What Does Facebook Know About Your Private Life

Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook team make their billions of dollars by advertising down to the micro-level — down to an audience of one — you. Everything you do on Facebook, and even while you’re not on Facebook, is tracked, analyzed, and fed into big-data machines.

Every Facebook user has a defined persona. What you do, what you care about, where you go, what you eat, who you like, and more is tracked, analyzed, and used to determine what types of content and messages you’re likely to enjoy, and respond to. Like never before, with this data, advertisers can laser-target their messages. So if you’re an advertiser wanting to reach people in Minneapolis who like football, dogs, occasionally drink red wine, and who often travel, then Facebook is your vehicle.

(If you’d like to see a list of these people, try my new Facebook Search Engine, www.yougotsocial.com – using the engine, login to your Facebook account and then CLICK HERE to see the result of the above search.)

It’s all a bit scary and certainly big-brother-ish.

What if Facebook’s understanding of me is spot on? What gives them the right to know all that information, other than I guess I gave up all of my privacy rights when I created my Facebook account?

What if the persona that Facebook assigns to me is wrong? Could the information about me in Facebook’s database be used against me someday? Could I lose out on an opportunity? Could I get on some sort of government or private company list that ultimately makes my life more difficult, for example, I am more scrutinized at airports?

So what does Facebook know about me? What does Facebook know about you?

Facebook PersonaThe good news is, the situation isn’t as ominous as it might appear. In fact, you can see your Facebook persona by first logging into your Facebook account, and then using the Ad Preference Tools.

Open the Ad Preference Tools and you’ll see a navigation menu about half way down the screen. Click on the links to see your persona, as it relates to a specific category. Make sure to click the MORE link on the right of the navigation bar to open the drop-down menu, where you can select additional categories including Food and Drink, Fashion, and more.

Some of what Facebook thinks it knows about me is eerily accurate. Yes, I do have an iPhone 6, an iPad 4, my laptop operating system is Windows 10, and my primary browser is Chrome. Obviously it’s pretty easy for Facebook to figure those out.

Facebook also got it right that I enjoy studying personal finance, e-commerce, search technologies and professional keynote speaking; that I think public libraries are awesome; that I enjoy improvisational comedy; that I’m a big fan of Jill Konrath’s and Sean Stephenson’s work; that I like eating kebob’s; that I enjoy Dale Carnegie books and Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich; and my fantasy superpower is time travel.

What is annoying is that my Facebook persona — or who Facebook thinks I am and shares that information with advertisers — includes some wildly inaccurate data. For example, I am not a Socialist (furthest thing from it); I enjoy post-punk rock (are Journey, John Meyer, and Yanni considered punk, and is it okay that I publicly just admitted that I listen to Yanni?); I watch the TV series Derek (never heard of it); and that my favorite airline is Sun Country (nice airline that I occasionally fly, but just in the last few years I have flown more than 1.5 million miles on Delta).

So how does Facebook gather this information. Ad Preference Tools makes it pretty easy to find that out too. Just hover your mouse over any of the content squares and Facebook shows you what you did to add that content to your persona. And, because even Mark Zuckerberg and his team understands that “big data” still has a long way to go, Facebook allows you to modify your persona. To do so, hover your mouse over an Ad Preference Tools content box and in the upper-right corner of the box, click the “X” to remove the selected information from your persona profile.

In addition, you can click the “Edit Profile” link on the upper-right of the Ad Preference Tools page, and modify the Facebook profile that you created when you opened your Facebook account. The demographic data (e.g., age, where you live, where you work, etc.) that you provided Facebook when you opened your account, and that you may have added to over time, is still the number one factor Facebook uses to craft your persona and use with its advertisers.

So now you know how to access and change your Facebook persona, and even take control over some of the content and ads you see within Facebook, now that you Know More.

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Six HOT Tips for Attracting More Customers

Laurie Guest helps companies all over the globe creatively attract new customers. Her keynote presentation — I Want to See the Jalepeño Coming! A Hot Recipe to Attract New Customers — is filled with great ideas on finding new prospects and closing more deals, without having to spend a lot of money.

laurie-guest-scaleI sat down with Laurie for a recent interview and in 30 minutes, she shared ideas that you can immediately implement to help you grow your business. Following are the six key points Laurie discussed:

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW on The Richter Scale Podcast

1) Most business and sales people know their product and solution. But the one thing they often don’t know is how their customers buy. The three keys in attracting buyers are 1) know; 2) choose; and 3) commit.

2)  KNOW – your customers cannot buy what they don’t know. You have to get on your customers radar. List all of the different ways that a customer could get to know you. There are the obvious ways including marketing, social media, etc. But dig deeper. What events do your customers attend? Make sure you’re there. Are there non-profits your dream customer is involved in helping? Find out, and if it’s a good fit for you, start volunteering.

3) Knowing doesn’t mean that you have to spend huge amounts of money on advertising. It could be something simple like getting creative with your networking. As Laurie says, “Stop networking and start tunneling.” When you have a networking event coming up, do your homework ahead of time. Get a list of the attendees or the past year attendees. Study who will be there that you want to meet. Is your “dream customer” going to be there? How about a current client who you haven’t spoken with in some time? Research the individual via LinkedIn and YouGotTheNews. Find out what you have in common and come prepared to discuss something that the other person will find relevant to their world and of value.

4) CHOOSE – you must understand the degree of pain, or urgency, of your buyer. No one is going to choose you just because they like you.They have to have a pain — what is going on in their world that isn’t going so well that you can help them do better? Do your homework and ask great questions so you understand what is truly important to your customer and what they would like to do better. When it comes time for you to talk, focus on what you do that can help the other person achieve their company goals a little more efficiently, a little more profitably, with a little higher quality than they might be able to do on their own.

5) COMMIT –  it sounds simple, but you must ask for the sale. It’s crazy how often salespeople forget to ask if the prospect is ready to buy, and to finalize next steps. But you have to ask for the commitment carefully, in a way that doesn’t seem pushy. For example, after you’ve shared your story with the prospect, say something like: “Have I answered all of your questions for the day? Great… in our process, the next step is…” And then continue with what you’re going to do next. Maybe it’s sending over a proposal for review. Maybe it’s a contract that they need to complete. Maybe it’s setting up the next meeting to finalize the details. Don’t leave the meeting or the sales call with out a next-step commitment.

6) Practice the 3 Rs: 1) reorder; 2) revisit and; 3) refer.

  • Appreciate the business beyond the thank you card. To get more reorders, ask the person how often they want to be communicated with and would it be helpful if you put him/her on an automatic reorder system.
  • Revisit the opportunity on a regular basis. Did something change? Do they have any new challenges where you can help? Your customers’ businesses and lives are constantly changing – are you providing value that helps navigate that change?
  • If someone does business with you, do business with them. That’s the easy, and obvious, referral that so many companies and individuals forget. Help your customers find business by making referrals to them. When you make a referral, send a note to your customer letting him or her know about the referral so your customer can be prepared. In the note, say something like “this is a really and important customer of mine that I’m referring, just like you are, so please take care of…” This is a great way of letting your customer know that he or she is always top-of-mind, and you’re doing it in a way that doesn’t look like you’re keeping score or taking credit.

Again, take a listen to the full Richter Scale interview with Laurie and you too will gain some creative ways to attract new customers, now that you Know More.

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Find Exactly Who You Want on Facebook

With approximately 1.5 billion people around the globe having an account, Facebook is obviously an exceptional Sales and Relationship Intelligence resource. In addition, because users post so much information on their accounts, Facebook should theoretically be an incredible list-creation tool (e.g., find all people at 3M who like football and live in Minneapolis).

Unfortunately, finding the right people on Facebook can sometimes be an exercise in extreme frustration. Facebook’s own search engine isn’t very good, and there are no advanced search features built into its interface.

The good news is there are third-party Facebook search engines, one of my favorites being www.yougotsocial.com.

Okay…for full transparency, this is a search engine I developed leveraging the expertise from online information expert Michael Bazzell. The reason I built YouGotSocial.com — and why I use it often — is it allows me to quickly find the information I need without having to figure out Facebook’s ever-changing and all too often, inaccurate, search functions.

To use YouGotSocial…

YouGotFacebook.com Results

  1. Login to your Facebook account. Note that logging in just allows YouGotSocial to access the Facebook database. The engine is not accessing your account nor does it track your searches.

  2. Go to www.yougotsocial.com. Using the pull-down menu, choose a criteria and then enter a term that meets the criteria, e.g., ‘”Past Employer” / Shandwick’ means that the person used to work at Shandwick.

  3. Click the AND button to add new criteria, e.g., ‘”Liked” / football’ are people on Facebook who are football fans.

  4. Click and Add as many criteria as you want to narrow or expand your results. NOTE: when adding criteria, try different options. For example, in a location search, try ‘Minneapolis’ and then try ‘Minnesota.’

  5. When you are done adding criteria, click the ‘Search’ button and in a new browser window, view the results.

  6. CLICK HERE to see the results for the above scenario (make sure you’re logged into your Facebook account first). You’ll see that the results include all people who live in Minnesota, who are football fans, and who used to work at Shandwick (I am listed in these results).

  7. To start a new search, refresh your browser window.

Note that the results do not represent all Facebook users who meet the criteria. Rather, they represent people who have included the criteria somewhere on their personal Facebook page, and, who have made that information available for public viewing. For example, a person may be a football fan, but if he/she does not mention it on his/her Facebook page, that person will not appear in the search results. Or a person may have worked at Shandwick and include that information on his/her Facebook page, but in the person’s Facebook settings, it may be marked as “Private.”

However, play around a bit and you’ll quickly see the power (and fun) of being able to mine Facebook to find the right people, matching the right criteria that you care about.

With YouGotSocial, it’s easy to search Facebook, now that you Know More.

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Change Your LinkedIn Password Today

Back in 2012, LinkedIn reported a breach whereby a hacker stole account login information. It was pretty big news at the time, but nothing compared to this week when LinkedIn announced that the data breach was much worse than initially believed. In fact, instead of the originally reported 6.5 million members who had their personal information stolen, it is now estimated that more than 117 million accounts were compromised.

Why Should You Care?
Think back four years ago. If you were like many, you used the same username and password for multiple accounts. Meaning, your LinkedIn login information may have been the same login that you used for your bank account. Or your email account. Or your Facebook account. Maybe your password is still the same.

What Should You Do?
There are a few steps you might want to consider:

  • See if your email address has been stolen, or is now being pawned on the Internet Black Market. You can run a self-test at: Have I Been Pwned.com.
  • If your email does show up, change your LinkedIn password immediately. Even if your email address does not show up, it’s probably a good idea to change it. Use at least 15 characters, with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters like %, &, #, etc. Here are instructions for changing your LinkedIn password.
  • If you use your current LinkedIn password on other accounts, immediately change the password on those accounts as well.
  • Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Two-Step authentication. With Two-Step, when you log in to LinkedIn from a new device, LinkedIn will send you a code that you must enter before you can access your account. This ensures no one but you can modify your profile and login information. Here are instruction for setting up Two-Step.
  • Consider using a Password Manager, which is a service that allows you to create and remember one master password. Your Password Manager will then automatically create virtually unhackable passwords for all of your accounts, and using your master password, automatically log you in when you visit a protected site. The two best Password Managers are Dashlane and LastPass.
  • If your LinkedIn account was breached, and/or your email address is showing up in step #1 above, consider purchasing an ID Theft Monitoring service. My good friend and colleague, John Sileo, has a great blog post and video where he shares what to look for when considering different products.

Finally, remember that the breach happened four years ago. The latest update is just that it was larger than originally thought. Since that time LinkedIn has dramatically improved its security, and they take great care to protect member information. That said, it’s always a good idea to change your passwords on a regular basis.

Hopefully you were not one of the impacted LinkedIn members, or you’ve already changed your LinkedIn login information during the past couple of years. Regardless, take this breach seriously and consider implementing the steps above to keep your important information private and out of the hands of people who could damage your reputation or worse, your bank account.

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Are Your Trump or Clinton Posts Costing You Money?

I don’t know about you, but lately I dread logging into my Facebook account. The number of vitriolic political posts are astonishing, and downright annoying.

Stupid, ignorant, unethical, racist, sexist, Communist, a thief, a fool, lazy, dishonest, untrustworthy, a murderer, a liar, an idiot, an imbecile, (or worse) are just a few of the words posted in political comments found during a five-minute scroll through my Facebook feed.

dislikeWhat’s more amazing is that these posts really don’t affect change. I don’t know of a single person who has changed his or her political mind based on a social media post. However, I know a lot of people who change their minds on who they’re going to do business with based on social media posts.

Keep this in mind the next time you write a political rant and before you hit ‘Post’…

  • Approximately 40% of the US population supports Trump. Meaning that when you write something caustic about Donald, statistically you are offending 40% of the people who could hire you. Or 40% of the people who could be your next great employee. Or 40% of the people who could partner with you. Or 40% of the people who could fund you.
  • Approximately 40% of the US population supports Clinton. Meaning that when you write something caustic about Hillary, statistically you are offending 40% of the people who could hire you. Or 40% of the people who could be your next great employee. Or 40% of the people who could partner with you. Or 40% of the people who could fund you.
  • 10% of the US population will disagree with whatever you write or say. So statistically anytime you write or say anything you are offending 10% of the people who could hire you (I just made up the 10% number, but the reality is no matter what you post or say, someone will disagree with it).

Among the many jobs that I do for a living, one is as a professional speaker. I like to think I’m pretty good and provide exceptional value to those who hire me, and for those who attend my programs. But guess what? There are thousands of outstanding professional speakers who also do a great job delivering an entertaining and valuable program. So bottom line, in my profession, the competition is brutal. Yet it is astonishing what some of my colleagues post online.

Event planners have flat-out told me that there are some professional speakers who they won’t hire based on the posts or even simple comments that the speaker makes on social media. You would be very surprised by the speaker names as they are some of the top in my industry. And you may be surprised at some of the seemingly innocent or irreverent posts or comments that cause an event planner to go in a different direction.

It’s not just professional speakers who are losing business because they cannot keep their mouths shut, or in reality, fingers away from their keyboards. Financial advisors, lawyers, marketing executives, real estate agents … when you post a political comment you could potentially be negatively impacting your business.

Now, you might say that you don’t care; that you prefer to only do business with people who think like you and who share the same values. That’s great. One of the rules I share in my Reputations keynote speech is the “Law of Unintended Consequences.” If you are okay with the consequences, then write, post, or say whatever you’d like. Just think about the “LUC” before you hit post or send. Ask yourself if sharing your opinion – knowing that it really won’t change the mind of anyone with a differing opinion – is worth losing your next potential large sale.

Never forget this: all the money and time you spend on marketing — all that does is gets you in the maybe pile. Your awesome video gets you in the maybe pile. Your amazing website gets you in the maybe pile. Your references and testimonials get you in the maybe pile. Your direct mail, newspaper ads, radio ads, television commercials, public relations campaigns, and online marketing programs all get you in the maybe pile.

What’s the maybe pile? It’s where the person who purchases what you have to sell puts you when you’ve made the first cut. The maybe pile is you along with top competitors. Everyone in the maybe pile will do an exceptional job. Everyone in the maybe pile costs about the same. The difference between getting the $10,000 sale and the second place $0 is a very fine line. Is your political post worth the silver medal?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional speaker, financial advisor, lawyer, marketing executive, real estate agent or even a salesperson in the plastics industry — your company brand and reputation is what gets you in the maybe pile. Once you’re in the maybe pile, your buyer’s decision often comes down to you, the individual salesperson. Especially in the business to business sales world, your prospects will look you up online.

They will study your LinkedIn page. They will glance at some of your Twitter comments. They will peruse your Facebook photos and posts.

What are they finding?

Who might you be inadvertently offending?

Are you possibly eliminating yourself from contention before you even have the chance for a conversation?

Think, before you post. Now that you Know More!

 

Photo Image: https://pixabay.com/en/keys-facebook-thumb-like-264596/
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