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.

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Using Social Media Marketing to Extend Your Brand

20 06 2011

Fox Business just published a great article today by “Woody” Woodward about the power of social media.

The Right Way to Use Social Media to Extend Your Brand

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner’s resignation last week proved the power of social media.

Nearly every day we get hit with some kind of social media misstep in celebrity culture, politics, and business that serves to both amuse and annoy us. Social media can be a powerful and incredibly cost-effective tool for reaching potential customers and supporters.

But here’s the problem: Many people don’t take the time to learn how to harness the power of social media for positive gain as opposed to negative, which can wreak havoc on their careers.

As a freelancer, independent consultant or small business owner, you can use social media to elevate your brand to actually compete with the major players. Social media is truly the great marketing equalizer. Think about the reach that both Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have developed purely through their social media efforts.

Don’t just take my word for it, the popular site Social Media Examiner released its 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report and the numbers are astounding. They surveyed more than 3,300 marketers and found the following:

The No.1 advantage of social media marketing is generating more business exposure, as indicated by 88% of marketers. Increased traffic (72%) and improved search rankings (62%) were also major advantages;
45% of people who’ve only invested 12 months or less in social media marketing reported they gained new partnerships;

“By spending as little six hours per week on social media efforts, 52% of marketers saw lead generation benefits.

So, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to create your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and get your brand rolling. Here are a few tips to get your social media campaign going:

1) Use Management Tools: Social media management tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck are great ways to manage accounts and save precious time. These tools allow you to schedule posts in advance and automatically release them over the course of time. These tools make it easy to keep your followers up to date without being strapped behind a keyboard. Make sure to still throw in something unique on each page so people have a reason to follow more than of your social networking accounts.

2) Engage and Interact: You must engage your followers: start conversations with people, respond promptly to questions/comments and thank them when they spread the word about your brand. Don’t think of social media as a one-way street; after all, it is called “social” media. Help promote your followers by spreading the word about their businesses and/or accomplishments as well.

3) Provide Value: You have to make sure you deliver some sort of value to those who are going to take the time to follow you. This might mean coupons, articles related to your niche, new product information, company news, or even a contest. The key is not to spend all your time shamelessly self promoting; people don’t want to follow a bunch of ads. Keep your profiles fresh and updated to keep your followers coming back.

4) Start a Blog: A blog will keep customers up to date with the day-to-day affairs of your company. Use it to give your company personality and boost your search engine optimization (SEO). Hire a part-time blogger if necessary–it’ll be worth the extra expense.

5) Set Goals: If you want to see results, you have to measure. This might be how much you want your Web traffic to increase, how many followers you want in six months, etc. Remember that meeting your goals might take months or even years, but the return on time investment is high if you are smart about how you use your time.

If you ever feel stuck, check out companies like yours that have successful social media campaigns. Observe what they are doing to grow their base. Which tactics are working? Which aren’t? Also, keep yourself up to date on current trends and strategies in social media marketing through sites like Mashable and Social Media Examiner.

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership.Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook