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Social Media Ethics Made Easy

Social Media Ethics Made Easy: How to Comply With FTC Guidelines

Joseph W. Barnes

E-book Price: $19.95
Number of Pages:  120
Print ISBN:  9781606498521
E-book ISBN:  9781606498538

book Barnes Book Flyer.png NEW URL

Social Media Ethics Made Easy takes an in-depth look at the risks of social, digital and mobile media marketing without structured policies. Readers will learn what is at stake from the law to their reputation, and what happens if businesses and/or individuals do not disclose relationships or comply with (FTC) Federal Trade Commission regulations. Readers will come to understand what they should do, why, and how they should do it.

The issues in this book affect every single business from for-profits, to nonprofits, to government and educational institutions. It also addresses the impact on every single social/digital media participant and why they must learn about these guidelines so they can protect their own personal brand. This book is intended for a broad audience including students and professors in both undergrad and graduate schools, and practicing business executives. The goal is to inform management practice and help current and future business leaders navigate through the ethical laws and compliance issues affecting social, digital and mobile media.

GOTCHA! POST A NEGATIVE REVIEW AND GET SUED!

 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

A developing legal and ethical issue in emerging media is whether a business has the right to sue and win in court against a consumer who received what they believe was poor service or a bad product and posted a negative review.

Simply do a Google search with this or a similar phrase and many stories immediately pop up: “businesses sue over negative social media posts.”

“One consumer who was angry over what she thought was poor work on her home logged onto Yelp and posted negative reviews about the firm that did the work, including claims that some of her jewelry was missing.  The contractor filed a $750,000 Internet defamation lawsuit against the consumer saying the postings on Yelp and Angie’s list were false the court for a preliminary injunction to keep her from writing similar reviews.” (outsidethebeltway.com 2014)

“Lawyers say it is one of a growing number of defamation lawsuits over online reviews on sites such as yelp, Angie’s list and Trip-Advisor and over Internet postings in general. They say the freewheeling and acerbic world of web speech is colliding with the ever-growing importance of online reputations for businesses, doctors, restaurants, even teachers. No one keeps track of how many suits are filed over online reviews, and lawyers say the numbers are still small but are getting larger.” (outsidethebeltway.com 2014)

In another case, “Hotel Quebec sued a former guest for $95,000. The reason? The guest wrote a negative review on TripAdvisor exposing the bed bugs in his room and refused to remove the review.”

“Lawyers say such cases are a cautionary tale for a new era: those who feel targeted by defamation on the web are more likely to file suit, and judges and juries are more likely to take such claims seriously than in years past, raising the legal stakes over vitriolic reviews, nasty blog comments and Facebook feuds.” (outsidethebeltway.com 2014)

the following analysis is from (blankrome.com 2014)many dentists, wedding photographers, moving companies, locksmiths and online retailers have each tried to limit negative online customer reviews via nondisparagement clauses in their service agreements.”

Traditionally found in negotiated settlement or employee severance agreements, nondisparagement (or “no review”) clauses are now making their way into non-negotiated service contracts and the oft-ignored terms and conditions of online retailers. So the question becomes: are nondisparagement clauses the wave of the future, or simply the next battleground in the war for online consumer rights?

In its simplest form, a nondisparagement clause seeks to prevent a customer or receiver of goods or services from posting negative reviews about a service provider or vendor by outlining the financial repercussions for any violation.

The impetus behind companies inserting these clauses is the popularity of review sites like Yelp.com, ripoffreport.com, dine.com, tripadvisor.com and amazon.com—coupled with the increasing number of people turning to such sites in choosing which companies to do business with. Because a poor review can be financially devastating, businesses want to prevent clients from bad-mouthing them—even if the criticism is true.

Still, the first issue regarding any non-negotiable, nondisparagement clause is whether it is enforceable. According to University of California, Los Angeles constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh in a Wall Street Journal article titled, “you ruined my wedding—and you’re suing me?” the answer, not surprisingly, is: it depends.

As a general rule, items agreed to in a contract are enforceable. But the “gotcha factor” is critical, Volokh told the wall street journal. If a reasonable consumer would be very surprised by a clause in a vendor contract or a terms of service agreement, that provision may be deemed unenforceable. “you could see some of these [nondisparagement clauses] invalidated,” Volokh said. “this will be decided on a state-by-state level.”

Consumers should be careful when reading a non-negotiable service agreement, so as to be aware of any nondisparagement or similar clauses. This is especially true when dealing with an online retailer’s terms of service—which may be separate from the specific contractual provisions.

Businesses can also take steps to ensure their reputations are protected without impugning free speech. According to one commentator, a more defensible approach is to require a consumer to take their complaint to the company before posting anything online; in exchange, the consumer receives a coupon (or other item of value). This approach would not ban comments indefinitely.

But even setting aside the legal issues, public perception of companies using nondisparagement clauses may also be worth considering. Such clauses may send the message a company does not stand behind its work, or is overly concerned with bad press. While a few negative reviews may be the cost of doing business, the overall impact will be negated by more positive reviews.

As businesses continue to take concerted steps to protect their online reputations, and consumers continue to post online, this area of law is likely to develop. The introduction of pro-consumer legislation will only quicken the pace. But until then, the battle for online consumer rights carries on.(blankrome.com 2014)

 

Coming soon to Facebook: Video ads that follow you from device to device

Coming soon to Facebook: Video ads that follow you from device to device

Advertisers on Facebook see the emerging method of sequential mobile advertising as a way to better control their branding message with consumers on social media.

Sequential video advertising allows marketers to place targeted video ads in front of a user when they click an ad on their mobile device. Based on what the person clicks, and what the product or message is, marketers are then able to follow up with similar video ads as they hop from one device to another.

By creating a sequence of targeted ads, marketers can build up a pitch from one video to the next — starting with a “pitch” video and ending with a “sell” video intended to close the sale.

VentureBeat spoke to two sources who requested their names not be used because the information they were describing was based in conversations with Facebook executives.

“Video is where its going,” an advertising executive who works with Facebook told VentureBeat. “With unique profile IDs, you have the ability to better sequentially target content for users as they embark on their journey through the social media funnel.”

The same executive added: “Sequential video advertisers gives marketers the ability to place different messages that can build upon each other. This gives you greater control over the delivery of your message.”

Another mobile executive who works with Facebook told VentureBeat that advertisers want to better control, and deploy, product messages. But they are content, for now, in permitting Facebook and others obtain user data to target their ads.

For its part, Facebook uses a combination of its own in-house analytics and partners for the task of ad targeting.

Facebook is able to amass tremendous amounts of user data based on information contained in in its users’ profiles as well as their activity. That includes information on who you interact with and where you like to shop, for example. That data is gold to advertisers, keen to take advantage of Facebook’s 1.2 billion users.

“The writing is on the wall. Sequentially targeted ads are hugely efficient and ultimately cost effective. They have greater relevance for advertisers and better targeting,” said the second source, who has knowledge of Facebook’s mobile ad strategy.

“Anecdotally, it’s very promising. Facebook is putting a lot of effort into it,” the same source added.

Indeed, Facebook bought the video advertising outfit Liverail for an undisclosed sum earlier this month. Liverail’s technology optimizes video ad deliveries for mobile devices utilizing bidding and proprietary data. Liverail was considering an IPO this year but threw in its lot with Facebook instead, media reports said.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the Liverail deal because it hasn’t closed yet. The spokesperson told VentureBeat that the social media giant began incorporating video ads into user feeds years ago but that in March, the company unveiled Premium Video for advertisers.

Video ads are an important component of Facebook’s market strategy. You can see a blog post on the subject here.

The two mobile executives said Premium Video Ads was a definite upgrade to earlier iterations of mobile video ads and that the company was focused on evolving their mobile ad technology with better tools for advertisers. And they both pointed to discussions with Facebook executives that the company is tweaking and testing new forms of mobile ad deployments likely to be unveiled by years end.

A blog post announcing Premium Video Ads put it this way:

“Premium Video Ads are designed for advertisers who want to reach a large audience with high-quality sight, sound and motion. Each 15-second video ad will start playing without sound as it appears on screen and stop if people scroll past. If people tap the video, it will expand into a full-screen view and sound will start. People can expect to begin seeing these new ads over the next few months.”

Facebook’s analytics and targeting capabilities are second to none, the sources both said. The sources told VentureBeat that the exceptionally detailed information on Facebook’s 1.2 billion users is ripe for the unveiling of upgraded targeted and video ads that possess many factors of consumers, including where they live, shop, and eat.

“It’s all in the context. Facebook knows more about you than Google does. They know who you’re friends and family are, and what kind of hair gel you use. They’re saying ‘we have more information on you and we know everything,” the second source said.

Facebook VP of ad product marketing Brian Boland hinted at the future of video ads in a blog post July 2heralding the Liverail purchase:

“We believe that LiveRail, Facebook and the premium publishers it serves have an opportunity to make video ads better and more relevant for the hundreds of millions of people who watch digital video every month. More relevant ads will be more interesting and engaging to people watching online video, and more effective for marketers too. Publishers will benefit as well because more relevant ads will help them make the most out of every opportunity they have to show an ad.”

“Sequential content delivery in ads sends a top-level message to consumers that brands know who they are. The reach and frequency of video ads allows Facebook the ability to reach out to users more effectively. Video is very powerful, and Facebook is committed to that pipeline of direct response,” the first source told VentureBeat.

At Facebook’s F8 conference in April, the company unveiled Audience Network, its enhanced advertising platform, furthering cementing the social media kingpin’s belief that mobile video ads are another important way to increase their share of the mobile ad pie.

Facebook has made solid strides into its mobile ad strategy over the last year alone. A study by TGB Digital showed Facebook’s ad click-through rate is four times higher than arch-rival Twitter’s, with 1.1 percent compared to Twitter’s 0.266 mobile CTR.

And at the F8 conference, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg declared that his company had become a mobile-first player.

 

The Truth About Online Engagement

Many people talk about online “engagement” yet few take the time to define the term, create a strategy to increase engagement, and create effective methods of measurement.

There are many definitions of online engagement but let’s keep this simple and use Facebook as an example. If your customers or potential customers “like” a post or respond with comments or questions, they are engaging with you. They latter is what you want.

It’s not about how many followers or the number of people who “Like” your page; it’s about the number of people who engage with you, your venue, your service, your products — your brand.

Engagement means creating community, having a two-way conversation, having a dialogue with your followers. It means they ask you questions, and they share ideas that relate to your brand and other followers.  It’s as if everyone is invited over for a big community festival at a park and everyone is sharing with each other. That’s engagement.

You can increase engagement by asking for it. If you are a restaurant or grocery store and you post a great recipe for dinner, ask people to send you photos how it tasted and what their version looked like. Ask them to send in and share similar recipes.

You can track engagement month to month, year to date, and that month year to year. The goal is to increase the comments and the engagement.

(c) Joseph Barnes  www.Digital3000.net

The Two Most Important Words in Social Media!

 

Remarkable Service

 

Two words that say it all. 

I can’t begin to tell you how many conferences I speak at, consulting sessions I have, training workshops I hold, classes I teach, in which people constantly want to know the “keys” (this means magic keys) to social media. 

 No matter how much you listen, no matter how well you use the social media tools, none of it matters unless every touch point in your organization provides “Remarkable Service.” That is, customer service so special they will go out of their way to tell others. They may share the story through word of mouth, on Facebook, Tweet, create a video for YouTube, etc.

The first step in every social media plan must be “remarkable customer service.” Why? You can be incredibly responsive on social media platforms, but if someone at your organizations treats a customer “average,” then that person walks away with nothing  to say about your organization. 

The first step, the weekly check, the monthly check, and the constant check, needs to be “remarkable” customer service. That means the best of anyone in your category or channel, at every single touch point. 

(c) Joseph Barnes, http://www.Digital3000.net

There is Nothing More Important Than the Customer Experience!

For all of the social and digital media advice and trends I provide on this website, as I preach at conferences, keynotes, when I’m teaching, and anywhere people will listen—all of the social media engagement and listening in the world is trumped by remarkable customer service. 


If you provide remarkable customer service, people will tell others through word of mouth and through social media. Conversely, if you have poor touch points with customer service, people will tell others.

I was flying cross country a couple of weeks ago and had a layover at DFW. Now I know airline gate agents are stressed to the max and have to deal with some outrageous people and situations at times, but watching what was happening for a few hours was amazing.

This happened to be American Airlines. I’m sure American has thousands of amazing people who go out of their way to help customers and make them feel good. However, on this day, at this gate, for a few hours, that wasn’t the case. The customers who would approach these gate agents did so politely. For three hours, never did I see a smile. Never did I see anything other than multi-tasking, transaction agents, mostly looking down while “customers” approached them.

Here are a few things to think about:
1. Love your job or leave it. It’s not prison.
2. Love your customers or leave them. Your job isn’t prison.
3. Provide remarkable customer service that people will talk about, otherwise your business is invisible and no different than any other business.

(c) Digital3000.net  Joseph Barnes
digital3000.net 

Now will you believe me? For marketers—It’s all about the content!

I’ve said this many times before and I will say it again: If you are in any facet of marketing, It’s All About the Content! 

It’s about the stories you tell on Facebook, in your newsletters, on your websites, in your paid commercials, and in the videos you shoot.

NEW: Now from TechFlash comes this  development:

“Analysts are expecting Amazon.com Inc. to begin producing its own original television programs soon.”

Fortune reports that Amazon’s television programming unit is headed by a TV production veteran in Los Angeles who previously worked at the Comedy Centralnetwork. The story quotes analysts who believe that Amazon, which now is publishing its own books, would be smart to begin producing its own TV shows.

There has been previous speculation about Amazon’s possible move into TV production. Amazon formed Amazon Studios in 2010, soliciting screenplays from writers at the time.