Facebook Users, I Am Genuinely Shocked By Your Ignorance

Facebook Users, I Am Genuinely Shocked By Your Ignorance
A Marketers Perspective on the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Facebook users, I mean no offense, but I am genuinely shocked by your ignorance regarding data collection from firms such as Cambridge Analytica. It seems to me this is a scenario we are all very familiar with. Did you really not understand what was happening when you clicked on that quiz link? 

You see a post on Facebook that says, "What color is your aura?" Or, "Which of your friends has a secret crush on you?" You click. Facebook IMMEDIATELY WARNS YOU that this is a third party company that is accessing your personal data. You ignore the warning and proceed because, well, you've always wanted to know what color your aura is. Fast forward to a few months later, and you're angry at Facebook for letting them have your data. 

Huh? 

The truth is, all marketers, whether they work for a retail business or a politician, are accessing and/or purchasing data about you based on your internet use - not just from Facebook, but all across the internet. Access to this data has been a goldmine for marketers because we can now serve up content to people who may actually be interested in it, rather than just taking a stab in the dark. 

But don't tell me you didn't already know this was happening. When you visited your favorite retail website and pondered purchasing that pair of shoes, and then 5-minutes later they appeared in your Facebook newsfeed and on every website you visited, that wasn't destiny telling you to buy the shoes, it was a marketer, like myself, using behavioral data to target you.

I'm not trying to justify Cambridge Analytica's tactics. Pulling data in the manner in which they did it, was no doubt shady, maybe even illegal. But why is the media placing blame on Facebook and screaming for an explanation from Mark Zuckerberg? Scammy behavior happens all across the internet - why single out Facebook when, in fact, it is the ONLY place where you're actually getting warned first? Did Hotmail give you a pop-up notification when that prince from Nigeria emailed you? Nope. Did Google warn you that the fat burning fruit from the Brazilian rainforest was too good to be true? Of course not. Facebook, on the other hand, said, "Hey, you sure about this?" And you clicked through anyhow.  

My concern is that the use of data collection in general is being attacked as a result of this scandal because of its association with the Trump campaign. I will tell you, I am no Trump supporter, but this was certainly not the only candidate to use data collection to perfect their target audience reach. In fact, during the campaign, I followed Bernie Sanders' social media campaign closely because I wanted to learn from it. It was one of the most brilliant social media targeting campaigns I have seen to date, a master class for a social media marketer. I watched in awe and admiration as the social efforts gained momentum and took him from a long shot to a contender. I was equally shocked at how lacking the Clinton social media presence was in comparison. Did the Sanders' campaign use shady quizzes to collect that data? I have no idea. Could they have accessed the same information without doing so? Absolutely. 

Politicians have been working with shady organizations for political gain for as long as any of us can remember. What's different now are the tools. But is the problem here really the tool? Has it ever been? I don't think so. 

While regulations may be put into place, spammers and scammers are still going to do their thing. But on the flip side, data collection does improve our experience on the internet. Advertising will never go away, but it can be less annoying if it is personally targeted to you. When I watch television, almost every commercial I see is irrelevant to me; Pampers, Mountain Dew, and Cialis come to mind. It's no wonder the television industry is being disrupted, they are SO far behind. But when I go on the internet, there are those damn shoes again. It must be destiny.

Social Media Post Ideas For October

There is no doubt about it, the Fall is a BUSY time of year for all of us. But, don't let your social media strategy slip as we head into Q4!

When we are developing a content strategy, designing an email campaign or drafting social media posts for Social Kitchen clients, October is chock-full of fun holidays and important awareness days that we draw inspiration from. Below, we've listed some of our favorite reasons to celebrate in October. When reading these, think about how you could use them to have some fun and increase engagement on social media. Perhaps a pizza giveaway on Facebook in celebration of the fact that October is National Pizza month? Or, ask customers to nominate their favorite teacher for a special giveaway on World Teacher Day. Maybe share a Steve Jobs quote on October 16th, that reflects your brand. The possibilities are endless, be creative!

Monthly Celebrations/Awareness:

  • October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • October is National Pizza Month

Weekly Celebrations/Awareness:

  • Oct 9th: Fire Prevention Week

Daily Celebrations/Awareness:

  • Oct 1: World Vegetarian Day
  • Oct 2: National Name Your Car Day
  • Oct 3: National Boyfriends Day
  • Oct 4: National Taco Day
  • Oct 5: World Teacher's Day
  • Oct 7: World Smile Day
  • Oct 9: National Beer and Pizza Day
  • Oct 10: World Homeless Day
  • Oct 12: Take Your Parents To Lunch Day
  • Oct 14: Be Bald and Free Day
  • Oct 15: World Math Day
  • Oct 16: Steve Jobs Day
  • Oct 17: Boss' Day
  • Oct 18: National Chocolate Cupcake Day
  • Oct 20: National Waiters Day
  • Oct 21: Apple Day
  • Oct 22: Make a Difference Day
  • Oct 23: Mother-In-Law Day
  • Oct 25: World Pasta Day
  • Oct 26: National Pumpkin Day
  • Oct 30: Checklist Day
  • Oct 31: HALLOWEEN!

October is also the perfect time to acknowledge all of the wonderful things that we love about Autumn. Social media and blog posts could include sharing a list of local pick-your-own apple farms, a favorite Fall recipe, football game-day promotions or even creative pumpkins carved by your staff. Also, remember that your customers are busy this time of year as well. What conveniences can you offer them to make their life easier?

Finally, don't forget that the holiday season will be sneaking up on you pretty quickly. NOW is the time to begin promoting holiday events, bookings or specials. Just don't over do it—like you, your customers will appreciate being eased into the season of hustle and bustle!

Action Item: Pull out your October calendar now, and simply jot down an idea for each day or week for your social media posts. Coming up with the idea is half the battle—do this now and October will be a breeze!

How Negative Social Media Feedback Can Improve ROI

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When an ad pops up in your news feed that is irrelevant to you, it's ANNOYING! So, when a promoted post is not optimized to reach the perfect audience, you can bet on receiving some negative comments.

When promoted posts are experiencing negative activity in the form of comments, hides, follow drops, etc., this is an indication that you are spending money to reach the wrong audience. And remember that on average, for each consumer that complains, 26 chose not to express their negative opinion.

Targeting is certainly not a new concept, you covered that in marketing 101. So don't allow that quick and easy "Boost Post" button to make you forget the basics. Take the time to dig deeper into the demographics, interests and behavior options available to you, then target, test and measure.

With the depth of user data available to us from today's social media channels, there's simply no excuse for wasting social media advertising dollars to reach a demographic that is not a perfect fit for your business. Revise your target audience, messaging and graphics until your ad is performing optimally and you'll not only improve ROI, but the headache of negative comments will likely disappear as well.

And the next time your post gets hit with an obnoxious negative comment, you can tell that troll, "Thank you for helping me improve my ROI!"