The 30-day Facebook like fast: how it went.

The 30-day Facebook like fast: how it went.

In mid-August, I read a post by a blogger who decided to give up “liking” things on Facebook for two weeks; she found it to be helpful on a number of levels and felt it changed the content of her Facebook news feed. I decided to do the same experiment for 30 days, a sort of Facebook “like” fast. (I’ve never done a food diet in my life for more than 10 days, but I digress.) Why I did the Facebook like fast. Because I manage social media for clients, I’m on all the major platforms a lot, as in all of them day six days a week. Of all the major social media sites, Facebook seems to be the most pervasive, in size, scope and emotionality. LinkedIn is all business, Twitter is constant stream of short blurbs that just wash over you, Pinterest is eye-candy. But Facebook is about people, pets, politics and a whole lot more. The opportunities for toxic, gullible, infuriating and disgusting posts are rampant, and people take those opportunities. It’s a lifestyle. When people show their butts – something I’ve done myself, many times – it’s really public. And, Facebook’s algorithm magnifies the effect. What “liking” does. Scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, see something you agree with, hit “like” and keep moving. No biggie, right? Wrong. That “like” causes your friends to see whatever it was. They may not want to. And, many of the lurk-and-like types – people who never actually interact with Facebook friends but “like” every dad-gum thing they see – are filling up their friends’ feeds with their stuff. All the while, they get to feel that they have fulfilled some sort of social obligation. The other thing that “liking” on Facebook does is to let Facebook know that you want more of the things you are liking. Sounds good, right? Not necessarily. If you frequently “like” articles about cute dogs, Facebook’s algorithm will also feed you posts about animal rights, including animal abuse. You may not want images of maimed and starved puppies with your morning coffee. How I did the like fast. Not being one who “likes” everything, it was relatively easy to stop hitting the “like” button for everything I actually liked. I messed up and “liked” a few things due to lack of manual dexterity, especially on my phone, but only four or five times. Each time, I felt like someone in AA who took a drink without realizing it; shame and guilt washed over me. But I got over it and stayed on the “like” wagon. Instead of “liking” things, if I actually did appreciate a post, I’d make a comment, or share it. (PS. Facebook values those activities...

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At Urban Outfitters, who’s minding the store?

At Urban Outfitters, who’s minding the store?

The old saying that there’s no such thing as bad press would seem to be true in the case of Urban Outfitters. They’ve been called out for cultural insensitivity (what? you don’t like the Holocaust clothes?), promoting an unhealthy lifestyle (see “Eat Less” t-shirt), and downright swiping of artists’ designs. There’s a nice list of Urban Outfitters controversies going here. With such a string of “what were you thinking?” products, you get the impression that the UO marketing department is comprised of toddlers who have been left to fend for themselves. Urban Outfitters knows exactly what it is doing. In an era of too many choices, a retailer can sell a gazillion of just about anything, regardless of who doesn’t like it. UO has carved out a niche that appeals to the hippest among us, who pride themselves on their edginess. If East Coast liberals, or parents who actually care what their kids are up to, or grannies in Des Moines are offended, it doesn’t matter. You can’t wreck a brand like Urban Outfitters because enough people like what they do. Could UO be just as successful without ostensibly promoting getting high and drunk, and starving oneself, to kids? Maybe. But they can be successful with it, too. It doesn’t take much of a philosopher to figure out that moral and cultural relativism, selfishness and apathy will always have an audience in the world of retailing because that’s what’s in the world. UO didn’t invent those concepts, they just reflect them back. Spend ten minutes on the internet and you’ll find out there is something for everyone; what is offensive to some will make a fortune for someone else. So, Urban Outfitters will go on selling $139 vintage t-shirts of which there are only one (okay) on the de rigeur starved-looking models, 8 oz. of vinegar as a hair rinse for $18, and hats that suggest you hipsters “play dirty.” Who’s minding the store? UO is, and very well. And what are they thinking? What they want you to think. If you need any further instructions for being a hipster, click here. If you found this post useful, share it your audience. Kim Phillips is a marketer, artist and teacher who helps companies of all sizes reach their audiences with creative branding, social media, websites, content management, email marketing, and direct mail. She is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post Lucid Marketing can help you make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back...

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TinyLetter: Email Marketing for Everybody

TinyLetter: Email Marketing for Everybody

The big, professional email platforms can be daunting, and most cost $30/month and up. MailChimp has a free option, but it can be more juice than some people want. Now, there’s a solution: TinyLetter, owned by MailChimp. It’s a very simple, easy-to-use email platform that turns out a professional look and keeps the sender from being marked as spam by blasting dozens of emails out of his or her own inbox. Now, there’s just no reason not to do some email marketing for your business. Features of TinyLetter sign up in seconds simple, elegant navigation add links easily upload your list quickly send yourself a preview off it goes! shares well with social media, like this: Limitations of TinyLetter TinyLetter doesn’t offer the analytics that platforms like Emma and MailChimp do, but let’s face it: most folks aren’t going to spend a tone of time analyzing the stats. If you have a good list of people with whom you have a relationship, and you give a clear and easy way to respond, you’ll know if it’s working. I got an order for my little art business within two minutes of sending out a TinyLetter flight, so the 15 minutes it took me to sign up, write it, and upload my list was certainly worth it. Those are all the stats I needed. A bigger limitation is that TinyLetter doesn’t host images. That means you can’t just insert an image directly into the post; you have to host it elsewhere online. If you don’t have a website where you can park images, you can upload them to TinyPic, Photobucket, or Flickr. That creates a URL you can copy into the image box in TinyLetter. If you keep all your images on Facebook (not a great idea, but it happens), you can right-click on an image and grab the URL to put into TinyLetter. Last but probably least, TinyLetter doesn’t have a scheduling feature, so you’ll need to sit down to your computer to send off an email at the best time for your readers. Try it, and paste the link to your first flight in the comments, and we’ll give you a free critique. Go tiny or go home. If you found this post useful, share it your audience. Kim Phillips is a marketer, artist and teacher who helps companies of all sizes reach their audiences with creative branding, social media, websites, content management, email marketing, and direct mail. She is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post Lucid Marketing can help you make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site...

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Facebook to page managers: no more click-baiting.

Facebook to page managers: no more click-baiting.

There’s been a little tempest in a teapot the last few days over an announcement by Facebook that it is changing the priority it gives to certain kinds of posts in the news feed for users. Zuckerberg and Friends has decided that big photos with shortlinks to websites constitutes click-baiting; sometimes it does. So, it is giving less priority in its algorithm* to those kinds of “made you look” posts. The chatter among social media mavens is that Facebook’s announcement is as clear as mud, so let’s break it down a little bit.   What does Facebook mean by click-baiting in this case? Here’s an example. Instead of copying the URL from the link where this content appears, the page posted a large photo with a shortlink: It looks nice and clean, but Facebook spank. Now let’s look at one done the way Facebook prefers. In this case, the page copied the URL from an article found elsewhere on the web and pasted it into a status, which brought up this nice preview that gives a bit of a clue as to what the article is actually about: (Note that the page thoughtfully removed the long, hairy URL before actually posting.) So what’s the big deal? The good, the bad, the ugly, and the creepy. Facebook says that they are trying to cut down on link-baiting and I believe them. How many times have you been suckered into clicking on a photo that takes you to something that is spammy? So, that’s the good part of this. This move encourages pages to create high-quality content on their own websites, which they should be doing anyway. Now for the bad part: some websites don’t fetch up (or even have) attractive imagery to send to Facebook with a link. Some social media managers, including yours truly, have worked around that by snagging the image that goes with the post — or, if there is no image, finding one — and pasting an attractive shortlink with it. The shortlink still leads to quality content, it just looks better. Time to stop that. If your website doesn’t send over great-looking images with its links, time to get a better website. Otherwise, when people post links to it, those posts will be ugly and they probably will simply choose to post something else. Also, be very careful what words you use for your meta-data (what Google sees) if that becomes the headline to the preview. Now for the creepy part. Facebook will also monitor how much time people spend at the other website, the one linked to in the Facebook post. Read that again. That’s right. Facebook knows how much time you spend at the other...

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A substitute for creativity.

A substitute for creativity.

Every week or so, I post free online tools that I find around the web. There are lots of great little apps and websites that help people create and share their ideas with others. Not everyone has access to big creative tools like PhotoShop and Illustrator, and not everyone can maintain a full-scale website of their own. But these free tools are not meant to be a substitute for original work. Sure, curation — sharing the content of others — is a legitimate activity, but it should be obvious who the source of the work is. Aggregator sites like AllTop are great places to find — a better word than curate — content to share. I was thrilled when one of my posts made AllTop’s “Holy Kaw” list, ostensibly the best find of the day, and was feeling pretty proud that my original thoughts would be shared across the internet; clearly whoever curates AllTop has excellent taste. Then I got sucked into a post with a funny title (I’m not giving you the link because I don’t want the poster to get the traffic, but you see it here). The post that made it to the Holy Kaw list is comprised of a generic graphic (generic in the sense that the visual has nothing to do with the words) created in Canva, a minimal introduction, and a link to an actual article that Paul Anthony Jones at Mental Floss went to the trouble to compose. In fact, a little scrolling shows that all five of the Holy Kaw posts of the day use graphics “created” in Canva. All are basically introductions to longer, original articles by other writers, and some include graphics or video from those articles. Three are posted by the same guy who posted the one you see here, the other two were posted by a gal using the same technique. From all the gazillion posts by blogs listed on AllTop (including this one, for the moment), are we to believe that there are only two “authors” worthy of the Holy Kaw list? It is a delightful coincidence that Guy Kawasaki, who runs AllTop, is also the official “Chief Evangelist” of Canva. Again, nothing wrong with curation. Most online marketers, content marketers, and social media marketers would say that AllTop is simply content marketing — for Canva — at its finest. Sort of content marketing on steroids. Just be sure to click through to the real authors of the real content, and don’t use this technique as a substitute for creativity. If this post was helpful, you can subscribe at the top of the page; please share with a colleague. To the lawyers, this is a review, an opinion piece, to which...

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How to sell something ugly with great packaging.

How to sell something ugly with great packaging.

Your product may not be ugly, but if you’re not selling enough of them, it may be in the packaging. French supermarket chain Intermarché did something brilliant: they took something ugly and made people want it. Thus was born the Inglorious line of fruits and vegetables. How did they turn misshapen and discolored produce into sales? With perfect marketing. What’s that, you ask? Watch the video, then observe the steps below it. Find a niche not currently being filled. Get your raw materials for next to nothing. Find the beauty in being different. Have a sense of humor. Package it well. Put a great price on it. Advertise the hell out of it. When we say “packaging,” we don’t mean the cartons that sit on the shelf or hang on the rack. We mean everything. In the same way that a logo is not, by itself, the “brand,” the package is the whole megillah: packaging is the personality, the look, the feel, the position in the market. Most importantly, the package is the space the product takes up in the consumer’s mind. Let’s go over that again: The package is the space the product takes up in the consumer’s mind. If you aren’t selling retail goods, this notion of great packaging still applies to your business. You could be a nonprofit, or a doctor, or a school, or a marketing consultant. Where do you sit on the “shelf” of possible choices? Are you just one of a huge group whose members look more or less alike? Or do you stand out? Ask yourself whether you can do all of the numbered items above in creating your packaging. #1 may be hard, but it will make all the others easier. #2 may not be possible at all. But you can do #3 through #7. If this post was helpful, you can subscribe at the top of the page; please share with a colleague. Kim Phillips is a marketer, artist and teacher who helps companies of all sizes to reach their audiences with creative branding, social media, websites, content management, email marketing, and direct mail. She is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post Lucid Marketing can help you make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source of the republication clearly noted. Excerpts, commentary, and fair use applications should be accompanied by a link back to the original content on this...

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