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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Facebook Slams Door on Marketing Giant Rally Forge

It is clear in the current political landscape that social media plays a huge role.  In fact, according to data from the Pew research center, 8 out of 10 Americans say that social media platforms are effective for raising public awareness about political issues.  But what happens when organizations abuse these platforms?

In an unprecedented move, Facebook announced one of the heaviest punishments a marking firm can face.  Rally Forge out of phoenix, Arizona was banned from the Social media giant for multiple infractions around using fake accounts and pages to sway political influence.  All the accounts in questions were related to a conservative political group run by Charlie Kirk

Who Are Rally Forge and Turning Point USA?

Rally Forge is no small force in marketing.  Started in 2016 by Jake Hoffman, they now represent several companies and nonprofits in the Phoenix area.  They have become a major player in the market with annual revenues exceeding $11 Million.

According to their website Turning Point USA is a 501(c)3 organization founded by Charlie Kirk.  They focus on educating and training students in freedom, free markets, and limited government.  They claim to be the most organized, active, and powerful activist network in high schools and colleges across the country.

An Environment Ripe for Scandal

According to Facebook head of security, Nathaniel Gleicher, they removed 200 accounts and 55 pages on Facebook.  They also remove 76 Instagram accounts as well.  The question becomes how did they do it and why is it a problem.

While people make political comments on social media every day, these accounts stood out because of a few key factors.  It was noted that many of the accounts were operated by teenagers in the Phoenix area.  Additionally, the accounts often had cartoon like Bitmojis and seemed to oddly mirror real accounts.

More so the accounts seemed to create a perception of widespread support though commenting on posts by influential leaders and public filters.  The accounts were able to pass the security of the platform because they used modified spellings of real names that went undetected at account creation.

Additionally, twitter suspended 262 accounts related to the same issue.  Though neither platform has banned Turning Point USA, both platforms are continuing to investigate the issue further.  Rally Forge also put out a statement that it will be working with the platforms to correct this and remove the ban.

A History of Social Media and Politics

The use of social media to sway an election is nothing new.  In recent history, it was found that Russia interfered with the 2016 election through the active use of social media campaigns laced with false and extreme views about political candidates and issues

The US is not the only democracy to have dealt with this issue.  In, fact it is estimated that 26 out of 30 countries had similar types of interference in their last election.  It means that the social media companies are in a dire spot to reduce or remove this type of behavior from their platforms sooner than later.

What Does All of This Mean to You?

It means that in marketing we have entered a new era of ethical dilemma on how we approach social media.

The Ethical Use of Social Media

Marketers are constantly under the gun to drive more leads that will ultimately build more revenue for the company they represent.  At what length will marketers go to grow accounts and generate leads?

The good news is the majority will follow platform guidelines and behave in an ethical manner to ensure they are working within the values of their brand and the brand they represent.  Occasionally though you will find marketers that will step out of the straight and narrow because of an over promise or a “system” they have been shown.

What Does an Unethical Strategy Look Like?

There is no one size fits all clear answer to this question. However, there are several things business owners can look out for that are clear red flags:

  • It seems too good to be true: Often you will see marketers saying things like, “I can get you 50,000 followers in 1 week” or “I sell social media accounts with 10,000 followers.”  While both of these sound great the methods to achieve a huge audience, these often violate the terms and conditions of the social platform. They could ban your account while the scammer walks away with your money and prepares to do it to the next guy (or girl)
  • An offer for completely free services: Recently a slew of “marketers” (I use that term loosely) have taken to Facebook professing, “I have just learned a new strategy to grow your business through Facebook ads.  Before I start charging, I am looking for a business to see if I can get them results.” There are two ways to lose with this one.  You provide them access to your account and they steal all your follower data and run, or they waste your money on Facebook ads that do not work.
  • Fake Influencer Marketing/Influencer fraud: It is no lie that there are people making real money on social media as an influencer.  The reality is that the influencers are often a fad and their audiences come and go.  What you need to look at is not how many followers they have, but how many engaged followers they have.  They could have 2 million followers. But if they only engage 500 then their reach means nothing in the way of conversions to sales.

Learning From the Fall of a Giant

Rally Forge shows us that despite the size of the organization, social media platforms desire to keep the peace. Additionally, they want to make sure users are behaving in an ethical manner.  What is interesting though is how many advocates are on the platforms reporting issues that arise as well.  Seeing the user community for the most part as engaged in keeping the platforms ethical as the platforms themselves is refreshing.

Over time tolerance for unethical behavior is becoming less and less.  Some may call it censorship. However, it becomes an ethical obligation. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok must maintain safe platforms for users.

This news does not come lightly and will most likely be the center of many heated political and censorship arguments.  This is not the last we will see of social media companies seeking to maintain a safe platform for the users. Are you ready for the dominoes to fall as social media platforms start holding companies more accountable?

Our team is here to help you navigate the challenges of marketing. Ask us how we maintain ethical standards while getting the best result.


How to Use Pinterest in Your Company’s Marketing Strategy

When you hear of Pinterest, do you automatically think of recipes, crafts, and endless hours spent scrolling through a sea of pins? While the social media platform has a reputation as a place for women, the number of men using Pinterest doubled in 2014. And though those numbers are two years old at the time of this blog, think of the number of potential customers for your business.

What is Pinterest?

Having dubbed itself as “the world’s catalog of ideas,” Pinterest is pretty much that. Launched in March 2010, the social media network features the ability to ‘pin’ anything that can be found on the internet to user created boards. The platform is commonly known for its collections of recipes and crafts, but if it catches a person’s eye, it can be saved.

Think of the boards as digital bulletin boards without losing push pins in the process. Boards are used to organize ideas and break user’s interests into categories. You can have as few or as many boards as you like. The author of this blog personally has 25 different boards on their Pinterest account. The boards I use most often are titled ‘running,’ ‘film photography,’ ‘food,’ ‘apartment decor,’ ‘yarn,’ and what I call ‘wardrobe updating.’ Secret boards were introduced in 2012 and allow only the creator of the board to view the contents, unless they add a collaborator to also pin.

How Does It Benefit Any Business?

Businesses of any size can reap absolute benefits from using Pinterest. It is a great source for back links. These are a crucial SEO ranking signal and a boost to your overall visibility online. It also falls under referral traffic which is argued by some as the number one benefit of Pinterest to any business.

Think of Pinterest as another way to show off and share your knowledge of your specific business or industry. As an image based platform, if you include even a single image or graphic on every page of your website, that is an opportunity for someone to pin your content. A single pin can be active for more than a year on Pinterest, a phenomena addressed further in a moment.

People can link to your content via widgets. What is a widget? It isn’t an abstract object from a fourth grade math problem. Instead, it’s the little red ‘Save’ button that usually appears on a photo when you hover the cursor over it for a few seconds. Widgets can be created for any photo or graphic you have on your website, opening the door for visitors to share every inch of your website.

Does Pinterest Help My Content Stay Fresher than Twitter?

It’s an ongoing strategy session for marketers and businesses who use online marketing alike. How do you get your content in front of people and keep it there, or at least for a few minutes for engagement? We’ve all seen how quickly tweets are pushed down a Twitter feed and Facebook posts are constantly adjusted by the platform’s algorithms. What worked last month – or even last week – could soon be outdated.

Enter Pinterest and its ability to see pins for content that is more than a few days old. If you’ve used Pinterest for any amount of time, you’ve seen pins that are at least a year or two old. How does this happen? One person liked that content and saved it to a board. Someone new came along, began following that person, also took an interest in it, and saved the pin. The cycle keeps moving along as long as Pinterest exists.

Exactly how many pins on Pinterest are re-pins? According to a September 2015 infographic from Social Marketing Writing, 80 percent. When you think of the 72.5 million people who use Pinterest, that’s a lot of pins floating on the internet since early 2010 and high odds of your content being continuously recycled.

How to Engage with Other Users

Like any social media platform, there are many ways you can engage with users. Our favorites for Pinterest start with the simple fact that people love sales, discounts, coupons, and any way to save a little money. Take advantage of Pinterest’s image base to share sales and drive traffic to your website or brick-and-mortar store.

Give your followers more opportunities to interact by using several images on each of your web pages. This goes back to the widgets discussed earlier in this blog. The more options people have, the more likely Pinterest users visiting your website will pin content.

If you’re looking to give your overall search engine optimization efforts another boost, take advantage of rich pins. Consider these citations specifically for Pinterest, individual pins that use meta-tags. Articles or mostly text content will have a headline, the author, story description, and link in its pin. A product or service can have real-time pricing, availability, and where to buy included. Not only are you giving yourself a little help in the SEO department, you’re giving your customers even more valuable information about your company and services.

Don’t be afraid to respond to questions and comments left on your pins. Like any other social media network, Pinterest provides space at the bottom of each pin to comment. You can also tag a person which will notify them of the comment on the pin. Just remember to follow the basics of responding to online comments at all times.

How Can Elevare Help Me?

While we can’t help you cull out the many delicious looking recipes that you’ll make someday from your boards, we can give your business another boost online. Pinterest may have started out as a place for people to save recipes and plan weddings, but we know it’s grown to much more than that. Whether it’s helping you build a strategy to further engage your customers or create a plan for restarting a listless campaign, we can help you use Pinterest to grow your business and bottom line.

Are you ready to grow your social media presence? Elevare has had great success helping people with social media goals including awareness campaigns for new business launches and conversion campaigns to grow revenue.

To get started, fill out the form below and we will contact you within the hour to start the conversation towards your success!