Hidden Facebook Tricks

9 11 2012

We loved this article about the five best hidden Facebook tricks from Aaron Couch over at MakeUseOf.com. With Facebook’s platform changing so frequently it’s hard to keep up with all the ins and outs of the killer app of the social media era. Thanks Aaron for revealing some great tips and tricks. Here’s what he has to say:

How much do you use Facebook? Every day? Would you consider yourself an expert? It’s true that we do spend a lot of time on Facebook, but surprisingly, a lot of users still don’t completely take advantage of all the features it has to offer.

Facebook-Tips
To help you make the most of your Facebook experience, I’m going to go into depth explaining the best hidden Facebook tricks currently available, such as forwarding messages, organizing contacts in lists, viewing your profile the way another contact sees it, joining and using groups specifically made for your college and its students, and controlling who sees what you’re tagged in by your friends.

Message Forwarding
The simple way to share messages between different parties is copy and paste. Right? Maybe not. Conversations can be difficult to select in the right place. It also can be quite tedious whenever you want to quickly edit the conversation so that it’s easy to read and follow. Thankfully, Facebook has addressed the issue with message forwarding, allowing you to easily share any part of a conversation.

The process is simple. With the desired conversation open, click “Actions” and then “Forward…”

You’ll be prompted to select which messages you would like to send. Do this by checking the boxes next to each message. Click the blue “Forward” button in the yellow banner at the top and send your message to anyone you desire. You can also add your own comments to the conversation as seen in the image below.
It is important to note that you should always get the permission from the other friend whose messages you’re forwarding. It’s the courteous thing to do.

Contact Lists
As you may already know, Facebook has a “lists” feature, which allows you to sort contacts, or do you? If you do know about the feature, do you use it? A quick survey I conducted with 104 people resulted in 72 percent not using this feature. 10 percent said they use only the lists provided by Facebook to organize their friends and 17 percent said they use the provided lists and also make some of their own. Only 27 percent of those who were surveyed are using Facebook lists. That seems quite low to me. However, with that said, Facebook doesn’t make it very simple to organize your contacts, nor do they really explain the benefits of doing so.

I’ll quickly explain the benefit that Facebook lists can be. If you’re at all like me, you probably have connections from several aspects of your life – work, school, family, different organizations, church, friends and people you’ve met through your friends. At the very least, it’s nice to know how those people fit into your life. Sure you may think you can remember them all, but once in a while we all run across someone in our newsfeed that we have to stop and ask ourselves “Who is this person again?” That alone should be reason enough to organize your contacts.

However, you can also create specific newsfeeds for certain people or topics, instead of just seeing everything. Probably the most useful trick with lists, though, is the ability to filter out posts and direct them to certain categories of friends. This can be helpful if you don’t want to annoy fellow co-workers with the vast amount of YouTube videos that you made and posted on your profile for your close friends to see.

This is a good time to quickly point out that you should never post anything on the Internet that you don’t want everyone to see. That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t direct it to specific audiences, but save yourself some embarrassment and don’t post about that crazy party last night and call in sick on the same day — even if the post is “hidden” from your boss and co-workers. Remember those mutual friends of yours and your boss’s that were tagged in your post? Busted.

To create a Facebook contact list, click on “Friends” on the left sidebar. You’ll likely see some lists already there — those are the ones Facebook has provided for you. The lists include places you’ve worked, gone to school, family, close friends and acquaintances, to name a few. This is a good place to start, but if you want to make a custom list of your own you can click the button “Create List.” Then just name the list and add the people you want.

Even if you don’t want to go back through all your contacts to add them to lists right now, be sure to start with the new contacts that you acquire and immediately add them to a list. This ensures that you don’t forget any newly added ones as you begin your Facebook list adventure.

Profile “View As…”
Ever wonder what your profile looks like to the public eye or even a specific person? The “View As…” feature allows you to do just that. Beneath the bottom right corner of your cover photo, there is a small gear-shaped button (also next to the “Activity Log” button). When clicked, a menu with the option to see your profile how others see it drops down. Click “View As…” and you’ll see your profile change in appearance.
This is also a nice security feature to see just how much the public sees on your profile. You may end up wanting to change a thing or two that you didn’t know were visible to the public eye.

College-Specific Groups
Remember back when Facebook was only for college students and you needed an EDU email address to even use it? So, what ever happened to that?

Once Facebook opened to the public, all that college student exclusivity vanished. That feature is now back though with even more features and uses to make your college and Facebook experience even better. To see if your college or university group has already been created on Facebook, go to Groups for Schools.

Facebook will automatically detect what college group you belong in based on your EDU email address that you’ve registered with Facebook. To do this, simply add it to your contact information and Facebook will take care of the rest. In these groups, there are endless possibilities to interact with fellow students. It’s a great way to meet fellow students who may share the same interests, which is often hard to do at large universities.

Controlling Posts You’re Tagged In
No! Your friends did it again! They tagged you in that horrendous photo. Needless to say, this happens all the time. In fact, I’ve even done it as a prank to a friend because I knew they didn’t have this feature enabled. So how can you control tagging?

First off, always be aware of where you go in person. I’m referring to real life here. If you think what you’re doing may end up on Facebook and you aren’t sure all your contacts would approve, maybe you should think twice.

But let’s say you just want a little more control over what shows up on your profile. Personally, this is a big issue for me as I don’t have an Internet-enabled phone so I can’t promptly access Facebook. There are a few features that allow you to approve what posts are submitted to your profile by others and which ones aren’t.

Just like any other of the privacy and security settings, which I highly recommend you familiarize yourself with, the tagging controls are accessed through “Privacy Settings” in the drop down menu of the top right corner of the page. Once you’re there, select custom and then click the “Edit Settings” link under the “Timeline and Tagging” section.

The window features several settings to adjust how others interact with you on Facebook publicly. On the third line, you can turn on the option to review posts that friends tag you in prior to it appearing on your timeline.

You can also set the option to review tags that friends set to your own posts and also who can see posts that you’ve been tagged in as well as just any posts that friends post on your profile.

Something important to note is that these settings can be much more beneficial if you also have your friends categorized into lists. This is because if you do want to customize the settings beyond all of your friends seeing posts or being able to post, you can allow or prevent specific lists of friends from being able to interact with you publicly.

Conclusion
As Facebook continues to grow, so do its features. Currently, I see these as the most helpful features at the time, but if you feel there is one (or more) that I missed, let us know in the comments below how you use it to improve your Facebook experience. What is the most useful Facebook feature for you? Also, check out our free PDF manual “The Very Unofficial Facebook Privacy Manual” by Angela.





The Microsoft Cool Factor

9 11 2012

While the long lines waiting outside Apple stores around the country and the buzz around everything Apple would lead most to think that Apple is cool and Microsoft is not, the winds may be changing.

In the Huffington Post Technology vertical today, Jason Gilbert writes that Microsoft is entering a new stage of “cool.” Here’s what he has to say:

Hang onto your pocket protector, Mr. Clippy: That is at least a partial implication of new findings put out by the consumer sentiment firm YouGov, which found Microsoft’s public approval rating — its “Buzz score,” in YouGov’s parlance — surging as of late. YouGov spokesman Drew Kerr said in an email that Microsoft “is experiencing one of its best consumer perception surges of the past 21 months,” thanks to the positive reception of ad campaigns for the surprising Surface tablet, the ambitious Windows 8 operating system and the stalwart joke-punchline Bing search engine.

Against all odds, a hipster exodus to Microsoft might be afoot.

Microsoft advertisements do, indeed, seem to be skewing younger and cooler. A song by indie favorites Eagles of Death Metal (no, that is not a misprint) was featured in the first TV commercial for Windows 8, and the dubstep insta-classic “Too Close” by Alex Clare soundtracks a well-choreographed Internet Explorer ad in current rotation. Microsoft went with a speaker-blasting in-house composition for its Surface tablet that sent YouTube commenters a-squeal.

Windows8

It’s the kind of musical smarts that Apple mastered in its initial run of iPod ads being used to tinge the first impression most Americans have of Microsoft’s entire line of services and hardware. Cool points: Microsoft.

This musical reinvention accompanies a design revolution at Microsoft, too. Windows Phone, Microsoft’s little-used operating system for smartphones, has won heaps of praise for its layout and freshness. So, too, has Windows Phone’s big brother, Windows 8, as well as its most well-known banner carrier, the Surface tablet. Even Internet Explorer — once a microcosmic representation of all that was ugly, overloaded and unintuitive about the Windows operating system — has been cleaned up and is earning applause from critics.

Clean, innovative design is dominating Microsoft in a way that it — clearly, desperately — never had before. Cool points: Microsoft.

If YouGov’s numbers are correct, all that design work and Pitchfork-friendly musical curation is paying off with the public, at least in terms of perception. Whether it pays off in the literal sense — profits, product adoption, rise in stock price — is still in the offing.

Indeed, Microsoft’s rising consumer approval arrives at a precarious time for the company, one in which its decades-long grasp on personal computing seems to be slipping away to rival Apple. Worldwide PC sales are slipping as consumers opt instead for tablets, mostly the iPad. Smartphones, too, are a rising personal computing device, and Microsoft has yet to gain a meaningful foothold with its Windows Phone operating system. With the mega-launch of the last-ditch Windows Phone 8 platform occurring in November, current Windows Phone market share still sits below 5 percent. Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, consistently loses hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter, despite some recent gains against rival Google.

Microsoft remains profitable, of course: Sales of PCs running Windows still bring in tons of cash, and recent major acquisitions of Skype and Yammer have been lauded as good moves for the company. But while profitability has long been stable, public appreciation has not. Apple was always the critical and customer darling, Microsoft the behemoth, unfeeling corporation.

But after nearly a decade of public idolatry and Microsoft-bashing from tech critics and young people alike, we may finally be seeing a thawing of that dominant dogma. Between its overzealous patent litigation, botched handling of the iOS 6 Maps transition and somewhat stagnant design progression, Apple has turned some people off over the past year (see: any article on Reddit about Apple). Microsoft may be in a position to win over those jaded, discontented former Apple fans and take the crown of cool from its longtime rival.

That’s a big, huge, so-many-contingencies-and-variables “maybe,” of course. And, too, all of this appropriation of “hip” music and aesthetic pleasantness may be deemed as too little, too late, to sway the opinion of an America who still associates Microsoft with TI-83 nerdery and Dilbert-ian office drudgery. But maybe — just maybe — if Microsoft sticks to its design-forward revolution and commitment to user satisfaction, it might just find itself winning over some honest-to-God fans, and not just the cubicle-types who are forced to use its software at the local business complex.





Putting Social Media to Work in the Health Care Industry

20 07 2012

Guest post by Atara Lakritz, an intern in Access Computer’s summer internship program

Facebook is expected to pass the 1 billion user mark by mid-August of this year (the 12th, to be exact). Twitter users hit 100 million active users earlier this year. With each passing day, social media websites of all kinds are only gaining in popularity. Those users will always seek medical advice in one form or another.

Especially in the US, the doctor-patient relationship is of pressing value. So why not utilize social media to further the influence and important role doctors play in the lives of their patients? Access Computer specializes in social media marketing for Metro Detroit’s local medical community. While many physicians and dentists once thought Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t be able to help their practices, they now see the light. Contact Access today to learn how social media can help your medical or dental practice.

I recently read an interesting article about how more doctors are taking advantage of social media. Pamela Lewis Dolan at amednews writes:

Through social media, physicians can gain insight into what patients are willing to do to improve their health and what obstacles stand in their way, Kevin Abramson said in the PwC report. He is director of marketing planning for OptumHealth, a health management solutions company that is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group.

Chris Keating, a physical therapist who manages social media activities for Strive Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation in New Jersey, said Strive’s social media activities give him an outlet to find out what services and events interest people. When he posts photos of an event Strive held in the community, he’ll ask Facebook followers what events, such as screenings for certain medical conditions, they would like to see. It’s a way to get the information you want in a conversational way, he said.

61% of patients say they trust information posted by physicians on social media.
Jessica Logan, social media and online content specialist for the University of California, San Diego Health Sciences marketing and communications department, said she sees a lot of trends developing on Twitter that could indicate a need in the community. For example, she said she has seen a lot of discussion on ulcerative colitis. From a social media content perspective, she knows the community could benefit from her posting more information about that topic. From a business perspective, the conversations could help guide product or service development efforts.

Although a small physician practice might not have the manpower to manage social media efforts, they are at an advantage when it comes to acting on information due to the smaller number of people making decisions. While it would be difficult for a large institution like UC San Diego to institute a program or specialized service immediately, a small practice has that flexibility.

Jason Hwang, MD, an internist and executive director of health care at the Innosight Institute, a San Francisco-based research organization focusing on education and health care, said social media could provide a new way of tracking population health. Tracking health trends is becoming increasingly popular, as many practices move toward medical home and shared savings models. It also could identify “hot spots” for disease outbreaks.

“A hospital or health system could engage social media to see what their patients are talking about and subsequently target those hot spots with certain therapies or interventions,” he said.

Improve customer service
How a physician practice or hospital responds to negative comments and complaints can carry equal or more weight than positive consumer engagement, according to the PwC report. Unlike customer service issues brought to a practice’s attention in a survey, complaints made on social media can be addressed — and often remedied — immediately, because there is an outlet for a dialogue.

Even though specific details should be kept offline, practices can respond in public with an apology and offer to correct the situation so that others can see action being taken. Logan said when other social media users see that a problem is being handled right away, they come to realize that customer service is taken seriously. It also gives the practice a chance to know about situations immediately so they are remedied and not exacerbated by an upset patient.

Gather feedback on medications
Jared Rhoads, senior research analyst with CSC’s Global Institute for Emerging Healthcare Practices, said feedback on therapies is one of the most valuable uses for social media — and possibly one of the easiest to facilitate.

“If 10,000 people start talking about a side effect of a drug, it won’t be that hard to find that out,” he said.

Trends on Twitter sometimes indicate medical needs in the community. Monitoring Twitter buzz surrounding a certain drug, for example, would offer great insight into how patients are reacting to it. Not only is information on side effects useful, but information on therapies that are working well is valuable to physicians, he said. There may be insight about a therapy the physician hasn’t tried, or an alternative therapy he learns about through patient interactions on social media.”

As the social media explosion continues, an increasing number of medical professionals will look to the social networks of Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus to help them communicate with patience and bolster their practices.





Everything Is Social (Well, Almost Everything!)

10 07 2012

We loved this post by SocialAppsHQ.

“Ultimately, all content, unless it is private communication, strives to be social. As a result, social media will be part of every business unit.” – Curtis Houglad, Social Media Thought Leader

As we all know, in just a short time social media has almost completely changed the face of online marketing. Social Media Marketing can enhance your company’s online visibility, strengthen relationships with your clients, and expand word-of-mouth advertising.

As Social Media has gained its popularity, it has now become the priority of every small & big brand. However, most of us are still confused!

We have put together core concepts that are basis of social. These concepts should give you ideas on how to think about social -

How to start thinking Social?

Think what motivates you to buy someone’s product and inculcate that into your own business to make your consumers feel good.

People like personalization – E.g. LinkedIn, Facebook have personalized their page with the features like search results, news feed, invite friends etc. You can do that too.

People like hanging out with other like minded people – Either converse directly with them or, be a conversation enabler between consumers. Hosting a discussion forum or, enabling users to create their own groups work well e.g. Facebook groups, Quora, Yahoo Answers and Groups are examples of creating a community has helped increase their reach.

Recognition always works – If you have users who contribute by going above and beyond, recognize them. E.g. SEOMoz Top Users, Top Fans app and other leader boards are very powerful in motivating customers.





We’re Living in a Wireless World

3 07 2012

Welcome to the summer of 2012. Wow, things sure have changed since 1997, back when dial-up was king and 256 megabytes was more than enough. But things are different now; we have a lot of computers in our everyday life. We have smart phones in our pockets, iPads and more! What’s even crazier is that we found a way to connect all these computers together with wireless networks.

But what happens when your wireless network isn’t protected? People can access your computers and smart phones without your knowledge, putting viruses and malware that steal your personal information.
Access Computer is here to help you out! Using the latest and most up to date security systems to ensure that your personal computers are safe foreign intruders. We will build your network to keep intruders and your family safe. We protect your network with WPA2 High Profile Network Protection. Keep your computers and your important documents safe with Access.

 

How Wireless Works

Most people have a wireless connection set up by their cable company or Geek Squad. Many people don’t even know what all the boxes are that make their computer connect to the internet, there are 3 main components. The first is the modem, or the little black box that your cable wire plugs into. This is the main gateway to the internet, everything that you search for must go through this box. Usually its provided by your cable company, most  of the time it will be set up and forgotten.

The second device is your router, the device that broadcasts the wireless signal to your house. These devices will usually have antennas and plugs into your modem. Your router is where the protection happens, all the  security Access Computer puts on your network happens here. We’ll ensure that your network has the strongest security to prevent people from connecting to your network without your permission The last part of your network is your computer, iPad, smart phone, or other devices. These devices can communicate to each other through this network, sharing files and music. Systems like Airplay and Media Center work with this concept.

 

What’s the Difference Between Wireless G/B/N

When you were buying a router last you may have noticed something on the box that looked like “Wireless G Compatible”

An international wireless standard organization creates different standards for every incremental update Wireless Technology gets. Wireless N is currently the newest and faster wireless standard, all new computers bought in the last 5 years will be compatible with Wireless N. Wireless G and Wireless B are slightly slower and will not be able to handle more than 10 devices on the network at once.

Access Computer Technology highly suggests that you upgrade your router to Wireless N Technology for the best network performance. Access of course will also happily set up your new router and protect it with the highest security.





Facebook For Small Businesses

23 05 2012

Here’s a great post from Jason Mollica on the Social Fresh blog about how Facebook can help small businesses:

We’ve all heard that social media can help grow your business and brand, financially.

But say you are a Mom and Pop coffee shop in a small town.

Why would you want to use Facebook?

Why NOT?!
Small town businesses can use social media to grow their customer base. I work with these types of businesses and their owners often do not see the connection between social and more foot traffic.
Let’s be honest, there are still many businesses that recoil when they hear the words Facebook and Twitter.

These five tips can be effective when talking to any small business. What can social media do for them?

1. Helps a business re-think their marketing strategies

While advertising in a local newspaper is great, you are only reaching a small portion of your audience.
For example, you could spend upwards of $1,000 for just a half-page ad. Take the money you would spend in print and go global.
Granted small businesses may not have the money to hire a full-time social media manager. They could, however, be looking for a consultant to offer assistance.
Take Sweet Sixteen Cafe in Lockport, N.Y. They have a simple, but effective website and use their Facebook page to entice customers to come into the store.

2. Recommend a YouTube or Flickr page

I recently worked with a tourism group to allocate funds from unnecessary advertising into the purchase of a small HD video camera and a digital camera.
This allowed the group to take photos and video without spending thousands. It helped generate more business for the town and encouraged additional tourism dollars.
We established a YouTube page and will be putting more photos on Flickr. Giving potential visitors and customers an idea of who you are and what you stand for is key to personalizing the experience.
Who wouldn’t want to see a video of what your the area looks like during the holidays or showing a smiling customer enjoying something in your store?
If you keep at it, Youtube can also be a great search opportunity, helping potential customers find your business in a visual and engaging way.

3. Understanding the changing business climate can save money AND business

Not only do you need to understand what you are telling your clients, you need to understand their business.
We can tell prospective and current clients how the tools work, but if we don’t know how they will be effective for their business, what’s the point? In this economic climate, there is plenty of uncertainty.
We need to provide examples of certainty. The money saved now, can go a long way to turning a profit, as Lake Effect Ice Cream in Lockport, N.Y. has shown.

4. Give your business a personality

I have a small boutique inn as a client. You could read all the great amenities that they have on a website, but it has been Facebook that has allowed us to explain who they are and how they treat their customers.
Their followers regularly interact with them now, even telling them when they plan to come back. When a guest stays with them, they often mention how they feel part of the “Brookins experience” because of how the inn “talks” to them on Facebook. The return guest rate has gone up to nearly 95%.

5. Most importantly… it’s a perfect customer service tool

If that’s the one thing you can stress the most, do it. Businesses want to make sure their current customers are taken care of. Mom and Pop type-businesses aren’t any different. As a matter of fact, it probably means more.
Exceptional social media customer service, to go along with terrific in-person service, will go a long way to building social capital AND business success.
What are some tips you give small businesses for social success?

 Image source: BigStock.com Shopping carts and shoppers





Bringing In Customers With Foursquare

14 05 2012

Foursquare, the location-based sharing application for smartphones, has broken out of early-adopter limbo and is beginning its gradual ascension into the mainstream. While offering incentives for repeat business may not sound like the newest idea on the block, the social sharing aspect of Foursquare, especially with its connections to Twitter and Facebook, make engagement with the service all the more encouraging. Phil Gerbyshak has an excellent article detailing some ways to essentially turn your customers into your own personal street-marketing team. If you’re unfamiliar with Foursquare, check out this video below. For the enlightened, hit the article after the jump.

Sound interesting, but don’t have the time to maintain the page? Give us a call at 248-535-7090, and let us do all the heavy lifting for you.

Foursquare: An Introduction

If your business has a physical location, you should click over to Foursquare.com and register. Do a search for the name of your business first, one of your customers may have already put it in the system. If so, on the right-hand side of the screen is a link for you to claim the business as the manager. Follow the instructions for claiming the venue.

When you are done Foursquare will mail you a window cling that you can put on your door or window to let your customers know that you are a Foursquare participating venue. But don’t stop there! You can get creative with more calls to action inside your business and through some staff training.

First, sign in to your Foursquare account and go to your venue.

Attract new customers

Click on “Manager Tools”, in the top-right corner, then “Start a Campaign at this Venue” (the big green button). On the next screen click the green button again to create your special. There are an assortment of choices, and this is where you can get creative:

  • Swarm Special Like, “If 30 people check in at once, get 25 cent wings”
  • Friends Special Like, “Check in with 3 friends and get a free dessert”
  • Flash Special Like, “The first 10 people that check in after 8pm get 25% off their order”
  • Newbie Special Like, “Get a free cupcake on your first check-in”
  • Check-in Special Like, “Get a free appetizer when you check in”

Reward existing customers

  • Loyalty Special Like, “Get a free cookie every 3rd check-in”
  • Mayor Special Like, “Mayor gets 20% off their entire bill”

Here are some more sample ideas:

Use the “Print Flyers” feature for your employees so that they can become familiar with the Specials, and what the smartphone screen should look like when a customer “unlocks” the special for redemption. You employees should be encouraged to spread the word about your Foursquare presence in their interactions with your customers. You can also print flyers to display for the customers, though they are not specific to the promotion that you are running. You will want to create your own.

Add the Specials to your collateral. Whether it is a restaurant menu, a brochure, or an ad on a map or in a newspaper (yes, newspaper advertising still works for small business in small towns) you should tell your customers that you are on Foursquare, at the very least. If you plan to have some long-term Specials, for Mayors or for Loyalty campaigns, you can keep these with your usual ad copy.

Cross-promotion on Twitter and Facebook. Share your “Attract New Customers” Specials on your other social media channels, especially if you can encourage people to share them with their friends. This can work particularly well with the Friends or Flash specials.

Hide “Easter Eggs” in your products or billing statements. Print out a mini-flyer describing your Foursquare specials and hide them inside books, packaging, or include them with correspondence to your customers. Remind them that when they visit your store they are eligible for special rewards when they Check In on Foursquare.

Introduce your customers to each other. Add a “Recent Foursquare Check-ins” feature to your e-mail newsletter (you do have a newsletter, don’t you?). On your “Manager Tools” page there is a list of Top and Most Recent Check-ins that you can copy-and-paste right into your newsletter – with links to those users’ profiles! (You will have to do a little editing…) Encourage your readers to connect with each other, and remember that you should be connecting with your customers as well.








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