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.

 

Hands working a craft.

The Craft of Writing Content and Copy

 

When you visualize someone honing a craft, images of woodworkers or potters might come to mind. Writing too is a craft.

Old school news writers refer to their craft because good writing is a product that comes from forethought and practice. Writers learn their craft from more experienced writers, much like old time apprentices.

When it comes to social media marketing and digital content writing, I’m taking this analogy a step further and comparing these services to craft beer. Microbrewing harkens back to the old days when neighborhood bars sold locally produced beer. Of late, big corporate, multi-national brewing companies have rolled out brands that emulate local craft beers. They have cute labels and names, and their recipes differ from the flagship brand. In addition, some craft beer companies have been acquired by big brewers.

But craft beer purists will content this is beer blasphemy. It comes down, though, to consumer choice. Some people love basic big brewery beer and the price. Craft beer aficionados, by contrast, are willing to pay a bit more for a higher quality product with unique recipes and flavors. What does this have to do with social media?

Perhaps you’ve heard of white label social media. This is like buying beer brewed according to a single recipe that tastes the same in every outlet. It’s uniform. It may not be what you like. It might be perfectly serviceable, but perhaps not specific to your needs or desires.

Or, you could go to the local craft brewery and find they make, in small batches, highly specialized and sophisticated beers aimed at the palates and tastes of discerning customers. Likewise, hiring a local digital marketing company means the writer will craft your business storytelling to suit your local target audience. Something generic that works in another market or for a similar business will not meet your specific needs.

To learn more about the craft honed by Adroit Narratives, check out Katharine Fraser’s bio.

 

Emoticons crying over digital marketing

Digital Marketing Cries Out for Coordination

Let’s be honest: sometimes digital marketing can just seem like too much: Vimeo or YouTube, to tweet or not to tweet, fork over a Facebook ad spend or try Pinterest.

Personally, I’m not a fan of Google+ and think a lot of platforms (Google and Facebook) should roll out better user experience tools. Ever wasted time looking for something simple? Yep. Would you rather just not have to deal with the mechanics of it?

Moreover, do you have a consistent marketing message? How are you coordinating that? Would you like it to be systematically managed?

The first thing you want to do is scope out what you are already doing. You may have to literally write this out on a white board or piece of paper. Take your time. Go through your passwords lists to see what you had signed up for historically. You do track this stuff, right? OK, ask your staff to tell you what they may have been doing in social media and other areas. You need to box this in before you can assess what has worked and what hasn’t worked.

For the latter category, be fair about whether something worked. If you tried something sporadically, don’t place unfair expectations on it. Or, maybe you tried something with a vendor that wasn’t a good fit for you.

Now, before asking yourself what will work, ask this: who am I trying to reach and what I am seeking to accomplish over what period of time. For example, how many leads do you need to secure how much new business over the next six months? Do not seriously ask what you can accomplish in a month with digital marketing. That is not a serious question.

Next, who is going to devise the marketing message and manage it? How will they coordinate input from key stakeholders and participants (sales people, service people, customers and business owners)?

What is the best process or operating procedure for ensuring this gets done? Talk to your marketing coordinator about what is realistic and what would be optimal to get your digital marketing organized.

For more information , contact communications and marketing consultant Katharine Fraser.