This weekend saw the hacking of major social media player Buffer, which caused many users of the social media content manager to annoy their Facebook friends and followers with weight-loss themed spam.
The problem appears to have since been rectified, and the security of the Buffer app should see improvements following the attack. Buffer CEO, Joel Gascoigne, offered an explanation and apology on the company blog following the débâcle, “I wanted to post a quick update and apologize for the awful experience we’ve caused many of you on your weekend. Buffer was hacked around 2 hours ago, and many of you may have experienced spam posts sent from you via Buffer. I can only understand how angry and disappointed you must be right now.”.
Gascoigne continued, “Not everyone who has signed up for Buffer has been affected, but you may want to check on your accounts. We’re working hard to fix this problem right now and we’re expecting to have everything back to normal shortly.”.
The severity of the event caused Buffer to completely remove its app from Facebook at around midday, Pacific Standard Time, on Saturday 26th October. This caused all posts made via the app to be temporarily hidden for much of the afternoon. With progressions being made throughout the afternoon, Buffer was back online at around 8pm in full working order again.
Questions will rightly be raised over the security of the app, and Buffer have already moved to reassure their million strong user base, “We’ve greatly increased the security of how we handle all social messages being posted and everything is back to normal,” read an evening announcement from the company. Buffer also plan to “publish an in-depth post about what the spammers got access to and what we did to fix it.”.
Getting hacked is the stuff of nightmares for every internet business – reputations can be ruined in an instant and Buffer will have to work hard to overcome this setback. Gascoigne promises to respond to every single e-mail they received regarding the issue, and to continue the post-mortem analysis to found out exactly what happened.
With social media now becoming a huge marketing tool for any business, running a competition is a great way for a brand to increase it’s followers as well as raising awareness of their campaigns. That’s why Twitter has become an increasingly popular social media tool to use for running competitions, and there are plenty of businesses out there that are taking advantage of this, but are they making the most of promotions and playing by the rules?
When it comes to running a competition via Twitter it’s pretty straightforward, however there are some guidelines implemented, unlike Facebook though businesses aren’t required to set-up any third party applications to be within terms.
Many brands may not be aware that Twitter competitions come under the CAP Code of advertising and sales promotion, and that in this case there are strict compliance issues that need to be adhered to.
To make sure that your twitter competition is compliant as well as being effective, the following three points will give you a base point to begin:
• Does it work for your brand?
• Does it work within industry competition guidelines?
• Does it work within Twitter’s platform guidelines?
Will it work for the brand?
Anyone who is experienced in the running of a “Follow and Re-Tweet” promotion will no doubt be aware of the people known as “Serial Compers”; these are people who enter competitions on a semi-professional basis.
They aren’t necessarily genuine fans of your brand, they’re actually fans of winning free products, and so what’s the best way to dispose of these serial compers?
An idea for businesses would be to look at value over volume, so why not make your fans actually do something worthwhile rather then just posting out a retweet. You could look at getting them to make suggestions about your brand by asking a question or even ask them to head to your site to find an answer to a question that you’ve posted on Twitter.
By participating in these simple processes it will encourage your true fans to invest their time in to learning a bit more about your brand, it will also ensure that your competition is more effective by driving awareness of your brand and the campaign that you’re running.
Is the promotion that you’re running legal?
In the world of Twitter there are two legal promotions that brands are able to run, these are as follows –
• An actual competition – This is where the winning of the prize on offer requires the winner to have some input, so that this can then be judged.
• A sweepstake with a random prize draw – The winner is selected completely by chance.
For both of these you need to make sure that your promotion is compliant. As per the CAP code you need to make the following information clear before any participants enter –
• The prize on offer.
• The start and closing date.
• The entry mechanic.
In providing this information you’ve ensured that anybody who enters or shares the competition with others is making others aware of the terms to the competition. CAP code also states that all prize draws must be adjudicated independently by a third party who doesn’t work for the company.
All of this will come at a cost, but by meeting these guidelines it means that the running of your promotion will be all above board in the eyes of the CAP code.
Will the Twitter platform like it?
With a lot of Marketers feeling the pressure to keep their Twitter numbers up, most brands have resorted to “Follow and Re-Tweet” competitions that will see a boost in their followers, but again this will interest “Serial Compers”.
In the eyes of Twitter they want their platform to be full of interesting content, which means that they don’t want their users spamming their followers with multiple tweets, or the setting up of multiple accounts so that more promotions can be entered.
In turn if any competitions that are run by a brand were to encourage this sort of behaviour Twitter would in turn shut the platform down.
If you’re unaware of the overall guidelines of Twitter then the following information will come to good use – https://support.twitter.com/articles/68877-guidelines-for-contests-on-twitter
By following the main three points when it comes to running a promotion this will help to raise brand awareness even more in a positive way and you should see some great results.
As part of our commitment to the local community, Bright Digital Minds have teamed up with a number of industry experts to offer local businesses FREE online marketing advice, all in an informal and relaxed environment.
We are inviting anyone who owns a business or website, from Farmers, Driving Instructors, Schools, Musicians, Shops, Cafe’s and even local landlords and Guest House owners to the Wheatsheaf on October the 2nd 2013 between 5pm and 7pm to listen to some top tips for getting the most from your online presence, along with the opportunity to talk more afterwards.
All are welcome to come along, although places are limited. Please join our event here - https://www.facebook.com/events/211275172370862/ or give us a call and we’ll pop your name down.
Founder of Bright Digital Minds, Hannah Swift said, “As a young business owner, I think it’s important to give back to the local community, and help other small businesses reach their potential through various online channels. The new training initiative aims to show anyone in the local area that they can get more out of their current online activities, from collecting email addresses to harnessing the power of ecommerce. I don’t want to run evenings that are ‘death by powerpoint’ or that are overwhelming, instead, we’ll be giving tips and case studies from our years of hands on experience, that are accessible to all.”.
For more information, please contact Hannah Swift;
01629 815 888
About Bright Digital Minds
Founded in 2011 by Hannah Swift, Bright Digital Minds is focused on delivering high impact performance marketing campaigns on budget and on time. Based in Bakewell, Derbyshire, we are committed to supporting the growth of fellow local businesses with our apprenticeship schemes and with the launch of our free training initiative.
Buffer, the social media app that schedules your posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn has today announced you can now use their app with the most requested social network that they were missing, Google+.
Google+ has been holding the number one spot as most requested feature from their users for almost 2 years and you could go as far as saying that it is the missing piece of the puzzle. Buffer said “We couldn’t be any more excited to finally unveil it to everyone”.
To help you make the most of sharing quality content on your site, Buffer have written a guide with a great selection of tips and pictures which can be found here.
Since Pinterest launched on the web in March 2010 it was up against some stiff competition from other social media giants, however in the first one to two years of launching it really made a huge impact within the social media -
- Pinterest – launched 2010 – 10.4 million users as of early 2012
- Facebook – launched 2004 – 6 million users as of 2005
- Twitter – launched 2006 – 3 million users as of 2008
The concept behind the site is that Pinterest is a social networking site that uses a visually-pleasing “virtual pin-board” interface. The users of the site collect photos which they can then link to any products that they like, which in turn creates their own pin boards, they can also follow the pin boards of other individuals whom they also find of interest.
With such a different idea to social media the following statistics gives an overview of how it’s worked well in their favour -
- The growth of Pinterest has been better then that of Twitter or Facebook at the same point in their history.
- The volume of Pinterest users who visited the site daily have gone up by 145 percent since the beginning of 2012.
- Pinterest content in the UK is very different to the rest of the world, as it seems to centre more around blogging resources, web analytic and venture capital.
- Around 80 percent of their users are female.
Because of the huge success that the site has seen since it launched, it’s now introducing pins that will be even more useful to all of it’s users. The idea is that when a user finds something that they love on Pinterest and would like to learn more about, so that they can act on this, Pinterest have taken the next step so that pins can be even more useful to the user as well as making it more accessible to pin wherever they are.
As a starting point they have taken a further step in the right direction by working with some of the webs most popular websites who are now providing more information on some of their previous pins, this way the users can do more of what they love. For example the users may star to notice the following -
- Movie Pins that include content ratings, cast members and a lot more.
- Product Pins that can be used for things such as furniture and clothing with availability, pricing and even the option of where to buy from, which is updated daily.
- Recipe Pins for your favourite website and bloggers that can include ingredients, servings and cooking time.
From the users feed they can then tell when more information has appeared on a pin as an icon will then appear below the picture. Pinterest are then going to update all of their users old pins so that they can become more useful in the future, which is an added bonus as it could be extremely frustrating if the user had to start their pins from scratch.
For the users who are a fan of using the mobile app they’re now making the pin it button widely available, which means that things can be pinned wherever you are in the world.
For the many users of Pinterest to be able to take advantage of the new pins they will need to go onto their home feed and click on the Get It Now button at the very top of the page.
Pinterest have explained that this is only the beginning of positive updates for their site and are hoping to make the entire pin section even more useful over the next few months, with this in mind there’s only one direction that this already popular company is going and that’s up.
Two thirds of the UK are now active members of Facebook. That means 27 million people in the UK have an account on the social media platform, with 19 million of this number logging in on our mobile devices. We also spend on average 7 hours on the social site, which equates to 1 in 5 minutes spent online, we’re on Facebook.
The latest stats come just in time and sit in line with a new retail initiative…The Retail Centre. This is a fairly new concept, but one that is already in place in America. Facebook aims to offer advice, useful hints and top tips on how to maximise your use and users on the platform.
It has been proven through statistics that there is a definite correlation between things that your friends online like, recommend and have previously purchased to others purchasing through these channels. Nearly 23% have tried a new restaurant, pub, or bar following a friend’s recommendation, with a larger percentage listening to similar music online to their friends.
The Retail Centre is set to release handy hints of how you can grow readership of your company on the platform, and potentially reach out to those people who are looking at friends profiles to see what they have been buying online.
Facebook is continuing in the pattern of getting more retailer son board, and not just through advertising. Last month we mentioned they were conducting a pilot case study in the states, with brands like Starbucks, where you could buy online to send to your friends as birthday gifts etc. Facebook now seems to have gone a step further in recruiting retail affiliates and companies.
They have recently announced a new ‘WANT’ button. Much like the ‘LIKE’ button that all of us on the social media platform will be very familiar with, the ‘WANT’ button fashions the same sense of personal stampage. Retailer pages will be the first to display the button, as well as another new one called ‘COLLECT.’ These latest pilot additions form part of the new ‘COLLECTIONS’ feature for and designed specifically for retailers online. Retailers will now not only be able to keep tabs on their most popular products, but they will also be able to upload and create a catalogue on Facebook using brand new functionality of the site and its tools. Brands currently involved in the pilot study are Victoria Secret, Neiman Marcus and Pottery Barn – very large chains and brand names in the USA.
We are a little sceptical. It seems Facebook is starting to move away from what it was originally set up for and more into the business market side of things. As if Mr Zuckerburg doesn’t have enough money already, is he trying his hand at something that in future years, could ultimate make company websites obsolete? OK, so you can’t actually purchase anything from Facebook at the moment, it sends you offsite. Does this mean then that they are trying to compete directly with Pinterest, gathering items that you ‘like’ and ‘want’ to put into your sidebar of ‘collections,’ sharing these with the rest of your Facebook friends?
It seems like Facebook has now become a word and a place of ‘normality,’ where it’s almost standard that you’re part of the Facebook family. It seems that the frustration and annoyance of adverts down our sidebar has gone unnoticed and the greedy minds behind the brains are after more…money is the main driving factor here. How it works is a little more difficult, but we’ll try and simplify it as much as we can: Users will basically be offered the chance to make purchases from a retailers catalogue of products when they ‘like,’ ‘want’ or collect’ a product from the ‘collections’ section of the page. Details of product/item/interest is then shared with your friends and associates on the social media site.
Granted, at times it may seem like a good idea to marry up an item seen on the Facebook page of e.g. Topshop to a quick buying solution tab ‘Want’ or ‘Collect,’ but how much will it work? The pilot is under way and we suppose it will only be a matter of time when we can search, stalk, buy and see what everyone else is buying on a platform with over a billion users. Scary or scarily clever…we’ll let you be the judge of this.
Facebook is gearing up to become much more than the leading presence in social media to date. It seems the social media moguls are ploughing ahead and dipping their toes in the online retail market. A US trial is taking place to send out real gifts from the Facebook platform. You can send gifts to your friends, ranging from cupcakes, stuffed bears and gift-cards for a cost.
Facebook has dabbled with a similar idea before, starting out small with sending virtual gifts to people, some free, and some for a small cost. The team are looking to go big this time, and have got some of the high-end brands on board during the trial. Starbucks – the leading coffee chain, Magnolia Bakery –New York’s most famous bakery (made even more well known through ‘Sex and the City’), and Gund – a huge bear retailer, are all in on the trial act. Only a small percentage of people are involved in the trial, but we’re looking forward to the outcome of this.
It seems like a natural progression for Facebook to take on, what seems like such a daunting task to the rest of us, with the gumption and drive of the big boys in business. With the social media platform notoriously known for working with companies to track what we shop for online, whilst browsing on and after visiting the site, we predict it won’t be long before we start seeing last nights browsing items pop up on the right hand side of our screens.
It has not yet been stated if and indeed when the trial will end, when the scheme becomes multi-nationals and inevitably world-wide. However, we can only assume that with Facebook being as big as it is, that it will only be a matter of time before companies sign up to the project. With shares in Facebook remarkably low considering the wealth the company holds, this is one way they are almost certain to make more on the advertising scheme of things, with top retailers paying above the odds to be listed on the social media pages.
You may have seen some new things appearing on Facebook recently – including ‘Facebook Offers‘. They are Facebook’s new attempt to help page owners drive traffic and sales. Currently free to run, but limited to a small number of pages, they are a great way of raising a page’s profile and gaining new likes.
Once the offer is live, it’ll appear in the newsfeed and in the newsfeed of those who claim it. People can comment on the offer, like it and claim it from the newsfeed.
Once someone has accepted your offer, Facebook will email the customer. They can then use that email to claim the offer!
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO CREATING FACEBOOK OFFERS
Last week, Pinterest emailed its users with updated Terms of Service expressly changing their policy to remove the clause stating that any content pinned to the site became theirs to sell. For those not aware of Pinterest and the flutter it’s causing across the World Wide Web, here’s a quick breakdown:
Pinterest is a visual bookmarking system that allows you to save an image you see anywhere on the internet to a ‘pin board’ that you create on Pinterest. You can create multiple pin boards to cover any subject you wish, pin as many pictures as you like with each single picture a visual representation of why you’d wanted to bookmark the page. You share every picture you pin with every other user and all your pins can be repined to their own boards without restriction, creating an incredible source for inspirational pictures. Now consider this; as a lighting retailer your website will have good quality pictures of wall lights available. I, as a consumer and user of Pinterest, like one of your products but can’t afford it right now, so I pin it to my dining room pin board along with the price so I can find it again as soon as I have the money. Now, as a Pinterest user, I have over 300 active followers for my dining room pin board. Let’s say that 10% repin that picture. If 10% of their followers repin that picture, your product just went viral. It’s believed that 80% of content on Pinterest is recycled repined pictures and it’s not unheard of for a single picture to generate over a thousand repins. Compare that to the 1.4% of tweets that are retweeted and you can see, as a social media network, people are actively interacting with other user’s content on an enormous scale.
Prior to the change in Terms of Service, that picture I pinned would have been available to Pinterest as a sellable item. The Terms of Service state that users should only pin pictures that are theirs to pin, i.e. only pin your own pictures. Unfortunately, almost nobody who uses Pinterest appears to have taken this in to account and users pin everything they love regardless of copyright issues. Pinterest have made simpler tools available for users to report alleged copyright or trademark infringements but deciding on whether copyright has been breached can be a difficult decision. Pinterest is careful to link back to the original source of the picture, hence the bookmarking nature of the site, but if the user is pinning content from a site such as Tumblr where the source may not be correctly listed it’s all too easy for the copyright link to be lost. With the rise in concern over copyright issues and infringement recently due to America’s attempts to restrict the entire internet, these problems are becoming something that sites such as Pinterest are very interested in addressing. Users will need to take note and ensure they comply with copyright requirements.
Pinterest is a sleek, easy to use site with a great app, making content accessible and repinable on smartphones. A browser plug-in allows you to pin content from any webpage you’re visiting without requiring access to Pinterest itself and companies are beginning to see the commercial value of the site and the number of ‘paid pinners’ is rising. Pinterest can actively increase your site’s traffic, with over 16.23 million unique visitors in February alone a single image pinned to Pinterest could do wonders for your business. Stats now show that Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined, so pinning your own products could prove incredibly beneficial.