Social Media Slice for Thursday, July 19, 2018


Emoji, empathy and cyber security are all in the news this morning. SLICE is a M-F news digest targeted to assist Social Media Managers and Small Business Owners doing their own marketing.


Emoji Marketing Makes Money. New study shows positive results to increasing usage and engagement. More


Empathy Marketing is a powerful B2C tool to motivate customers of small biz. But can it work for the less emotional B2B target niche? More...



Video you are good at, but stretching your time? Not so good. How about if I share with you an article that explains how to repurpose one video into content that can populate your blog, podcast, and multiple social channels? More...


Hello? Can you hear me now? Hope not!!! Connecting your computer to airport Wi-Fi networks could leave you wide open to cybersecurity issues. Which are the least safe airports, according to a new study? More

And… if you are looking for a marketing promotion for your small business today: UV Safety Awareness Month and Get to Know Your Customers Day


Social Media Slice for Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Record Skype calls and demystifying Facebook Reach covered today. SLICE is a M-F news digest targeted to assist Social Media Managers and Small Business Owners doing their own marketing.


How many times when a client disagreed with payment do you wish you could have recorded Skype calls to show where you discussed parameters and expectations? You can now. More


Demystifying Facebook Reach— for both Pages and Posts. More



You can never have enough image editing apps at your fingertips. Or at least knowledge of them. See if any of these fitvyour technical needs. More


Fly a great deal? Think you know which are the better Airlines? New survey reveals what fellow travelers think are the top companies in the world and specifically serving North America. More

And… if you are looking for a marketing promotion for your small business today: National Hot Dog Day and National Perfect Family Day.

Social Media Slice for Thursday, July 12, 2018


From Shopping Bags to scooters, to RDPs and the Dark Web, we have it covered today. SLICE is a M-F news digest targeted to assist Social Media Managers and Small Business Owners doing their own marketing.


Marketing your client’s products just became a bit easier on Instagram. It is expanding Shopping Bag icon access for Stories to all brands! Clicking a small shopping bag icon on a specific product within an image lets users view more product info such as item description, pricing or links to the brand’s website. Easier than a funnel? More


Rental scooters. Be on the look out for startup companies in big cities near you. Could be potential clients who need someone with social media skills and local contacts to spread the word. And improve municipal relations. More



$10. That is all it takes for a hacker to infiltrate SMB online business activities. Remote Desktop Protocols are being sold on the Dark Web. RDPs are designed to let “authorized users” conveniently access another computer system remotely. Here are steps to protect your client. More


Flying to China soon? Marriott hotel chain is testing facial recognition technology in its check-in process at two separate hotels in Hangzhou and Sanya. Should speed up the process. But are you giving up privacy boundaries? More

And… if you are looking for a marketing promotion for your small business today: National Simplicity Day and Wild About Wildlife Month.

Social Media Slice for Tuesday, July 10


Pinterest has strong reach. Timehop has data breach. Those and other stories in today’s’ edition. SLICE is a M-F news digest targeted to assist Social Media Managers and Small Business Owners doing their own marketing.


Pinterest. Can your client make $$ off it? Three influencers say yes you can. But you need to treat it as more than a repository for pictures. It is not Instagram. Pinterest is the number one shopping destination for millenials, a leading driver of website traffic, an online shopping hub, and a powerful search engine, Here are tips to maximize your presence on Pinterest. More


Security breach affecting 21 million users hits Timehop, a service that surfaces a user’s past social media content. Bad news: over 4 million phone numbers breached, along with usernames and email addresses. Good (?) news: no financial data affected, nor evidence of any improper account access at this point. More



Knowing what the competition is doing provides you strategic advantage — especially on Facebook. I have posted tips before. Get ready, more to come. More.


Shark Week on TV is having an effect in the air. No not the next installment of Sharknado! Southwest Airlines is rolling out 5 shark-themed designs on its Boeing 737 aircraft. Then use Flight Aware to track the flights, and share plane-spotting photos on Twitter with @SouthwestAir using the hashtag #SharksTakeFlight.” More

And… if you are looking for a marketing promotion today for your small business: July is National Picnic Month and today is Teddy Bear Picnic day. 

Dark Pattern Design Gets You Every Time — And That’s Not a Good Thing


Pre-selected checkboxes. Need I say more? That is Dark Pattern Design. There is a perception vs reality chasm between what’s being offered on any given on-line option box and what the customer believes she/he is receiving.

If UX Design can be described as the process by which a designer tries to determine what a customer experience will be, then Dark Pattern Design can be defined as the creation of misleading conditions which will drive the customer to unknowingly act favorably towards a pre-determined experience.

Take a closer look at the featured graphic (from TechCrunch):

  • Opt in. Means you want to sign up for something
  • Don’t opt out. Means you also want to sign up for something
  • Don’t not opt in. Means… you… still… want to sign up for something.
  • Opt out all (grey scale, small type) Means you DO NOT want to sign up for something

Potential customers are in a hurry. They are irritated with all these questions. They just want some info. And so, they click one of the top three given options quickly. Dark Pattern Design just got them to sign up for a subscription or worse, opening the door to personal data being raided.

Manipulative timing is a key element of dark pattern design

Natasha Loma, writing in a July 1, 2018 piece in TechCrunch provides a rather extensive walk-through of the dangers to consumers of Dark Pattern Design, as well as the negative fallout to the reputations of business that are caught employing these deceptive practices. She slaps Facebook around quit often, and deservedly so, but by no means is FB the only internet company out there running a mis-direction shell game on customers.

She writes, “The technique, as it’s deployed online today, often feeds off and exploits the fact that content-overloaded consumers skim-read stuff they’re presented with, especially if it looks dull and they’re in the midst of trying to do something else — like sign up to a service, complete a purchase, get to something they actually want to look at, or find out what their friends have sent them.”

For example, let’s consider the ‘agree and continue’ button that pops up. Brightly colored. Can’t miss it. Click it to get to the next step and you have bypassed a service’s terms and conditions, and therefore signed off understanding what you’ve agreed to. Complain later? It was brightly colored. You could not miss it.

Same applies for those infamous pre-selected checkboxes. Right there, in plain sight. How did you miss it?

Contrast that with the rather lengthy Terms of Service options. On the surface, ToS appear to require being checked off one at a time, when there is instead one easily locatable opt out option buried at the end. That is called “friction.”

Deception is the long game that almost always fails in the end

With the massive negative publicity from the lack of clear opt outs during the Cambridge Analytica mess and the arrival of new stringent European watchdog legislation  (GDPR, anyone?), things may finally be changing.

Loma foresees “Rising mistrust, rising anger, more scandals, and — ultimately — consumers abandoning brands and services that creep them out and make them feel used. Because no one likes feeling exploited. And even if people don’t delete an account entirely they will likely modify how they interact, sharing less, being less trusting, less engaged, seeking out alternatives that they do feel good about using.”

As a Social Media Manager or Small Business Owner doing your own marketing, do you employee any of these Dark Pattern Design practices to mislead your customers? Whether you do or don’t, this TechCrunch article deserves your attention.

In dealing with moving your customer down the sales funnel what’s more important to you?

  • Opt in to make the sale
  • Opt out to build brand trust

{Your thoughts are ALWAYS welcome. Turn this into a conversation either here or on my Twitter account @amssvs}


Arts Festivals Produce Profits for Local Merchants


When is an Arts Festival not merely an “art” festival? When it is presented in Salem Ma as a cooperation between the arts community and the downtown merchants.

Now in its 10th year, the Salem Arts Festival fills the streets of Salem Ma from June 1-3 with performance art, gallery art, and mural art. Colors and sounds of creativity abound. And not only do the artists and visitors benefit, but so do merchants along the Essex Street Pedestrian walkway and on Front Street and Derby Square.

arts fest 2

Over the weekend, this free celebration of arts, culture, creativity and community will feature over 200 artists and performers, and includes a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances. Public activities include onsite art-making for all ages, local artist vendors selling their creations, a juried art exhibition and a community-built public art installation.

Why Support an Arts Festival in your community?

The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) in 2004 conducted a comparative analysis of arts and cultural festivals operating within a 250-mile radius of Cleveland, Ohio. They settled on 22 festivals in 18 cities. Purpose of the research was to better understand the competitive environment Cleveland and Northeast Ohio arts and cultural festivals would encounter in the years ahead.

Key data I am pulling from the study is that arts festivals attract more than just the “locals” and they all come with intent to spend money— not just at the festival but also with local merchants.

  • Distance to attend: 85% of attendee’s from within 400 miles of Ann Arbor (15% from the US and Canada)
  • Economic impact: $44 million to Ann Arbor businesses
  • Distance to attend: 40% of attendee’s from within Charleston (15% rest of South Carolina, 25% rest of southeastern US, 20% rest of US and international)
  • Economic impact: $43.1 million in the Charleston area

Bottom line is that the analysis of all festivals indicated there was positive economic impact on transportation use, hotel occupancy and “overall increases in local economic spending for the region.”

arts fest biz 2

Proximity to a diverse Arts Festival is profitable.

If you clicked the link on Salem Arts Festival and read the Salem Main Streets blog (full disclosure, I write the blogs & tweets for SMS) please take note of the paragraph near the end:

A special thanks to over 30 businesses that supported the 10th anniversary of the festival through financial support and other means, the list of supporters can be found on the festival website.

What are your merchants, what are you doing to promote the socially and economically beneficial partnerships between the arts and small businesses in your community?

Which Is Worse: Facebook’s Poor Stewardship of Our Data or Its Lack of Transparency?


For me, the cynically dark phrase “too big to fail” comes to mind in describing Facebook management’s precarious position in light of the current Cambridge Analytica News. “It’s not a data breach.” You say tomato and I say BS. Compound this situation with the targeted disinformation campaign lodged by Russian hackers to manipulate Facebook groups into organizing divisive political protests. Something bad happened during Facebook’s stewardship of our info, that we willingly gave them permission to collect.

Facebook was too big and powerful and too well run to make mistakes.

Just look at the bullet points of this CNBC article:

  •  Facebook’s reaction to a year of scandal has vacillated between defensive cluelessness and aloof silence.
  • Users are getting the message that information they post on Facebook can be used in ways they did not intend, and usage is starting to decline.
  • Meanwhile, executives are selling shares like crazy, including a plan by Mark Zuckerberg to sell almost $13 billion worth of shares by mid-2019.

Don’t just read the article, watch the video clip as well.

These areas should give readers and advertisers cause for concern. If you can’t trust Facebook’s word that your personal info is safe. If you can’t trust Facebook to own up/remedy quickly any breaches.  How can you trust anything FB tells you about reach and engagement data?

Ian MalcolmI “became an adult” during the Cold War. “Trust no one” and all that. In fact, I never had a FB page until I needed it to join Facebook groups. But, I never trusted this whole data mining / re-selling is good for business. (See Dr Ian Malcolm quote).

Anything and everything during the Cold War that could be turned into a weapon would be. It’s a lesson forgotten that painfully needs to be retaught. Data may be coin of the realm. But it is also power. And power corrupts in the wrong hands. As we are seeing in the headlines.

So, what happens now? Life goes on, but there is a price to be paid.

Which Is Worse: Facebook’s Poor Stewardship of our Data or Its Lack of Transparency? You decide.

I am advising my clients to scale down on FB and use an alternate means of engaging with readers & customers.