Social Media Networks

Build a better understanding of social media networks and the effects they have on/within the workplace

Archive for the category “Analyzing Situations”

Crowd Sourced Funding Made Possible Through Social Media Platforms

Many of our posts here on the Social Media Networking blog have been about the many established businesses and organizations utilizing social media platforms to enhance their relationship with consumers and optimize internal communications among employees.  This post will be slightly different, focusing on the opportunity that social media can provide as a platform for crowd sourced funding.

The advent of social networking has far exceeded the basic posting, messaging, or file sharing. Crowd sourced funding websites provide a platform where individual users can raise funds to realize their vision of innovation. Entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and creators alike all flock to pitch their project to online investors via the web.

Some websites serve to raise charitable funds for both informal and well organized causes. Razoo is a platform for officially recognized nonprofit organizations to raise money. Individual users can donate as well as organize fundraisers for their favorite charities.  Kiva, on the other hand, functions slightly differently. This non-profit organization serves to connect global lenders and borrowers in an effort to alleviate poverty. Lenders can loan as little as $25 to borrowers from around the world providing “fair access to affordable capital to improve their own lives.”

Indiegogo is unique in that it allows users to raise money for anything and everything. The site is one of the leading platforms for international crowdfunding platforms. It originated within the independent film industry and grew from the belief that “anyone, anywhere who is passionate and works hard should be able to raise money.”

Websites like Kickstarter and Pozible allow users to demonstrate their ideas in detail to investors by sharing their concept’s story and uploading photos and videos. This also enables small individual investors to have access to the same early stage opportunity to invest early on in the life of an idea or start-up.  My cousin and his wife have used Kickstarter to fund multiple ventures in graphic design. Most recently their campaign to fund Urban Punk, a line of unique apparel, playing cards, and other gifts, has raised over $17,000 and has some 615 backers and counting!

Other platforms are geared toward a more specified field. Rock the Post is a site that promises well vetted investments and targets more serious investors by upholding a minimum investment of $1,000 :

FundaGeek provides a place for those with a technical innovation and research to pitch ideas and find financial backers willing to pledge support. On, renowned and often times famous scientists and researchers are hand selected to showcase their projects that need funding. This unique opportunity allows the public to make possible important discoveries and research. In turn supporters get exclusive access to new findings, acknowledgement in publications, field souvenirs, and other unparalleled opportunities.

Crowd Sourced Funding via Social MediaOriginal Visual Aid Created by Meghan McCrory using Wordle


All of these   platforms empower independent individuals to create and innovate by making these projects accessible to small time investors. In an age of big business and corporate agendas, these crowdfunding sites give individuals the power to see their own visions realized on their own terms.


Feeling Lonely in Life and at Work? SMNs May Be to Blame…

How we connect and who we’re connected with is a huge part of society these days. Reconnecting with people and building relationships is key and so important (for many things)! Not only in every day life, but in the workplace as well. People are connected online and on SMNs now more than ever but with that they’re also becoming lonely. SMNs are for socializing, chatting, finding old friends, stalking ex’s, everything that makes us happy, right? WRONG. Technology and SMNs are great for all of the things I listed above. But, it turns out that while people are able to keep in touch with long distance friends more easily, they’re now feeling more distant than ever. Oh the irony.

An article from Forbes discusses how technology is making society lonely. This is what I found most interesting…the article states, “surprisingly, those who report feeling most alone, are those you’d expect it from least: young people under 35, who are the most prolific social networkers of all.” So this addiction that we’re all developing (I say “we’re” because I too am addicted) may be hurting us? Individuals are becoming to feel increasing alone, and for those of you who work on computers all day, every day the feeling of “alone” may be hitting you even harder. The sad and scary thing is, technology and SMNs are hard to escape especially considering that they’re all around us. Digital communication has, in a sense, taken over face-to-face communication. Therefore, there’s a lack of personal contact and in my opinion, that may be a reason for why people are feeling so lonely.

Yes, SMNs are a convenient tool and necessary in today’s society but at what risk? If we’re already seeing bad signs, what’s in store for the future? No face-to-face contact… ever? Here’s my thinking: Now that you’ve learned this information, take a look at your SMNs/technology use. Is it excessive? Do you feel alone and lonely in every day life or even at work? If so, place restrictions on your use! Make an effort to talk to people in person more and FB chat less. Get up at work and walk around to see people, don’t email them (as easy as it may be). A little seperation from SMNs and technology won’t hurt us, right? But then again as I’m writing this I’m on Facebook, so it may not be as easy as it seems. It’s worth a try though.

Watch this clip…

Read more on this topic and 7 strategies for building a real social network at the following:


Can Facebook Hurt Your Chances of Getting Hired?

Would you find it fair if the hiring department of the company you applied for based their decision to hire or not to hire you on the content you have on your personal Facebook profile?  Most people would be in uproar about a situation like this if they found out it cost them the opportunity to receive a job. So the question stands, is it the responsibility of the candidates to spruce up their social media sites for the purpose of getting the job or is it up to the businesses to respect a candidate’s right to privacy?

Most people believe that the use of social media platforms are a positive thing for businesses to use, but in reality they can create an unrealistic representation of the candidate applying for the position. It’s like judging a book by its cover. Yes there are times when the cover of the book is parallel to the quality of the written work, but what about those books you’ve loved with a mediocre cover. A candidates profile picture and relationship status should not interfere with their capability to work for a company. Can someone’s work ethic truly be determined by the content they “like” on Facebook? When you judge someone solely on the content they have online, you miss the opportunely to truly find out if he or she is the perfect employee for the position.

Since it should be the businesses responsibility to respect a candidate’s privacy, businesses should take precautions to using social media for hiring new employees. If companies are adamant about using social networking platform for hiring purposes companies should be prepared to face potential charges of discrimination. To prevent unlawful discrimination Robert McHale suggests businesses seek outside help, a person not involved in the hiring process, to review the candidates’ social media sites. Providing this outside help with a policy for reviewing and reporting back to the company will ensure the company’s protection against messy lawsuits. This way the company will not be aware of race, religion, relationship status, sexual orientation and other personal details that could lead a company to violating discrimination policies. The outside help would only collect and report information about the candidate that could lawfully allow them to reject the candidate.

Official policies for using social media platforms for hiring purposes have not been established, but it is wise for companies to take on the responsibility for respecting personal information. With the rise of social media use today, using Facebook and other social networking accounts to investigate a candidate should not be eliminated completely, but used in an ethical manner.

“While rules exist to prevent employers from asking questions about belief systems or disabilities of their prospective employees, these rules fail to prevent the same information from being divulged through Internet searches.”  Does this seem ethical to you?

Further Readings

“How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Make Hiring Decisions Now”  By Dan Schawble

“Recruiting and Hiring Advice” By John Rossheim

“The Ethics of Pre-Employment Screening Through the Use of the Internet” By Michael Jones, Adam Schuckman, Kelly Watson

“Using Facebook To Screen Potential Hires Can Get You Sued” By Robert McHale

Malicious Facebook Spam Attacks

Since Facebook’s depute in 2004, the social networking site has faced countless complaints, errors, and controversies. One of the main concerns many users have, as well as businesses, is the spam and viruses that spread across this site. This content is not only obnoxious, but can also severely damage an individual’s computer, or worse, steal his or her personal information.

Spam and viruses can be spread a variety of ways on the internet, but spammers usually spread content with these three techniques. One of the most popular ways malicious information is spread is by phishing. This “involves using fake messages to direct users to sites for knockoff products or to pages that can turn a computer into an automation that floods friends with spam,” which both annoys users and can have detrimental effects. These spammers also use various tricks on users, which fools individuals into downloading malware. Once downloaded, the user’s account sends out messages to his or her friend’s which also tricks them into downloading the same software, infecting his or her friends’ computers and continuing the cycle. Spam and viruses are also spread by “likejacking,” This technique spreads information by tricking users to like certain pages. Once the individual “likes” the page, “the content shows up on his or her home page and can also appear on a friends’ news feed;” infecting the computer and those who are unfortunate enough to click the link. Regardless of how spammers infect or pester the Facebook community, these people do this for monetary gain. These individuals get paid for each click he or she is able to send to a certain website or ad, making this problem increasingly more complex and more difficult to vanquish.

In order to combat this issue, Facebook has put in place both malware and spam detection systems across the site to help reduce the general amount and spread of spam and viruses on the social networking site. The systems are constantly looking for suspicious activity all over the Facebook network; such activity can include a user sending 50 or more messages to people who are not his or her friend or if 75% of all friend requests sent out by a user are being ignored. Once this kind of behavior is detected and investigated, security software goes in and fixes the problem, much like how a personal computer’s security software works. Facebook also recommends several security tips, such as selecting a strong password, regularly running anti-virus software on one’s own personal computer and adding a security question to the account, in order to keep one’s account secure. According to Facebook, because of their systems and security tips, less than 1% of all users in the Facebook community are affected by spam or viruses on the site.
Click to check out stories of personal accounts of Facebook spamming.

Click to learn more tips on how to keep your Facebook account secure.

For your enjoyment, Aaron Woodall pokes some fun at the Facebook Security Team:

Small Businesses Social Media Strategy

When running a business and especially a small business time is money. The time spent trying to generate more prospective business through marketing campaigns can be costly with little outcome for a small business. Small businesses tend to spend their time satisfying their current clientele, which has a more direct impact on their profits.  Small businesses often face this dilemma of weather to put their time into gaining more customers or to continue focusing on their current clientele. Engaging in social media platforms has allowed small businesses to easily market their business through word of mouth marketing but it can also create some problematic situations for some businesses.

Here are three ways that small businesses have taken advantage of social media platforms when dealing with problematic situations.

  1. Businesses are always concerned that the growing use of social media can cause bad publicity.  With twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms being available for customers’ individual use, customers have started to use these platforms to voice opinions about certain products or services. Small businesses can use these complaints or negative opinions to their advantage, like California Tortilla did when they had an unsatisfied customer tweet about their food.Therefore if someone is upset about a product or service they purchased through business, smaller businesses have the advantage of using social media to correct their mistake and ideally make their customer satisfied. California Tortilla shows their customers they value every customer buy responding to anyone who is unhappy with their service.                                                                                       Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 11.03.50 PMHere is an example of a Tweet a customer made about the service they received and the response California Tortilla gave them.

  2. Sometimes the type of business is just down right hard to market due to its unattractiveness. For example pest control, cleaning services, construction companies. Here is an example of how a small business, that have the disadvantage of being less appealing to follow on Twitter or Facebook, can take advantage of social media to gain more customers. Istueta Roofing used YouTube to improve its search engine optimization. They provided homeowners with how to videos and videos that show the work they can do for them. This builds trust with the potential customer while gaining a greater social media presence.

  3. A frequent issue seen when small businesses make use of all social media platforms is their failure to make sure each platform is easy to find and follow. Whether the businesses username on twitter is different from the name of the businesses Facebook page truly matters. It is helpful for businesses to share the links of other popular social networks they use on each platform.For Loves and Lemons is a clothing brand that started off very small and with the use of social media has become a hit among celebrities and is frequently in the press. Their sites exemplify how each platform should integrate easy to find links to their other social media platforms. Even before they became very successful their social media presence on different platforms was always easily accessible, from Facebook page to Twitter to their retail site, one can access all networks within seconds.

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Monitoring, Interpreting, and Integrating the Complexities of Social Media

New social media platforms seem to be emerging constantly, and they continue to evolve and develop at a mind boggling rate. With all of these changes taking place, businesses find it difficult to know how they should capitalize on the opportunities social media provides.  Advertising spending in social media by American companies is increasing dramatically. In the next five years will reach 34%, more than twice as much as search advertising.  But is it worth it? Are you reaching the intended target market? What is the actual return on both effort and financial investment? Many companies struggle to measure and understand the real impact their involvement with digital media platforms has on their organization’s performance.

Social media actions can be complex and difficult to interpret. Outside of placing paid advertising on social media platforms, here are three forms a business’ social media activity can take:

Type 1:  This form is not paid for by brand owners, but is provoked and pushed for by them.

Type 2: This form is the result of a campaign paid for by the brand owner that requests consumers to create and share content for the brand.

Type 3: This form is not paid for by brand users, and is created and shared by individuals that are not paid or encouraged to do so by brand owners.

Blog by a disgruntled consumer

With all of these different formats, monitoring what people are saying about a brand online is continuous and it is a constantly ongoing process; always changing.  Despite its complexity, social media activity has the potential give businesses access invaluable intelligence that can help guide decision making. This is type of broad social media monitoring should be the most fundamental involvement for any brand.

PepsiCo tackled this problem head on when monitoring the brand of sports drink it manufactures, Gatorade.  It has set a goal to become “the largest participatory brand in the world”. To accomplish this feat, a real-time monitoring station exhibits customizable dashboards and data visualizations for all social media platforms.  Marketing team members are able to use this space it calls its “war room” to analyze consumer sentiment regarding new products or campaigns and pinpoint conversations in order to give direct feedback.  The feedback PepsiCo has collected is shared and incorporated into the brand by guiding the company’s decision making.  Since implementing the program, the amount of web traffic, length of online interactions with visitors, and viral sharing, have all more than doubled.

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