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Facebook Hacked, 50 Million Accounts Compromised

This is your friendly reminder to update your passwords. As the title of this post reads, Facebook was hacked earlier today and over 50 million user accounts were compromised.

You might have noticed this earlier this morning – many users were automatically logged out of the service (including me). Yeah, I know. Pretty annoying. But it’s a big deal.

Here’s a few things you should do start doing today and over the course of the next few days to keep yourself and your friends safe online –

1. Update Your Facebook Password, Like Right Now
When doing this, make sure to use a unique and secure password. This means that you should use a totally unique password on Facebook, and that you should not use that same password on any other site. It should also be a very long and difficult password to remember. Like so long and complex that you probably have to write it down with a real pen.

2. Use a Password Manager
We use Dashlane to manage passwords. Password managers are very helpful because they remember your passwords for you. They also help you set very secure passwords that you do not have to remember. There are other password managers such as LastPass and 1Password. For those that are shopping around or want to do more research, here’s an article from LifeHacker that reviews the various password managers.

3. Use 2 Factor Authentication (2FA)
If you’ve got a cell phone, you can setup 2 Factor Authentication for your important accounts (think bank accounts, email, and twiter). When anyone (including you) tries to log into those accounts, you’ll receive a text message confirmation code before you can login. This helps prevent unauthorized login attempts, and is pretty cool. Google has a pretty nice overview of why 2FA is important and how to set it up for your Google Account.

For more info about Password Managers and this specific Facebook hack, check out the blog on Dashlane. And if you have any questions, feel free to post a comment or contact us directly 🙂

Good luck, and believe me, after setting up that password manager, you won’t worry as much next time Facebook (or another site) gets hacked.

Raising Money on Facebook

Either you’ve got a Facebook page (or you about to set one up). Either way, you’re probably wondering how to use that page to generate some cash. You’re not the only one. So the good folks at Nonprofit Webinars put together this great webinar on just that – how to use facebook to help your organization raise money. This particular webinar and series of slides was put together by the very fantastic Jeff Patrick, President & Founder of Common Knowledge.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/NPWebinars/status/30370329859723264″]

We’d love to hear from you – how do you plan to use facebook to help you raise money?

New Privacy Policies on Facebook, Cake, and Death

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberger recently announced that Privacy Policies will be changing on Facebook.

Here is an excerpt from the facebook blog:

“Facebook’s current privacy model revolves around “networks” — communities for your school, your company or your region. This worked well when Facebook was mostly used by students, since it made sense that a student might want to share content with their fellow students.

Over time people also asked us to add networks for companies and regions as well. Today we even have networks for some entire countries, like India and China.”

Still with us? Okay – this is the “good” stuff:
“The plan we’ve come up with is to remove regional networks completely and create a simpler model for privacy control where you can set content to be available to only your friends, friends of your friends, or everyone.

We’re adding something that many of you have asked for – the ability to control who sees each individual piece of content you create or upload. In addition, we’ll also be fulfilling a request made by many of you to make the privacy settings page simpler by combining some settings. If you want to read more about this, we began discussing this plan back in July.

Since this update will remove regional networks and create some new settings, in the next couple of weeks we’ll ask you to review and update your privacy settings. You’ll see a message that will explain the changes and take you to a page where you can update your settings. When you’re finished, we’ll show you a confirmation page so you can make sure you chose the right settings for you. As always, once you’re done you’ll still be able to change your settings whenever you want.

We’ve worked hard to build controls that we think will be better for you, but we also understand that everyone’s needs are different. We’ll suggest settings for you based on your current level of privacy, but the best way for you to find the right settings is to read through all your options and customize them for yourself. I encourage you to do this and consider who you’re sharing with online.”

Ok – everybody got that?

Make sure you review and update your privacy settings when the time comes.

In other Facebook news, Facebook has also updated its policies on sweepstakes. For more on what that might mean, read this great article on TechCrunch about spamming people and making a shitload of money on facebook (written by Dennis Yu, a former spammer).

Ok – now you can enjoy Eddie Izzard’s Cake or Death in Lego Stopmotion

Facebook Groups are more like Facebook Pages

Facebook Groups have long been a part of the Facebook experience as a way for people to organize and discuss particular issues of interest. However, until now, Group activities have been isolated to the group page and it was often difficult to find out what currently was going on within a group. We have received feedback from many of you saying that you want to know more about what is going on within your Facebook Groups, in the same way you know what is happening with your friends and other connections on the site — on your home page.

Starting today, we’re transforming Groups to make it easier for you to communicate with other members and create a smoother experience as you browse through Facebook. If you don’t see the new design just yet, you will soon. We’re currently testing it with a small percentage of people on the site and will roll it out to everyone in the coming days.

First, we revamped the design for Groups so that they look similar to other parts of the site such as profiles and Pages. This means that groups will now have a Wall that summarizes all the recent activities of people within the group and a Publisher that enables members to share their content.

Second, group activities, which previously only appeared in the group, will now be delivered to your News Feed. To ensure that you get the most interesting and relevant content from groups you’ve joined, you only will see stories when one of your friends posts within a group rather than when all members post. For example, you now will see a story when your friend uploads photos from a recent party at your high school alumni group or when one of your friends posts a message on the Wall of your pick-up soccer group saying that there is a special game this week.

Interacting with Groups will become easier since you can follow the links to the content directly from the News Feed stories or make comments on these stories directly from your home page. You can choose to see only group-related stories on your home page by sorting by Groups from the filters on the left-hand side.

Keep in mind that while Groups and Pages now look the same, they still serve different purposes. Groups are for fostering member-to-member collaboration, while Pages remain the best way to broadcast messages to your fans if you are a business, organization, public figure or other entity.

You can form a Facebook Group around any community you’re connected to in your real life: book clubs, sports teams, churches, whatever you want. To date, there are over 45 million groups on the site. If you aren’t a member of a group yet, search for one to join or start your own.

New Study finds correlation between Social Media and Financial Success

Many individuals, companies, and non-profits I work with ask, “Should I setup a facebook profile for my company? Won’t it be a time suck? Is it really worth it?” The bottom line for many of my clients: they are worried about spending more time on the computer, and less time on running their company.  A recent article on ReadWriteWeb delves into this very issue.

Personally, I think it’s quite simple. If you’re actively producing online social media (participation on facebook, twitter, etc.), you’re already more engaged. And if you’re more engaged with your customers, clients, and audiences, financial success will follow.

One of the more interesting “discoveries?” Companies had more success when deeply engaged on a few sites than lightly engaged on many sites. “It’s not about doing it all, but doing it right.”

Read the full article below for ReadWriteWeb’s summary of the recent study:
[originally published on ReadWriteWeb]

A new study released by enterprise wiki provider Wetpaint and the Altimeter Group shows that the brands most engaged in social media are also experiencing higher financial success rates than those of their non-engaged peers. To determine this relationship, the study focused on 100 companies from the 2008 BusinessWeek/Interbrand Best Global Brands survey and the various social media platforms they used like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, wikis, and forums. Although it’s difficult to prove for certain that the companies’ involvement in social media has led to their increased revenues, the implication behind the new data is that it has.

After examining the companies and their social media activity levels, the brands were ranked on an “engagement scale” where scores ranged from a high of 127 to a low of 1. Those brands that were the most engaged saw their revenue grow over the past year by 18% while the least engaged brands saw losses of negative 6%.

Four “Engagement Profiles”

The study grouped the brands into one of four engagement profiles that related to the number of channels they’re involved in and how deep that involvement is. At the top of the list are “mavens,” the brands heavily engaged in seven or more social media channels – like Starbucks and Dell, for instance. “Butterflies” are like wannabe “mavens,” and are also engaged in seven or more channels but are spread too thin, investing in some channels more so than others. “Selectives” focus on six or fewer channels but engage customers deeply in the ones they’ve chosen. Finally, there are “wallflowers,” or brands engaged in six or fewer channels with below-average engagement; these include companies like McDonalds and BP.

Out of the top 10 brands engaged in social media, the mavens dominate the list. All of the top 10 are mavens and have seen financial success even in a down economy:
Read more

The Pyramid of Engagement

Last year, I presented at a great conference organized by Soundstreams. One of the speakers, Max Valiquette from Youthography, presented research about online communities. He spoke of a Pyramid of Engagement. I couldn’t find his research or article, but after a quick online search, I found this article posted below (along with a nice image).

[This article is reposted in whole. View the Original Article posted on The Facebook Era]

In any community, online or otherwise, there will be varying levels of engagement among members.  At the Social Media Influence Conference in London this week, Guillaume du Gardier who is New Media Executive at Ferrero explained his pyramid model for understanding passive and active visitors to his brand’s various online communities. Thanks to Guillaume’s inspiration, I have distilled a general pyramid framework with four levels:

pyramid by Charlene Li, of Groundswell/Forrester Research

At the top of the pyramid are a small number of creators, including your most influential community members. They are your evangelists, most ardent fans, and passionate contributors of new ideas.

Next are those who tend to comment on, though generally not contribute, ideas and discussion threads already put forth by others. These individuals are essential for creating a sense of dialogue across different members of the community, for helping to refine ideas and make them better.

One step down are people who vote and tag items in your community. They express their preferences and opinions in the lowest-commitment way possible, but are still engaged.

Last but not least are the bulk of your community visitors: people who are just visiting, consuming content but not participating per se.

Online marketing managers need to understand what the pyramid looks like for their particular communities, how they can encourage people to become increasingly engaged over time, and how specifically each engagement level might lead to or be correlated with sales. For many of us, this might be a better, more nuanced way for linking our marketing funnel (as measured by online engagement in this case) and sales pipeline in the Facebook Era.

Read the original post
Buy the book

UPDATE : For great resources and insights on social networks, read Groundswell

Using Facebook for marketing your Organization

I don’t usually do these “How to use xyz to do abc” kind of posts (or do I?). So while I might be able to write a post on “how to use facebook for marketing your organization,” I’ll spare you. There are many other places you can go for that

HOWEVER – I just saw a post on Danciti and wanted to respond directly.
Here’s the post : http://danciti.com/post/89689559/using-facebook-for-your-organization-well-show-you

The post said “Facebook isn’t a marketing panacea. We’ve never seen hard numbers that show it sells tickets or even holds people’s interest. Sure, it’s free and easy but maybe your limited time would be better spent elsewhere especially if you are over 25 and weren’t born holding a Macbook.”

I am writing to let you know that Danciti is right. You should not be using facebook to market your organization if you’re like 50 years old.

Another thing Danciti is right about – Facebook does not sell tickets.

People sell tickets. But smart people can use facebook to help them sell these tickets (and many other things).

Let me put it in simpler terms. This past season, I ran an online marketing campaign for DanceBrazil. In addition to putting together their site, producing a webcast, and inviting bloggers like Tonya Plank to see the show, I setup a facebook page for the company. I also ran ads on facebook for the company.

Without betraying any implicit confidentiality, I’ll say this. The company received approximately $20 for every $1 I spent on facebook. For example, this means that if we had a budget of $100, the company would have sold $2000 in tickets (via facebook). This, of course, is not as simple as I am breaking it down. I spent alot of time on facebook on behalf of the company. Alot. And by alot, I mean alot. I engaged people. I asked them questions. I listened to them. I reached out to people individually. I built a small audience for DanceBrazil on facebook. And THEN – once I had an engaged audience – I ran ads. On facebook. And we sold tickets. Lots of them. On facebook.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a 25 year old, but I was born holding a Macbook. Also, DanceBrazil is highly interesting to watch. If your product sucks, you’re going to have to spend more money to either make your product not suck, or marketing a sucky product. Either way, it helps to not have a sucky product.

For those interested in a full blown case study (without the words um, like, Macbook, and sucky) …stay tuned…..

Setting up Facebook Ads: Part 1

This past month, I setup a facebook ad campaign for a company. There are many who say that facebook ads do not work. For the purpose of this article, I will disagree with them. The goal for the campaign was to generate awareness about the company on facebook, and it worked.  I was able to target my ad according to age, demographics, interest, price, and schedule. I was also able to track the results of the ad in real time.  

For this test campaign, I budgeted $20/day. As I stated above, my main goals were simply to build awareness of the company, and drive traffic to their facebook page and promote their event on facebook. In a matter of days, the ad appeared on facebook over 300,000 times. 107 people clicked on the ad. In terms of clicks, this is wildly disproportionate to other ad networks like Google. Nonetheless, there was a small, but extremely relevant increase in participation.  Here’s a breakdown of stats


Impressions: 328,307 Clicks: 107 Click through rate: 0.03%     total spent: $64.01

I knew the benefit of setting up a campaign on facebook would be the targeting that facebook provides. For example, if I wanted to reach people who are interested in Aerosmith, The Who, and/or The Daily Show, I had the option of doing so. And my ad also appeared ALOT.

If you’re looking for impressions (awareness), facebook is a good platform. If you’re looking for direct conversions (leading to purchases), I would still consider it. However, I would strongly consider running a google adwords campaign at the same time to compare results.

For those interested in running a campaign, I’ve attached some visuals.

Below are a few screenshots of what the ad setup process looks like on facebook. 


If you’ve run a facebook ad, or are thinking of doing it, let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and questions. What are you looking to advertise? What are your expectations for setting up the ad? What do you want your audience to do?  What kind of results do you expect?

Social Media Strategy

social networks statistics
With a growing number of sites and social networks, how do you decide what networks to join? What strategy should you use? What kind of time will it take? While all these questions are valid, the most useful question is: what will be most useful for me? What will keep me connected to others and others connected with me?

A few tips from a few blogs:

Duct Tape Marketing says:

I think the best way to look at social media is to view it as a way to open up access points. These points can then be leveraged to create content, connection, and community. Do that well, and they can also add to lead generation, nurturing and conversion.
I’ll talk more about this in a free webinar this Wednesday put on by the good folks at Jigsaw, but here are couple point to ponder.

Choose your social media tools with an ideal interaction in mind
– Is a blog a starting point or an ending point?
Choose your social media objectives with connection in mind
– Are you after traffic, primary and secondary links or access to communities that think and act alike?

Jeff Pulver writes about the role of an online “Community Developer”:

A company’s Facebook strategy is just a piece of the answer. It is not the complete answer. At best it is a tactic. And a company’s social media strategy isn’t something which can be entirely outsourced either. When implemented it requires a commitment from the company to support the efforts, not to just press play and walk away and hope for the best.

While I have actively used the term “community” since 1994, and hired a friend in 1999 and gave him a title of “Community Developer” it has taken a number of years for the world to catch on to some concepts I have been taking for granted for years.

It turns out when you decided to put your company “on the Internet”, like it or not, it would be a lifetime commitment to being subject to ongoing change and innovation. What at first was creating a gateway for company email and a website to establish an Internet presence has evolved into being able to leverage the best tools whenever possible when playing in an always-on world of pervasive broadband.

Chris Brogan writes a series of articles on social media. A few of his tips:

1. Social media isn’t that scary, but it is different than what you’ve been doing. For one thing, it’s far more messy, and requires a lot more hand-holding.
2. You have SO MUCH to gain from figuring out some of these tools and the way we’re using them.
3. Blogging isn’t the same as releasing marketing materials.
4. Putting up commercials on YouTube isn’t videoblogging.

I read this article by Britt Parrot some time ago and thought it good enough to repost here:

Social media is not about technology, nor about keeping up with the latest trend. The primary goal of using social media has to be communication, not technology and not viral marketing. A company has phones because it wants employees to be able to talk to other people, not because it wants to be at the “cutting edge of voice-activated, enterprise digital communication systems”—and not because it wants to call everyone in the phone book with a sales pitch! If the main goal for using social media is to be at the cutting edge of technology, or if your client’s eyes light up when they realize they can use social media to send a mass message to followers, it will fail. Social media is part of a long-term communication strategy to build relationships.

Ignite Social Media writes about the difference between a social media campaign and social media strategy:

Social media strategy: A social media strategy should always come before a social media campaign. Ideally, it should come at least six months before the social media campaign. In it, you re-evaluate your internal assets and begin to (a) analyze and (b) engage with the community, but you don’t “ask” for anything in return yet. We did this first for Ignite, and it pays huge dividends.

Social media campaign: A social media campaign derives from a social media strategy. The major difference here is that now you (a) understand the audience that cares about your subject and where they gather, (b) you’ve given quality information away and developed followers, and (c) you now have measurable goals. Now you’re activating people and trying to “get” something.

Effective Use of Webtools

This coming Thursday, the Queens Council for the Arts will be hosting a panel for artists. As one of the panelists, I’ve been asked to address the question, “How to effectively get your message out.”

Essentially – you’ve got a website, a social networking profile, or other online identities – now what?

This past May, I gave a presentation on this very issue.

You can see the presentation here.

And I know – the very challenge we all face is “Not enough time, money, or space.” (Hint: This challenge is not unique to artists). And we also have the inevitable question – do we have to do everything like setup a facebook, myspace account, and linkedIn account?

Simply said, if you’re going to actually use these tools to communicate, then of course – use them. They are popular sites because they are useful tools. But if you’re not going to use it, don’t set it up. It’s like having an email account you never check. Why bother?

My question for you then, the reader, revolves around content production :

  • TOOLS: How do you envision producing content for the web?
  • RESOURCES: What kind of resources do you already have that will enable you to produce this content?
  • MESSAGE: What will this content communicate?
  • ACTION: What response would you like to elicit from your online audiences?
  • PURPOSE: How will this serve your mission and connect to your work offline?

Answering these questions will benefit you much better than answering, what do I do with my MySpace account? If you can answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to developing your online presence and growing your audience – online and off.

Some Places to start:

1. Start working with a CMS (Content Management System)

If you want to be able to manage and update your website without a web programmer, invest in a content management systems.

I suggest you use one of the following:

  • WordPress (typically a blogging platform, but scalable for large sites) – easy, cheap setup
  • Drupal (open-source) – higher learning curve, large set of functionality
  • Joomla – most popular, though typically more expensive to develop
  • Plone – popular with environmental organizations
2. Create a production calendar, just like you would create for any other work you may have.
3. Start documenting your work online. We’re living in a green-conscious world. We should resuse all we can. Documenting your work online offers you a chance to reuse materials from your process.
This can mean:
  • posting your photos online (I recommend flickr)
  • writing about your process on a blog
  • posting a series of videos online
  • offering tutorials
  • revealing your process as its own art form
4. Offer your audience members a chance for feedback. Be prepared to listen and respond. By offering users + audiences a chance to submit their own content (user-generated content), you relieve yourself the responsibility of producing and uploading content. However, you still have the responsibility of making sure you respond, and participate in the community you are creating.
5. Create a place for experimentation. Your mission will not change from month-to-month. So your basic website should not change drastically from month-to-month, either. However, you do need places to try new things out. Setup a test blog on wordpress, or a personal account on flickr. Begin testing things out for yourself. See what works for you.
The most important thing in building your online presence is to remain open and responsive. With a positive and open attitude, you’ll create possibilities you haven’t even thought of yet!
For an interesting read, check out 11 Ways to Market your Site

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Networking