How to use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for business

Beacuse you already tweet like it's your job.
Beacuse you already tweet like it’s your job.

Image: pexels

Internet history was made on May 22, 2005, when YouTube co-founder Steve Chen posted a video of his cat called “Pajamas and Nick Drake.” That 30-second clip was the very first cat video ever uploaded to the video-sharing site, according to The BBC, marking the beginning of a bona fide digital phenomenon that eventually spawned a handful of feline celebrities. 

Pop on Instagram right now and you may run into the profile of a rescue cat named Nala, who currently has a dedicated community of more than 3.4 million followers (and counting) liking her adorable daily posts. Not too shabby for a tabby.

As Nala and her furry friends have proven, social media can be a legit (and lucrative) way to build a brand. With the Social Media Management Pro Bundle, even humans like you can learn marketing techniques and tricks that will help you stake your claim in the increasingly competitive and in-demand field of social media marketing.

Here’s a breakdown of the included courses:

Become a Freelance Social Media Manager

Before you dive head-first into social media consulting, you should first master the essential skills needed to succeed on your own in the industry. This 48-lecture course will give you the low-down on everything from finding clients and pricing your services to creating business plans and conducting audits — knowledge that will make you quite valuable in the eyes of brands and businesses alike. Alone, this course is valued at $200. 

The Complete Twitter Marketing Bootcamp 2017

A little birdie told us that Twitter is one of the best places for digital marketers to find followers and turn them into actual customers. This course will teach you how to do just that during three hours of lectures, which include lessons on crafting a marketing strategy, using Twitter ads, and building engaging relationships with a community of followers. By itself, this course is worth $200.

The Complete Instagram Marketing 2017 Training

You don’t have to be an ~influencer~ (or a cute cat, for that matter) to make big bucks off the ‘gram. Learn how to attract followers to your account, organize a daily posting schedule, optimize Instagram ads, and create bomb pictures and videos through this 72-lecture course, valued at $195.

The Complete Facebook Ads 2017 Training

Since everyone and their grandma has a profile nowadays, Facebook ads can be a huge revenue driver – if you know how to use them correctly, that is. In this hands-on course, you’ll find out how to assemble a custom audience, develop a marketing plan, and build different types of ads for Zuck’s site while avoiding common mistakes. On its own, this course is worth $195.

Blogging For Business: 3x Traffic Without Ads

Unless you can find and engage an audience for your blog, you’re basically just sending missives out into the void. Get active readers’ eyes on your content (and keep them coming back) using the lessons you’ll find in this course, which covers everything from content curation and analytics techniques to email outreach and social media promotion. By itself, this 2-hour course is valued at $95.

Email List Building: 4 Systems To Grow Your List

No updated email list, no online business — that’s just how it works. With this course, you’ll learn how to build your list using tactics like email campaigns and capture plugins, driving traffic to your site without ads and helping it thrive. As a standalone course, it’s worth $150.

Buying all of these courses separately would set you back $1,035, but right now they’re available as a bundle for just $34 — a savings of 96 percent.

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Everything we know about how Facebook helped Trump win: A timeline

Facebook played a vital role in the outcome of the 2016 election—ask any digital director on one of the presidential campaigns, or maybe some Russian propagandists.

News that Facebook took at least $100,000 from Russian troll farms to promote socially and politically divisive content reignited discussion around just how much of an impact Facebook had in getting Donald Trump elected. 

It also begged a serious question: Had Facebook helped Russia manipulate the outcome?

“They can stop me from selling a gun to my neighbor on Facebook, but they can’t stop Russians from buying ads that are fake news?” said Wesley Donehue, digital director for Marco Rubio’s campaign. “That’s just negligence.”

In the past year, Facebook’s message on its role in the election has changed dramatically. CEO and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg went from saying fake news and Facebook affecting the election was a “crazy idea” to instituting a major crackdown on shady publishers and creating a task force within the company dedicated to investigating the spread of misinformation.

Meanwhile, evidence of Russia’s efforts to help Trump win mounted, as did reports that members of the Trump campaign were in contact with Russian agents. 

Now, it’s clear that Russia’s efforts to help elect Donald Trump included manipulating Facebook. And nobody is quite sure how deep this rabbit hole is going to go.

Here’s what we know happened:

December 11, 2015

Republican candidate Ted Cruz’s campaign was exposed for using psychological data pulled from tens of millions of Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica, The Guardian reported. The firm was later connected to the Trump campaign.

April 2016

Facebook employees used a company poll to ask Zuckerberg if the company should try “to help prevent President Trump in 2017,” Gizmodo reported. 

July 2016

The FBI confirmed it opened an investigation into the hacking of the DNC’s computer network. It is the first time Russian interference in the U.S. election is publicly confirmed to be under investigation. 

October 2016

The Wall Street Journal reported Zuckerberg ruled it would be inappropriate to censor Trump’s posts. 

October 27, 2016

Details on Trump’s digital operation called “Project Alamo” are explored in a Bloomberg report. For example, his team created a Facebook ad with the text, “Hillary Thinks African Americans are Super Predators,” and targeted it to African American voters in order to “depress Clinton’s vote total,” Bloomberg wrote.

“I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine,” Steve Bannon told Bloomberg. “Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.” 

November 10, 2016

Zuckerberg made his first public statements about the effect of fake news on the election. He rejected the notion that it had any impact.

“Personally I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way. I think is a pretty crazy idea. Voters make decisions based on their lived experience,” Zuckerberg said. 

November 12, 2016

Zuckerberg published a blog post saying 99 percent of what people see on Facebook is authentic. 

November 14, 2016

Facebook employees spoke out against Zuckerberg’s dismissal of fake news affecting the election and formed an “unofficial task force,” BuzzFeed reported. 

November 15, 2016

In an interview with Wired, Trump’s digital director Brad Parscale said, “Facebook and Twitter were the reason we won this thing. Twitter for Mr. Trump. And Facebook for fundraising.”

Meanwhile, Facebook and Google said they would no longer allow ads to appear on fake news sites via their advertising networks. 

November 19, 2016

Zuckerberg published a late-night blog post on steps his company was taking to fight fake news.

“The bottom line is: we take misinformation seriously,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We take this responsibility seriously. We’ve made significant progress, but there is more work to be done.”

November 21, 2016

Stories of fake news writers were shared, such as Tess Townsend’s story on Ovidiu Drobota for Inc. 

“I am not related with the Trump campaign. I am just a Trump supporter. I don’t like to be in public because a lot of liberals calls [sic] me a racist, which I am not. I have a lot of Facebook messages. They are harassing me. I also don’t have any relation with Russia or WikiLeaks. Just to be clear,” Drobota said. 

November 22, 2016

Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner talked about targeting voters on Facebook as part of a Forbes cover story.

“Chatting over McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, Trump and Kushner talked about how the campaign was underutilizing social media. The candidate, in turn, asked his son-in-law to take over his Facebook initiative,” Forbes wrote. 

“I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,” Kushner told Forbes

December 2016 

Facebook began working with third-party fact-checking sites and rolling out fake news labels on stories posted to the site. 

January 6, 2017

A report from the Director of National Intelligence linked social media and Russian propaganda advocating for Trump’s election.

“A journalist who is a leading expert on the Internet Research Agency claimed that some social media accounts that appear to be tied to Russia’s professional trolls—because they previously were devoted to supporting Russian actions in Ukraine—started to advocate for President-elect Trump as early as December 2015,” the report read. 

April 28, 2017

Facebook released a white paper that includes investigations of fake news during the election. The report said they could not determine who the malicious actors were, but they did not contradict the earlier report from the Director of National Intelligence on Russia’s involvement. 

“When asked we said there was no evidence of Russian ads. That was true at the time,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable Thursday.

June 28, 2017

Facebook updated product to not allow Page owners to modify text in shared links, hoping to prevent writing fake news headline. This is one of the ways a propaganda machine could make news stories appear differently on Facebook compared to on a website.

July 20, 2017 

A CNN report revealed that Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who serves in the Senate intelligence committee, met with Facebook officials in June “as part of his committee’s investigation into potential collusion or election interference” with Russia. 

Trump digital staffer Gary Coby told CNN that the campaign had not coordinated with Russian operatives but that Facebook did work directly with the Trump campaign.  

August 13, 2017

The BBC released an interview with Theresa Hong, one of the members of Trump’s digital operations. She repeatedly said how important Facebook was to the campaign. 

“Without Facebook we wouldn’t have won. Facebook really and truly put us over the edge,” Hong said.

August 28, 2017

Facebook released an update to prevent pages that share fake news articles from advertising, which is one of the most popular ways to distribute false information on the social network. 

September 6, 2017

Facebook revealed in a blog post that as much as $100,000 in political ads was spent by potential Russian propaganda sides. These ad buys were from June 2015 to May 2017 and associated with roughly 3,000 ads connected to 470 inauthentic Facebook accounts and Pages, according to Facebook. 

September 7, 2017 

Sen. Mark Warner of the Senate Intelligence Committee said during a panel hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance that Facebook’s report on $100,000 spend by Russian sites was “the tip of the iceberg,” CNN reported. 

A New York Times investigation revealed more mechanisms on Facebook and Twitter with Russian fingerprints. 

* * * * 

What Zuckerberg once thought was a “crazy idea” is now reality—misleading information and propaganda spread on Facebook during the 2016 election.  

“We knew [fake news] was happening, but I didn’t stop and appreciate the scale of it,” said Kevin Bingle, digital director for John Kasich’s presidential campaign. Bingle said he once saw an example of fake news about his candidate right around the Republican National Convention. An article apparently from the fake news site The Washington Daily (“or something”) had the headline, “Breaking News: John Kasich has left the GOP.” He saw that it had 37,000 shares. 

“Okay so 37,000 people could have seen it? No, no, no it’s much much larger than that, all the friends that engage in your content. That’s magnitudes of tens of hundreds of thousands, Bingle said.

The severity of the problem is emphasized by the many efforts that Facebook has employed to curb the manipulation of its platform. These actions are necessary for the good of future elections and for news consumption in general.

But Zuckerberg could yet face a day in court to testify on behalf of his social network. Sharing fake news on Facebook is not illegal, unless it’s the case of a foreign entity interfering in the election, and Facebook’s latest report shows that Russia could have been directly involved. 

The U.S. government and Facebook are still investigating the matter for more proof. As Sen. Warner said, $100,000 may just be the beginning. 

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Facebook is dropping $1 billion on video, and that’s pretty great news

For years now, media companies have hoped and prayed that Facebook would get serious about shelling out cash to partners.

Looks like that time has come.

Facebook is reportedly prepared to spend up to $1 billion on video as part of its big move into original content, exemplified by its recent launch of Watch (Mashable is a Watch partner). 

The news, reported by the Wall Street Journal, will come as sweet relief for many media companies that have found huge audiences on Facebook but little in the way of actual revenue. Facebook has slowly inched forward with some programs that shared ad revenue on things like Facebook Instant Articles, but had resisted cutting checks directly to media companies.

That started to change about a year ago when Facebook launched its Live video project with some media partners who were paid to produce content. Now, Facebook Watch features a variety of partners who are receiving payments for original video. 

Watch so far has been a relatively small experiment, but $1 billion is a decent chunk of cash, and follows on a similar report about Apple’s growing ambition to make original video. Apple, however, is reportedly looking for only a handful of major projects. 

It’s also a drop in the bucket compared to the budgets of companies like Netflix and Amazon, who are each laying out tens of billions of dollars in the pursuit. 

Those budgets, however, aren’t going to smaller publishers. Facebook’s, it would seem for now, is — at least for now.

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Facebook says it sold $100,000 in ads to Russian propaganda company

Image: stephen lam/Getty Images

Facebook admitted to congressional investigators on Wednesday that it sold $100,000 to a nebulous Russian company with a history of pro-Kremlin propaganda, the Washington Post first reported. 

The ads, which started running in the summer of 2015 and continued throughout the election, pushed divisive issues like gun rights, immigration fears, and racial strife, the newspaper reported. A small portion named the candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton directly.

The revelation came as part of an ongoing congressional probe into Russia’s efforts to subvert the presidential election led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Facebook confirmed the report in a statement on Wednesday.

“In reviewing the ads buys, we have found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June of 2015 to May of 2017 — associated with roughly 3,000 ads — that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies,” a spokesperson said. “Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia.”

American intelligence reports released earlier this year detailed how the Russian government used paid social media trolls and fake news to advance its interests during the election.

Facebook has already been under fire for months for the role it played in proliferating political hoaxes and misinformation in the months leading up to the election. It’s responded with a series of moves meant to better vet news being shared on its site, crack down on fraudulent accounts through which fake news is spread, and otherwise shut out bad actors. 

This story is developing.

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Facebook seems to think it can advertise to more U.S. millennials than actually exist

Image: Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Facebook is promising advertisers that it can reach 25 million more American millennials than the Census believes to exist.

The social network boasts that ads on its platform will be seen by up to 41 million people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 24 and 60 million 25-to-34-year-olds. But as Pivotal analyst Brian Wieser pointed out in a research note this week, the U.S. Census Bureau’s data indicates only 31 million and 45 million of each respective group even live in the country. 

The discrepancy would be nowhere near the first time Facebook has been caught misrepresenting its metrics to advertisers. The company first had to apologize last fall after a bombshell report revealed that it had been artificially inflating view numbers for video ads. That revelation was followed by a string of reports on other bugs, mistakes, and misrepresentations that amped up tensions between the platform and its wary advertisers. 

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that its estimated reach is based on “a number of factors” and “not designed to match population or Census estimates.

“Reach estimations are based on a number of factors, including Facebook user behaviors, user demographics, location data from devices, and other factors,” the company said in a statement. “They are designed to estimate how many people in a given area are eligible to see an ad a business might run. They are not designed to match population or census estimates. We are always working to improve our estimates.”

Facebook global sales chief Carolyn Everson also expanded on that defense in an interview with Business Insider. She stood by the social network’s numbers and argues that press reports treating the difference as a metrics error are misleading.

“It’s not like it’s some bug,” Everson told the site. “Our estimates are not meant to match census data.”

If Facebook is miscalculating, it would mark probably its most blatant metrics blunder yet given how easy it is to fact-check and debunk. That made for some easy jokes on Twitter:

Since Facebook only knows as much about its users’ ages as they are willing to submit on their profile, there’s bound to be some margin of error. Unlike the Census, Facebook also accounts for travelers in an area temporarily. But the discrepancy seems to be awfully large to attribute only to those factors.

Still, Facebook’s projected reach figures don’t affect how the company bills businesses, and they’re generally not the most important consideration for most advertisers.

Then again, maybe it’s the Census that is miscounting here.

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Facebook bid a boatload of cash for Indian live sports rights

Image: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook may have a lot of money, but it doesn’t always win bets. 

The world’s largest social network failed to win the exclusive rights to stream five cricket games from The Indian Premiere League, the IPL revealed Sunday. Facebook offered up about $610 million and lost out to 21st Century Fox’s Star India bid of $2.5 billion.

Even though it lost, the bid shows just how ambitious Facebook’s live video—particularly for sports—operation is becoming. The multibillion dollar company is willing to hand over millions for digital streaming rights, and it’s clearly looking at international sports. 

A tweet from IPL publicly discloses all the companies that bet on the media rights. 

While cricket may not be popular in the United States, it’s the top sport in India where Facebook has one of its largest user bases. Facebook has 182.9 million active users in India, according to eMarketer estimates. 

But the industry for streaming rights remains extremely competitive. Not only is Facebook competing with other digital-only players like Google, Twitter, Netflix, and Hulu, it is also up against traditional networks like 21st Century Fox, which won these rights.

Facebook has successfully bought the rights for other live events, including sports, as it beefs up the content highlighted in its new video tab called Watch. This year, Facebook will broadcast 15 college football games and 46 games from Mexico’s top soccer league Liga MX. 

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Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan welcome second baby girl with family Facebook photo

Meet August Zuckerberg.
Meet August Zuckerberg.

Image: facebook/mark zuckerberg

Welcome to the newest future Facebook user.

Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg announced via a Facebook post the birth of their second child, August. The parents shared a photo of August with her sister Max. Zuckerberg also posted a letter, which is focused on childhood. 

“The world can be a serious place. That’s why it’s important to make time to go outside and play,” Zuckerberg wrote. 

When Max was born in 2015, Zuckerberg shared a letter and announced the creation of the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. 

Zuckerberg revealed earlier this month he would be taking two months paternity leave this year. Facebook allows employees to take four months off. Zuckerberg will be taking a month off now and another month off later this year. 

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