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In new documents released by Facebook to answer questions raised by two Senate committees probing social media privacy, the social networking giant has admitted that it allows advertisers to target users based on their “interests” and “behaviours”.

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the US Congress in April, he faced several questions from lawmakers. But his in-person testimony left them with several lingering questions.

Now, Facebook has followed up with 500 pages of answers to written questions from two Senate committees, The Verge reported on Monday.

In the documents, Facebook answers questions about the several issues for which it has come under intense scrutiny in recent times – including issues related to Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal, ad targeting and moderation policies.

Responding to a question raised by a 2016 ProPublica investigation that revealed that advertisers could use “ethnic affinity” marketing categories to potentially discriminate against Facebook users in the areas of housing, employment and credit, in violation of federal law, Facebook said it does not offer targeting “based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity”.

But it did say that it offers “targeting options – called ‘interests’ and ‘behaviours’ – that are based on people’s activities on Facebook, and when, where and how they connect to the Internet”.

Interestingly, the social network also said that it offers what it calls the “multicultural affinity segments” – groups of people whose activities on Facebook suggest they may be interested in content related to the African American, Asian American or Hispanic American communities.

For example, if a person “likes” Facebook Pages with the words “African American” in them or likes Pages for “Historically Black Colleges and Universities”, that person may be included in the African American multicultural segment, Facebook explained, underlining the cautious tone it maintained while answering the questions.

Facebook answered many questions regarding its policies in the documents, but many of them appeared evasive.

When asked whether it tracks “every IP address ever used when logging into Facebook”, the social network did not provide a simple yes or no answer.

Instead, the company pointed to a vague “retention schedule”, The Verge report said.





Source: Gadgets 360

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Samsung is back with its Samsung Carnival offers and discounts on smartphones, headphones, and speakers. While the company hosted the sale on Amazon in 2017, it brought the Samsung Carnival to Flipkart earlier this year. The sale features offers and discounts on several Samsung Galaxy lineup of handsets and other products. The latest sale on Flipkart started on Tuesday (June 12) and will go on till Thursday (June 14). Notably, the discounts come alongside other exchange benefits and no-cost EMI schemes. The major Galaxy handsets that are available with discounts during the latest sale include the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy On Nxt, Galaxy On Max, Galaxy On5, and Galaxy J3 Pro. Also, there are offers on Smart TV models, refrigerators, and other electronic products. It is worth noting that the ongoing Flipkart sale on Samsung products also provides 10 percent instant discount on HDFC Bank debit and credit card transactions as well as EMIs.

During the Samsung Carnival sale on Flipkart, the Galaxy S8 is available with a Rs. 12,000 discount and is priced at Rs. 37,990. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S8+ is available with a Rs. 10,000 discount and will cost Rs. 43,990. Additionally, the Galaxy On Nxt 64GB inbuilt storage variant comes at a price of Rs. 10,900, down from the launch price of Rs. 17,900. Also, the 16GB inbuilt storage model of the smartphone can be purchased with a Rs. 2,009 discount, priced at Rs. 8,990.

Interested buyers looking for an affordable Galaxy model can go for the Galaxy J3 Pro 2GB RAM/ 16GB storage at Rs. 6,690, down from the launch price of Rs. 8,490. Flipkart has also listed the Galaxy S7 Edge 32GB variant at Rs. 32,900, down from the original price of Rs. 41,900. The smartphone had received an official price cut in February and is formally available with a starting price of Rs. 35,900. Also, the Galaxy On5 is available at Rs. 5,999, down from Rs. 8,990.

Apart from the discounts on smartphones, the Samsung Carnival sale on Flipkart features consumer durables as well, including the 32-inch Samsung 32J4003 Flat HD TV that is available at Rs. 16,999. Also, Samsung’s Smart Convertible 5-in-1 Refrigerators are available for purchase with prices starting at Rs. 16,040.

The Samsung Carnival sale on Flipkart also features discounts on Samsung headphones and speakers, up to 50 percent discount on Samsung mobile accessories, cases, and chargers, and up to 40 percent discount on select Samsung monitors. Notably, the Gear Fit 2 Pro is now available at Rs. 10,990, down from the launch price of Rs. 13,590.

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Should Your Brand Throw a Twitter Party?




When clients approach our team asking for effective ideas when it comes to social-media marketing, I always tell them to consider throwing a Twitter party.

Made popular by the mom-blogger community, a Twitter party is a strategic, live, quick-moving interactive online discussion using carefully produced tweets (140 characters) combined with product giveaways. A Twitter party is a great way to get your brand’s message to thousands of old and new customers.

Twitter is an ideal way to engage directly with your target audience. The audience reach and impressions from a well-produced party can be in the millions.

For me, producing a Twitter party is a lot like producing a television show, only the information and brand’s story is being told online. The party is like “tweeting on steroids.” The online “discussion” is driven by a host and happens on a specific day and time using a designated hashtag that allows anyone who is tweeting to follow it.

A well-produced Twitter party is a good way to put your business front and center on social media, allowing you to create new customer relationships and nurture current ones. It’s a chance for customers to interact with you and your brand’s team directly and learn more about your products and services.

Similar to a television program, the brand’s background is researched beforehand and key tweeting points created, promoted and executed in an informative and creative way. Customers are invited to attend and RSVP to the hour-long online event, weeks in advance.

Finally, when it comes to valuable takeaway information, a lot of brand information can be shared in one hour of real time while you are receiving direct feedback from your customers.

Here are three tips to help plan a successful Twitter party:

1. Research and hire the right Twitter party team.

Your best bet is to hire someone to coordinate and produce your Twitter party. Experienced social-media experts, agencies and some bloggers know how to throw an effective Twitter party and provide you with the proper analytics report to measure your return on investment.

These professionals will also pull in your target social-media audience. Do your research, compare options and find the budget to hire the right team.

2. Have a specific theme for the party.

Each Twitter party is customized for a specific client and brand. Most parties usually last from one to two hours and have special guests and/or experts and giveaways. Know the key message you want to relay during the party, including any fun, relevant and informative facts about the brand/product/service to share with your audience.

3. Keep Your customized hashtag short.

A hashtag is a simple way of tracking all the tweets that are happening on a particular topic by a group of people — in real time. A hashtag is the # symbol before a word (for example, #DMMABVI). Since tweets are limited to 140 characters, keep your hashtag short so your audience has room to retweet, reply and ask your brand questions during the party.

With the proper Twitter-party hashtag, clients can find the online conversation while it’s going on and long after it’s over.



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5 Rules for Stand-Out Marketing Campaigns




Seven years ago, in the midst of an economic recession, Boston’s Yale Appliance + Lighting was losing money. “I’d read somewhere that people will buy some things anyway during a recession — and one of those things was refrigerators,” recalls CEO Steve Sheinkopf. “So we pumped more money into radio and newspaper advertising, thinking it would help. It didn’t — it hurt.”

Sheinkopf, who had taken over the store founded by his grandfather, refocused with what was (at the time) a radical approach. He doubled down on a digital marketing strategy that included social media, blogging, reputation management and email components.

The focus on a content-based inbound marketing program allowed Sheinkopf to bring his advertising budget to near zero. (Last year, he says, he spent nothing aside from seasonal Google AdWords buys around Black Friday and a tax-free holiday weekend.)

Today Yale Appliance is profitable and growing, with 140 employees. Top-line revenue is expected to hit $80 million this year, and in June the company opened a state-of-the-art showroom in Framingham, Mass. — only its second store after 92 years in business.

So how did Sheinkopf use digital marketing to turn around his grandfather’s company? There’s no magic or special gift involved. “Obviously I’m not a genius; otherwise, I wouldn’t be in the appliance business,” he laughs.

What he does have: commitment. A content-based marketing strategy requires it. Here’s how you can get similar results.

1. Actively manage your online reputation.

When you’re a small, regional business, you compete with companies that can easily outspend you in advertising. In Sheinkopf’s case, that includes big-time players: Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s.

But digital content can give small, scrappy companies a bigger footprint — if they’re willing to work it. “Google is democratic,” Sheinkopf notes. What’s more, online review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List can give a small business direct insight into its brand reputation. “Businesses may despise Yelp, but [it’s] a window on how you operate and are perceived,” he says.

So encourage social reviews, thank people who say nice things, and view negative reviews as an opportunity to fix what’s broken. “It’s painful to see a negative comment or review,” Sheinkopf admits. But take a long-term view: Use the criticism as a chance to both resolve an immediate issue for one customer and to improve a process or system for the good of future customers.

2. Know what your customers want.

In 2007, when Sheinkopf started blogging, he got some traction through organic search results. But things really ignited when he dug deeper into digital marketing basics. He credits Marcus Sheridan at with teaching him how to write a metatag, a headline and a call to action that can convert prospects into customers.

Sheinkopf also studied customer reactions to figure out what kind of posts would be most useful. It turned out that trend pieces and specific comparisons of, say, a Thermador to a Viking cooktop, got the most traffic. Recommendation posts like “The 5 best counter depth refrigerators” also did well.

Creating customer-centric content takes time. But it’s a valuable exercise, for two reasons: It helps you understand what motivates customers, and it requires you to learn everything about your stock, inside and out.

Online content has become Yale’s biggest driver of new business, Sheinkopf says. Page views were at 18,000 visitors per month in 2011; this past August, the site had 448,000 visitors. What’s more, those who visit the blog and download buyer’s guides convert into buyers at a much higher rate. That’s why Sheinkopf personally reviews all the content his blog publishes.

I told him I was surprised that the CEO manages the company blog, and he laughed: “There’s no better business-development effort. So why wouldn’t I?”

3. Make customers smarter.

Yale Appliance has more than 20 guides covering everything from how to buy under-cabinet lighting to what to look for in a dishwasher. Many of those started as internal, vendor- agnostic training resources for new employees. “We already had a 10-page guide on an induction oven,” Sheinkopf says. It wasn’t a far leap to turn it into a buying guide for customers.

Yale uses marketing-automation vendor HubSpot to nurture customers through the buying process. Anyone who downloads a guide to buying a sub-zero fridge opts-in to a series of emails designed to deliver more information about the appliances. Those emails have a high engagement rate: 35 percent, vs. 5 to 10 percent for other emails Yale sends (mainly newsletters and daily promotions).

“We focus on making our customer smarter,” Sheinkopf says. “People want to be informed; they don’t want to be sold to anymore—if they ever did.”

4. Invest in staff and other resources that touch customers.

Customer happiness is rooted in happy employees. So Yale hires carefully, finding employees with the right cultural fit and making sure they are happy and well taken care of — through profit sharing and generous benefit packages, as well as top-notch training programs.

Yale has also spent time and effort identifying and investing in improvements to customer experience, including better phone and computer systems.

5. Quit procrastinating.

Sheinkopf embraced content marketing long before a lot of other businesses caught on. So is his success linked to a first-mover advantage? “Good, original information is still good, original information,” he points out. “Good content is still good content.”

In other words, any small business can — and shouldtake advantage of these digital strategies. “I’m not an outlier,” Sheinkopf adds. “There are still millions of industries and countless opportunities in underserved markets. You just have to refuse to do business like everyone else.”



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