The Private Social Network for Forbes’ 30 Under 30

Tinder and Forbes might seem like an unlikely pairing, but they’ve just collaborated on a social networking app (to be launched this October) – one with very, very exclusive membership criteria. In order to join, you have to have made Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list; it’s being touted as “speed networking” for rising stars.

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Private Social Networks: Three Case Studies

There’s a wide variety of reasons why people might want to start their own social network; privacy is a dominant one. Whatever you’re interested in keeping safe, from your children to data about how you use the internet, smaller social networks can be a very appealing option. Here’s three popular private social networks, to show you just how viable they can be in today’s market, and some of the ways you can utilise plugins like PeepSo. Read more

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Social Media Strategy for Small Businesses

As a new or growing business, it’s easy to try and cast your online net as wide as you can by signing up for every platform available. However, be wary of biting off more than you can chew; having multiple social networking profiles for your business can create a huge amount of extra work – turning something that should make your marketing easier into a massive burden.

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Social Media by Numbers: What You Need to Know

At a glance, it might look like Facebook is your only option if you want to effectively incorporate social networking into your business’ online marketing strategy; but that’s simply not true. Here’s some facts and figures you should know about social media in 2015, and which might help show you just how relevant and profitable a niche, privately hosted social network could be. Read more

Why Design Matters

Good design helps a website stand out; even more importantly, it increases engagement and the amount of time a user will spend on your site. How users feel about your brand, how they engage with it, can be largely dictated by how user-friendly and pleasant to look at your website is. Read more

“Facebook Zero”: The Decline of Organic Reach

You have 8000 followers on Facebook, and need to post an important announcement about your business; maybe your office hours have changed, or you need beta testers for a new version of your product. How many people would you expect that post to reach, without paying for it to be boosted? According to a study done by Social@Ogilvy, you’re likely to reach 480 – a measly six percent. Larger pages (with followers in the hundreds of thousands) have their numbers slashed even more – to around 2 percent of their total followers. They anticipate that eventually, the average reach for most business pages will drop to zero. Read more

Social Media Around The World: Why Facebook Isn’t Enough

If you run an international company, it’s worth remembering that Facebook is blocked and/or banned in some of the world’s biggest markets. While China technically lifted its ban on Facebook in 2013, it seems that access is still only available within the 17-square-mile free trade zone in Shanghai (to make foreign investors feel more at home). Access in Vietnam is hit-and-miss, and content is heavily censored thanks to an official decree passed in 2013 (so if you’re trying to get your post shared in the Vietnamese market, you might be out of luck). Pakistan will block any pages that seem to have blasphemous content; Bangladesh is the same. Even in countries where Facebook is available, it’s not always the social network of choice: VK is the most popular social network in Russia, and Japan’s social networking landscape is dominated by Mixi (which has 25 million Japanese users, where Facebook only has 16 million).

Facebook isn’t the only social network.

Facebook isn’t the only social network.

And that’s just taking into account location-based markets – Facebook isn’t always the most popular social networking site for particular employment, lifestyle or age demographics, either. Style bloggers dominate on Instagram; academics who don’t use Facebook can be found on Academia.edu.

If you have your own social network to connect with prospective clients or users in countries or demographics where Facebook isn’t going to reach them, you’re automatically ahead of the game; using Facebook is basic online marketing, using your own private social network to widen your reach beyond Facebook’s borders is smart marketing.

Social Networking, Privacy and Constructing Identity

Facebook is, for the most part, not a particularly good representation of what people’s lives are really like; their profiles represent how they *want* to be perceived. A happy marriage, a busy social life, an image constructed through careful filtering of content.

But what happens when the image we want to portray to our personal connections doesn’t match up to what we want to send out to our professional ones? That profile picture of you and your partner at a festival covered in mud might make for a great anecdote and paint your life the way you want your friends to see it, but it’s not going to look so great to your customers or a prospective employer. You may be out and proud to your friends and family with your religion, sexuality, veganism etc, but don’t want your co-workers to judge you (or even worse, fire you) based on those attributes. If you work in the justice system, you probably don’t want people you’ve sent to jail knowing your daughter’s name or what suburb you live in.

Image via cambodia4kidsorg on Flickr.

Image via cambodia4kidsorg on Flickr.

People navigate these issues in a variety of ways; some will create two profiles, one for work and one for family and friends. Switching between accounts can be time consuming, and not everyone will get the message about which profile they should add. Some will carefully filter content and adjust their privacy settings to make sure that only certain people are seeing certain content; but this can be restrictive in terms of letting old friends find you, or letting people share content (eg, photos that they’re also in). Others decide it’s just too difficult, and the risks outweigh the benefits of belonging to a large social network.

Smaller, privately owned social networks are a great way forward if you want to keep the different parts of your life separate. Want to share things with just family, and not worry about anyone else finding your profile? Set up your own little corner of the web. Need a space where you can connect with your clients, and have complete control over what they see, and how they interact with you? A private social network keeps your work and personal lives completely separate. And further, when it’s your own social network, you understand what “private” really means. You know exactly who is on the network, and how they can find you; plus, PeepSo’s own privacy policy is crystal clear.

You’ve Got Mail: On Social Media and Channels of Communication

You’ve got mail…and new mentions…and new direct messages…

The way we communicate keeps evolving and changing. We’ve now got such a plethora of options at our fingertips that phrases like “I’m not a phone person” or “I don’t do text” have become necessary qualifiers when trying to express how we prefer to communicate.

All of these channels have their advantages, and disadvantages. Public business pages on Facebook allow you to reach a lot of people…including spambots and trolls. The phone forces you to think on your feet, which can induce serious anxiety – as much as it’s nice to hear someone’s voice, and have a conversation in real time. Email is quick, but messages can get lost in the pile if you’re someone who gets a lot of emails every day. Snail mail isn’t always more reliable. Twitter’s character restrictions can be well, restrictive. Skype lets you converse face to face with people all over the world, but you’ve got to have a strong internet connection (and a high data cap).

What I’d suggest this tells us is: we need to think about all of the options available to us, and make sure we’re using those channels as effectively as possible. Having your very own private social network, based on your own WordPress site, is an option that many people aren’t aware of, and one that can revolutionise your web presence; one that can give you a whole new way to communicate with customers (existing and potential). It’ll allow you to reach those who don’t want to join the “big boys” of social networking for privacy reasons, and those who get your posts filtered out of their newsfeed by default (thanks to Facebook’s algorithms).

Why Everyone Should Learn to Code

Learning to code is like learning to speak another language; you have to learn a whole lot of new “words” and phrases, and if you get just one word or letter wrong, the person (website) you’re talking to might have no idea what you’re trying to say. Many people prefer to outsource coding work, or use plugins that allow them to do really cool things without needing to write a single line; even if that’s you, it’s worth knowing the basics so you can spot if something’s wrong, or make small tweaks if you need to. If supermodel Karlie Kloss can learn to code between international flights, fashion shows and photoshoots, you can fit some basic coding lessons around your busy life too.

code

It turns you from a consumer into a producer.

If you can’t code, you’re always buying someone else’s project or time; if you can, then you’re either building and selling entirely original content, or taking bits and pieces from other people and incorporating them into your own creation to make it better (like building your own house, and getting furniture from someone else to add colour and variety to your creation). It’s a guarantee that you’re going to stand out.

It allows you to fix – or at least patch – problems right away.

Rather than spending long hours waiting for the person who developed or maintains your website to come to your aid, knowing how to code allows you to fix the problem yourself – or at the very least, patch it so that your customers and visitors aren’t at risk of malware or suffering serious glitches during that time. The amount of money an online shop might lose just by being down for a few hours in a busy period could be staggering. You might not get to a point where you can perform major surgery on your website, but you can learn how to tie a pretty damned great bandage.

You can make sure that your project matches YOUR vision.

Trying to get another person to see the picture in your head is an incredibly different thing; even if you and your developer/designer are totally simpatico, they’re not always going to get things the way you want them. Knowing how to write your own child themes or even make small tweaks to someone else’s design will make it that much easier for you to transform your design dreams into reality.