How to Deal with Undesirable Facebook Friend Requests

If someone you don’t want to add to your Facebook sends you a friend request, you have two choices – not accept and risk that they will be offended or accept and then constantly worry about what this person is going to think when they see your post, comments etc. Of course if the request is from a complete stranger, you just ignore it/block it without thinking twice; however, in some situations (the friend request from your boss, a co-worker, your ex’s mutual friend) it’s not as clear cut.  That’s where the Facebook’s “Restricted List” comes in handy.

You can accept their request but add them immediately to your Restricted list, so they’ll only be able to see your Public content or posts that you tag them in. In other words, unless the update or a picture you posted is set to “Public”, the person in the restricted list won’t be able to see it (given you don’t tag them). I would not recommend having your updates or pictures set to Public, as then everyone, friend or not, can see your content. How can you tell if your posts is seen by all? There will be a little “globe icon” by the date and when you scroll over the icon, it’ll say “Shared with Public”. You can change the setting of each update or a picture (except for the cover photo which is by default public and can’t be changed).

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A word of warning: if you are commenting on a Public post or a photo on Facebook, people in the restricted list can see that.

So say that your favorite brand posted a “public” (visible to all) post on a page and you’re liking it and/or commenting on it, it will be visible to everyone on your friends’ list. However, if you’re commenting on updates that are set to friends only or friends of friends, then people on the restricted list can’t see it.

Now how to add people to your restricted list the easiest way:

1. Log in to your Facebook

2. Go to your “friends” list  (click “Friends” on your profile page)

3. You will see a list of all your friends

4. By each friend, it will say “Friends” and have a check mark by it. Scroll over the Friends button and the following pops up:

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5. Click on “Add to another list”

6. The names of all lists you have will pop up, including the Restricted option (see below). Click on Restricted. If the person is successfully added, there will be a check mark by Restricted list.

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7. You can repeat this by each friend you want to add to the Restricted List.

Now every time you post something that is not public can’t be seen by the Restricted List people (including your or others comments on that post). To the Restricted List people, this post simply doesn’t exist.

Create Professional LinkedIn Background in Minutes

Following in Facebook’s and Twitter’s footsteps, LinkedIn recently enabled its users to add a cover photo to their profile. Currently this feature is available to the LinkedIn Premium users and some free users, but we can expect this to soon be “fun for all”. If you want your Linkedin profile to stand out but don’t have a designer background, this article is for you.

1. Create a free account on canva.com, it takes a minute (you only need your e-mail, no payment information is needed)

2.  Once logged in, you’ll see “Start a new design page”. On the right side, you’ll see “use custom dimensions” option (see pic below) and click on it.

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3. Once you clicked on “use custom dimensions”, the table will pop up asking for width and height dimensions. For width, input 1400 and height 425. From the dropdown menu, choose px (pixels). See pic below.

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4. Once you have it filled out per step #3, click Design! button.

5. New tab or pop up will open. You can then either use keywords in “search” to find the background that fits what you are looking for (i.e. if you are in healthcare, type “health” or “healthcare” in search etc.). Many items are free and some are just a $1. You can create a lot for free! You can also upload files from your computer or Facebook by clicking “Uploads” on left hand side. (see pic below).

Canva.com

6. You can add text and background as well, which is what I did for my LinkedIn background. You will want to spend some time playing with it, especially if you are going to add text. Do not close your canva page even when you think you are finished, as most likely you’ll want to make changes. Close it only after you upload it to your LinkedIn profile and are satisfied with it.

7. When you are done with creating your background on canva, click “download or link”, then “image” and it’d open the “save as” pop up for you. You just save it as a picture wherever you’d like it on your computer to be saved (pic below).

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8. Once saved, go to your LinkedIn profile, click edit, then “edit background” and “change image” or “new image” if you don’t have any yet. Upload your canva creation and click “save changes”. Don’t forget to save changes as otherwise it won’t save your new background. You’re done! Here is my free canva creation. Have fun!

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How to Block Annoying Facebook Apps

If you are tired of getting Farmville, Candy Crush Saga or any other annoying Facebook app invites that your friends are sending you, just block it and never get those again! Here is how:

1. Log in to your Facebook.

2. On the top right corner you will see a little lock symbol. Click on it and privacy shortcuts window like this one will appear:

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3. Click on “See More Settings”

4. The “Privacy Settings and Tools” window will appear. On the left hand side will be tab called “Blocking”. Click on it. (See the picture below1a)

5. When you click on “Blocking”, “Manage Blocking” page will appear. Scroll down to “Block apps”. Start typing the name of the app you want to block. When it appears in choices, just select it and it’ll be added to your “blocked app list”. You’re done! No more annoying invites! If you change your mind, you can always unblock it in the same place you blocked it! You’d just follow the same steps and click “unblock”.

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How to Remove Yourself from the Facebook Group

Have you been added by someone on Facebook to the group you don’t want to be part of and don’t know how to leave the group? It’s simple and only takes a minute. Some of my friends have been added and didn’t know how to take themselves off, so here are the simple steps. I am illustrating it on Přidej sem koho chceš CZ&SK Facebook group (which I have been added to and which happens to be very annoying :)

1. Look up the name of the group in search or if you see the posting in the group in your newsfeed, just click on the name of it. This will take you to the main group page.

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2. On the main group page, you will see button called “JOINED” (where cover photo is). Click on it (left button) or just scroll over it and then “Leave group” option will appear. Click on it and the following box appears:

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3. Check the box to prevent other members to re-add you and then click “leave group”

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4. After you click that you will be still on the main group page but no longer a member. You’re done! Now you can just go on your main page, newsfeed or close the page.

Social Media Contests That Work

It is no secret that running contests on social media (if done right) boosts the company’s following. You can think of it as a good strategy to increase your number of subscribers if you were talking about the email marketing. In a sense, it is very similar: by liking or following you, your fans and followers opt in to receive your company’s messages on a regular basis, which makes it for companies well worth the investment. If the turnout of the contest is good, it can be a pretty cheap way (considering the alternatives like Facebook ads) to boost the number of fans and followers on your social media sites.

In this post I won’t be advising you on how to run a successful contest but rather put on your radar some contests that have been tremendously successful, so you can learn what has worked well and apply these principles for your own contest.

I have decided to pinpoint one for Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, so if you are thinking about running a contest on any of these platforms, you’ll find good examples to follow below.

TWITTER

Shutterbug Social’s Pre-Contest #MillionDollarPhoto Giveaway

For 4 days, Twitter users can enter Shutterbug Social’s Pre-Contest #MillionDollarPhoto Giveaway. Company used promoted tweets to spread the word on Twitter and the response has been great so far. The contest started yesterday and one day later there have been over 15k mentions and 4,660 tweets with #milliondollarphoto hashtag (when I started on this post 9 hours ago, this number was about 600 tweets lower btw.)

Source: TwitterCounter

Shutterbug Social got over 2.6k followers in two days and is now at 6.5k followers – very curious what it’s going to be on day four. Just a side note, Shutterbug Social is giving away Canon Rebel T3i, Samsung Galaxy S3 &  Canon PowerShot ELPH 110HS to three winners in this contest, not a million dollars (yet).

The tremendous response is to the large point caused by the fact that Shutterbug Social used promoted tweet, which is a sponsored tweet that appears in user timelines or search. Promoted Tweets are priced on a Cost-per-Engagement (CPE) basis, so you pay when someone retweets, replies to, clicks or favorites your Promoted Tweet. Promoted tweets are expensive for most small businesses (over $120k per day) but if you really want to get your tweet across the Twitterverse, they’re a very good way to do so. If you don’t have $120k to drop in a day, you can still run a successful Twitter contest. Twitter celebrity and social media maven, Aaron Lee, wrote a good post about that: http://askaaronlee.com/binkd-twitter-contest/

FACEBOOK

I rarely ever participate in Facebook contests, maybe because I never win or maybe because they are just not fun or simple enough. However, I fell in love with the “Spot the SunSM”  campaign ran by Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean & Mexico Resorts. The hotel giant is giving away 100 free hotel room nights each day in August on their Facebook page. Entering the contest is super easy, fast, and fun, which is partially why it became so popular.  To enter, the Facebook user has to find and click on the sun that can be found in the picture posted on the app. First grader would manage to do it, yet it is still entertaining enough for a college graduate.  Once you find a sun, you fill out short form with name and email (great way to grow their email database this way too) and then you just hope you win!

What also adds to the appeal is that you can enter again if you don’t win, as every new day means a new chance to win. The winners are announced the next day, so the curiosity will have you come back and check the page again (and enter again) before you forget such contest existed.

The page’s Facebook Insights reveal that the contest received a great response. Ever since the campaign launched, the Facebook page has been receiving over 1000 likes per week, way more than before the contest started. The engagement on the page also skyrocketed as the result of the campaign, so kudos to Marriott – nicely done.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to run successful Facebook contests, check out my “Top 10 tips on Doing Facebook Contest “ article.

PINTEREST

Norwegian Cruise Line decided to enter Pinterest with a bang and launched a week-long “Pin to Win” contest on August 15 on Pinterest. The concept is fun and smart as it integrates other social media channels (you have to either tweet or post on Facebook about the contest to finish your entry).  NCL is giving away a seven-day cruise for two in a balcony stateroom to any of Norwegian’s popular destinations such as Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii and more on August 24. To win, the participants need to do quite a few things including creating a special board on Pinterest, repinning NCL’s pin and tweeting/adding a comment on the Facebook page. I must admit it was too much work for me so I didn’t enter but apparently many people weren’t that “lazy”, as the contest board that contains 1 pin has over 2,000 followers and this one pin got 822 repins, 64 comments and 84 likes. Not bad if you ask me, especially since the NCL’s overall Pinterest account has just bit over 2.5k followers. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but comparing to the other cruise lines, NCL is now way ahead. Needless to say they can thank this contest for it!

Got a Q or need help?

Connect with me 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys

http://pinterest.com/onlinefantastic/

http://twitter.com/onlinefantastic/

“Facebook Offers” Are Here: All You Need To Know!

Before I get started on all you need to know about “Facebook Offer”, I would like to inspire you with a success story of a small Northern Irish hotel. Roe Park Resort decided to use “Facebook Offer” feature to get more bookings, so the company created an offer that allowed the Facebook fans to get a 1 night stay at the hotel for £42.50.  The offer quickly went viral and it was claimed over 28,000 times in 24 hours!

It is no secret that the biggest reason why people become fans of a Facebook page is to gain access to the exclusive offers. In fact, the special offer motivates 68% of fans to click on that “Like” button. So far the businesses had to push the special offers on Facebook through variety of creative ways – third-party coupon tab, special offer tab, events, or links to the third party sites. Back in February 2012, Facebook announced the great news of having an “Offer” feature on Facebook pages, which would give companies an easy avenue to share their deals with their Facebook fans. Few premium brands and advertisers were able to test the feature early, but most businesses had to wait for Facebook to enable the feature on a larger scale. As of May 3, 2012, Facebook announced it’ll now start rolling out this FREE feature on more Facebook pages of the local businesses that are based in the U.S.  Sure enough, this feature started to appear on many more Facebook pages, so chances are your Facebook page has this feature already or will get it in next few days or weeks.

Simply go to your Facebook page and you should see “Offer, Event +” right next to “Status” and “Photo/video” sharing options [you must be an administrator of that Facebook page to see that feature, so make sure you are an admin of the page]. If you are not an admin, ask the person who handles your Facebook page to make you an admin (takes 2 minutes).

-         Rejoice! You will be able to share special deals with your fans, add value, increase brand awareness and your revenue!

-         Read Facebook guidelines that specify the rules for Facebook offers   (http://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php)

-         Decide what offer you want to run and make sure your offer complies with Facebook guidelines

-         Create the offer on your Facebook page (it’s free!):

  • Go to your Facebook page, click on “Offer, Event+”, click on “Offer” and fill out the easy form
  • There is no minimum on how value or discount required, though Facebook recommends at least 20% off for the best impact.
  • You can’t edit the Offer once it’s posted, so make sure it is exactly the way you want it
  • You can add a thumbnail, headline, expiration date, and terms & conditions
  • You can limit how many people can claim the offer
  • You can’t limit the offer to fans only, so it’ll be visible to all Facebook users who view your page
  • You can choose to target your offer’s audience by country and language only (before posting, click the drop down Public  menu next to the Post button and select Language / Location.)

When you create an offer, it will show up in your fans’ news feed and on your Facebook page. Fans who click on your offer will be able to redeem it by receiving an email that they present at your business’s site. If you are running an offer that does not involve physical business location, you may have to use more creativity on how to have the users redeem the offer. In either case, right after you know what offer you’ll be running, inform the staff who would be involved in the offer redemption (cashiers for retail stores, staff at the front desk if you’re a hotel, waiters if you’re a restaurant etc.).

If you need to change the offer or want to stop running it altogether, you can delete it (you can’t edit it) but make sure you honor the offer claimed by the fans who already redeemed it prior to your deletion.

Last but not least, make sure you track your success (hopefully not failure). “Offer” feature includes a counter of how many people redeemed the offer; however, it doesn’t mean that all the fans who actually signed up to receive it via email will actually redeem it at your location. That is why it is advisable to collect the print outs from the fans and store them in one place so you can easily track the actual success of the offer. Pick and instruct your employees to collect these print outs and tell them where to keep them, so they are easy to find and count. Don’t forget to analyze which offer produced the best results!

-         You can ask Facebook to enable it on your Facebook page by filling out this form: http://www.facebook.com/help/contact/?id=367554259954235

-         Make sure your Facebook page is categorized under “Local Business” and that you filled out the address for your business (Click on “About” – then “Edit” on Basic info tab). If your business address is outside of the U.S., you will have to wait for the feature a bit longer (though Facebook allowed few foreign businesses to test the feature).

-         You can meanwhile share your special deals with customized tab like Hilton Miami Downtown did (requires involving the graphic designer and programmer)

-         You can install a free coupon tab from third-party applications like www.woobox.com

Whether your Facebook page has the “Offer” feature or not, you should create special social media offers regularly to add value, increase the number of your Facebook fans, and differentiate yourself from the competitors. It is also a great way to generate more revenue directly and decrease reliance on OTAs and sites like Groupon that take generous commissions!

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,800 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Where Are People Trying to Go and Where Are They Looking to Stay?

If you are in the travel industry, you absolutely need to check out Kayak Trends (if you haven’t already)! This amazing (and free to use) site helps you find out where are people trying to go and where are they looking to stay! It gives you a great insight into the current travel trends based on the city you’re interested in. Once you find the data for your city, analyze it, and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Here is the data that Kayak Trends display:

-          How popular is the city in the searches during the current week

-          The graph of the search volume for last 3, 6, and 12 months

-          List of most searched hotels in particular city

-          Who wants to visit that city (from which city they are from)

-          Where do people from your city want to go to

-          Hottest hotels for the week

For example, let’s say you are in Miami (can be any city). When you type in the search box Miami, you will see something like this:

Here is how you can use each piece of information to your benefit:

The graph: If you see that there are many people searching for your city comparing to 2 months ago yet your sales are still poor, you need to take a hard look into your operations.

Where are people looking to go: This is especially helpful if you have locations in more than one city.

Who wants to visit your city: This is extremely helpful for marketing purposes. Based on this info, you can adjust your marketing strategy to target the travelers in those cities (change your social media marketing strategy – it is fast and easy to do; PPC; banner ads etc.)

Most searched hotels in your city & Hottest hotels for the week: Are you featured? Are you on the top of the list? If so, congratulations! Are you on the list at all – if so, on which rank? Did your rank improve or worsen comparing to 3,6, 12 months ago? Are the competitors from your hotel class on the list? Learn from those who rank high – they sure are doing something right! Analyze this very carefully, as this can give you a great insight.

Last piece of advice – look at this site regularly. It may be a good idea  to make this part of your monthly/quarterly reports. Remember to really ANALYZE the results: it is one thing to be looking and another to be really seeing. The insights are useless unless you analyze them carefully and are not afraid to modify the strategy. As Niccolo Machiavelli once said, “Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.”

Hotel Digital Marketing Trends & Interesting Stats

Which marketing channels does your hotel spend the most money on? What are the most effective ways of bringing business to your hotel? The answers to these key questions and many others can be found in a recently released HeBS 5th Annual Benchmark Survey on Digital Marketing. This is definitely a must-read if you are in the hospitality industry.

Key lessons you should take away from the survey:

  •  Forget offline, online marketing is a way to go! (49.1% shifted money from offline marketing budgets to online marketing; also over 45% of all hotel bookings in 2011 will be via the Internet)
  • Go Social! Social Media is now a major player. (Social 43% of hoteliers saying they believe social media is one of the Internet marketing formats that produces the best results and the highest ROIs.)
  • Go mobile!  Many hotels are planning for a mobile site and mobile booking engine this year (14.6% increase comparing to 2010)
  • Invest in website optimization and social media!  Majority of hoteliers attribute the highest ROI to these two components.
From the social media side of things, I’d really advise you to look into Facebook ads, social plug-ins, and relevant blogs.

I highly encourage you to go through the entire survey carefully and to modify your marketing strategy accordingly.

Feel free to ask questions and/or share the best marketing practices of your property as well as your marketing budget projections!

Learn more about me: http://onlinefantastic.wordpress.com/about/

Connect with me:

www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys 

www.twitter.com/onlinefantastic 

Guest Blog by Sarah Lenssen: “Ask5for5″ Cause for Africa!

guest blogger: Sarah Lenssen from Ask5for5
photos courtesy of Cate Turton / Dept. for International Development


First, thanks to  Lucie Hys for allowing me to post on her blog today! Today, more than 25 bloggers, including this one, are standing with me to Ask 5 for 5 for Africa. Here’s why….

I began pursuing a BIG dream two weeks ago. After deciding I could no longer avoid the news about the famine in the horn of Africa, I had that gut feeling that I couldn’t sit this one out. I HAD to do something because I could. Something bigger than I could do alone. That’s when #Ask5for5 was born.

A malnourished child in an MSF treatment tent in Dolo Ado

Two of my children, Ashen and Bereket, were adopted and are from the region affected by the drought in Ethiopia. They would be two of the statistics if they still lived there. I see my son’s and daughter’s faces in the photos of those suffering in the refugee camps. It could have been him. It could have been her. The thought haunts me.

And moms just like us are watching their children go hungry day after day. I can’t imagine what it’s like, but I have to –I have to be there to help them, because it could have been my children. These families have lost their livestock, their crops, food prices are inflated at the market if there any food there, and don’t have any more lifelines to tap into. Many are traveling hundreds of miles through parched land in hope of finding help. Many are dying along the way. It is estimated that 29,000 children have died in the last 90 days in the famine in Somalia alone.

Malnourished children, weakened by hunger

But I KNOW we can do something about it. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed, we can rally ourselves and our friends to respond! I set up a fundraiser through See Your Impact. 100% of your gift will go to the relief and development organization World Vision, where it will be combined with government grants to multiply up to 5 times in impact!

You’ll receive updates on just how your funding is being used to help save lives affected by famine in East Africa. I’m amazed at how much we’ve raised already — over $7,000 in just four days! We blew through our first 3 goals in just 3 days and are well on our way to $10,000 and beyond!

I need you to help me save lives. It’s so so simple; here’s what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (http://seeyourimpact.org/members/ask5for5)
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter, and join our page to stay updated too!

I’m also looking for 100 bloggers to stand with Ask5for5 to spread the word during Social Media week, September 19th – 23rd. If you’re interested, email me, ask5for5@gmail.com.

Extra food for every child under five

Thanks! Please donate and email your friends right now–don’t wait for a calmer moment, because if you’re like me, other demands inevitably crop up and you won’t get to it. A child’s life hangs in the balance, but you can help save her!

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