Facebook Pages & Applications: HTTPS Update, OAuth 2.0 & How It All Affects Your Business

Facebook officially enforced the change for Pages and Applications to provide a secure connection and environment (HTTPS and OAuth 2.0) for their users to interact with customized content on the Facebook Platform. Were you ready for the change? Is your application still locked in Sandbox mode today? What is HTTPS and why do you need to switch? What is going on?

In May 2011, Facebook announced on their Developer’s Roadmap the intention to complete the migration of all Facebook pages and applications towards a more secure platform using HTTPS and OAuth 2.0 by 1st October 2010. Given the open nature of the internet and the sensitivity of the data users put online these days, this move has been seen as long overdue by many in the Tech industry. So, how does browsing Facebook over HTTPS help you secure your information? If you are unsure of what HTTPS does, it simply means that there are additional layers of verification and encryption to who is receiving your data and how your data is being transmitted and received. To find out exactly how does HTTPS work, simply google “HTTPS”.

If you have yet to enable HTTPS for your Facebook Page and/or Application, you will notice that Facebook has put your page and/or application into a “Sandbox” mode. Users can see that your page/application exists, but they will not be able to access your page/application. During this transition period, users can still access your sand-boxed page/application though by disabling secure browsing.

So what does this update really bring for us everyday users like you and me?

You as a User

On the surface as a user, the visible effect of the changes are not much, compared to the launch of Timeline on Facebook this week. You probably did not even feel the change before reading this. You will notice that there is an extra S in the http you see in the address bar, your favourite applications are no longer working (fix this application!) and you get lots of pop up messages from Facebook asking you to disable secure browsing only to realize that you need to restart Facebook to be back on secure mode.

What is important, however, are the changes that is not so visible.

Being on secure mode means that the data we send and receive goes through an additional layer of encryption and decryption. On normal broadband speeds, this is hardly noticeable. However if you are surfing on a 3G network or on a slow connection, you will notice that ALL pages on Facebook will take a longer time to load.

What you are trading all these inconveniences for, is essentially a peace of mind. Given the recent incidents on the security loopholes in many companies on the internet, this added security means it is harder for your account and information to be hijacked by malicious software and hackers. This change also opens up more options in terms of services which companies can offer on Facebook with a secure platform. E-Commerce, access to Banks and Government services are just some of the few possibilities on the horizon.

As a user, you might not be getting much except for security at the moment, but once things starts to get integrated together, that is when things starts to get fun and exciting!

You as a Developer

The first and foremost concern which most developers have when they heard about the move to HTTPS was the cost. In order to provide a HTTPS connection for Facebook to connect to their content, developers now need to ensure that the site they are hosting on has a valid SSL certificate. And this certificate is not free. Some hosts provide add-on services which you can opt-in for SSL certificate at an additional monthly premium, some hosts do not provide the certificate and require you to secure your own.

For developers working in a corporate environment, this is not an issue as the cost is borne by the company. The hardest hit will be the casual or freelance developers who have to now either pay from their own pocket or transfer the costs to the clients. This change will effectively cause a shift in the freelance / casual developers community in time to come. Will we see a collaboration in the community to create a shared SSL service to defray the costs? How will they work around this issue?

Delivering secure content over the web using HTTPS involves verification of the host and encryption/decryption of the transmitted data. These additional steps will introduce overheads in processing time for web pages. Web page optimization will become even more important when it comes to delivering content with high user experience satisfaction. For browsing HTTPS over broadband, the difference will not be noticeable. However more and more users are surfing the web on tablets and mobile phones using 3G and public WIFI connections. Is your application today well optimized to deliver content over slower networks with HTTPS?

With this step taken towards a more secure platform, Facebook is opening up doors for developers to create applications that was considered unsuitable due to security concerns. What will be the next application you’ll be working on? Let us know!

You as a Business Owner

If today you have yet to update your pages and applications to work on the secure platform, the good news is, users can still access them for the time being.

However, each time they access your page/application, Facebook will prompt them to disable secure browsing first. Not exactly a good way to encourage users to interact and engage your brand. And you know that once the User un-like your page, it can create a domino effect and it will be difficult to get them back.

This change in secure browsing is essentially the first step towards opening up users, corporations and governments to be more receptive to the idea of performing secure transactions on Facebook. Once the momentum catches on, you will be able to integrate your pages and applications with services from all sectors, from entertainment, education, e-commerce, work related applications, government services and so on.

Are you in the right position in this change to come? Getting out of the Sandbox is fast, easy and does not need to be costly. Feel free to ask Clickr today!

On the Near Horizon

Now let’s look ahead. The next change will begin in January 1st 2012, when Facebook stops supporting all pages previously done using FBML, and finally pulling the plug on FBML pages on the 1st of June, 2012. So if you have yet to begin updating your current Facebook pages and applications, do not procrastinate any longer, or you will be more than just 2 steps behind the world. For a free consultation, ask Clickr today!

No comments »

Facebook Timeline and Social Media Marketing

A week ago, Facebook announced a revamp of the Facebook profile at the annual F8 conference. Among the multiple updates announced, Facebook introduced “Facebook Timeline”, A revamped profile that let’s you share the events, highlights, places, photos happening in your life with your friends on Facebook. One interesting point about timeline is that it allows users to go back in time, and update important events and photos that happened in their lives.

Here’s an introduction video of Timeline to get an idea of how your Facebook page is going to look like!

YouTube Preview Image

Besides allowing you to have a chronological order to the events updated on your Facebook page, one new addition featured in the updated timeline is the introduction of updated Facebook apps, which will alert you to the online games, apps, which your friends are using. This new capability will change the experience of using Facebook in a very fundamental way. It will have the more immediate, real-time feel of Twitter–when you merely “like” something, your friends might see that sometime later. But if you click on a stream to tune in, your friend will know that immediately.

This all looks great, but what does it mean in terms of social media marketing?

Moving beyond the Like

One aspect of Facebook timeline and the apps that are featured (e.g. social cooking, spotify, etc) is that our considerations for Facebook’s performance has to go beyond the number of Likes to a page or the number of interactions for an app. It is important to start looking at how your apps and your page are performing in terms of its usage among users, as well as its viral effect in influencing others to using your app.

Going forward, facebook apps would need to consider further on the sharing options of their application, to focus on more methods to allow users who want to share their usage of the application with their friends. As these application updates are automatic without users doing the sharing on their own, Application developers need to consider the right updates which users would like to share about.

More information from users

By encouraging users to go backwards to update their timeline, it is expected that such information would play a part to allow marketers to gain more information from users in Facebook. In addition, all data in timeline is kept stored on Facebook literally forever, which would give marketers even more data to use in their options to market to these users.

For example, besides targeting Facebook users based on those who have “jogging” listed in their interests, marketers can eventually know and target the users who have used a jogging application, or those who have participated in running or jogging events previously.

When it comes to changes on Facebook, the immediate response from users would be initial resistance to the change (as per all changes which occur to Facebook previously), followed by security issues of users unwittingly exposing their information to other users due to changes in page security settings. Eventually, users would get used to the new changes implemented.

Timeline is expected to be launched in the next few weeks. We are definitely looking forward to its official launch! In the meantime, if you have more questions on Facebook marketing, or would like to find out more about social media marketing, feel free to contact us!

No comments »

Keeping Your Business Facebook Page Alive

In this article, I will touch on the importance of social media marketing (especially Facebook in particular) for the business owner. I will also be sharing some tips that may help you in keeping your Facebook page alive.

Many business owners always find it a struggle to keep their Facebook page alive! There are many doubts that come to the owners’ minds when it comes to managing their business pages on Facebook. Some of these doubts and fears are, “What should I update?” “What should I include in my Facebook page?” “Why do I even need one, when I have a website?!”

The list goes on, but the main thing that business owners do not realize is the critical impact that social media marketing could have on their businesses.

Social media marketing (SMM) will soon be inevitable for all business in the next few years. It might even be a substitute to some form of  traditional advertising. The objective of SMM is to forge bonds with your fans, eventually convert them into your customers, and build up the loyalty of these customers towards your product/business.

But most owners do not know the best way to maintain their pages, and eventually these pages would die off due to lack of correspondence and updating. To prevent that from happening, here are some tips to keep your Facebook page alive!

Make Your Posts/Updates Interactive

Most of the time, we would know what to update in our Facebook page when we first started using it. However as times goes, we are uncertain of the things that we want to share on.

In order to connect with your fans, it is recommended to have updates that would allow your fans to share their views on the subject matter. For example, a simple post to share on your pages could be, “Share with us what do you like about (your product name)?”

Frequency of updates

It is especially important that you constantly update your Facebook page, so that your fans would not think that your page is inactive or dead. In particular, take the effort to update your page on every alternate day. The preferred time to update would be in the morning or in the evening during the day, as that is the time that most people are online and active on their Facebook page.

Variation of updates posting

Updates may not be just a sentence or two. It can take in the form of a video or picture or even an article. Fans tend to pay a lot more attention towards video and picture, so look out for interesting things that is happening in your business. Snap it and post it up!

There are definitely more ways to keep your facebook page up-to-date. If you are interested in finding out more how Facebook marketing can help, feel free to contact us!

 

 

 

No comments »

3 Ways Franchises Can Make Use Of Social Media

Many people join franchises is because they have a proven system, which allows individuals to take part in a proven business. Furthermore, it is less risky to join a franchise system as there are slightly lesser risks involved compared to a new business venture.

Not only will franchisees receive training from the franchisors on business operations, they would also gain marketing benefits when there are nationwide marketing campaigns provided by the franchisors. Marketing campaigns will include advertising, sales promotion, public relations and branding of the franchise business.

Besides traditional marketing campaigns, franchises can also leverage on social media as an additional platform for their A&P campaigns. Here are some ways to do so!

1) Decrease cost by substituting print coupons with e-coupons

This will seek to eliminate the cost of printing coupons and vouchers. Furthermore, when users use e-coupons, it can be spread virally to their friends and family members. This promotion can also be easily communicated through the use of smartphones. This will help businesses to gain more conversions which were spread by users, when they were to share it with their friends on social media. One good example is McDonald’s, where Facebook and other social media tools were used to spread their “one for one” promotions.

2) Nationwide Advertising
This form of advertisement through the social media offers a great value. This is because it is an inexpensive way of advertising instead of the traditional advertising channels such as newspaper and magazine advertising. This will be especially effective when your fans share the information that was posted. This will certainly benefit franchisees in their business, as they are part of the same franchise brand.

3) Increase public relations
Using social media will allow the franchise business to strengthen the image of the company as they are able to highlight on reviews and articles by independent organizations as well as individual users. This will benefit not just the franchise business but also the franchisees, as they will be able to increase more sales through the wider spread of benefits from the A&P.

Therefore, through social media, it would not only increase the overall franchise’s brand name, it would also have a larger impact on the franchisee’s individual businesses.

If you would like to find out more about how social media can help your business, feel free to speak to us to find out how we would be able to help :)

No comments »

Facebook Ad Strategy – Targeting Your Facebook Audience

If there’s one thing that many advertisers and clients are asking today, it’s this: “how do I increase and build up more users and Likes on my Facebook page?”

While there are many methods and strategies in terms of reaching out to new Facebook users to make them aware of your page, one of the most useful methods would be through Facebook Advertising.

As shared in Search Engine Watch, it is recommended to target your Facebook audience through the following methods: Literal targeting, competitive targeting and inferred targeting. After all, it is impossible (not to mention, very costly), to target all users within Facebook. Thus, it is recommended to target your group of facebook users by selecting on the following:

Literal targeting: If you want to reach out to basketball players on facebook, for example, you would then select “playing basketball” as one of the interests which you would appear in. In other words, you would directly select on  users with the interests which you would like to feature your ads to.

Competitive Targeting: If there are negative sentiments regarding a competitor brands or products, it is a good avenue to feature our ads to target to pages and users whom have these sentiments. For example., users who hate using blackberry would be perfect to feature your iPhone or Android ads.

Inferred Targeting: this method of targeting your ads works by thinking deeper on your customers’ likes and dislikes, and inferring their behavior from it. For example, user who has graduated from school may be looking for a job, it would be effective to target recruitment agency ads to him or her.

There are definitely more ways to target your facebook ads to users. If you are interested in finding out more how Facebook marketing can help, feel free to contact us!

 

No comments »

Facebook Vs Twitter: My Impressions

Twitter has been such a hit with celebrities, politicians, business organizations, and of course, normal beings. According to the analysis of Barracuda Labs, Twitter grew like wildfire in 2009. It was suggested that the influx of celebrities on Twitter resulted in the sudden growth before it dramatically slowed down in recent months.

Call me a frog in the well, but personally I have never been interested in Twitter, as such I had no registered account thus far. However, with an increasing number of myfriends banking in on Twitter, perhaps it would be wise to check out what this social media tool has to offer.

Registration & Design

For a start, I applaud Twitter for its relatively fast and fuss free account creation process. Gone are the days when the registration of an account requires information that is deemed redundant. Twitter account creation required little information and three steps to get the account up and working. Greeted with a clean layout yet visually appealing, Twitter beats Facebook hands down with its design.

Functionality

Upon further exploration, it seems Twitter has nothing spectacular to offer in terms of functionality. The social networking site basically serves as a message board for its users which feels like a compressed and neatly organized status update of Facebook. The differentiating factor might be Twitter offering you the option of receiving tweets through its messaging service.

That being said, it is not a chore to stay connected on the go.  With 3G, WiFi hotspots and Facebook applications, users can easily update their Facebook statuses and read news feeds. As such, it greatly diminishes the attractiveness of Twitter’s messaging service. Besides functioning as a message board, Facebook allows third party applications where users can for example take a quiz and play games like FarmVille.

Privacy & Security

A series of security features were recently unveiled which Facebook users can enable on their profiles. For instance, users can list devices “authorized” to access their accounts. As such, “unauthorized” devices that has been used to access their accounts will trigger security, notifying the users and sending them information on how to reset their passwords and securing their accounts.

Prior to that, Facebook had been under the heat regarding privacy issues and policies pushing past the privacy limits of users. Some of these issues revolve around the inability to opt-out of Facebook features such as the news feeds and mini-feeds and the amount of information that was coming from them. In addition, there were rising concerns regarding the use of Facebook for surveillance and data mining.

On the other hand, Twitter shys away from unwanted media coverage with its traditional privacy policy in place. However, occasional bugs that breached the privacy of users placed Twitter in the limelight. Taking an example, the recent “force follow” bug hogged tech headlines where users found themselves automatically following others.

Social Media Marketing

In terms of social media marketing, both Facebook and Twitter have their fair share of pros and cons. Facebook can be pretty structured, restricting the creative usage of Facebook pages. For instance, the editing of wall tabs does not seem to be an option, as such leaving the wall tabs of pages looking similar. For that, page administrators might want to consider changing the settings for their landing tab.

Cons aside, Facebook would be useful for businesses to stay connected with their customers and clients with wall posts, interactive applications and micro sites. On the other hand, Twitter serves as a medium for businesses to spread messages of events or updates about the company. Twitter cuts back the interactivity with your followers however provides a relatively fuss free process where tweets can be tracked while you spread.

I must say I get pass new gadgets, games, items etc. really quickly and as such, the excitement and happiness is pretty much short lived. With Twitter, I would probably positively last a week or two before I just stop checking in on it. Perhaps it is just me, but Twitter just seems less appealing overall. Unless most of my friends decide to abandon the Facebook ship, Twitter is just not the site that would keep my attention.

If you like to just keep up with updates of what your friends are doing or spread a message about events, Twitter with its clean and visually attractive layout is probably your way to go. =)

Facebook VS Twitter

Twitter has been such a hit with celebrities, politicians, business organizations, and of course, normal beings. According to the analysis of Barracuda Labs, Twitter grew like wildfire in 2009. It was suggested that the influx of celebrities on Twitter resulted in the sudden growth before it dramatically slowed down in recent months. (Source: http://mashable.com/2010/03/10/twitter-follow-stats/)

Call me a frog in the well, but personally I have never been interested in Twitter, as such I had no registered account thus far. However, with an increasing amount of friends banking in on Twitter, perhaps it would be wise to check out what Twitter has to offer.

Registration & Design

For a start, I applaud Twitter for its relatively fast and fuss free account creation process. Gone are the days when the registration of an account requires information that is deemed redundant.

INSERT IMAGE: http://stuffthathappens.com/blog/2008/03/05/simplicity/

Twitter account creation required little information and three steps to get the account up and working. Greeted with a clean layout yet visually appealing, Twitter beats Facebook hands down with its design.

Functionality

Upon further exploration, it seems Twitter has nothing spectacular to offer in terms of functionality. The social networking site basically serves as a message board for its users which feels like a compressed and neatly organized status update of Facebook. The differentiating factor might be Twitter offering you the option of receiving tweets through its messaging service.

However, with 3G and Facebook applications, it is not a chore to stay connected on the go. Thus, when it boils down to networking site attractiveness, games and applications can be very advantageous, well at least for me. With the amount of games updates and quiz results on the news feeds, I suppose you will agree games and applications on Facebook does attract and retain users.

Privacy & Security

A series of security features were recently unveiled which Facebook users can enable on their profiles. For instance, users can list devices “authorized” to access their accounts. As such, “unauthorized” devices that has been used to access their accounts will trigger security, notifying the users and sending them information on how to reset their passwords and securing their accounts.

Prior to that, Facebook had been under the heat regarding privacy issues and policies pushing past the privacy limits of users. Some of these issues revolve around the inability to opt-out of Facebook features such as the news feeds and mini-feeds and the amount of information that was coming from them. In addition, there were rising concerns regarding the use of Facebook for surveillance and data mining.

On the other hand, Twitter shys away from unwanted media coverage with its traditional privacy policy in place. However, occasional bugs that breached privacy of users placed Twitter in the limelight. Taking an example, the recent “force follow” bug hogged tech headlines where users found themselves automatically following others.

Social Media Marketing

In terms of social media marketing, both Facebook and Twitter have their fair share of pros and cons. Facebook can be pretty structured, restricting the creative usage of Facebook pages. For instance, the editing of wall tabs does not seem to be an option, as such leaving the wall tabs of pages looking similar. For that, page administrators might want to consider changing the settings for their landing tab.

Cons aside, Facebook would be useful for businesses to stay connected with their customers and clients with wall posts, interactive applications and micro sites. On the other hand, Twitter serves as a medium for businesses to spread messages of events or updates about the company. Twitter cuts back the interactivity with your followers however provides a relatively fuss free process where tweets can be tracked while you spread.

I must say I get pass new gadgets, games, items etc. really quickly and as such, the excitement and happiness is pretty much short lived. With Twitter, I would probably positively last a week or two before I just stop checking in on it. Perhaps it is just me, but Twitter just seems less appealing overall. Unless most of my friends decide to abandon the Facebook ship, Twitter is just not the site that would keep my attention.

If you like to just keep updates of what your friends are doing or spread a message about events, Twitter with its clean and visually attractive layout is probably your way to go.

No comments »

Facebook Marketing – Is It All About Fans?

Deep down in all people, there is a need to socialize. And when there’s a need, there will be some geniuses out there with solutions to cater to this need. There are many social networking sites available now such as Friendster, Twitter, Tagged, Hi-5, and of course, Facebook. Today Facebook occupies a major part of our Internet browsing activities, and it won’t be an exaggeration to say that it plays an impact in our lives.

Being Connected?

Getting connected to people and groups is now an easy task at hand. With 3G services, hotspots around Singapore, a large number of users are staying connected on the go. Furthermore with the upcoming iN2015, more users will be staying connected on the go. Even if you do not have a 3G or WiFi enabled phone, as long as you have Ping, you are most probably good to go.

What is Ping you may ask? Ping is a hoodie, still in concept phase that allows you perform Facebook actions such as poking a friend.

Do Fans matter on your Facebook page?

With the large number of users, companies have started recognizing the potential of these social networking sites. It was such a subtle and a natural process, one may wonder when companies began creating their own “fan pages”. Companies soon began to market and advertise their fan sites through usual ways such as creating their own group profiles, updating status/information, conducting contests and interacting with their “fans”.

However, one shouldn’t judge the success of their social media marketing just by looking at the number of fans they have. Having fans does not necessary mean that they would visit your page everytime they log into Facebook. Really, how many of your “fans” are real ones that interact with your brand all the time?

Games on Facebook

If you noticed, the most common updates you see on your Facebook wall (Besides updates on how your friends are doing) are posts about how someone needs your help in Mafia Wars, someone is adopting a lost seal, or has completed a new building in Farmville. Do you see now what people are spending the most time on in Facebook? =)

Besides the usual channels on Facebook, companies should consider using games as a medium to garner more exposure. Games have always been a never ending source of income and entertainment to many people. Even more so on social networking sites, it has proven to be one driving factor that has increased user interaction in a social network. At least to this ex-Plovdiv city council member in Bulgaria, he was so interested in Farmville and wanting to level up that it cost him his job. At least that doesn’t happen over here! =)

Taking an example on this, companies can create and give out accessories for avatars in games such as a pair of Adidas shoes or Picket & Rail furniture for pet society players. Perhaps they can have an in-game virtual store. Through such methods, companies might just be able to create a presence and garner exposure while at the same time benefiting you who received new accessories for your avatars.

Have fun experimenting with social media, and listen to feedback from your users!

1 comment »

Basic Social Media Brand Monitoring With Google Alerts

As more Internet users are participating in online activities like blogging, discussions, sharing their thoughts on social networking platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, reading reviews of products & services, rise of social media is not a trend you can ignore. As a business, you will want to know what others are saying about you and eventually, respond to them. While larger businesses need complicated social media intelligence software that can harvest larger sets of data, segment them, identify sentiments or trends, small businesses will probably find basic social media monitoring methods good enough.

What is Google Alerts?

Google Alerts is one of the easiest way you can keep tab of your brand and product mentions. To put it simply, it allows you to utilise Google’s search products (news, web, blogs, videos, etc.) to inform you of new search results by email updates without having to manually do a search.

Using Google Alerts for basic social media monitoring

Using Google Alerts for basic social media monitoring

The usage is simple:

  1. Enter your search terms (more about this below) as you would when doing a search on Google.
  2. Choose the type of topic you wish to monitor. You almost always want “Comprehensive” for including all sources unless you are getting a whole lot of updates in which case you might want to revise your search terms or engage a firm for your social media monitoring needs.
  3. Choose how often you would like Google to check for new results. I recommend “as-it-happens”.
  4. Finally, just enter your email where you wish to receive these updates. It is a good idea to get a Google Account so you can manage your alerts (if you have multiple ones set up) or have the updates delivered to a feed.

There is a list of FAQs should you want to learn more about Google Alerts.

So, What Can You Monitor?

You will be able to monitor essentially everything you can search for as with the normal Google web search. Assume we have Joe who runs a spa business, Spacialty (pardon me for the fictitious names), in Singapore whose competitors include spas like Spa Botanica and Estheva. Joe provides services such as Aromatherapy and Hydrotherapy. Monitoring the search terms below can provide some insights on his business.

  • spacialty
    Monitoring mentions of brand name can help identify conversations on the services provided, customer satisfaction, negative remarks, etc.
  • hydrotherapy site:forums.cozycot.com OR site:flowerpod.com.sg
    CozyCot and Flowerpod are leading Singapore communities that are female-oriented so it helps to identify potential customers talking about the services which Spacialty provides.
  • spa botanica” OR estheva
    Some times it helps to learn more about your competitors too. If conversations about your competitors are almost always positive, what are they doing right?

There are definitely more to the list here and what search terms to monitor is solely dependent on your business. Monitoring your brand with Google Alerts gives you a no cost entry to experience the usefulness of social media monitoring. Have fun!

1 comment »