Tag Archives: Facebook

Cash for your feedback

We all want a little extra cash, but how much time are you willing to invest for the chance of winning something? At the bottom of most cash register receipts, the store asks you for customer feedback. If you take the survey on the phone or online, you could win a prize. Sometimes, it’s up to $5,000. The constant surveys have consumers asking — “Does anyone ever win?”

For a NewsChannel 5 story, I looked for winners. For some companies, they’re easy to find. Others won’t even reveal who won citing privacy reasons. Other times, the winner is listed with their first initial and last name like J. Smith. Plus, their city.

I’ve been backgrounding people for a long time, and can usually find someone. However, this task proved difficult. I started with the less common names knowing that might yield better results. I’d call every person with that name in a particular city. I’d reach people and say are you the J. Smith that won $500 from such and such a store? It never was that person. Unfortunate for them and myself.

I must have called fifty people and never did find someone whose first initial, last name, and city were listed as the winner. I got lucky, when I found the lists from Red Lobster and Olive Garden. The full names of the winners are listed online.

Now, I’m all about privacy. I understand why stores are reluctant to name the winners online and why some stores use ways to protect them by just listing their first initial. However, there is a lot of skepticism among shoppers about these surveys and whether anyone ever wins.

Cleveland State business professor, Elad Granot, told me consumers have survey fatigue. We’re asked about our opinion far too often. He says the validity of these survey results is flawed. Are people just giving any old answer to the survey just to be done with it and entered into the grand prize? Or, do they sincerely take the time to fill it out?  Granot says an engaged manager would yield better results for the store.

When consumers feel like nobody is winning, you lose trust in the store which is the opposite of what stores are trying to do with these surveys. This story generated more than 60 comments on our NewsChannel 5 Facebook page and my page. Only one person mentioned they ever won.

The shopper won $500 to Best Buy, and says it definitely paid off for the business. He bought a camera he still has and it got his friends to shop at Best Buy thinking they might win. That’s not the norm, though, as dozens of other people told us they never knew a winner.

They are out there. They’re just rare — just like lotto winners. The good news for shoppers – stores are switching their marketing methods. Many are using social media to give you instant savings. If you like something on Facebook or Tweet a deal, you can earn instant money. It’s a little more gratifying and you’re in control.

Instead of asking for feedback, stores want you to promote their business. For it, you are rewarded. Sears is offering a personal shopper program. Recruit your friends, and you earn a 1% commission on their purchases.

I expect more companies to begin these programs. They are still limited, but I think this is more gratifying for the shopper and rewarding for the business.

Have you ever filled out a store survey? Do you think it’s worth your time?

What will you do for $5?

Need some spare money? Have a unique talent? How would you answer the question — “I will _____ for $5?” If you have a service to offer, and want to buy one for $5, Fiverr might be for you. It’s the latest marketplace allowing you to buy or sell your services, only this site charges a flat fee of $5.

When you offer a service it’s called a “Gig.” People in Cleveland are selling postcards and baseball cards all for the fixed price of $5. However, one of these sellers told me she hasn’t had any takers.

Just like with Ebay, you are rated based on your activity, performance, and reputation. As with most sites, there are good and bad reviews even for the most highly rated.

Getting you hundreds or thousands of Facebook or Twitter followers is a common Gig on Fiverr. While many positive reviews, there are also comments that the Facebook likes are not legitimate or the Twitter followers are people with no profile and no picture.

If you don’t get the service you paid for, you can cancel your order whether it wasn’t fulfilled or wasn’t delivered on time.

There are lots of quirky posts like, “Use a chicken puppet to read a short poem about my website” or “Create a 3 min video of you doing somersaults in various places.” Both were posted as a need. Not sure why you would need either one, but if you can fulfill these needs you could earn $4. That’s how much you’re paid when you perform or sell a Gig.

You can remain anonymous, or let your identity known when paying or getting paid. You select the degree of privacy you want when you sell or buy a gig for just $5.

What will you do for $5? Click comment below.


Navigating Facebook Timeline

Facebook Timeline is topping my news feed again as more users are forced to convert. All those procrastinators who didn’t make the change on their own time, are now dealing with the Timeline on Facebook’s timeline. It is a bit scattered, and sometimes hard to find things but it’s the new reality for this free service we’re all addicted to. It’s time to revisit what the Timeline is all about and how to customize it for you.

1. First, add a cover. This is the picture you want profiled. Pick a good one, because it’s large. I originally had a vertical photo, but the cover space is more wide than tall so I think a horizontal photo works best. You can tweak the picture a little, but not enough in my opinion for a vertical photo.

Uploading a new photo takes some time, but it happens so be patient.

You want your cover photo to be different than your profile picture as that will appear in a box to the lower left of the cover photo.

2. Now, it’s time to review your posts on your Facebook Timeline. Hover over a story or post and click the star icon to feature an item and make it widescreen.

When you do this, it disrupts the flow a bit but experiment and see if you like it. It’s easy to minimize if you don’t like it. The pencil icon will allow you to hide or delete a post.

3. Facebook decides which posts will be part of your timeline and which ones will be hidden.When there is a post along your timeline, there is a dot. Look closely. Some of these dots are not associated with any posts because the dot represents a hidden When you notice this, hover over the dot  and you can see what the post says that’s hiding. While hovering, you can decide if you want to feature it or add it to your timeline.

4. Go to the upper right corner just under the cover photo and click on the Activity Log. It’s a way to manage everything you share on Facebook and it’s private. On you see the log.  Here, you can control what hits your Timeline and who sees it.

It’s much more obvious who is seeing your posts with this activity log. I recently discovered on the old Facebook profile that even if your page is private, people can see your wall posts that you made on other people’s pages and are thus subject to their privacy policies. Now, with the activity log it’s easy to control which posts are public and who actually sees them. For example, a wall post about a friends birthday showed me that all his friends can see that. It might not seem like a big deal for a birthday, but on a more sensitive post be careful if you want to keep certain aspects your life private. Having a private profile doesn’t mean everything is private. The activity log really makes this easy to follow.

An open circle on the activity log means it’s allowed on your timeline and a circle with a line through it means it’s hidden.

For more about the activity log, I highly recommend you read the Facebook explainer for more tips and tricks.

5. Map your pictures. You’ll notice the map just below your cover photo. Click on it, and you’ll be taken to a large screen of map with pictures above it. I was amazed at how many are already mapped. Things you think Facebook doesn’t know about you but really does because someone checked you into a place or previously tagged the location of a photo.

When you try to add the location of some photos, Facebook doesn’t always know where that location really is. For example, I took a girls trip to Belize recently, and Facebook mapped it in Houston, Texas.  See below.

It had one picture mapped correctly in Belize, but another friend tagged it with the name of the place we stayed. If you go generic and just do the city like Placencia, Belize it may not show up in the right place especially if it’s a different country.

It’s an interesting feature, but I think it tells a little too much about you. I think I’ll proceed with caution. I don’t mind telling people where I’ve been, but not where I am. It’s clearly a way for Facebook to get more users to use the Places feature so it might be hard to control if friends tag you as being at that place while you’re still there. For me, it’s sort of like Foursquare especially since any changes to your map are added to your News Feed. I understand social media is meant to be social and allow you to gather in places outside the Internet, but this is a little bit too much information if used and broadcast while you’re visiting that “Place.”

6. Privacy, privacy, privacy. Do we have any with all these social media changes? It’s hard to keep your information personal without doing a lot of work. I think it’s worth the time if you are somewhat interested in privacy and truly only want to share information with your true friends.

Ever wonder what your profile looks like to someone who is not your friend? There’s a button next to your activity log that with a drop down box that says “View as.” Click that and you’ll be able to view your profile as the public sees it. This will really help you decide if your privacy settings are what you want them to be.

7. You need to give Facebook your phone number to post photos from your smartphone. Want to make sure your phone number is not public? Watch this extremely information tutorial from CNET to find tips and tricks to make sure your page is as private as you want it to be. It’s worth the 3 minutes and you’ll learn a lot.

Overall impression
Overall, Timeline is not as intimidating as you might think. It just takes some time to go through your posts and make sure the ones you want featured are visible, and the ones you don’t want people to see are not visible. This is really time consuming if you are a frequent poster, don’t filter your posts, or you have been on Facebook for an extended period of time.

Also, make sure your uploaded pictures are good ones because they are quite large and prominent in Timeline. Pictures associated with a link remain about the same size.

I’m not a fan of the layout as I think it’s a bit sloppy as it Timeline’s your life. I also think it’s hard to find things on individual pages. You really need to know when something was posted.  Before I’d just click “more posts” and I’d eventually find what I needed. Really, when I use Facebook I mostly read the news feed. I don’t interact with the Timeline much at all. So, it’s a headache at first but give it some time and it will dull.

Like this post? Follow Jenn on Facebook (Jenn Strathman – WEWS) and Twitter for more posts like this one.

What do you think? Click comment below.

iPhone 5 testers wanted?

For weeks I’ve been getting Facebook messages inviting me to an iPhone 5 testing event. In the message, you’re made host of the event. However, there’s only been speculation and no official announcement from Apple about the iPhone 5. Facebook is deleting the post from your page which is a sure sign it’s spam.

Plus, Apple doesn’t typically ask for testers of products. It’s announcement of the product is a big event and always produces speculation of what’s to come so having testers is simply not how the company works.

You know the saying — if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Naked Security says there’s also a text alert going around that reads “Apple needs iPhone5 testers! The first 1000 users who visit [LINK] and enter code 4444 will get to test & keep the new iPhone5.”

Also, a scam. Naked Security says it’s likely a way to get your personal information.

Publicizing your purchase to save money

Retailers are looking for new and creative ways to advertise as mass media shifts from television and print to online. Social media plays a huge role in making nothing — something. Tweets, re-tweets, and shares on Facebook are great ways to expose a new product or service to potentially new customers.  Special promotions are often offered to followers or those who like a page. Now, companies are finding ways for you to make money by sharing their product on social media sites.

When you buy a product online, you’re asked if you want to let others know about it. You can share it on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter , and other sites. Soon, your news feed will be filled with more than just the news story your friend read, game they played, or the music they listened to. I think it’s a matter of time before our feeds are filled with items people bought at stores as more and more people share their purchases. Their may be good reason to share that purchase — it may earn you cash!

American Express is offering a program it calls “Tweet your way to savings.” However, this takes the marketing to a whole new level because you have to sync your eligible American Express card with Twitter, and tweet special offer #hashtags to get exclusive savings on your card. The savings are great, but is it really such a good idea to link your Twitter account with your credit card information?

To answer that question, it depends how much you value a deal.  American Express says it doesn’t share your card information with Twitter. Instead, the company said a unique identifier is used to link the accounts. That’s one thing to consider.

Also, consider the work you need to do to cash in on the savings. Is it worth it, and are you buying something to simply save money? Only certain companies participate in the promotion. To find the offers, you have to go to American Express’s Twitter page and read the Tweets under the Favorites section.

Here’s a look at some of the current offers: Zappos is offering $10 back on your next purchase, H&M is offering $10 on a $50 purchase, Gulf Oil is offering $5 back on $25 purchase, Whole Foods is offering $20 back on a $75 purchase, and Virgin America is offering 10% off a main cabin ticket. For example, for Zappos you tweet #AmexZappos and you get your statement credit within a few days as long as you meet the minimum purchase requirement.

This is not the first coupon venture for American Express if you link your card to a social media site. In July 2011, I wrote about their “Link, Like, Love” Facebook promotion. It works in a similar fashion in that you link your American Express card to your Facebook page, and based on your interests and your friends interests you’ll get special offers and deals. You can also browse the promotions.

I think this is the wave of the future. It’s the latest way for companies to get their product in front of a broader audience. All, for free.

Other ways to make money online without publicizing your purchase
The linking of my credit card to a social media site, even though they say it’s not shared, makes me a little uneasy. I think I’ll stick with other ways to make money. When I shop online, I look to Ebates or my credit card company to see if they have a special promotion with the company I’m shopping. I seek out the savings when I’m ready to buy rather than buying just because I see a good deal.

On Ebates, I earn cash back if I link to a retailer through the Ebates site.  They don’t credit my credit card because they don’t have that sensitive information. The money comes in the form of a check each quarter. Of course, someone is making money because they’re tracking my purchases. So, that’s not exactly the most private service but it’s nice to get that check in the mail every quarter.

With my credit card company, they already have my personal information and if I link through them to a retailer I earn more points than I normally receive. Sometimes, the offers are 3 and 4x more points than I normally earn.

Both of these money saving and earning options are potentially not as valuable as the $10 offer from American Express’s social media savings programs, but there are no strings attached. Plus, I don’t overbuy because I don’t have to make a minimum purchase. Finally, there are far more retailers participating in these other offers. That may change as the marketing changes as I think American Express is on to a new trend.

For now, I’ll spare my social media connections tweets and Facebook posts about my purchases. Will you? Click comment below and share your thoughts on this new type of marketing.

Google wants your phone number — why?

Google recently changed its privacy policy combing more than sixty policies into one. The updated policy also allows Google to more directly target ads to your specifications. The change only impacts users who log into one of the Google services, but it still sparked criticism. So, imagine the surprise of some users when Google began asking for phone numbers. Several companies ask for your mobile phone number for security purposes, but it’s the timing that may have some users thinking twice and asking what’s next?

Google tells users that a mobile phone number is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to make sure your account is safe. It also allows you access to your account if you forget your password or someone gets unauthorized action.

Google says it will send you a verification code so you can get in your account if you can’t get into the services. You’ll also be notified via text when your password is changed.

Last May, I wrote about Facebook’s request for your phone number.   Their “Login Approvals” process had the same intent of increasing security, but it worked a bit differently. With the Facebook system, if you opt in you get a code sent to your cell phone when you log in from an unregistered computer.

Several years ago, banks added security questions, pictures, and PINS. Which raises the question — why your cell phone. If a question or picture is enough for a bank, why isn’t enough for Google, Facebook, or other companies that request your cell phone?

Companies who request your phone number say that’s more secure than your email or a security question because  you physically carry your phone. Email accounts are constantly being hacked, and remember most banks already have your phone number. It’s usually required when you open an account. If your credit card shows unauthorized activity you’ll get a phone call not an email alerting you.

It seems we continually give up more personal information. Perhaps it’s just another sign of the times. Hackers keep finding ways around security and as a result we have to give up more information to try to protect our personal identities. We can only hope they hold our information in as secure a place as possible as security breaches are common.

Ultimately, it’s your decision if you give a company your cell phone. It’s not required with Google or Facebook. It all depends on how much personal information you want to give up and whether you feel that’s less important than the so-called added security.

Facebook Timeline privacy

Privacy, privacy, privacy. Do we have any with all these social media changes? It’s hard to keep your information personal without doing a lot of work. I think it’s worth the time if you are somewhat interested in privacy and truly only want to share information with your true friends.

Facebook Timeline is being rolled out during the next several weeks to all users. Instead of waiting for Facebook to decide your timeline, act today. You’ll have seven days to work on your Timeline and get it ready to be viewed by the public. While a lot of people are grumbling about this mandatory change, it is an easier way to look back at your old posts and see what was on your mind or what you did several years ago. You can find it with a click of the mouse. However, Timeline will take some adjusting. Click here to read about Facebook Timeline 101 and the key things you need to adjust.

Your activity log is a key area you’ll want to explore. It’s an easy way to hide things that you don’t want on your Timeline. Read more about your activity log here.

Once you get your timeline configured, make sure you check your privacy settings. Instead of going through each and every privacy tidbit, I am recommending you watch this extremely information tutorial from CNET. It’s worth the 3 minutes and you’ll learn a lot.

Ever wonder what your profile looks like to someone who is not a friend? In other words, ever wonder what information is public and what’s private? There’s a button next to your activity log that with a drop down box that says “View as.” Click that and you’ll be able to view your profile as the public sees it. This will really help you decide if your privacy settings are what you want them to be.

Want to make sure your phone number, which you need to provide to post photos from your phone, is not public? Watch the video.

There are dozens of great tidbits like that in this video courtesy of CNET. Invest 3 minutes. It’s worth your time if you care about privacy.

Related links you may like:
Facebook Timeline 101 

Facebook Timeline 101

If you haven’t switched your Facebook page to the new timeline feature, your time is running out. Over the next few weeks, Timeline says it will be rolling out the feature to everyone who hasn’t made the switch. You’ll see a notification at the top of your home page, and get seven days to make adjustments. So, I decided to act now so I can help you with the changes.

Facebook Timeline 101
1. Stop procrastinating. Find seven days in the next few weeks where you can focus on Timeline.  Wouldn’t you like to determine when you make the switch rather than letting Facebook decide? What if you are swamped when Facebook decides to start your seven day window? Stop delaying. Carve out seven days now so you’re sure to get that Timeline looking the way you want others to see it.

2. Click here to activate Timeline on your own.

3. Instantly, Facebook converts your profile into a Timeline. Remember, it will only be visible to you for the first 7 days unless you hit “Publish Now.” During the trial, you can add or hide anything you want.

4. First, I added a cover. This is the picture you want profiled. Pick a good one, because it’s large. I originally had a vertical photo, but the cover space is more wide than tall so I think a horizontal photo works best. You can tweak the picture a little, but not enough in my opinion for a vertical photo.

Uploading a new photo takes some time, but it happens so be patient.

You want your cover photo to be different than your profile picture as that will appear in a box to the lower left of the cover photo.

5. Now, it’s time to review your posts on your Facebook Timeline. Hover over a story or post and click the star icon to feature an item and make it widescreen.

When you do this, it disrupts the flow a bit but experiment and see if you like it. It’s easy to minimize if you don’t like it. The pencil icon will allow you to hide or delete a post.

6. Facebook decides which posts will be part of your timeline and which ones will be hidden.When there is a post along your timeline, there is a dot. Look closely. Some of these dots are not associated with any posts because the dot represents a hidden When you notice this, hover over the dot  and you can see what the post says that’s hiding. While hovering, you can decide if you want to feature it or add it to your timeline.

7. Go to the upper right corner just under the cover photo and click on the Activity Log. It’s a way to manage everything you share on Facebook and it’s private. On you see the log.  Here, you can control what hits your Timeline and who sees it.

It’s much more obvious who is seeing your posts with this activity log. I recently discovered on the old Facebook profile that even if your page is private, people can see your wall posts that you made on other people’s pages and are thus subject to their privacy policies. Now, with the activity log it’s easy to control which posts are public and who actually sees them. For example, a wall post about a friends birthday showed me that all his friends can see that. It might not seem like a big deal for a birthday, but on a more sensitive post be careful if you want to keep certain aspects your life private. Having a private profile doesn’t mean everything is private. The activity log really makes this easy to follow.

An open circle on the activity log means it’s allowed on your timeline and a circle with a line through it means it’s hidden.

For more about the activity log, I highly recommend you read the Facebook explainer for more tips and tricks.

8. Map your pictures. You’ll notice the map just below your cover photo. Click on it, and you’ll be taken to a large screen of map with pictures above it. I was amazed at how many are already mapped. Things you think Facebook doesn’t know about you but really does because someone checked you into a place or previously tagged the location of a photo.

When you try to add the location of some photos, Facebook doesn’t always know where that location really is. For example, I took a girls trip to Belize recently, and Facebook mapped it in Houston, Texas.  See below.

It had one picture mapped correctly in Belize, but another friend tagged it with the name of the place we stayed. If you go generic and just do the city like Placencia, Belize it may not show up in the right place especially if it’s a different country.

It’s an interesting feature, but I think it tells a little too much about you. I think I’ll proceed with caution. I don’t mind telling people where I’ve been, but not where I am. It’s clearly a way for Facebook to get more users to use the Places feature so it might be hard to control if friends tag you as being at that place while you’re still there. For me, it’s sort of like Foursquare especially since any changes to your map are added to your News Feed. I understand social media is meant to be social and allow you to gather in places outside the Internet, but this is a little bit too much information if used and broadcast while you’re visiting that “Place.”

Overall impression
Overall, Timeline is not as intimidating as you might think. It just takes some time to go through your posts and make sure the ones you want featured are visible, and the ones you don’t want people to see are not visible. This is really time consuming if you are a frequent poster, don’t filter your posts, or you have been on Facebook for an extended period of time.

Also, make your uploaded pictures are good ones because they are quite large and prominent in Timeline. Pictures associated with a link remain about the same size.

I’m not a fan of the layout as I think it’s a bit sloppy as it Timeline’s your life, but it has some good features that really suck you into the site and get you to spend more time there.  For me, it’s much more obvious how much Facebook knows about you so it helps guide you in controlling how much information you publicize.

I’ve talked with friends who’ve had the Timeline feature for some time, and they like it. So, give it a try. Soon you won’t have a choice.

Like this post? Follow Jenn on Facebook (Jenn Strathman – WEWS) and Twitter for more posts like this one.

What do you think? Have you found a useful feature you’d like to share? Click comment below.

New Groupon feature allows you to win discounts if you dare to click

If you like Groupon — meet Clicky. The latest quirky feature to be added to the deal saving site. Clicky will be a clickable value-wheel that gives you the chance to get a discount on select Groupon offers. The wheel comes alive with facial features, but don’t count on winning.

The company notes it’s a rather amusing character and that’s on purpose. As the company writes on its blog, “Clicky was designed to provide momentary distraction and meet the minimum threshold of amusement necessary for users to share Clicky, the Clickable Value-Wheel through social media channels, thereby virally spreading Groupon and increasing its number of active customers.” Social media is a lot of strategy, and Groupon clearly gets how to make itself attractive in that world.

As for your chance of winning, Groupon is upfront and honest admitting your chances are slim. At one point the company even admits, “Literally, most people will not win anything.” The goal is to attract new customers through the viral spread of Clicky. The company appeases its legal team by admitting you probably won’t win and customers by disclosing it upfront. To appease shareholders, the company explains in its blog that the value of attracting new customers will be greater than running the program. The company is full of marketing gimmicks, and while odd, they are frank about its purpose.

When I logged into Groupon this morning, I saw the picture to the left in the right hand column of the daily deal site. Once you click on the offer, you’re taken to the picture at the top of this post. The big wheel with facial features. That’s when you’re told to log in with Facebook to test your luck.

When you log into any site with Facebook, you give up all sorts of privacy rights. The company has access to basic information about yourself including your list of friends and other information you’ve made public; your profile; information others share with you; the company can send you email; post to your Facebook account with status messages, notes, photos, and videos; and access your data at any time even when you’re not using the application. This is pretty standard when you run any app or download an app, but it’s another consideration.

So, what are your slim odds of winning? For a $100 discount, your odds are 1 in 100,000. Not good, but not horrible. For a $50 discount, your odds are 1 in 10,000.  For a $10 discount, your odds are 1 in 11, and for a $5 discount your odds are 1 in 20. The real hook is that your discount code, if you do win, is only valid for 24 hours.

To get this to become a social media hit, if you “Like” the game on Facebook, you get five extra bonus spins during the promotion which runs through the end of January. Normally, you get one per day.

The question is – will people actually spend time playing around with Clicky when the company admits “Literally, most people will not win anything”?

Click comment below and let me know what you think.

Facebook Timeline – what do you think?

Have you plunged into the new world of Facebook Timeline yet? We know how mandatory changes are received by Facebook fans. So far, this is still just an option. You get 7 days to arrange your timeline before it becomes live.

At first glance, I think it makes your page look really cluttered.  The cover picture which is your main picture that people see when they come to your page looks great. It’s big and full of sharp colors. However, it goes downhill from there.

Your stories are divided into two sections. You can share your most memorable posts, photos, and life events. You’re able to timeline your story and journey through life. Facebook will autofill some of your top posts, but during the 7 day preview before it becomes public, you can decide to keep or delete Facebook’s suggestions.

Your likes, friends, and places are all divided into subsections as well within this two column format. Plus, there is a timeline on the right hand side (see arrow in the picture) that allows you to sort the posts by year.

You still have privacy options to block people if you don’t want them to see a certain post. However, you are prompted to give up more personal information from your past and present. Be careful what you share. You don’t want to make yourself vulnerable for identity theft. Facebook birthdays are fun, but you probably don’t want to give your birth year. Just be careful what you share.

It’s a way to bring some of those older posts to the forefront again. Have you ever wanted to find an old post from a friend, but hated scrolling through the chronological posts? Forget it – especially if your friend had a birthday recently because you’ll be scrolling for that old post forever.

Friends who are using the Timeline feature say they thought it looked cluttered and confusing at first as well. My one friend said it’s easy to understand how to control your timeline and within 30 minutes she figured it all out. She says she kept with it because she wanted control over it rather than Facebook deciding for her when it becomes a permanent feature on everyone’s page. Now, she enjoys posting about milestones in her life.

Are you going to give Facebook Timeline a try or wait until it’s mandatory? Click comment below to weigh in on the issue.