Facebook user settings for advertiser preferences.

Delete Facebook or Take Back Your Facebook?

Unless you have gone off the grid due to internet privacy concerns and moved into a Unabomber-styled cabin in the deep woods, you are aware that Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, is getting grilled today on Capitol Hill.

Many Facebook users feel torn over whether to stay on the platform if their data was used in ways they had not considered, i.e. be used to attack a U.S. presidential candidate and support another, from a foreign entity no less. Still, users now may recall the Facebook app quiz disclosures that your profile was being used, and maybe even apps that said it would look at your list of friends.

One message Zuckerberg gave in his testimony is that Facebook is working to give users more control over how ads are served to them. Remember, you are getting use of the platform for free in exchange for receiving ads in your feed. If you are OK with that, then maybe you want better ads. Or, as the CEO himself put it: “People don’t like ads, but people really don’t like ads that are irrelevant.”

The platform is going to make improvements to make clear who the ad sponsors are and also put long-overdue controls on political and issue ads.

When I first reviewed my ad profile, it seemed Facebook’s algorithm thinks I am an African-American soccer mom. Well, close, I am none of the above. I also X-ed out these two categories from applying to me: soccer and “housemate-based households.” (I have lived with my boyfriend for several years and we have never considered ourselves housemates.)

But, now, you can define yourself to Facebook with more accuracy than whoever it thinks you are based on your likes and other activity on the platform and beyond. You can also instruct Facebook not to incorporate information about other websites you visit. Some of the ad interests for me I recognize as topics I have researched on the web. Others I haven’t the faintest idea why Facebook thinks apply to me.

Facebook Advertiser Preferences Includes Some Oddities

To start informing Facebook who you really are, go to settings and then click on Ads for Ad Preferences. You will then see Your Interests, Advertisers You’ve Interacted with, Your Information and Ad Settings. For instance, for the latter, I toggled to “No” this: Ads based on your use of websites and apps.

Here is what I removed from “Interests”:

  • Sacramento Police Department
  • Amateur Astronomy
  • Homemaking
  • Education
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Fire Protection
  • Comedian
  • Non-profit
  • Masonry
  • Biology
  • Confederate States of America
  • The Academy Awards
  • Perfection
  • Tassel
  • Wide Receiver
  • Victory
  • Seawater
  • North (yes, the compass direction)
  • Regions of France
  • People’s Liberation Army Navy
  • Burkina Faso

As for Advertisers I have supposedly interacted with, I only am a customer of three and only recognized a couple of others. The preponderance were entities I have no recollection of interacting with or never even heard of. Of the first dozen I viewed, I only retained Cirque de Soleil.

Facebook advertiser preferences screenshot.

Could someone please explain why “Congress” has the Dunkin’ Donuts logo in the listing of Facebook advertisers in my account preferences?

Several clicks later, I kept Mopar because we have Jeeps. I also recognized Compare TX-2 Candidates and a couple of politicians in my state I actually follow. Similarly, there was Filters Fast, from which I ordered once and they have since followed me around the internet, so much so, that I don’t want to buy from them again. I X-ed them out.

Moreover, I’ve never heard of Hungry Howie’s Pizza or some of these other characters. The following examples are advertisers I don’t care about and deselected:

  • Americans for Prosperity (several state chapters but not my state)
  • Likewise, a bunch of politicians in other locations
  • Protect Jersey Jobs
  • Otter for Idaho
  • El Chapo (the TV show, not the actual guy)
  • Disney Baby
  • Hot Women & Hot Cars
  • Senate Leadership Fund
  • Several local NYC televisions stations

The Advertisers list went on and on and took about 10-15 minutes to go through. Amazingly, there were only three entities from which I have actually made purchases: Texas Hill Country Olive Company, Divers Alert Network and the New York Times.

Now that I have gone through this exercise, I look forward to seeing more relevant ads. I also plan to visit the Ad Preferences area again to ensure it stays somewhat accurate.

 

Google is Taking Over the World, But You Can Claw Back Some Control

Google is a blessing and a curse. You can find most anything with Google, except sometimes the one thing you are looking for, such as, an old news article. In setting up some Google+ accounts for small businesses hoping to show up on the local search 3-pack (more on that later), I noticed something alarming: you must opt out of letting Google use the pictures you post to your business page for Google’s own advertising.

Repeat: if you post images to promote your business on your Google My Business Google+ page, you might just be letting Google own those images for use in its own promotions. Still, you can opt out with the click of a button, if you follow these screen shots below.

The Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup are innocently suggested as “Some new features for your Google Account.” Check that out. It poses the question, “What changes if you turn on these new features?” Well, it gives you an opportunity to “review and control” how you interface within the Google-sphere and what is public, such as what videos you watch in YouTube. Say what? Remember, YouTube is owned by Google and there is a cross-over with those accounts.

Start here to check your Google settings

Start here to check your Google settings

Notice what it is suggesting here highlighted in pink (emphasis added)

Notice what it is suggesting here highlighted in pink (emphasis added)

Don't just gloss over these options

Don’t just gloss over these options

This is offered for your benefit

This is offered for your benefit

Go through each checklist

Go through each checklist and click Yes to make changes!

There are security and privacy settings

There are security and privacy settings

This is important and it is at the bottom of the screen

This is important and it is at the bottom of the screen

Click DON'T!

Click DON’T!

It only takes a few minutes to gain control and peace of mind

It only takes a few minutes to gain control and peace of mind

Google for Work, Google My Business and the former Google Places are connected to Google+

Google for Work, Google My Business and the former Google Places are connected to Google+ and are Google pages for business

Check out this article that notes unmanned Google business pages will disappear, so take control. Verify your business.

Check out this article that notes unmanned Google business pages will disappear, so take control. Verify your business. For more information, Google it!

Note: You may very well want the YouTube videos to show in conjunction with your Google+ business page if they were posted by your business. But, if they are videos of Fido, unclick that setting to keep your videos (what you watch and post) private. It is a lot to consider, but you can always create a periodic security check day. Mark you calendar for a recurring event that prompts you to recheck security settings on key platforms, apps and accounts, including Google everything. I even created a bookmark in a browser called “Google Everything” so I can keep track of all these accounts and logins. Good luck!

Google for Business and Search Results

It is important to pay attention to the Google presence of your business, especially if you aspire to be in the local search “3-pack,” or the top three search results that are boxed together at the top. Among Google’s next big things is a new option in Google Adwords called Extended Text Ads, which create two headlines and 80 characters of text. If you do this now, you may stand out, but in 2017 the old Adwords format is expected to go away and all the ads will be Extended Text.

Chrome, a Love-Hate Relationship

Another area in which I have a love-hate relationship with Google is in Chrome. I love that many social media, blog and design programs work best in the Chrome browser. I have hated the autofill function, which seems to diligently keep working even when I turned it off. I have multiple clients on Pinterest for Business, and ever time I go to log into Pinterest directly rather than from a scheduling platform, Google Chrome starts by autofilling my personal email, which I don’t even use on my personal Pinterest account. This has become maddening because I need to keep highlighting to delete and even when typing, Chrome autofill is racing to refill with the personal email address. I have gone into advance settings in Chrome to manage this to no avail. Although, I did find there a business address from about 10 years ago that I could not edit unless I went to Google Wallet, which I apparently used once in 2010. I deleted that info from Google Wallet, but only by giving my current address. Still, Chrome is autofilling my personal email on Pinterest, but no other websites. If you have the solution to this annoyance, please email me at katharine@adroitnarratives.com.

The moral of these stories is that like everything else in life and business, Google is constantly evolving and unless you are living under a rock, you will have to keep up with growth and changes in the digital ecosystem.

For more information on managing social media and content marketing for business, fill out this client questionnaire.

Swipe Files: Are They Really Your Content Bestie?

You want your business to break through the digital marketing clutter and stand out, so why use someone else’s material in your social media content?

There are some best practices that are quantifiable in terms of response rates and conversions. Most people are more likely to click on Learn More than Buy Now! Also true is that some wording is really good and can be used again.

Back in my news writing days, when on a breaking news assignment, I would always go back to the “morgue,” or digital library of previously published stories, to refresh my memory on what the facts surrounding a situation had been. This way, I could supply background and give the context around a major change. In other words, looking at the original story gave me the ability to tell the readers why is this news and what does the newest information mean to them.

But, here’s the caveat. Something in the original story is likely outdated. The worst possibility would be to repeat a mistake. The old story should be a guide, not a gospel. Worst of all – and this applies to marketing copy – people will recognize the wording as canned. This is a sure-fire way to lose people. Oh, I’ve seen this before, and poof, they have clicked away.

Write gripping content

As an aside, in a world where we are awash in content, we don’t always recognize something we have read before. I have had the experience myself of reading an old news story from prior years and thinking it seemed familiar, only to then see my own byline. Still, if you are trying to be fresh and relevant, rehashing old content is not exactly gripping.

Even worse, it is possible to “swipe” copyrighted content, which is a no-no. You can emulate the style of swipe files you think will work for your business.

Granted, you can repurpose content. That is, your own content. Perhaps you have extensive collateral material on your business website and in handout marketing materials that identify your core product or service, how it works and why it is of value to customers and clients. This copy can be repurposed into your social media and blogging content. Indeed, it must so that your brand is recognizable in all settings. This is known as “omnichannel marketing.” Take the tidbits in that content that really pop and use those phrases in the social media content.

If you are a small or big business, you want the customer to immediately recognize the product or service experience when they are at the point of sale because they already became acquainted with you online. Analogously, your LinkedIn profile should come across as if someone is meeting you in person in a boardroom setting. Your product and service should come across online to perfect strangers who find you on Twitter, in their Facebook feeds, etc.

SOCIAL MEDIA BEST PRACTICES

But, if you are using swipe files, how can you distinguish yourself? You can blend your own branding with ad copy wording that is known to work. You should review Facebook ads swipe files and similar resources (just Google). Checking out the look, feel and wording will inform how you decide to write your social media posts and sponsored content (ads). See what you like and what you dislike. Think about what will inspire or intrigue your ideal customer. You want to write the ad to speak to that target market.

For more content writing tips or to inquiry about Adroit Narratives’ content marketing writing services, contact consultant Katharine Fraser.