I should note, days after this post, Facebook demanded I prove my identity. As my name is not Danakin Skyjacker, I was unable to satisfy their idiotic documentation criteria. They closed my account. I switched to one of my other fb accounts, with an even goofier name. The good news? Even less advertising. That fb profile has never had a hometown or a current city associated with it and it had “liked” almost nothing. Pure minimal-ad Facebook experience achieved. If you don’t want to open a new Facebook account, stick with the method below.
Original post follows:
I’ve been increasingly inundated with advertisements on Facebook, especially on their iOS app.
Cause 1: Facebook continually finds new ways to monetize its product. (You. You’re the product!) (Go on, click that link. It’s fun!)
Cause 2: Until today I’d told Facebook I lived in Honolulu, one of the most hip, expensive, and cosmopolitan cities in this hemisphere. (I don’t.)
Minimize Facebook Ads
So I changed my current city and hometown to Supai, Arizona, the most remote town in the United States. It’s not even accessible by car! Supai is the only place in the United States where mail is still carried out by mules.
RESULT: Fewer advertisements on fb. I am no longer ostensibly part of a cherished target demographic. (I never was.)
Sure, I might start seeing ads targeted to native Americans, and if Facebook advertising is on its game, I might even see ads related to sprucing up my imaginary new home in Supai. So far–worth it.
Concerned about your privacy? …Or just tired of ads?
Won’t you join me in Supai?
When not generously providing free table tennis lessons to hacks at the Triple Crown Pub, Dan Dreifort consults on SEO, user experience, and other aspects of digital marketing.
SEO practitioners have seen the writing on the wall for years. If you really care about ranking well in Google, now it’s past time to pay attention to social. Almost two months ago we learned empirically that more +1 on Google+ means better ranking in Google.
I’ve spent a couple of years hinting to my clients that they should pay more attention to social; now I’m *strongly* suggesting it by outlining a few simple steps they can take (or I can take for them) in the social realm.
Step 1:More Social Outlets
Google Plus is a must. (Edit: You know what else is a must? Making sure you’re reading timely advice instead of an article from 2013!) People don’t use it, but Google relies on it for organic rankings, so your organization should use it. If you want to pick your battles and only use three outlets, pick Facebook and Twitter too. But why stop there? It’s so easy to work once and have it propagate to multiple outlets.
Step 2: Maximize Social Efforts
Use Hootsuite or similar services to make social management easy. Type once and your words post on all of your social sites at once. With tools like this there’s no excuse for not also posting on sites like LinkedIn, YouTube and the like.
You can even schedule your content to post at specific times allowing you to compress a portion of your social time investment while taking advantage of peak social interaction times to get your message seen more. Hootsuite is free, and if you’re lucky enough to outgrow the gratis version, it’s only nine bucks a month to upgrade.
Step 3: Encourage Website Visitors to Share
While many sites already sport social icons linking to their Facebook page, that’s not enough. We want a more usable page that enables our web audience to use their social networks to vote and share. Employ action icons like Google’s “+1” to let visitors make note of your specific content. Some might use a +1 as a social bookmark, others as an endorsement. Either way, we like it because Google uses it to rate webpages.
Step 4: Search for Social Engagement #
Hashtags (#) are your friend. Naturally, you should use them in your social posts to tag and categorize your content, but there’s more! Type “#hashtag” (without the quotes) into Facebook’s search bar and you’ll get a list of all posts tagged with #hashtag. But how is that useful?
An acting school might search for #audition and then comment on a post or two every week. A luggage shipping company might search for #lostluggage. A local business might search for people discussing an upcoming local event totally unrelated to their business and then share excitement about it. Etc.
Step 5: Follow for Social Engagement
Have you ever heard of the reward theory of attraction? You can follow that link, or trust me when I say that if you follow others, they might follow you too. This ties in well with hashtag searching. You can’t comment on EVERY related post you find, because that looks spammy, creepy and annoying. Instead, follow people and businesses who are posting about stuff relevant to you. …They’ll be more likely to follow you. Wikipedia says so.
Don’t lay it on too thick
Finally, the overlying/underlying philosophy here is that while social is going to help your other marketing efforts, most of the time, you should not wear your traditional marketing cap while you’re engaging with social networks. When you meet somebody on the street and they try to sell you something, how do you feel? Who wants to follow somebody who’s always talking about themselves? Well, some people do, but you’ll find the people with the most engagement aren’t exclusively self-promoting. Sometimes replying, “ugh!” or “I know, right?!” to share frustration, or asking a question, “How do you find out about _____?” or “Why?” will be more valuable than posting about something more related to your business. Remember: your business name is next to everything you post, so you can just lean on that!
This article only scratches the surface of social best practices, but follow these instructions and your social efforts will be well on their way to helping your search engine optimization.
Dan Dreifort consults on usability, SEO, and now social. If you ask nicely, he might let you subscribe to his private and otherwise unadvertised SEO/usability/social tips email list. …But maybe not.
(Update: We have less control than ever on Facebook. Use socialfixer.com. It’s the best we have.) Facebook sucks when it comes to privacy. I can’t wait until somebody sues them for it and forces them to change. Maybe someday they’ll realize that good usability and privacy is a great business model.
Until then, here are three different ways to clean up one of the most egregious facebook privacy screwups to date.
Annoyed that facebook has decided to make every detail of your actions everybody’s business? Tired of clicking the little x and then clicking “remove” from the annoying facebook confirmation popup over and over again? Here’s how to quickly delete your facebook recent activity.
There are three ways to eliminate all of those annoying updates with a single click. The downer is that you still have to do it periodically. Most of these are cross-browser compatible for at least firefox and chrome.
Use better facebook. There are tons of other reasons to use better facebook too. Not the least of which is that my top blue facebook bar is locked in place while I scroll the content of a page. Very convenient. However, betterfacebook implementation of remove recent activity is less than perfect. It misses some from time to time. But it adds a “remove all activity” link to your activity. The new version of Better Facebook removes all recent activity (or whichever bits you specify in the settings,) each time you visit your facebook profile page. Get better facebook!.
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/67751 You have to install greasemonkey first, but it’s totally worth it. I heart greasemonkey, This one adds a “Remove Recent Activity” button to the right facebook side panel. Works like a charm, once you find it. Facebook is so damn cluttered. (Edit: turns out you have to reload your profile page for the button to appear.)
Using Verizon or Alltel to connect via EVDO/3G and having problems with Facebook? You’re not alone. Call Verizon Now (1-800-922-0204) Some have suggested “fixes” to this problem ranging from deactivating and reactivating your Facebook account to editing about:config in FireFox. (No internet explorer specific “fixes”) but alas these efforts are either temporary at best or in vain completely. When I started getting the content encoding error after logging into Facebook I Googled and noticed this thread over at Mozilla. There I first suggested that this could be a problem with Alltel / Verizon. (The former was recently eaten up by the latter.) Turns out I was right. Everybody experiencing the Facebook error is also using Alltel / Verizon.
But how did I know? I used to use Wild Blue satellite to connect to the net. I couldn’t get to a specific site to load. Most people could. Then I talked to somebody else using Wild Blue and he too was unable to load the page. Turns out it was some sort of caching problem within their network. Additionally, after I later switched to Alltel / Verizon EVDO I noticed that they were doing some things that caused certain pages to parse weirdly. (e.g. arstechnica.com articles’ text was illegibly too similar to the background color.) I did some troubleshooting with ars and found that Alltel / Verizon was parsing all of the external js and css files inline amongst other allegedly bandwidth saving tactics. Alas, their attempts to save money and time often cause problems.
We’re running into the same sort of thing with Facebook now. I called Verizon (1-800-922-0204) and tried telling them about the problem and the solution. Unfortunately, while their tone is friendly, they don’t really know what they’re doing. They kept trying to tell me it was a firefox problem. So I read them the IE error too. They tried to tell me it was a problem on my end. I told them that my laptop works fine with Facebook from non-Verizon connections. They tried to tell me the issue was local to my service area so I tried in vain to inform them of their many other subscribers having the problem nationwide. No dice.
So I insisted on opening a ticket. But alas, they failed to note some pertinent info. Somebody’s supposed to be calling me back within 72 hours. Lame. So, if you’re having the same problem, call Verizon now and tell them about it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I hate that I’m stuck with Verizon. They messed up Alltel so bad.