International stories and articles from our Flipboard mag.

AUG
07

We Analyzed 43 Million Facebook Posts From the Top 20,000 Brands (New Research)

What a year for Business Pages on Facebook!

It sure feels like every time we as marketers and business owners think we have our Facebook marketing strategy figured out, a major algorithm change is announced or a new tactic becomes the latest trend.

Over the years, we’ve learned that the best way to reach our audiences on Facebook is to study the data, experiment constantly, be open to learning, and take a growth mindset.

In the spirit of learning, we partnered with BuzzSumo to analyze more than 43 million posts from the top 20,000 brands on Facebook in one of the largest studies of 2018.

Today, we’re excited to share the eye-opening research with you (hint: Page engagement continues to decline) as well as how your business or brand can revamp your Facebook marketing strategy moving forward and still find a ton of success on the platform.

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AUG
07

10 essentials for your social media marketing campaigns

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By Amanda Clark | Posted: August 7, 2018

It’s nearly impossible to run a successful business today without a social media strategy.

Unfortunately, social media marketing requires a lot more than just signing up for a Facebook account and posting the occasional meme. Succeeding online requires a comprehensive strategy, dedication and plenty of patience.

Here’s a quick checklist of what you need:

Goals. What’s the point of your social marketing outreach? How will you know whether you’re succeeding? You need to have clear objectives to guide your efforts—and that means goals that are specific, measurable and time-bound. Audience. Whom are you trying to reach? On which social networks will you find them? What kind of content are they looking for? Use buyer personas to ensure you’re speaking directly to your target audience. Automation. Not everything can be automated, but using a program such as Hootsuite to schedule some posts can remove some of the grunt work and streamline your campaign. Humanity. The whole point of social media is connection. Humanize your brand: Use humor when appropriate, and include candid photos of your team. Consistency. Regular activity is crucial for social media success. Nobody’s going to keep up with a social media presence where the updates are infrequent or sporadic. Use an editorial calendar to stay on schedule. Interaction. Monitor your accounts, and respond to questions and comments from customers or fans. Curated content. If you’re looking to display your industry authority, try sharing informative content from external sources (not your competitors). Original content. Curated content is important, but hopefully you’re developing plenty of branded content to share, too. Aim for a spectrum of content—blog posts, photos, videos, web page shares, etc. Data. Are you regularly consulting analytics to see what’s working—and what’s not? Make sure you’re using the right dashboards and tweaking your strategy as you go. Optimization. Finally, check that your social media bios and profiles are all well optimized. Include target keywords and convey the value proposition for your brand. Refresh your profiles annually.

A version of this post first appeared on the Grammar Chic blog.

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AUG
07

How to build on old IT systems

'Oh, that'll take months to replace.' 'We can't touch that… [in a whisper]... we really don't know what it does, let alone how it works.' I've lost track of the number of times clients have said these kinds of things to me. But all is not lost. You can innovate with your existing tech solutions; you don't have to throw everything away and start from scratch.

Imagine this scenario – quite a few years ago, a factory created piecemeal systems to support its internal functions, such as finance, manufacturing, dispatch, marketing and dealing with visitors. As customers' expectations have grown, its website has not been kept in check. Now more than half of the business's traffic comes from mobile or small-screen devices but the website does not properly adapt. 

And the IT solutions are all glued together but still work in silos, similar to the physical teams – making it almost impossible for them to all serve the same customer. This means that five, 10 or 20 years down the road, the business' IT systems and lack of attention to responsive web design are now inhibiting its growth.

It is possible to build something out of old ruins

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AUG
07

How to Make a Decent Living as a Web Designer

Recently, I had a discussion with a designer in the early stages of their career. They wondered if it was both possible and realistic to earn a comfortable wage ($70k – $100k USD) in this industry. It’s a fair question, given the level of saturation in the field these days.

My reply was: Yes, and yes. A web designer can realistically get to that salary level. But that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s easy to attain.

The following are my observations on what it takes to make the climb towards that “decent” living, based on nearly 20 years as a freelancer. Note that it is in no way a “get-rich-quick” type of situation (of which I’m living proof). However, there are ways to get where you want to go.

Identifying Your Path

Whether you’re an experienced web designer or just starting out, there’s no easy path to making good money. About the only certainties are that it will take a lot of work and a solid strategy. While the former is a universal trait, the latter is often very much personalized.

Early on in my career, I worked extremely hard but had absolutely no strategy to go along with it. I didn’t really think much about the types of projects I took on or considered the potential long-term effects of taking them. The result was that I was very busy yet struggling to get by.

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AUG
02

WhatsApp Status to start showing ads, as it starts allowing companies to contact you

Popular messaging app WhatsApp is to start displaying ads alongside its Status feature, and is already allowing companies to contact you via the service as owner Facebook seeks to make the service earn its keep …

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You may have seen requests from Netflix and other companies to allow them to contact you via WhatsApp. Facebook plans to build on this approach, reports the WSJ.

The company will introduce new ad types to let users know they can text companies directly via WhatsApp for any customer-service queries instead of calling. WhatsApp will charge companies between a half a penny and 9 cents—depending on the country—for every message delivered to a potential customer, a spokesman said.

About 100 companies have been testing the feature, including Singapore Airlines, e-commerce company Wish and ride-sharing company Uber, WhatsApp said.

The Status ads will begin appearing from next year.

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AUG
01

Facebook is making its first serious move to monetize WhatsApp

Facebook is getting serious about monetizing WhatsApp after the social network reported sluggish earnings growth last Wednesday. WhatsApp has rolled out three new ways for customers to connect quickly with businesses: a shortcut button to immediately start a conversation, the ability to have businesses send you information like a boarding pass on WhatsApp, and real-time support, the company said today.

At the same time, Facebook will now display ads of businesses that link out to WhatsApp. That means that businesses can purchase ads that lead people directly to an already loaded chat with the business on WhatsApp, and they can start talking from there. Businesses can respond to customers for free if they answer within 24 hours but Facebook will charge them for any response after 24 hours. It looks to be another way for Facebook to cash in on its many apps.

WhatsApp’s messaging feature is nearly identical to one already found on Messenger

The message function on WhatsApp is nearly identical to the one on Facebook, where you can go to a business’s page and send a message. Business communications on Messenger haven’t been super successful to begin with, and Facebook has had to roll out additional chat extensions to compensate. The WhatsApp blog post indicates that it’s up to the business if it wants to offer real-time support, so there could be the additional wrinkle that you might not hear back for a while.

WhatsApp opened up its platform to business users last September. Since then, it has kept the number of businesses using the app undisclosed. It said it tested the new messaging tools with about 90 businesses including Uber, Wish, and Singapore Airlines.

Today’s announcement sounds like Facebook is making new tools to entice businesses to stay on the platform as it begins to monetize WhatsApp. As additional ways to boost stagnating profits, Facebook can monetize from Instagram’s ads in Stories, for instance, and also potentially from WhatsApp businesses that are taking out ads.

Original author: Liao
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JUL
31

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JUL
30

These Free Online Courses From Google Will Boost Your Career No Matter What Business You're In

Google has a lot it wants to teach us. The search giant offers a massive number of online courses, many of them targeted to students or recent graduates through Grow with Google. Others will teach you programming languages or how to work with a specific technologies, or how to become an IT support person. 

But there are some that can help any entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur, teaching you such valuable skills as how to create a product, get a startup off the ground, or perform app marketing. These classes, like many others, are all free. You can find most of them through Class Central. Here are a few of the most appealing:

1. Get Your Startup Started

If you've always wanted to launch a startup but aren't sure how to get it off the ground, this course will give you a great overview. In it, you will write a mission and vision statement, learn how to find mentors and team members, and then how to find financing for your business and create a pitch deck that you can use to get customers or VCs on board. This self-paced course takes approximately three weeks.

2. App Marketing

This course is directed at those who want to create and launch an app. But from the description, it sounds like it would be highly useful for anyone doing online marketing--which is pretty much every business owner. The course takes approximately two weeks.

3. App Monetization

This course is targeted to people who want to create apps or free online content, and have them generate income. That may make it a little less useful for some audiences, depending on your goals. But the challenge of how to begin charging money for something that people expect for free crosses many industries and products, so even if you're not specifically selling an app, it could be worthwhile. The course takes approximately one month.  

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JUL
30

How a Bunch of Lava Lamps Protect Us From Hackers

Edward Craven Walker lived to see his greatest invention, the lava lamp, make its late-’90s cultural comeback. But the British tinkerer (and famed nudist, incidentally) died before he could witness the 21st-­century digital potential of his analog creation. Inside the San Francisco office of the web security company Cloudflare, 100 units of Craven Walker’s groovy hardware help protect wide swaths of the internet from infiltration.

Here’s how it works. Every time you log in to any website, you’re assigned a unique identification number. It should be random, because if hackers can predict the number, they’ll impersonate you. Computers, relying as they do on human-coded patterns, can’t generate true randomness—but nobody can predict the goopy mesmeric swirlings of oil, water, and wax. Cloudflare films the lamps 24/7 and uses the ever-changing arrangement of pixels to help create a superpowered cryptographic key. “Anything that the camera captures gets incorporated into the randomness,” says Nick Sullivan, the company’s head of cryptography, and that includes visitors milling about and light streaming through the windows. (Any change in heat subtly affects the undulations of those glistening globules.)

Sure, theoretically, bad guys could sneak their own camera into Cloudflare’s lobby to capture the same scene, but the company’s prepared for such trickery. It films the movements of a pendulum in its London office and records the measurements of a Geiger counter in Singapore to add more chaos to the equation. Crack that, Russians.

This article appears in the July issue. Subscribe now.

Original author: Airhart
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JUL
26

Mandatory keys cut successful phishing attacks on Google to zero

Security keys like the one made by Yubikey give you a way to log into a website simply by plugging it in and pressing a button. You don't even need to type in your password anymore, much less generate a one-time code. While the method has it own weakness, considering it relies on a physical item you can lose, it's considered safer than two-factor authentication, especially the type that sends you codes via SMS. Hackers could intercept messages sent to your device, after all, and gain entry to your account that way.

Unfortunately, Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) -- that's what you call the type of multi-factor authentication that uses physical keys -- support is pretty limited at the moment. You can already depend on it for protection on Chrome, but you'd have to manually activate it on Firefox by going to "about:config" first. Microsoft won't be rolling out U2F compatibility for Edge until later this year, and Apple has yet to reveal whether Safari will ever support the standard. Further, only a few websites and services can use it, including Facebook and password managers such as Keepass and LastPass. It remains to be seen if Google's positive experience with the standard can help it become more widespread, but it's definitely the kind of meaningful testimonial that could give it a massive boost.

Original author: Moon
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JUL
25

Facebook's 'shared viewing' video feature is coming to all groups

With more than 1.4 billion users per month, groups has become a core product for Facebook, and it intends to use Watch Party to keep even more people locked in and connected to those who share similar interests. Facebook says that it's heard from group leaders that Watch Party is perfect for people watching things like Q&A sessions and how-to tutorials about cooking, crafting, home improvement, playing an instrument and more. Back in April, the company said that nearly two billion people had watched Facebook Live broadcasts to date, demonstrating the potential for features like Watch Party -- especially since users who watch together can comment and add emoji reactions in real time.

Soon, those Watch Parties won't just be limited to groups. Facebook also revealed that it is already testing the tool with profiles, while pages (public profiles for businesses and other organizations) could get it in the near future, as well. Facebook says that, in its internal testing, some Watch Parties were able to generate thousands of comment from people who were watching a particular video simultaneously, with some groups dedicating over 10 hours to a single Watch Party. The success of Twitch has already proven that there's a dedicated audience looking to watch internet video with others, regardless of the genre.

For profiles, Watch Party could be a good way to have shared viewing experiences with close friends and family members. The same goes for pages of brands or news publications that want to show videos of, say, an unboxing of a product or host a conversation about a recent story. For Facebook, the goal here is simple: To keep users interacting with one another as much as possible.

Naturally, as Facebook continues to deal with controversies around the spread of toxic content on its site, Watch Party isn't exempt from that. Erin Connolly, Facebook's product manager of social video, to Engadget thatthe company will use all the tools at its disposal (including artificial intelligence) to ensure that Watch Parties are safe for everyone. She added that Facebook will also rely on group administrators and other users to report any content or interactions that may be harmful, just as it's done for any video on Facebook Live. "Keeping the communication safe is something that's really important to us," she said, "and [that's] a responsibility we take really seriously across Facebook."

Connolly said that, as Zuckerberg has expressed publicly, Facebook continues to invest in systems which can help detect potentially unsafe material on the platform faster -- and that's going to come in handy as Watch Party expands. "This is something that we care deeply about," she said. "We'll be obviously monitoring really closely, and continuing to hear feedback from the community to make sure that this is going well."

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JUL
19

Protesters are gaming Google's algorithm so photos of Trump come up when you search 'idiot'

Activists are gaming Google's algorithm so that when people search for "idiot," almost all of the top results are pictures of President Donald Trump.

Protesters are publishing articles that associate the word "idiot" with Trump while sharing and upvoting other articles that do the same.

The net effect of this is that the association inside Google's algorithm becomes stronger, producing photos of Trump when people input the term "idiot."

Here's what the Google image search page for "idiot" looked like Thursday morning from Business Insider's office in London: Google

Eight of the first 10 images show Trump's face directly. Of the remaining two, one is Ash Sarkar, a protester who called the British journalist Piers Morgan an "idiot" while talking about Trump.

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JUL
18

If 25% of brands disappeared overnight, nobody would give a FCK

Do you know how the dinosaurs were doing the day before they got wiped out?

They were flourishing. Mooching around eating ferns and each other, happy as Larry. To all intents and purposes everything was good. Then boom, it suddenly wasn't.

That's the thing about seismic change. It happens at pace, you often don't see it coming and the impact can be immense. It happened to the big beasts of the music industry, it happened to the film distributors via the double asteroid of Netflix and Amazon. And right now, the ad industry is looking up at the sky trying to work out whether it’s better to huddle together as one or split into smaller tribes.

At a time when the economy is swirling and the high street is feeling sick, extinction level events are a very real threat for brands. In these unpredictable times, the instinct from agencies and marketers can be to do more. Perversely, one of the best ways to respond could be to do a little less, more intelligently.

Better, smarter, braver

There are already too many brands in the world and many of them, if we’re honest, just occupy space. I’m pretty sure a quarter could disappear overnight, and people wouldn’t really care. Rather than more of the same, drifting along safely without offering any real value, we need better, smarter, braver, more thoughtful work. That’s the only way to create meaningful brands that have lasting impact in the world.

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JUL
18

How to Monitor Your Competitors to Increase Conversions

In 2015 Shareaholic released statistics about the state of social media in that day’s market. According to the site, social media had grown to be the number one referral traffic source on the web, overtaking email campaigns and direct advertising. In all, it was driving 31.24% of overall traffic on its own.

During 2017, a controversial and aggressive year in online news and discussion, search overtook social media. But the social side is creeping back up, and it is clear that the importance of narrowing focus on social campaigns can’t be overstated.

The Big Problem with Social Media Referral Traffic

With the above stats in mind, let’s not try to hide the elephant in the room: Social media traffic doesn’t convert that well and for two obvious reasons:

Intent!!! This is the biggest one. Social media users are not there to buy: They are browsing pictures or talking to friends. Your offer distracts them rather than giving them what they wanted. Unlike search traffic where users are there to find what you are looking for, social media traffic isn’t matched to the users’ expectationsAttention span. Somewhat related to #1, social media traffic is mostly lurkers. They are in a hurry, vaguely interested in you, always willing to go back to whatever they are doing. It’s tough to prompt them to make a pause and start paying attention.

Hard doesn’t mean impossible though. With the right tools and tactics, you can put that traffic to good use.

This article outlines one specific tactic to learn to convert your social media traffic: monitoring your competitors.

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JUL
18

Don’t make these marketing blunders on social media

The smallest of factors could mean the difference between a viral post and a dead tweet.

Even experienced social media marketers make mistakes, so it pays to review common blunders.

Are you guilty of any of these social media marketing sins?

1. Publishing too often or too infrequently

Your frequency of publishing matters more than you know. Publishing too often could annoy your followers, and publishing too rarely could drastically reduce your reach.

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JUL
18

5 Unexpected Social Media Platforms to Grow Your Brand Awareness

It's time to look beyond social media powerhouses like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

July 17, 2018 6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's no surprise that social media marketing is crucial to business growth in 2018. After all, we're living in a digital world -- one where there are 2.62 billion social media users worldwide, according to Statista. Coupled with reports that show 93 percent of marketers place a high value on social media as a business growth tool and more than 50 percent who claim it has improved their sales, I'd say every business should be allocating time, energy and resources toward social media marketing.

Related: Teens Are Increasingly Ditching Facebook. Here's How Entrepreneurs Should Respond.

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JUL
18

Skype finally gets call recording feature

It’s been almost 15 years since Skype launched and soon you’ll be able record calls on the app. What a time to be alive.

Skype used to be the monarch of video calls, but it has fallen behind its competitors in recent years. One reason for this is the shoddy updates and lack of features we now take for granted.

Microsoft has announced some major feature updates for the app that will be rolled out over the coming months. And, in all honesty, these should’ve been available for some time.

Examples? Read receipts (what?), private conversations (come on), profile invites (sorry?), and, of course, call recording.

Previously, the only way to do this was using a third party plugin. In fact, customer demand was so strong for this feature, that Skype‘s FAQ page actually had a list of applications that could do it:

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JUL
18

10 Data Visualization Best Practices for the Web

Data visualization has quickly become a standard for disseminating information on the web. It’s used across a range of industries, from business intelligence to journalism, to help us understand and communicate the insights within data.

Our brains are primed to process information that’s presented visually, making it much easier for us to understand data visualized in charts and graphs than data listed in tables and spreadsheets. A great data visualization should leverage these strengths of the human visual system to display data so that it can be readily absorbed and understood. It should take into account what we know about visual processing to enhance and ease the viewers’ experience of the data.

With so many tools and frameworks now available for building these graphics, it’s time to go back to basics. What makes data visualizations effective? What guiding principles should we follow when designing with data?

The following best practices will help you design rich, insightful data experiences.

 

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JUL
18

So You Want to Persuade Users? Make Things Simple!

About The Author

Lyndon Cerejo is a certified user experience strategist in Capgemini’s Rapid Design & Visualization practice, with a successful track record with … More about Lyndon

Persuasion is all around us, in our everyday lives. As designers, we can use ethical persuasive design methods to get users to take some action. With plenty of persuasive methods available, we have to be selective about what we use.

(This article is kindly sponsored by Adobe.) The persuasive design toolbox is filled with powerful tools based on psychology. These tools range from Cialdini’s set of six principles of persuasion to ten times that number of Persuasive Patterns. Presented with all these methods, it can be tempting to use all of them to cover all possible bases, using a shotgun approach, hoping that one will resonate with your target users.

However, applying persuasion principles and patterns in a haphazard manner just ends up being persuasive design clutter. Like user experience design, designing for everyone is designing for no one. Randomly thrown together persuasive techniques will also make users feel manipulated, not in control, making them abandon the site or experience. The key to persuading your users is to keep it simple: using focused persuasive techniques and tactics that will work for your users.

Persuasion Funnel

AIDA is an acronym used in marketing and advertising to describe the stages that a customer goes through in the purchase process. The stages of Attention, Interest, Desire and Action, generically follow a series of cognitive (thinking) and affective (feeling) stages culminating in a behavioral (doing e.g. purchase or trial) stage. This should sound familiar since this is what we do through design, especially persuasive design.

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JUL
15

Microsoft Whiteboard is a dead-simple way to brainstorm with your team

Microsoft has finally launched its Whiteboard app for Windows 10 devices. It’s a free tool for collaborating on ideas with as many people as you like, and it’s not half bad.

Whiteboard (which has been available in preview since last December) is designed for use with a stylus, so it’ll automatically recognize when you’re trying to draw shapes and tables, and help you out with your doodles.

Of course, it works just fine with a mouse or your finger on a touchscreen too. You can draw, add sticky notes, import images, paste text, and pull in pictures from the web using the built-in Bing search tool. All these elements can be manipulated and moved around the board as you wish.

It’s also easy to invite people to collaborate from wherever they are in real-time by sending them a link. Of course, they’ll need a Microsoft or Office 365 account to dive in.

There are several other whiteboard apps out there, but with this, Microsoft can offer it to Office users, integrate it into its Teams group chat app (which is now available for free), and sync your data across devices when it later arrives on the web, iOS, and Android.

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