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    Social Media Protection and Security

    One Norton study found that a whopping 65% of internet users are victim to cybercrime. Even more interesting — was when they more recently found that 40% of individuals have become victim to some form of a social media cybercrime.

    That’s almost one in two.

    When was the last time you received spam on social media? What about a friend request from a questionable account or a person you don’t personally know with no mutual friends?

    Social media threats are on the rise and continuously evolving. Now more than ever it’s essential for individuals and companies to protect themselves from becoming vulnerable to attacks on personal information and sensitive data.

    The purpose of this article is to detail information on the various forms of threats facing individuals and organizations today on social media and to also help educate you on the various ways in which you can strategically and proactively work to protect yourself against them.

    Social Engineering
    You may have heard of the term social engineering before — but are you familiar with what the term means within the context of information security? Social engineering involves the use of deception in order to manipulate individuals into exposing personal information for the purpose of using such information illegally.

    Social engineering is in fact the popular and most prevalent of social media threats out there and the tactics and methods used vary widely. Generally speaking, information is leveraged in order to create and establish trust with a specific individual or account over a period of time.

    Once this sense of trust is established, the attacker looks for ways to gain valuable information from the victim such as internal server names, project information or data.
    Again, the methods vary widely, with perhaps one of the most popular being tricking a victim into opening an infected file or clicking on a link which has the ability to drop a backdoor into the individual’s computer.

    These methods are constantly being tweaked and adjusted to become more effective and complex in nature, which is why consistent monitoring of key employee information and company accounts is essential.

    Targeted Phishing Attacks

    These attacks are focused threats which are done in order to exploit critical information or money from a victim. The attacker leverages fear, anxiety or plain old unawareness by tricking the victim into disclosing personal information.

    A few years back there was a prevalent phishing attack that hit Facebook compromising countless accounts of unsuspecting individuals and organizations. This threat started out as an innocuous email from a Facebook friend of the user, notifying visitors to visit a Facebook link which was infected.

    Facebook rapidly took action in order to blacklist the domain, however there were countless copycat threats spawned as a result of its success.

    Some of these threats will even duplicate a social media platform’s login page in order to get you to enter in your personal information such as your email and your password. Many individuals don’t double check the contents of a URL in a search browser, which can sometimes be the only way to pick up on the fact that it’s fraudulent.

    In March of last year a phishing attack on Twitter targeted 10,000 DoD employees with what was coined “expertly tailored messages” by Time Magazine.

    Some employees were even interestingly enough breached on account of their family members, with one individual being compromised due to his wife clicking on a link to a vacation package on her own Twitter account after exchanging messages with friends about things to do over the summer with their children.

    Attackers are getting more and more savvy by the day and there are no longer any excuses for companies to allow themselves and their customers to remain vulnerable to such vicious threats.

    Fraud

    Fraudulent and duplicate accounts are all too common on social media platforms where there is often an abundance of personal information. This is one of the main reasons why individuals and companies should be extremely wary about the personal connections which they make within the social media sphere.
    Back in 2010 a fraudulent account by the name of Robin Sage was created by attackers who persistently sought to make connections for the purpose of exploiting valuable information and data.

    Many individuals accepted these connections without even knowing who this fraudulent individual was or the devious actions behind the account. To make matters worse, many of these connections were with organizations serving in the military, government and even security firms.

    There are four main types of social media fraud:

     

    1. Fraud against customers
    2. Recruiting Fraud
    3. Fraud against employees
    4. Counterfeit goods

    Fraud against customers include scams which target customers usually do so by identifying a brand’s follower base and segmenting them based on information shared on the social network. This helps to further target and tailor their attacks, thus giving them a higher probability of success.

    These scams usually promise customers a reward of sorts and uses false credentials (i.e. a logo) in order to impersonate a brand.

    Recruiting fraud on the other hand has become prevalent with the ever-expanding use of online recruiting. Sites such as LinkedIn are particularly subject to compromise as they target the business force.

    These often involve “pay-to-play” recruitment scams and can seek to exploit money from the victims by collecting fraudulent application fees or personal information via applications in order to sell it for identity theft.

    These scammers consistently monitor job sites and often target young and unsuspecting individuals fresh into the job pool.

    Fraud against employees is often carried out in the form of a fraudulent business associate seeking information or assistance. For instance, they may take on the identity of a human resources manager in the company and seek to get an employee to disclose confidential company information, sensitive data or government ID numbers.

    Many times the threat may originate not from a fraudulent account, but from a compromised real account, making it even more difficult for the individual to ascertain the legitimacy of the situation.

    Counterfeit Goods

    This form of fraud can be particularly devastating to a company’s bottom line as scammers will often leverage branded hashtags and company keywords in order to expose their products to a large mass of potential buyers.
    Unfortunately for organizations, responsibility largely rests on the shoulders of companies to seek out, identify and report this type of activity. But if a company doesn’t have a protection program in place, or is not actively and consistently seeking out the existence of such a threat, then it makes it particularly challenging for a platform to appropriately mitigate such threats.

    Malware

    Social media is rife with an abundance of malware and other threats  which are creatively transferred via a wide array of methods such as links, infected documents or other means.

    Malware is primarily designed to make money illegally by stealing personal and valuable data and information from unsuspecting individuals and organizations. The term “malware” is an umbrella term, which describes any form of malicious code in general.

    Types of malware include viruses, which are similar in theory to viruses within the biological realm, as they are primarily designed to both duplicate and spread. Most viruses are located within an executable file where an individual must open said file in order to allow the virus to spread and cause damage.

    Trojans are harmful piecees of software that often looks legitimate and is used for the purpose of stealing personal information or gaining access to your personal computer systems.

    Ransomware is malicious code that is meant to incapacitate your systems and hold your valuable information hostage while demanding a ransom in order to release it.

    Spyware is the quite and unsuspecting threat lurking within a computer system. It is used to quitely collect and store information, including keystrokes via “keylogging” in order to steal sensitive data and personal information such as passwords, credit cards and bank account information.

    Worms replicate rapidly and are often spread through computer networks from one computer to another. They differ from viruses in that they don’t require the user to spread them from a specific infected host file because they are a form of software themselves.

    Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF) is a technique of sorts that’s used to spread a complex social networking worm by exploiting the “trust a social networking application has in a logged-in user’s browser”. If the social network isn’t checking the referrer header, the attack can easily “share an image in a user’s event stream that other users might click on to catch/spread the attack”.

    Obviously downloading files from unknown, unverifiable or even questionable sources is a major way in which we can help to stave off harmful threats.

    However, attackers are becoming more and more savvy with their methods and making it harder and harder for unsuspecting victims to be able to tell the difference between a legitimate file and link or an illegitimate one.

    One unintentional exacerbator to this is the growing preference for shortened URLs.

    These URLs are used for convenience in place of their longer counterparts, however, the problem with this is that when URLs are shortened, often, essential identifying information regarding the source of the URL is lost.

    A popular website called Bitly can turn any URL into a short, convenient version. For example, we can take the following URL:

    https://www.visioneerit.com/the-top-10-reasons-why-gary-vee-is-winning-the-marketing-game/

    …and with the help of Bitly, transform it into a more compact, convenient version of the following:

    https://bit.ly/2o9l9KE

    Now, generally speaking, this is great — especially for social media and digital marketing purposes because condensing the content gives you the ability to use it in places such as social media posts, whereas before, you were unable to.

    However, the problem with this lies in the fact that you are no longer able to identify the destination of the URL. Before, with the original version, you can clearly see the name of the website and the subsequent page that you are being directed to.
    The shortened version on the other hand does not make this information visibly perceptible and as a result, you are at a significantly greater disadvantage when it comes to being susceptible to clicking on links which contain spam, malware or viruses of some kind.

    Unintentional Leaks

    Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to prevent becoming subject to the risk of threats, we still end up compromised because sometimes — we are our own worst enemies.

    Unintentional leaks happen all too often as the result of “oversharing” and can have devastating effects on companies.  The same old story of an employee accidentally revealing information assumed to be uncritical only to compromise an entire organization happens time and time again.
    This could be something as simple as an employee’s spouse complaining about the amount of overtime the employee has been putting into a particular project, to casually revealing a firewall product or discussing details regarding a Web proxy product being used in passing.

    Even information as seemingly insignificant as such can clue attackers in on the details of an organization’s security measures or software and leave them vulnerable.

    This is especially the case considering the existence of what are coined “Advanced Persistent Threats” or “APTs”.

    APTs strategically gather intelligence on specific individuals and find themselves at a large advantage due to the wealth of information available on social networking sites.

    The perpetrators use the information gathered in order to place “more intelligence gathering” in the form of, for example, malware or trojans, in order to “gain access to sensitive systems”.

    Solutions

    So how does a company effectively protect themselves in the midst of so many complex, persistent and ever-changing threats on social media?

    Platform-Specific

    Of course the number one holy grail of all rules is that you should always use caution when considering which individuals to accept into your social networks. Individuals should also periodically review friends lists, connections and followers and be on the lookout for any suspicious accounts. Even then threats can still often come disguised as familiar faces.

    Let’s face it — no two social media platforms are the same and as a result, there are unique threats presented on each one. As a result, we’ve included a quick list of platform-specific tips to help you on your road to greater social media protection.

    Facebook

    The great thing about Facebook is that the platform has a range of security checkup tools available for use located within a user’s security settings. These tools work to improve security and privacy and can offer services such as login notifications when unrecognized devices are used to gain access to an account.

    Periodically going through your account and removing unused and old applications is a must, as these often have access to personal information that should not be left out in the open.

    Did you know you can limit the number of friend requests you receive by adjusting the “Who Can Contact Me?” setting? Given the astronomical rise in fraudulent accounts, this is an extremely useful option.

    Another useful tip is making your friends, followers or connections lists private. This can help not only limit the amount of information a threatening source can retrieve from your profile, but it can also help protect those you know and love in the event you become compromised.

    Lastly, it’s always  a good rule to limit the amount of visibility your page, posts and images have to the general public.

    LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is a particularly vulnerable platform due to the fact that it’s a social media platform targeted towards the business professional demographic. Just like any other social media site, we cannot stress enough the importance of being wary about which personal connections you establish.

    Sometimes this can be difficult, especially for those individuals and companies seeking rapid expansion and to spread brand awareness. Just remember to do your due diligence.

    Also, always be wary of sales and recruitment messages that include external links, request money or personal information and never open links sent from individuals who you do not personally know.

    Twitter

    Did you know that Twitter was created in order to help maximize your personal brand exposure? Maximum exposure means maximum visibility and users should keep this in mind when posting personal information.
    Did you know that Tweets are also searchable? That’s right — unless you’ve manually enabled certain security features to prevent this, aka the “Protect My Tweets” setting, and labeled your account to private, attackers get free roam of everything you’ve posted.

    Instagram

    Did you know that if your account isn’t private, everything you post is visible to any user on Instagram? This is especially important to take into consideration when crafting employee policies for codes of conduct on social media.

    When posting, be wary that the images do not include any personal information, data, specifics on location or any other content that may be used and leverage against you, your employees, customers or company.

    Also, report accounts that you notice are misusing hashtags or handles or are propagating spam. If you’re an organization, encourage your employees to do the same.

    General

    There are many suggestions on corporate protocol that can be taken into consideration in order to help minimize the risk associated with social media threats.

    For one, every company should assemble a task force to handle the matter. Interdepartmental cooperation is absolutely mandatory and companies should work with everyone from marketing to IT and executive teams in order to initiate the creation and implementation of an effective social media protection program.

    Companies should also take into consideration offering training and/or educational resources to employees in order to guide them on how to properly identify and report cases of threats or fraudulent activities. Employees should also be regularly briefed on proper codes of conduct for social media channels so as to help prevent unnecessary and unintentional information leaks.
    High-risk individuals such as executives are especially prone to attack and often times as a result, companies manage social media usage to a certain degree or periodically audit the social media usage of such individuals in order to remain proactive against threats.

    Other options involve letting security-trained assistants to aid in the management of executive social media accounts.

    Furthermore, companies should always be sure to enable two-factor identification for all business social media accounts and should always encourage changing passwords at least three times a year for maximum security.

    Remaining transparent about your information gathering practices and policies to the public is also something to consider in order to help combat potential fraudulent activities targeted towards your customer demographic.

    As one can imagine, in order to properly prepare for and protect yourself, your company, your employees and your customer base against social media threats, a great deal of consistently implemented work is involved.
    This is why it is always highly recommended that companies make use of a social media protection tool in order to help automate the process.

    Social media protection tools can help companies save money and work more efficiently by continuously monitor your social channels, as well as those of key employees for compromise. These tools also can help identify targeted phishing attacks on social networks and mitigate what can quite easily become costly fraudulent activities.

    Whether it’s copyrighted content which is being repurposed for malicious activity, brand impersonation, malicious links, hashtag hijacking or fake promotions to drive phishing pages, look for robust software that can help find and take down fraudulent accounts as well as help to uncover stolen information.

    Conclusion
    Did you know that in 2016 social media phishing attacks increased 500% year-over-year? Regardless of the amount of effort you put into proactively protecting yourself or your company, the fact remains that social media is and will continue to remain a substantial cybersecurity risk for you and your business.

    From phony Facebook updates to links to free vouchers and messages disguised as coming from colleagues, the threats range far and wide.
    Now more than ever it’s essential for you as an individual or organization to do everything in your power to be certain that your personal data and information remain safe.

    Invest in a task force. Train your employees and executives and invest in a reputable and robust software program that can help you automate the security process so that you can have peace of mind even while you sleep.

    …Because let’s face it — you spend enough time with social media on the brain as it is. So get proactive and , protected so you can devote as much time as you can to cute baby videos and funny dog vids instead of security breaches and company meltdowns.

    Social Media Protection Checklist

    So here is what you can do to help protect your social media accounts

    Sources:
    https://www.computerweekly.com/tip/Top-seven-social-media-threats
    https://www.calyptix.com/top-threats/social-media-threats-facebook-malware-twitter-phishing/
    https://www.itworld.com/article/2773490/security/facebook–fbaction-net–phishing-attack-in-progress.html
    https://www.networkworld.com/article/2213704/collaboration-social/top-10-social-networking-threats.html

     

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    11 Reasons Why Facebook Live Increases Customer Engagement/Brand Awareness

    Facebook Live is quickly gaining traction with mainstream audiences, reaping higher engagement levels and gaining the attention of businesses, marketers and brands all over.

    It’s rise in popularity has subsequently caused the platform to give live video content preferential treatment within it’s algorithm. This in turn brought waves of interest from the business and marketing communities who saw this algorithm update as a way to increase their reach  and expand awareness of their brand’s vision, mission, activities and events.

    But the real reason that Facebook Live is so effective lies less in it’s preferential treatment from an algorithm standpoint and more in its inherent ability to foster more organic and meaningful connections with others.

    Audiences are looking for socially conscious, consumer-driven brands and brands are looking for ways to gain greater insight into their target demographic by getting on a more personal and relatable level with them.

    If you’re one of the many businesses out there interested in the various benefits that Facebook Live has to offer, then look no further than these next few lines. This article will detail 11 reasons why Facebook Live increases both customer engagement and brand awareness and is the best solution for your marketing agenda in 2018.

    Source

    1. Facebook Live “breaks the fourth wall”.

    The term breaking the fourth wallpretty much means exactly what it sounds like it does with the proverbial fourth wall representing traditional barriers to marketing to your audiences. With Facebook Live, you’re able to look your audience directly in their eyes and address them by name, thus constantly encouraging active participation and engagement.

    Don’t make the mistake of using your Facebook Live event as a means for pushing one-way promotions of your brand or product onto your audience. This manner of marketing is not only ineffective with contemporary social media-driven audiences, it’s extremely off-putting.

    Use Facebook Live as an opportunity to constantly encourage engagement with your audience.  Wowza Media Systems mentions how important it is to “take every opportunity to remind viewers that your broadcast is a two-way experience.”

    So, continually mention that you’re looking forward to answering questions and comments that are presented in the comments section so that new viewers understand that participation is not only accepted, but encouraged.

    Also make sure to speak directly to the camera, regardless of whether you’re holding an interview or working with a host. Keeping eye contact with the camera makes the audience feel as if you’re speaking directly to them — you’re recognizing their existence and engaging them directly.

    Addressing the audience by their specific names is also a great tactic to keep personalization high and being sure to include and engage even those who aren’t necessarily bold enough to speak up on without encouragement.

    When we ignore questions or keep individuals “hanging on too long”, it can often give them the feeling as if they’re being “snubbed” — so doing our best to keep everyone included to the best of our abilities is crucial to maintaining both engagement and loyalty.

    Source

    2. Facebook Live is interactive.

    So, if you weren’t already aware, interactive content is kind of like the hottest new thing going around the marketing industry block.  Interactive content is content that by definition, requires audience participation and active engagement more so than passively reading or watching content does.

    According to SnapApp, the value interactive content lies not just in it’s ability to better “educate, entertain, and engage your audience” but also in its ability to benefit the participants in return for their engagement by giving them “real-time, hyper-relevant results”.

    Interactive content cuts through the noise, it opens up the door for discourse between brands and their audiences in a more meaningful and organic way and it’s highly personalized real-time nature is both extremely valuable and appealing.  

    So, what exactly constitutes interactive content?  With the use of Facebook Live, you can actively engage your audience by conducting assessments, offering advice or insight, coming up with interesting trivia or even taking polls or surveys. Facebook Live gives you the opportunity to conduct everything from Q&A’s to product demos and gain real-time user feedback and invaluable insight not possible with other forms of content.

    Source

    3. Facebook Live events get special attention on news feeds.

    That’s right — if you’ve never heard or noticed this before than you can rest assured that the Facebook algorithm does in fact give preferential treatment to live video content. This in part can be inferred by its prominent placement on our newsfeeds and in our alerts, which often highlight live video events in a more attention-grabbing fashion.

    Two years ago in March of 2016, the company made the official decision to update the algorithm to give preference to live video due to the levels of engagement that were being observed once it had been officially implemented. In a keynote interview at the Mobile World Congress, Mark Zuckerberg discussed his vision for the concept of Facebook Live by addressing it as a means for people to have more authentic and intimate connections and experiences in sharing about their lives.

    Obviously, businesses can learn a lot by taking this same concept and applying it to their outreach strategies.

    Source

    4. Facebook Live gives you the opportunity to show your audience something new.

    Whether you’re new to the concept of live streaming in general, you’ve already dabbled in it or you have a full-on live video content strategy — there’s always room for expansion and novelty.

    Entrepreneurs and businesses new to the concept of live streaming will enjoy the benefits of higher engagement levels and its ability to generate higher quality leads than other more traditional forms of social media content. They’ll also appreciate the fact that they’ve tapped into a new and extremely valuable resource for connecting face-to-face with their audience demographic.

    Those who dabble in live video will find that they can become more effective in their efforts by moving forward with novel actions such as documenting their content strategy, coming up with consistent broadcasting dates and times and creating an engaging content schedule of topics and events based on their viewership preferences.

    Those with full-on live video content strategies can seek novelty through experimentation with different angles of approaching their live feed. Product demos, Q&A’s, open discussions, lectures, contests and giveaways are all ways brands can “switch it up” and find new and interesting ways to bring value to their audience.

    Source

    5. Facebook Live inherently gives you an advantage with engagement

    That’s right — did you know that you’re much more likely to get higher engagement levels on live video than you are on other traditional forms of Facebook content? This isn’t just a postulation — it’s proven.

    According to one blog post by the company, “people spend on average three times as much time watching Facebook Live video as they spend watching other video content.” People have a higher propensity to engage with live video content — point blank.

    There are undoubtedly a multitude of reasons behind this desire. For instance, the mere fact that live video is a relatively novel concept in mainstream social media networks definitely works towards your advantage and Facebook’s preferential algorithm updates also play a huge role.

    Furthermore — it’s a much more authentic manner of connecting with your audience who desire organic, socially conscious businesses.

    Source

    6. Facebook Live puts your audience in the driver seat.

    This is a really special one. Facebook live is a wonderful marketing and promotions tool because it gives you the opportunity to put your audience in the driver seat. Sounds a little scary, right? Well, that’s exactly the feeling you should be constantly striving to feel as an entrepreneur. Discomfort is the catalyst to progress and growth and letting go of the reigns and letting your audience “choose their own adventure” and shape the experience is an extremely rewarding endeavor.

    Why? Wowza Media Systems put it perfectly when they said that it takes asuperior user experience to engage today’s media-saturated audiences.” The truth of the matter is that you’re out there trying to gain attention and leverage in an industry that is filled to the brim with a sea of competition. Pretty much everything that can and should have been done — already has been by someone else.

    So you have one of two options — you can find a way to do something completely different, or you can do the same thing that others in your industry are doing, except do it better by adding a unique perspective, angle or twist. So why not put your audience in the driver’s seat?

    Let your audience shape your content based on interactions and create content that they’ll want to interact with. Facebook offers engagement-oriented features such as Live Reaction emojis and real-time comments to help foster this concept of an interactive experience.

    So, get feedback, get comments, ask questions about what subjects to discuss next, events/activities they would be interested in or individuals they’d love to hear from and use this feedback to build highly-personalized, valuable content for your audience.

    Source

    7. Facebook Live facilitates effortless cross-promoting.

    Facebook Live is a great way to cross-promote any events, activities or materials that you’re interested in drawing attention towards. The fact that live video is inherently interactive means that it has a higher propensity to bring in better engagement than other forms of content such as generic posts or even dated video content.

    Many broadcasters tag experts, influencers or brands that are involved with or related to the purpose of the discussion at hand in the comments section. You can also include trending hashtags, Twitter handles or various links to leverage the traffic received from your live stream and redirect it towards your own branded content such as your website, Facebook page, other social media sites or forms of content, events or activities.

    For example, Search Engine Journal (SEJ)  has a live segment called SEJ News Live where they make sure to link all of the articles mentioned on the broadcast by the host Caitlin within the comments section. This not only promotes engagement but boosts it and drives both awareness and traffic to these other areas, activities or forms of content as well.

    Source

    8. Facebook Live lets you report breaking news.

    Using Facebook Live is a great way to leverage the interest of matters of a more urgent nature such as industry breaking news, current affairs or recent updates within your company. Being able to keep your audience up to date on important matters as such also helps cement your status as a thought leader or influencer within your field.

    Keeping your audience posted on breaking news and trends demonstrates that you are highly conscious of your audience and their potential needs and desires. It shows  that you are empathetic to their circumstances and quests for knowledge and that you’ve taken the time to not only be considerate of their position in the industry but are also actively seeking to bring them value and keep them informed.

    In essence — keeping your audience up to date on topics, trends and news in your niche builds establishes credibility, authority and builds trust.

    Source

    9. Facebook Live gives you the ability to collab with brand advocates.

    Facebook live is an awesome opportunity to collaborate with brand advocates and influencers to help expand your reach and show off your industry connections. However, it’s important to mention that this should be done in a most humbling manner as all forms of gross promotions or advertising should be vehemently avoided with this content form.

    Influencers in your industry can range anywhere from well-known industry names, journalists, viral sensations, thought leaders or other fellow entrepreneurs in your area of expertise looking to be heard and bring value to their audiences.

    Many of you may already be aware of Tough Mudder,  the brand that popularized high endurance, obstacle events. They have a wonderfully  loyal community and used their live stream to feature an inspirational speech by a renowned trainer by the name of Kyle Railton, aka Coach T. Mud.

    The result? Their viewership has skyrocketed  and their live events garner millions of views.

    Using this method of collaboration is extremely effective because it provides your audience with social proof of your activities within your field. Tools such as Buzzsumo can also help immensely in your ability to hone in on the right names to help increase the effectiveness of your efforts.

    Source

    10. Facebook Live gives you killer insights.

    The platform offers a robust amount of metrics and video summary data for those interested in gaining for their insight into the performance of their content. Stats on your video data can be accessed by going to the top of your Facebook business page, clicking on Insights and then Videos.

    There are various filter options available to get customized information and users can search with a particular date range or choose to filter  their stats by choosing one of three options:

    • Organic vs. Paid
    • Auto-Played vs. Clicked-to-Play
    • Unique vs. Repeat

    Users also have the ability to view total views or 10-second views  of their content. This 10 second filter shows how many people watched 10 seconds or more of your video content on any single given day. The 10 second benchmark was put into place because a standard video of you and the news feed is just 3 seconds long regardless of whether it is auto-played or clicked-to-play.

    Users are also able to get  a robust set of stats on individual videos as well as see them in reverse chronological order. Users are also able to check out their completion rate of their video content.

    While ideally,  we are all looking for a high completion rate, the truth of the matter is that low completion rates are quite normal according to Social Media Examiner, even on short videos. This means that if you receive a high completion rate  of 25% or higher,  you’re doing something well (better than average),  so checking in on which percent of this data is auto-played versus clicked-to-play will give you  some powerful insight.

    Source

    Conclusion

    Live video is one of the hottest marketing trends in 2018 and as a result, Facebook Live is absolutely on fire. If you’re a business, brand or marketer interested in taking advantage of this awesome social media tool, then we hope that ythis article has given you greater insight into various ways in which you can harness it to help further your strategic goals and achieve higher ROI in your marketing efforts.

    So take some time out of your work week to do something different with your marketing approach. Whether you’re completely new to the concept of live video, you already dabble in it, or you have a full-on documented strategy for your live video efforts, there’s always room for improvement, novelty, and getting more in tune with the pulse of your target demographic.


    Sources:

    http://www.adweek.com/digital/facebooks-news-feed-algorithm-now-gives-preference-live-video-169947/

    https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-increase-your-facebook-live-video-reach/

    https://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2017/09/4-ways-facebook-live-can-boost-social-media-engagement/

    https://www.searchenginejournal.com/facebook-live-increase-engagement-website-traffic-study/178701/

    https://www.wowza.com/blog/boost-facebook-live-video-engagement

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    Black Friday Marketing/Advertising

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    With buying percentages expected to increase up to 47% when compared with last year’s BFCM sales, you need to gear up advertising methods for Black Friday in 2017 right away!

    So whether you’re an offline or online business, we have gathered the most effective strategies for Black Friday Market Advertising that can rock your sales. In short, we will help you employ the smartest marketing tips so that you can also get a mug full of Black Friday Gold!

    7 Pro Tips for Black Friday Advertising

    Online deals are expected to reach $3.52 Million for Black Friday — but all these products won’t sell themselves.

    With the biggest shopping event just days away, you may have missed out on excellent advertising opportunities already. Rest assured, we have the blended the best digital and physical tricks to make a blast with BFCM advertising this year.

    1. How to Start early on Black Friday

    Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to prepare for Black Friday. For both Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), fishing early will land you the best customers. Starting your campaigns in September or even the second week of November is ideal.

    •          Create a plan that Works

    The motive is to ensure that you do not face unexpected disasters and the customers do not see your deals surprisingly, when BFCM finally dawns.

    •          Take an Accurate stock of your inventory

    Most Black Friday shoppers prepare their shopping list early. If your store is a brick and mortar retail space, start by updating your stock inventory RIGHT NOW!

    •          Create a Content or Ad calendar

    Based on the total items to sell and discounts you offer, create an ad calendar listing your product launches, blog posts and other campaigns for Black Friday. Don’t forget to create the best promotional offers during BFCM week!

    •         Contingency plans

    Many things can go wrong during BFCM. So, begin risk assessment plans such as hiring temporary staff and creating backup plans early. Create a customized BFCM orientation for your staff and affiliated companies too.

    ·         Exclusive Landing Page since Thanksgiving

    Next step is to update your website with an exclusive landing page. Add Promo Codes, lead pop ups and countdown timers on the BFCM Landing page since the Thanksgiving weekend.

    ·         Email marketing for Notifying your Customers

    According to Custara, 25.1% sales during Black Friday are a result of influential email marketing campaigns. By revamping your subject line, and timing for emails, you can create up to 330% increase in engagement with every email!

    Source

    2.  Social Media Promotions for Black Friday

    To start your advertising campaigns, conduct social media listening and find the trending topics on Black Friday.

    ·         Facebook

    The most popular social media platform with over 2 billion active users, Facebook can be used for BFCM by creating sponsored ads or via influencer marketing. The best way to use Facebook for Black Friday is by joining FB Groups with significant following such as Black Friday +Christmas Deals and Black Friday & Christmas Toys to promote your deals.

    ·         Instagram

    With Instagram having released the brand new feature of going live with a friend, you can incorporate the best strategies for influencer marketing here. Use Instagram Stories to promote your best deals and maximize your reach.

    ·         Reddit

    Considered the Guru of social media forums – Reddit is the 8th website with the highest visitors across the globe. Using subreddits such as r/BlackFriday/, you can target the customers with attractive AMAs, contests and deals about your products on BFCM.

    ·         Pinterest

    Boasting over 175 Million users worldwide, Pinterest for Black Friday can turn your products viral. By creating boards to pin your best products and deals, you can assess the involvement of the audience too. Making buyable pins are another excellent way for advertising on Black Friday.

    ·         Twitter

    Adding hashtags to your Twitter promos will be effective on Black Friday as the platform claims up to 330 Million active users! The most popular hashtag to use on Twitter is #Blackfriday.

    ·         Quora

    Having reached 50 Million to 100 Million users within one year, Quora is a question-answer forum to advertise your Black Friday deals. It can be used by promoting the best deals as answers to the most popular questions on BFCM.

    Source

    3. Focus on the customer

    Customer service and customer experience are vital to ensure that your customer shops for long and in excess, at your store on Black Friday.

    ·         Segment your Customers 

    If you’re a brick and mortar store, it is best to hit the streets to find people and manually hand out coupons to the public. You can also segment your customers based on their clicks and engagement online by using website tools such as GetResponse.

    ·         Place for Shoppers to relax or sit

    Black Friday rush is daunting and rarely reviewed as smooth. Offer a respite to your customers with a place to sit or refreshments. Moreover, if you want to see added customers buying stock, this is the best way to advertise in return of the facilities you offer during the prime hour!

    ·         Free cookies and In-Store Pickup

    Extending the respite, you can also offer free cookies to entice new customers to your brick and mortar store. Offering free shipping is another excellent way of enticing customers to your webpage. Alternatively, offering in-store pick if you have a retail store as well, cuts the mailing delay for many customers. Moreover, it will boost small purchases from foot traffic too!

    Source

    4. Incentives

    Add-on incentives are a great way of luring your customers to your shop or page. As BFCM is a savings extravaganza, incentives are considered mandatory for making a Black Friday fortune.

    ·         Referral Programs, Contests and Giveaways

    Referral programs offer discounts or coupons to customers when customers refer a friend or acquaintance to your store. Dropbox was once such company that increased growth by 3900% with referrals.

    Quiz contests are another way of boosting your reach if you customize the same with holiday themes for portraying a wide variety of products or deals. You can add giveaways or discount coupons to contest winners during BFCM!

    ·         Free Shipping and Special Deals 

    From creating printable gift cards to VIP Discounts, offering in-house deals to your customers can boost excitement and make them purchase right away.  You can also send promo codes to customers via email quoting it as special deals.

    ·         Price matches and hourly flash sales

    Hourly sales with shocking discounts make the big bucks on Black Friday as they are considered as sales motivators. Akin to the lightning deals on Amazon, offer your products at a slashed price for one-hour to see dramatic purchases!

    Source

    5. Leverage deal sites

    An ideal place to promote your deals, deal sites are excellent as most black Friday shoppers often scout far and wide for savings.

    ·         How to use Deal Sites on Black Friday

    Make a record of the best deal sites with highest customer reach for your niche. Select relevant deal sites that permit business owners to submit deals.

    ·         Best deal sites to use on BFCM

              Offers.com
              GottaDeal
              CouponShutter
              CouponThief
             SlickDeals

     


    Source

    6. Upsell and Cross-Sell

    Offering complimentary accessories or products with the target product chosen by the customer can add more purchases to the cart.

    •          Pricing Rule of 25

    When you upsell or cross-sell products, the added product must not be more than 25% of the original product.

    •          Ways to Upsell on Black Friday

    Upselling refers to selling a product of higher price than the opted product by the customer.

    -Smart Upsell

    By using the stored data to reveal the customer purchase and browsing history on your website, you can smartly use upselling during BFCM. Boost Sales report $3,579,000 in bonus purchases that came with upselling.

    -Custom Upsell

    You can customize your upsell strategies for BFCM by motivating the buyer to add an expensive item to the cart. Custom upsell is added by replacing the target item in the cart with the upsell product.

    •       Ways to Cross-Sell on Black Friday

    Cross-selling refers to promoting products of similar value or category as the target product chosen by the customer.

    •         Bundle up to 3 Items

    In cross-selling you can add up to three bonus items with discounts or slashed price rates in addition to the target.

    •           Multiple Offers for the Target Product

    You can add multiple types of complementary products with respect to the target product.

    Source

    7. Multi-Channel Selling

    From digital to retail, multi-channel selling maximizes your customer reach by selling the products where your customers.

    ·         Is your Website Capable of Black Friday Rush

    The first step for customizing your website for increased sales and traffic is by optimizing it for your target audience. If your website can’t take the surge in traffic and higher demand during the Black Friday sale, your campaigns will be a failure.

    Test your website using Loadimpact or Blitz to ensure Black Friday Sale will not crash your shopping portal.

    ·         Mobile optimization

    According to research, shoppers spend 51% time using internet on mobiles unlike 42% on desktop. Moreover, with customers reviewing every purchase online prior to buying, mobile optimization is the key to increasing your BFCM sales.

    Conclusion

    BFCM predictions state that shoppers will extend Black Friday and Cyber Monday to 2-3 weeks after too. As a bonus, open your shops late to beat the competition and appeal to a vast demographic as most vendors open too early, making the customers suffer.

    Opening late can also save your time, money and energy instead of competing with big sellers around the curb. Combined with our expert tricks and tips to maximize your sales on Black Friday through advertising, you can run the BFCM sales easily this year! So go get ‘em tiger!

    Sources

    https://www.clickz.com/when-should-you-start-your-holiday-marketing/23652/

    https://bestblackfriday.com/blog/black-friday-cyber-monday-spending-trends-numbers-statistics-predictions-for-2017/

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/881072388571442/

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/bestblackfriday/?ref=br_rs

    https://www.reddit.com/r/blackfriday/

    https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/175-million-people-discovering-new-possibilities-on-pinterest

    https://beeketing.com/blog/black-friday-marketing-2/

    https://beeketing.com/blog/black-friday-marketing/

    https://www.marketingmacros.com/single-post/2016/12/19/Top-5-Spending-Stats-from-Black-Friday-2016

    https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/marketing/11-black-friday-marketing-tips-for-your-small-business/

    https://www.inc.com/ari-zoldan/want-to-win-big-on-black-friday-10-best-strategies-for-businesses.html

    http://www.getresponse.com

    https://beeketing.com/blog/how-to-excel-upsell-and-cross-sell-strategies-to-rocket-sales-for-your-online-business/

    https://beeketing.com/blog/the-definite-guide-to-create-best-upsell-and-cross-sell-offers-that-can-sell-and-convert/?utm_channel=blog&utm_medium=SEO&utm_term=blackfridayideas

    https://www.oberlo.com/blog/black-friday-marketing-ideas#10_Create_a_content_calendar8211_Black_Friday_Marketing_Ideas

    https://squareup.com/townsquare/black-friday-marketing-ideas-how-to-stand-apart-from-the-pack

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahweinswig/2017/10/27/2017-black-friday-and-cyber-monday-predictions/#4517b0815f14

    http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

     

     

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