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.





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.





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





Google Drive to Compete with DropBox

9 02 2012

At Access Computer we have many of our clients using DropBox for file transfers. However, all that might change in the next couple week’s as Google releases the much awaited Google Drive. Here’s a great article in the Next Web by Matt Brian:

 

Google is reportedly close to launching its long awaited cloud storage service Drive, delivering a personal file-synchronisation platform that will allow users to store and copy files between computers and mobile devices.

The Wall Street Journal cites sources familiar with the matter, which state that Drive will facilitate the storing of photos, documents and videos on Google’s servers, allowing them to instantly share them with other people.

Google Drive is tipped to launch in the ‘coming weeks or months’ and is expected to be free for most users and businesses. As with Dropbox, Google is likely to introduce a paid storage option for users that wish to store large amounts of files.

Google already allows users to upgrade their Gmail and Picasa storage, so it would likely incorporate the same structure into its new Drive service. Prices start at $5 for 20GB, so it would be inexpensive for users if the search giant was to adhere to the same strategy.

In November, we reported that Google was starting to introduce references to its cloud storage service inside Google Docs, which could be unlocked to enable a “Download Google Drive” option within the website itself.

The option looked to only be available to users with the correct privileges, suggesting it could be an option for Google employees, but highlighted an option that could possibly initiate the download of an application that would sync their entire Google Docs archive to their new Google Drive account or vice versa – when it launched.

Google is tipped to launch mobile applications and a desktop app, keeping files synchronised between devices. Whether iOS and Windows Phone users will be able to utilise the service on their smartphones and tablets remains to be seen, for Google to achieve mass-penetration, it almost certainly has to do so.





How Facebook Can Strengthen Your Website

8 02 2012

Awesome article by John Haydon (Twitter: @johnhaydon) on using Facebook to increase engagement on your website. Here’s what John has to say:

If you want to increase pages views and site engagement, it’s critical that you create a more social experience when people visit your website.

For example, when people view an article from your blog, they can see which of their friends have already read that article. They also can share content on your site with their Facebook friends.

Gigya published data showing that Web users spend 50 percent more time on websites that use Facebook social plug-ins. They also view twice as many pages.

Use social plug-ins to increase engagement

time spent How Facebook Social Plugins Increase Engagement On Your Nonprofits Website

View your website as a fishing net. Web visitors either keep swimming on by your site or get caught in your net.

As you can see in the bar graph above, users spend most of their time commenting, which,according to Giya, “allows them to share opinions on content and interact with other users – including those from their social graph.”

This makes sense when you remember that people are busier today than ever before, but still want to converse with their friends on topics they care about.

Increase page views with social plug-ins

page views How Facebook Social Plugins Increase Engagement On Your Nonprofits Website

They also found that page views more than doubled for sites that use social plug-ins. Again, commenting and sharing were the two biggest activities.

What does all this mean for your website?

The more pages people view on your site, the more chances you have to convert them into an email subscriber or donor.

View your website as a fishing net. Web visitors either keep swimming on by your site or get caught in your net — subscribe to your email newsletter, etc. Social plug-ins encourage these fish to swim around a bit more, giving you more chances at catching them!

Which Facebook social plug-ins should you use?

Putting your organization’s goals aside for a moment, and viewing the data above, it’s safe to say that you should at least be implementing Facebook’s Like Button andComments plug-in. For instance:

  • Like Button: When a user clicks the Like button, a news story publishes to his or her News Feed, and this story includes a link back to the content on your site. If your site offers a lot of content that users can like individually (such as in a blog), you’ll invariably increase referral traffic from Facebook to your site.
  • Comments: This plug-in allows you to add a comment box to your website content so that Facebook users can enter their comments, which can automatically be published to their Facebook News Feed. These republished comments also include a link back to the comments on your site.

Facebook has excellent tutorials on installing these plug-ins, and if you use WordPress, all you need is to install a few plug-ins. The plugins I use are Facebook Like and Send andDisqus for comments (users can log in with Twitter or Google in addition to Facebook).





Vizio’s New PCs

9 01 2012

VIZIO announced today an innovative line of five premium personal computers designed to turn the PC market upside down and accommodate the entertainment needs and wants demanded by consumers. Set to launch with Windows 7 in spring 2012, the elegantly designed PCs will provide an entertainment experience only VIZIO can deliver, complete with top notch 2.1 audio and video quality. The personal computing line consists of two all-in-one computers, two thin + light notebooks and one notebook. VIZIO’s line was developed to raise the bar in personal and home entertainment while also keeping powerful performance at the forefront.


Much like its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO believes it has identified a need in the PC world for a device that addresses a recent change in consumer behavior. Growing popularity in video streaming services has resulted in the need for personal computers that can stream content for a family movie night and put together an important business presentation the following day. The VIZIO PCs address this change by meeting both the entertainment and productivity demands.

VIZIO PCs will be a continued progression of the VIZIO Internet Apps (V.I.A.) Ecosystem, which provides a seamless, cohesive entertainment experience across multiple screens. As the V.I.A. experience spans across the brand’s HDTVs, Blu-Ray players, tablets and more, today’s announcement represents a natural extension of the experience over to the PC as well. Together with Windows, VIZIO’s PCs will deliver power, mobility and familiar ease of use, ensuring a fast, fluid and immersive user experience that distinguishes them from devices that function and those that are truly entertaining.

“PCs are often associated with productivity and the workplace, routinely lacking the excitement that would be expected with what and how consumers want to use their PCs today – as an extension of their entertainment experience,” said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer. “VIZIO wanted to change that. Our new line of VIZIO PCs are truly high quality and consumer focused, delivering enhanced multimedia capabilities while upholding our high standards of performance, style and design.”

Complete with high-performance hardware, the VIZIO PCs boast a clean system image optimized by Microsoft and an elegant industrial design incorporating authentic, high-quality materials that is sure to turn heads both on-the-go and in the living room. Known for HDTVs that boast stunning high-definition pictures, VIZIO engineered its new line of PCs to meet the same high-quality standards.

Always committed to pushing the envelope, VIZIO believes their groundbreaking PCs will alter the way consumers view computing. With entertainment at the heart of the VIZIO PCs, users will find that consuming content will be just as desirable as on their HDTV. With an already high demand for devices that are able to multitask between work and play, the consumer’s choices are limited. VIZIO accepted the challenge and has elegantly bridged both worlds to provide a Windows-based PC that offers a rich entertainment experience alongside tools needed for getting work done.

“We’re excited to see VIZIO enter the PC market and the positive impact they will have on the Windows ecosystem,” said Steven Guggenheimer, CVP OEM Division, Microsoft. “With their expertise in providing connected entertainment experiences and an innovative go-to-market approach, we look forward to working with VIZIO to bring premium consumer PCs to market.”

VIZIO anticipates its entry into the PC category will challenge consumers to expect more from their computers – enabling them to play as hard as they work. Discover more at www.vizio.com/ces#computers.