About Jon Clark

http://www.jon-lee-clark.com

Jon Clark is an Internet Marketing Consultant, Entrepreneur and current editor of the California Apartment Blog. Jon loves coffee, sports and NY. You can follow him on Twitter @jonleeclark or circle him on Google+.

Posts by Jon Clark:

7 Facebook Tweaks and Updates for a Better Experience

Facebook is the biggest single social site out there. It seems that almost everyone who can access a computer has a Facebook page, as this social network has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Everyone and their grandparents are using Facebook, and almost all of these folks are either bemoaning changes that Facebook has made or they are looking for ways that they can make their Facebook user experience even better. There are a lot of ways that you can tweak Facebook to make it better for you.

Here are just 7 Facebook tweaks you can try:

1.) Hide the right sidebar

The right sidebar seems to be the most hated of the newer Facebook features. It shrinks down the viewable screen size, and the mini-newsfeed next to the big newsfeed just seems like a bit too much. You can easily hide this feature with a tiny tweak. At the bottom of the sidebar to the right there is a small button with an arrow; clicking that allows you to hide the sidebar away.

2.) Don’t clog up the newsfeed with game updates

Facebook gaming is one of the great things about Facebook, and it attracts a lot of new users to the site. As you play, your friends’ newsfeed and their walls may start to get stopped up with news of your achievements and announcements that you have begun to play Farkle. To stop this, in the Account settings you can set custom settings for all of your apps including settings so that no one but you gets these announcements.

3.) Stop Facebook emails

If you use your smartphone to access Facebook, you probably get notifications when you get a friend request, a new comment on a status update or more. It starts to get annoying when you get hit with an SMS message and an email about the same thing. It is easy to turn this off. You can go to your notification settings and turn off any text and email announcements you want.

4.) Get new stories in your newsfeed

Facebook’s new default is to show the top stories first. If a topic turns out to be hot, every time you visit the page it will end up at the top of the queue, which can get pretty boring. To get new content to the top of your newsfeed, click on the little arrow that is skewed a little to the left above where your newsfeed starts. Here you can select to see recent stories first. Remember, you may have to do this on more than one occasion; this Facebook tweak isn’t permanent.

5.) Find out how your profile looks to other people

When you look at your profile, there is a button labeled “view as” to the top left. After you click on that button, enter the name of a Facebook friend, and you will see your page as it appears to them. This is a great tweak to use to see if you might accidentally be oversharing. This can also help you to see if a spammer or errant app are sharing things to your wall.

6.) Get the word out

You have important things to say, and it seems like Facebook is just the place to say them. However, you want to let more people than just your friends have a listen. Tweak your Facebook to allow subscriptions. With subscriptions other folks are able to see your updates and leave comments, but they aren’t allowed to see all of your private personal information that your actual Friends have access to. To set up subscriptions, go to your profile, click on “subscriptions” from the left sidebar and go from there.

7.) Keep your location secret

Many people don’t like location-based services like check-in because they don’t want to tell the world that you aren’t at home. Some just don’t want the whole world knowing where they are at any given second. You can change your settings so that well intentioned friends who check in are unable to check you in as well. To tweak this and other tagging features, just go to your privacy settings and select “how tags work.”

This article is provided by Kevin Moor who writes for different sites, one of which provides information on the perfect uninstaller.

Top 10 Best Games on Facebook: Farmville, Bejeweled Blitz and More

There are a lot of people on Facebook; folks are almost shocked when they learn that someone they know doesn’t have an account. People do everything on Facebook from share things that are important to them, connect with old friends, plan events and play games.

Facebook is rife with games, some of which aren’t just games anymore by pop culture sensations. There are a lot of games, and some of the titles available via this social site are absolute gems. Other games are downright lousy.

With so many gaming options to choose from on this social site, how does one know which games to play. While trial and error can work, Facebook gamers will end up wasting a lot of time trying out absolutely abysmal titles and probably ending up with a few malicious apps invading their system in the process.

There are several places where you can find information on the best games that Facebook has to offer, and this is just one such spot.

Here are 10 of the best games on Facebook that you will most likely love.

1.) Bejeweled Blitz

This 60 second gem swapping melee is one of the most popular games in the world. Easy to play and highly addictive, gameplay continues to stay challenging overtime. Comparing scores with your friends can give players a competitive spirit, and new bonuses and special gems give gamers just another reason to keep coming back.

2.) FarmVille

There are many imitators and many games modeled after this one, but FarmVille is the original. Tending to crops doesn’t sound like that much fun, but this game is huge. Easy to play and fun, the social aspect where your friends can assist you with tasks and look in on your crops makes it a perfect fit for Facebook.

3.) Texas Hold’em Poker

This is one of the top games on Facebook and the top poker game in the world. Texas Hold’em Poker has become a phenomenon, with folks all over the world watching it in their living rooms and playing in their kitchens, so it only makes sense that you can now play from your desktop too.

4.) CityVille

This top game is used monthly by about 49 million people, making it the most played game on Facebook. As the name suggests, it has a lot in common with FarmVille, except now instead of harvesting crops and building a farm, you have an urban center to struggle with.

5.) The Sims Social

The Sims and the other Sim games that have come before it have been much loved games for about two decades, so it is no surprise that there is now a version of Facebook. Not as comprehensive as one of their off Facebook games, this social version lets you play with your friends for free.

6.) Words With Friends

This poplar Scrabble-like game became a mobile sensation as an app for the iPhone and iPad. Now available on multiple mobile platforms, it is also on Facebook. The game is fully integrated so you can play on Facebook or your mobile app against people on Facebook or on their phones. It is a terribly fun and addictive game for all ages.

7.) Tetris Battle

Tetris has been a top, much loved videogame title since the 1980s. Once a big name for console systems, this addictive puzzle game has popped up in several places online. It only makes sense that it has found a home on Facebook.

8.) Slotomania

People love to gamble, and when they can’t gamble, they love to play games that make it feel like gambling. You don’t have to be an adult to get into the fun of this popular Facebook game.

9.) Cafè World

As television chefs have turned into super celebrities, more and more people daydream about opening restaurants. Now instead of just daydreaming, they can do it virtually with this extremely popular game.

10.) Empires & Allies

This fun game lets you build up your own forces and secure your own territory. You do get to work with your friends, however, to defeat the Dark Alliance, which seems just social enough to be ideal for Facebook and a good time for you.

What are your favorite games on Facebook?

This article is written by Kevin Moor, who also writes for trojanremovers.net, a site emphasizing trojan remover reviews.

Facebook Updates: Page Insights, FBML, Negative Feedback and More

I wanted to send along some of the latest Facebook updates shared by one of our reps.

An interesting development (or least news to me) is the Negative Feedback Stat for Insights. This is not a sentiment analysis, as is stated below, but appears to be a 2.0 version of unsubscribes and unLikes for individual posts. I am not seeing this in the Insights dashboard or exported file for any pages yet – please leave a comment below if you have, otherwise, this is likely in a beta rollout.

With that said, here are some of the more interesting and upcoming Facebook updates.

  • FBML Apps and non-HTTPS will stop working on January 1, 2012
    • As previously messaged, Facebook will be fully transitioning to iFrames and secure browsing via HTTPS. iFrames are Facebook’s new framework for serving content on canvas pages and Page tabs
  • Facebook Page Insights
    • A new Page Insights eLearning module can be found here: http://www.learnpageinsights.com/
    • With the launch of the new Page Insights, we’ll slowly be deprecating the old PI. Page admins will see warnings in the old Insights informing them of this upcoming change. Data will continue to be available through the old Insights for 1 month, with all data deleted and access to the old Insights removed on February 15, 2012
  • Negative Feedback Stat
    • Facebook now show admins the number of unique users that gave negative feedback on a Page post so that they better understand which posts resonate with their audience. Please note this is not sentiment analysis.
    • Negative feedback is a unique count of people who hid the post or reported it as spam in their News Feed.
  • IO Advertisers can now boost any post from any Page
    • IO clients can now create Facebook ads from any post made on any Page, even if they don’t own the Page. The ability to boost any post creates new opportunities for a advertisers, especially those who use celebrity or athlete endorsements. It can be used to support product/ movie launches, product promotions or events, and general brand awareness campaigns. (example, a film studio can boost Page posts by a featured actor who posts a trailer for an upcoming film)
    • This feature is only availabie through IO for Premium and Marketplace, and not in self serve or the API
  • Facebook Studio Awards: December 31st deadline approaching
    • Enter your best campaigns by clicking the “Submit Your Work” button at: http://facebook-studio.com

Have you come across any Facebook or Page updates that I missed above? Please share them in the comments!

Should Employers Be Able to Fire an Employee for Facebook Activity?

We all have been warned of the dangers and risks of offending Facebook material—specifically posting questionable photos and statuses online. We have been told many times that employers are frequently doing a full background check, which includes looking into profiles via social media. With this added personal material viewable, it has raised a lot of questions about what is okay for employers to look at and base their decisions off of, when concerning employment. Is it okay for employers to make a decision to not hire someone based on personal information not conveyed directly to them, but seen on a social networking site? Further, should an employer be able to fire someone who is already working for them based off what they have found online?

In my opinion, I think the best way to avoid having this dilemma altogether is to maintain private settings, be friends with only people you actually know, and most importantly, do not post anything you would ever be uncomfortable having your mom, grandmother, or employer see. These, in what I consider, common sense steps are an important way to avoid ever having any type of this conflict.

However, if following these steps still raises an issue in employment, I think it is important to consider the content that was considered offending, in order to evaluate if the Facebook activity is valid enough to have a person miss a job opportunity or get fired. For me, I think that anything that is posted online should be automatically assumed to be in the public. Thus, if you choose to post pictures of you partying or write statuses defaming someone, assume that it will be seen. That being said, it is time to consider the evaluations that employers are making when judging such material.

For an employer to fire someone based on Facebook activity actually seems OK to me, but only if it affects the company, itself. For example, if an employee has been posting private company information or defaming the company itself, I think it is not out of line for a company to fire that employee. However, if a company sees images or text that they do not agree with; however, it does not affect the company or the employer’s representation of him or the employees at the company, I think there should not be an issue. Of course, anything illegal (whether affecting the company or not) is always grounds for firing.

Again, all of this is very avoidable by taking action of what you do post online. Evaluate your priorities. If keeping your job is near the top of the list, you should be doing everything necessary to make sure you don’t lose that job, which includes keeping that bad work day rant to yourself rather than spilling it on your Facebook status.

Author By-Line
Karen Stephenson is a regular Facebook user and has done development work for different companies in social media. She promotes many websites such as Find UK Phone Numbers, a website which helps people find different company service telephone numbers in the UK.

Get the Most Out of Facebook Insights – What Questions to Ask

Facebook fan pages are all the craze with clients, celebrities and those aspiring to be famous in one way or the other. Unfortunately, for those of us who live and and breath analytics this also represents one of the biggest obstacles with Facebook.

Here is what current fan page owners are currently able to get insight into:

  1. The total number of fans and active fans on their page. An active fan is a Facebook user who engaged with your fan page in some way.
  2. Gender demographic data
  3. Fan subscription and un-subscription trends
  4. Language and location statistics

To the untrained eye, you’re left rather un-impressed with Facebook’s Insights. And while there is something to be said about its limitations, let’s focus on what we can learn from them. Like any analytics platform, you should use this data to find trends and form hypotheses. Here are some ideas to get you started and in the right frame of mind.

Fan Interactions and Demographics

Take a look at which status updates, video posts, etc. get the most fan interaction (comments and likes) and determine why. Is it because you are giving something away? How did that affect your fan growth rate? What demographic was most active – male or female? You need to ask all of these questions so you can maximize the effectiveness of your future updates and posts.

You want to maximize fan interaction, and in order to do that you need to have an understanding of who is paying attention and why. By looking at a user’s demographic you can better target them with future updates. It’s also a good idea to see how this compares to your website’s users. Does that match up? What you need to determine is how this affects your online marketing strategy.

Un-Fanning Metrics

One area you’ll want to keep a close eye on is un-fanning metrics. It can be difficult to determine what exactly caused someone to decide to no longer be a fan of your page, but there are some questions you can ask to narrow it down. Here are some things you should look at:

How frequently are you updating your page? Perhaps your audience needs more or less updates to keep their interest or to not overwhelm them. Test this and take it one step further by testing different days of the week to determine which days get you the most fan interaction.
How engaging are your updates/posts? Are you giving users a reason to want to monitor your updates and to want to get involved in the conversation? You should try different types of updates to see how it affects the number of fans you have.

Are you losing most of your fans after you give something away or run a contest? This is a common way to lose fans as people will become a fan of the page just for a chance to win. The question now becomes: how can you keep them around? Do you offer up some type of minor giveaway at random times to fans?

Conclusions

Facebook’s Insights provides us with numerous opportunities to ask “why?” Asking questions about the information they give you plus a little out-of-the-box thinking can go a long way to getting the most out of Facebook’s Insights. What questions do you ask when evaluating your Facebook Page Insights?

Alternative Ways to Incorporate Facebook Into Your Blog or Website

One could argue a “Facebook Like” is the new “link” for SEO. One could also say the total of  “Likes” and comments is a measure of important or influence depending on the source. One thing we do know, however, is engagements such as a “Like” influences Edgerank and can catapult your content into the ever-important newsfeed of your subscribers. Below you’ll find some creative ways to capture additional Likes and comments for your content and increase the opportunities of capturing more social traffic to your website.

Add a Facebook Like Button at Bottom of Each Page

Have you ever visited a website and noticed a l ittle toolbar at the bottom of the site with a Like button in it? That little toolbar is called the Wibiya toolbar, and it gives people lots of options for your readers to connect. For example, they can Like your Facebook Page, see your stream, make a comment on your Facebook Page right from your website and, most importantly, Like your content. The Wibiya Toolbar is definitely a new way to increase engagement and Likes on your website.

Leverage WordPress Commenting Plugins

You might have heard about the Facebook Commenting system available for blogging technologies. Traditionally, I wouldn’t have recommended this as an option for two primary reasons:

  1. People need to sign into their Facebook account to leave a comment
  2. When people leave comments, the content is stored within the Facebook database… not on your site

Enter a solution: Livefyre – which is currently being used as Only Facebook’s comment solution.

  1. Livefyre allows users to login to leave a comment with either Facebook or an e-mail address
  2. This comment plugin allows users to tag their Facebook friends within the comments, post easily to Facebook and, most importantly, keep the contents of the comment on your site … not on Facebook’s database.

One thing is for sure, social media is here to stay. By leveraging these tips along with traditional tactics, Facebook will serve you up some fantastic traffic. How about you? How do you use Facebook on your site?

Facebook Advertising Campaign Management Enhancements from Marin Software

For those of you running Facebook Advertising, you’ll want to listen up to the recent updates Marin Software recently announced. Perhaps, better known for their paid search management software, Marin’s partnership with Facebook has put them at the leading edge of performance marketing tools. Facebook advertising tends to require more time and upkeep due to the quick stagnation of ad copy and plethora of targeting options available. The use of an automation tool, such as Marin, to manage your Facebook advertising is a smart move – especially after announcing their most recent updates.

Facebook Zip Code Targeting

Advertisers can now target Facebook users in the US by zip code(s). The desired zip code(s) can be set onn the Group setting page as well as in the Audience Template setting page. The application also supports bulk upload of zip code(s) to both Groups and Audience Templates, with values separated using semi-colons.

Facebook Zip Code Targeting in Marin

Facebook Topics Targeting

Topics targeting (indicated by #) is a new variation of interests targeting. Facebook aggregates sets of overlapping interests into single, targetable Topics, allowing advertisers to reach more of their desired audience no matter how Facebook users may have chosen to express their interests. For example, “#Cooking” lets the advertiser reach interests like “cooking”, “cooking tips”, and “cooking and eating”. In contrast, “cooking” includes only the precise interest “cooking”.

Contrast that to the previously released Broad Category Targeting (which are Facebook-defined “targetable categories” that are composed of likes and interests, apps people use, Pages they like, and other profile content FB users have provided), advertisers can reach people who like “Cooking” with a single broad category selection rather than adding every culinary activity individually, as precise interests. A key usage difference between Topics and Broad Category Targeting is that the latter has been optimized only to reach English-speaking audiences.

The “Precise Interests” section of the Group settings page has been renamed “Precise Interests & Topics”. Advertisers can input Topics targeting in the same text field as Precise Interests. Facebook-recommended Topics are included in the Suggested Likes functionality.

Facebook Topics Targeting in Marin

Add Multiple Facebook Precise Interests & Topics

Quick Add button is a companion feature to the “Precise Interests & Topics” section of the Group settings page. Rather than having to input and select each term individually from the Precise Interests/Topics typeahead, the Quick Add feature provides a time-saving alternative that allows advertisers to input or paste in previously prepared and optimized lists of precise interest and topics targets when they are ready to create ads.

The terms should be comma- or line-separated. The App will automatically match and validate them against the available precise interests and topics from the Facebook API.

For those of your currently using Marin, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new features and any impacts they may have had on your campaigns. For those of you considering a advertising management vendor, I hope this provides some helpful comparison points.

Making Your Facebook Profile Appropriate for Employers

Facebook is an incredible place to connect with friends, communicate with your favorite brands and catch up with far-away family, but it can also work to your advantage in your career and other areas of your life if you use it correctly.

With the explosion in popularity of Facebook in recent years, it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get a job, enrolling in an online education program or applying for a law degree program, you better believe that someone is taking a look at your Facebook page. Thus, it is imperative to present yourself on Facebook in a respectable manner.

Clean Up Your Photos

The first thing that people see when they look at your Facebook page is your pictures, so that is the first area to clean up and make sure looks polished. If you have pictures of you and your friends out on the town partying or embarrassing pictures of yourself you might be hurting your chances of networking successfully. Remove any comprising pictures, and replace them with respectable images that represent your life in an honorable way. Keep in mind that any picture you put on the internet is essentially there forever.

Clean Up Your Content

Next to the importance of pictures is the importance of content. The information you provide on your Facebook page gives visitors insight into your life. They will see your likes, dislikes, group associations, activities, interests, and will essentially get a feel for who you are. In essence, feel free to talk about your recent camping trip, but leave out the fact that you consumed far too much alcohol or participated in otherwise comprising activities. Be mindful of every piece of information you put on the site, keeping in mind that once you put something on the internet, it is on there forever, even if you delete it!

Highlight the Positives

It is also very important to highlight your positive qualities and accomplishments that would make you a great fit for any potential employers or school recruiters. Join Facebook groups of volunteer organizations you have worked with before, and be sure to list any relevant groups you are involved with to maximize your appeal to those looking at your page to get an idea of the person you really are.

Also, don’t speak negatively about groups or associations because you never know the loyalties the recruiter or employer looking at your page may have.

Whatever you do, just be sure to be very selective over what type of information and pictures end up on your page because it can be more influential than you probably think!

Facebook Posting via Apps Cuts Likes & Comments by 88%

Does posting to Facebook via third-party apps make any difference on the number of ‘Likes” and/or comments your posts receive? What about Facebook’s algorithm? Does the algorithm discriminate or suppress content management applications?

The Facebook Posting Test

The creators of Edgerank Checker, Applum, decided to try and find out by reviewing more than a million Facebook updates across 50,000+ Pages. The goal? To test the theory that posting to Facebook via third-party apps will not generate as much engagement compared to posting directly on Facebook.

The Results

Applum’s test results showed that posting via one of the top ten third-party APIs resulted in an average decrease of 88% fewer comments and likes when compared to posting to Facebook directly.

Why the Decrease?

Applum speculates that Facebook penalizes third-party apps within its complex algorithm. As you may have also noticed, some third-party Facebook updates are condensed into a single News Feed story.

This condensing action alone eliminates opportunities for the impressions and engagement you would normally get on separate posts.

Something else to consider is the simple fact Facebook users can decide to block all updates from any third-party app – which I know I have certainly done in the past.

Is the Content to Blame?

What about the content itself? Many posts generated via third-party apps tend to be scheduled or automated. This can certainly lead to weaker engagement as the content tends to be off-topic or poorly timed. Even worse, content from third-party apps is often not optimized for Facebook. For example, Twitter posts (which is arguably the most popular of third-party apps) do not normally include links with descriptions and thumbnails.

So is Facebook deliberately downgrading third-party apps? A Facebook spokesman told Mashable,

“We’re focused on ensuring that users see the highest quality stories in News Feed. As part of this, related stories are typically aggregated so users can see a consolidated view of stories from one app. In some cases, we work closely with trusted partners, such as Preferred Developer Consultants, to test new ways of surfacing stories, and gather feedback to improve the Platform experience.”

What have your experiences been? Do you work hard to post to Facebook yourself or do you use third-party apps? Will you be changing your strategy based on any of this data?