This weekend saw the hacking of major social media player Buffer, which caused many users of the social media content manager to annoy their Facebook friends and followers with weight-loss themed spam.
The problem appears to have since been rectified, and the security of the Buffer app should see improvements following the attack. Buffer CEO, Joel Gascoigne, offered an explanation and apology on the company blog following the débâcle, “I wanted to post a quick update and apologize for the awful experience we’ve caused many of you on your weekend. Buffer was hacked around 2 hours ago, and many of you may have experienced spam posts sent from you via Buffer. I can only understand how angry and disappointed you must be right now.”.
Gascoigne continued, “Not everyone who has signed up for Buffer has been affected, but you may want to check on your accounts. We’re working hard to fix this problem right now and we’re expecting to have everything back to normal shortly.”.
The severity of the event caused Buffer to completely remove its app from Facebook at around midday, Pacific Standard Time, on Saturday 26th October. This caused all posts made via the app to be temporarily hidden for much of the afternoon. With progressions being made throughout the afternoon, Buffer was back online at around 8pm in full working order again.
Questions will rightly be raised over the security of the app, and Buffer have already moved to reassure their million strong user base, “We’ve greatly increased the security of how we handle all social messages being posted and everything is back to normal,” read an evening announcement from the company. Buffer also plan to “publish an in-depth post about what the spammers got access to and what we did to fix it.”.
Getting hacked is the stuff of nightmares for every internet business – reputations can be ruined in an instant and Buffer will have to work hard to overcome this setback. Gascoigne promises to respond to every single e-mail they received regarding the issue, and to continue the post-mortem analysis to found out exactly what happened.
With social media now becoming a huge marketing tool for any business, running a competition is a great way for a brand to increase it’s followers as well as raising awareness of their campaigns. That’s why Twitter has become an increasingly popular social media tool to use for running competitions, and there are plenty of businesses out there that are taking advantage of this, but are they making the most of promotions and playing by the rules?
When it comes to running a competition via Twitter it’s pretty straightforward, however there are some guidelines implemented, unlike Facebook though businesses aren’t required to set-up any third party applications to be within terms.
Many brands may not be aware that Twitter competitions come under the CAP Code of advertising and sales promotion, and that in this case there are strict compliance issues that need to be adhered to.
To make sure that your twitter competition is compliant as well as being effective, the following three points will give you a base point to begin:
• Does it work for your brand?
• Does it work within industry competition guidelines?
• Does it work within Twitter’s platform guidelines?
Will it work for the brand?
Anyone who is experienced in the running of a “Follow and Re-Tweet” promotion will no doubt be aware of the people known as “Serial Compers”; these are people who enter competitions on a semi-professional basis.
They aren’t necessarily genuine fans of your brand, they’re actually fans of winning free products, and so what’s the best way to dispose of these serial compers?
An idea for businesses would be to look at value over volume, so why not make your fans actually do something worthwhile rather then just posting out a retweet. You could look at getting them to make suggestions about your brand by asking a question or even ask them to head to your site to find an answer to a question that you’ve posted on Twitter.
By participating in these simple processes it will encourage your true fans to invest their time in to learning a bit more about your brand, it will also ensure that your competition is more effective by driving awareness of your brand and the campaign that you’re running.
Is the promotion that you’re running legal?
In the world of Twitter there are two legal promotions that brands are able to run, these are as follows –
• An actual competition – This is where the winning of the prize on offer requires the winner to have some input, so that this can then be judged.
• A sweepstake with a random prize draw – The winner is selected completely by chance.
For both of these you need to make sure that your promotion is compliant. As per the CAP code you need to make the following information clear before any participants enter –
• The prize on offer.
• The start and closing date.
• The entry mechanic.
In providing this information you’ve ensured that anybody who enters or shares the competition with others is making others aware of the terms to the competition. CAP code also states that all prize draws must be adjudicated independently by a third party who doesn’t work for the company.
All of this will come at a cost, but by meeting these guidelines it means that the running of your promotion will be all above board in the eyes of the CAP code.
Will the Twitter platform like it?
With a lot of Marketers feeling the pressure to keep their Twitter numbers up, most brands have resorted to “Follow and Re-Tweet” competitions that will see a boost in their followers, but again this will interest “Serial Compers”.
In the eyes of Twitter they want their platform to be full of interesting content, which means that they don’t want their users spamming their followers with multiple tweets, or the setting up of multiple accounts so that more promotions can be entered.
In turn if any competitions that are run by a brand were to encourage this sort of behaviour Twitter would in turn shut the platform down.
If you’re unaware of the overall guidelines of Twitter then the following information will come to good use – https://support.twitter.com/articles/68877-guidelines-for-contests-on-twitter
By following the main three points when it comes to running a promotion this will help to raise brand awareness even more in a positive way and you should see some great results.
A recent report by Optify has revealed that Facebook is no longer on top when it comes to sales. In fact, its rival, Twitter has come up trumps with higher conversion rates of late. Whilst this news may have companies running for the little blue bird accounts, we need to remember to put this in perspective. Social still only accounts for a very small proportion of sales, on average generating just 1.9% whilst 41% comes from organically sourced searches.
Optify do report that whilst companies which manage their social media campaigns actively and effectively have high conversion rates, this is actually only a very few number of businesses. So what did they find? The report shows that Facebook drives the most traffic to sites above Twitter and LinkedIn, but Twitter in fact generates more sales and leads. Twitter actually has a quite high conversion rate of 2.17% (high for social media that is) whilst Facebook sits at just 0.74% and LinkedIn marginally higher at 0.8%.
Whilst social media is undoubtedly a useful and insightful tool that will continue to grow, organic searches still greatly outnumber any social media. 41% of traffic is generated for B2B sites, with Google equating to 9-% of this leads. However, Google have shot themselves in the foot a little for the latest data search encryption and algorithms. Conversions rates aren’t followed through and data seems to be ‘not provided’ in certain areas.
Another way to clinch back those ‘not provided’ data segments is via email. Email still holds very high interaction and engagement rates. As this is a fairly cheap and easily run tool, more businesses are turning back to email, especially B2B companies, as this is where they can generate leads and hold the higher conversion and engagement rates. The average in the report says that 3.75 pages are viewed from an email, with a 2.9% conversion rate – the highest comparative.
So should we all begin to invest more time, energy and money into social media? Or should we head back to basics and continue to churn out emails? We suggest doing whatever works well for you and concentrate on your own conversion rates to ensure you’re getting the best out of every channel you use.
In previous years it was a fight between Myspace and Facebook, with Facebook coming out on top. Since then we’ve had the Apple vs Microsoft saga and even Harry potter vs Twilight. It now looks like the age of the social media platform battle is back, and will be bigger than any seen previously.
Twitter vs Insatgram.
The battle is rife with sabotage, exploits and back handedness in the press surrounding the feud between to the two multi-million-money-making moguls. With Twitter quite publicly disabling images from Instagram, it seems that the blue-bird company took personal offence to not winning the bid to buy the photo sharing business. Limiting access between the two sites is something that is now becoming more and more futile and until recently, members of each site haven’t been bothered by the bickering. Now it’s beginning to effect the users’ interaction and we think it will only be a matter of time before you can only use one without the other. Replicating features is another concern of users, as well as the limited access between the two. As mentioned, when snapping a pic on Instagram and wishing to share on Twitter depicts a very strange image on the status site. This is taking competitive to a whole new level.
Both Instagram and Twitter have a substantial following and as mentioned, neither ‘side’ of consumers have been bothered until now. Corruption and disabling, blocking and lack of consistency are beginning to wane with the users and the on-going feud is being called to make up or break up for good. Instead of working together however, it seems neither side are backing down, and with such a competitive space they are competing for, it looks like it may be a battle to the death. Where does your loyalty lie? Whilst the sites can’t find solace in the fact that users are and are wanting to use both sites together, we can certainly begin to understand the sheer importance and power that we, the consumers must have.
Thanks to the recent little matter of an election, Twitter has really proved its worth as a reputable news stand; largely thanks to the embracing nature of the man who yesterday, was re-elected back into office for a second term. Barack Obama has welcomed Twitter with open arms from his first electoral campaign, and has really proved the site and its news influence over the last few months, and certainly the last day.
With Twitter receiving the first announcement of his win before he stepped onto the podium in Chicago to address the nation and confirm the victory. He tweeted moments before he took to the stand, “This happened because of you. Thank you.”
Both electoral parties took to the Twitter platform to drum up support and keep an eye on the others online tactics. With this being set as one of the closest to call elections to date, Twitter played a large part in keeping exposure to a maximum and a debate of interest with followers and supporters online. Tuesday night saw more then 31 million election themed tweets being sent, making this the most popular tweeted event in US political history ever.
Platitudes from celebrity followers and supporters came in thick and fast form the likes of Lady Gaga, Cher and Will Ferrell, all taking to the social media platform to congratulate and share their support for Obama. All in all, not only did the US election shape up to be one of the closest to call to date, but it also solidified the fact that Twitter is a reputable and highly sort-after platform for news and current events in real-time. Barack Obama not only gained the win over rival Mitt Romney and was re-elected back into the White House for a second term, but her also generated the prestigious title of most popular tweet EVER! The three worded tweet was re-tweeted over half a million times in just four hours. This surpassed the previous owner of the title of most re-tweeted, Justin Bieber, with just over 223,000. The understated tweet simply read “Four more years.”
I have to thank the wonderful Red for sending me this – as it really amused me, and says alot. I’ll leave you to decide for yourselves where you should be posting!
Twitter is rolling out new changes to their timeline and have been doing so since the end of September. It’s all about Twitter Quality. Their plan is to make the changes slowly for members, so they can adjust over a period of time; rather than all at once. Twitter intends to allow the user to switch back and forth for a period of time, to enhance the learning curve. Unlike the large Facebook changes we have seen recently that have caused uproar, Twitter have chosen to introduce these changes softly.
Most of the big changes will be familiar to those who use the mobile applications. Mobile users have already been enjoying the enhanced versatility and control in the timeline for quite a while. As you open and hover over links, you will find in-line listings of retweets and favorites at the top of the page instead of at the bottom.
Want to check out a profile? Now instead of changing the sidebar, when you click the members name a light box will cover the page supplying all the needed information. The changes to the twitter timeline seem to make the sidebar more useful rather than obsolete as many may argue.
These new redesigns may encourage members to spend more time in twitter time line. The new threaded like conversions may seem more convenient to desktop members once they get the hang of it. You can now click an open bottom, which expands the tweet and includes replies in the display.
The redesign to the twitter timeline seems to improve conversation tracking. Most are saying that the changes are making an already easy to use social media site even easier to use.
Twitter has also changed its authentication requirements for third-party users; this will greatly improve the speed of switching between timeline and other applications for their mobile users.
Spending more time in twitter timeline can be an advantage to easy quick changes in conversations and newsfeeds. Don’t forget the added in-line media feeds for your photos and videos. The open button will allow for quick back and forth replies and the inclusion of the visually important photo and video feeds.
When I first decided to launch Bright Digital Minds, I realised that I couldn’t exactly go out there as a social media manager without having some social media going on myself. So in a vain attempt to make BDM look popular during the launch process, and as part of a test of this new phenomenon I had heard so much about, I decided to put my hand in my pocket for a whole £10 (just less than) and see what happened with Fiverr…
For those of you new to the Fiverr concept, you basically pay $5 for pretty much anything you want. People will offer their random services for a hugh $5… (£3.17)
So what did I order?
A brand new twitter background – see below screen shot. Needless to say I don’t like it I gave clear direction on what I wanted, logo’s and also my site to give the general feel – It’s a lazy effort – and has now actually cost me in time as I now have to build something myself Just noticed the cheeky swine is using my twitter as an example of his work!!!
I should also mention here that the first order I placed actually never went ahead – the dude never replied to anything. In Fiverr’s defence – they have a nifty system in place which automates messages to tell you when your order should be ready by. If nothing happens, they’ll remind you it’s late – then give you the option to cancel it. Nifty!
200 Facebook Fans – once again, less than impressed – it served a purpose and got me the all important vanity URL – but these fans are not relevant to me or the company or the business objectives. But for £3.17 – I’ll take that hit.
500 Twitter Followers – possibly the worst of the lot… I am so miffed, no, angry about this one. Naively when I accepted the gig, I handed over my logins, not realising in the whirlwind of launching what this spammy arse would get up too. As you can see from the screen shot below – his promise of ‘will add 500 Real and Active followers in your twitter account for $5′ isn’t strictly correct now is it!!! Not only did I not get my 500 followers, the ones I did get were as a result of him following anyone and everyone he knew would just follow back. He ended up following way over 1000 people that have now spammed my feed… I could have done that myself, and at least followed relevant people with the hope that my feed would at least hold insightful information! Now I have the lovely job of unfollowing all these people, and following some people I actually respect! Bah humbug!
Lesson learned! At £3.17 you really do get what you pay for. I think I’ll stick to ordering crochet lions
It might seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but when you set up your social media campaign, have a think about how you portray yourself. Continuous shouts about how busy you are or your recent client wins may not actually be the best way forward. Whilst the odd bit of bragging never did anyone any harm – do people really want to see you repeat your achievements over and over again? Think about how your brand is being portrayed. Similarly – continuous shouts about all your amazing products or sales or offers can do the same – you become a machine randomly blurting information. There is no opportunity for a RT or Share or even… a reply. Social media should encourage people to have a conversation with you, it should open up the lines of communication and have personality.
If your goals with your twitter and facebook accounts are to just fill the page with information in the hope that some will stick – you need to re-think what you are doing; ‘Spray and Pray’ to coin an old email marketing phrase just doesn’t work with Social Media. The people who are your fans or potential fans are online savvy, they know how the internet works and chances are, have their own opinions of what should be found on a twitter stream or fan page – so why not ask them? Get them involved! With things like facebook questions you can easily gauge what people expect to see online – do your research and use the results!
With new monitoring and measuring tools like facebook insights, you are able to very quickly see what is working and what isn’t – so make sure you use the information you have. Why not try asking questions or encouraging people to RT. Measure your response, if it doesn’t work, try something else.
Before you go out all guns a blazin’ – sit down, make some plans and then execute them.
If you need help or want to discuss your social media strategy, get in touch today and see how Bright Digital Minds can help you!