bits of data.

Trader Joe’s also contradicts the idea that consumers want vast amounts of choice. They do have a large variety of goods, but they carry only a limited number of each item. For example, they carry “only” 10 varieties of peanut butter while a supermarket might carry forty. The perception is that Trader Joe’s opts for quality at reasonable prices instead of quantity. Sure, they have some products that are really awful, but people have learned to see the bad as an anomaly as they return time and time again for the good.

Big businesses have another disadvantage when it comes to social media – the number of fingers in the Twitter pie. Giving a poorly trained employee the passwords to a company’s social media campaign can be disastrous. Last October, an employee at KitchenAid sent out this tweet:

@KitchenAidUSA: “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president”.”??? Wow!” #nbcpolitics

Most (although not all) companies try to stay above the political fray. It seemed that KitchenAid was no exception. They were forced to issue an apology and they said they would fire the employee.

How can this sort of thing happen? I’ve worked in large marketing departments. Passwords to social media campaigns are not locked in a vault. If a social media manager is busy, that job might be delegated to even an unpaid intern. The same thing could happen in a small company, but typically, only the owner and maybe two other people have those passwords. When employees are more vested (either financially or emotionally) in the success of a company, they are less likely to do something so risky.

Social media, as Keim says, is a double edged sword, but if a small company treats their customers well and responds to negative reviews, they will be in a much better position than their larger competitors. All in all, it’s an exciting time to be a small business owner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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