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Social Dilemma, you should freak out ...
... but there is a healthy way to live with social media.
Social Media reunited lost family and friends, find organ donors; they were positive.
The problem was, and still is, greed. Money, just and easy money. But, there’s always a but, you, that’s right, you’re guilty of it too. You choose not to read the fine prints; you choose to be oblivious of the free access to all these tools.
Are Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and other NGOs? No, they’re not, and you chose to believe in the fantasy of the free lunch. There is NOT such a thing.
Anyway, let’s move along from this point.
The other side of this story is the companies investing in ads. Big, medium and small corporations are the paying part of these equations.
The documentary is biased because they’re not showing the entire picture. Social media have become for other companies’ direct communication channels with their current and potential customers; paid advertisements are one of the tools used for this.
Let’s look at Amanda’s perspective, a small businesswoman who owns a neighborhood florist who suffers from the difficulty every month of reaching her minimum income. How can she get new customers or encourage her regular customers to spend more at her flower shop?
She has several ways to do this, but remember, she is no longer managing to reach her minimum monthly revenue. That is, there is no money left to invest in advertising. What will she do?
The first step, most likely, will be searching on google: How to get new customers? She will find more than 10 results pages to search for.
From this point, the greed machine begins to operate. Over 80% of the available content that Amanda will find will be miraculous solutions or digital marketing services that solve your problems with just one click.
How I hate the cliché: Solve your problems with just one click. If you still believe that, sorry, but you are a muggle. You are the perfect target.
Amanda, will not search more than the first three links on the google page. Maybe she will ask a friend for a referral or post on her personal Facebook page, asking for a recommendation.
Amanda’s Social Media
Digital advertisements are the villains in any version of history. It is an incredible tool that helps companies to invest more intelligently, virtually their marketing budget.
Let’s go back to Amanda. She decided that after watching two videos of famous you-tubers talking about digital advertisements on Facebook, she will be able to do it herself. After all, she has no money left to hire a marketing agency to help her. And there’s nothing wrong with that; she’s in despair, bootstrapping. As an entrepreneur, I understand and identify entirely with her.
Facebook Ads are an excellent and potent tool. Let’s help, Amanda. It needs new customers and needs to bring its customers back to spend more. Hmm. Same campaign? No, two different campaigns.
New customers campaign: Amanda needs to bring new customers to her florist. Who is Amada’s typical customer? Let’s keep it simple to help Amanda. She needs customers who come to her store to spend money as quickly as possible.
Your pre-referential client will spend on flowers without fault. Flowers are in 90% of the cases present to someone. Who likes to receive flowers, men or women? Who usually buys these flowers? What are the reasons for buying flowers?
Screw-ups: miss your birthday, our marriage anniversary;
Birthdays, anniversaries and new babies
for Valentine’s Day
for Mother’s Day
Weddings and funerals
to decorate a dinner party table
as a regular purchase for domestic or business decoration
Amanda already knows who to send her advertising to and the messages she should use to encourage purchase. But that is still very little.
Digital Ads will give you the possibility to determine the distance from your store; what is the radius? 5, 10, 15, 20 kilometers (or miles)? Money can’t be a problem. Can Amanda determine the salary range? If you are married? If you have children? Yes, all that and more.
Suppose Amanda follows the recommendations of her YouTubers. In that case, she will probably find more than 5,000 targets ready to receive this stimulus during her store’s operation hours.
And how can she have access to so much information? Very simple, you gave this information for free to social networks. You want to tell the world where you live, who you are married to. You have published pictures of your children on birthdays, Halloween, Christmas, etc.
You also decided to fill all the companies you worked for and your current position for some reason. With this information, you indirectly shared your salary, what career stage you are in. By the title of your job and company, you shared that you are somehow involved in some sectors.
You have, at some point, allowed social media apps to know your location. Well, now they know exactly where you are at all the time. Anyway, Amanda is thrilled that you shared so much information, and maybe you really need to buy flowers, so what’s the harm in all of this?
If you see no problem with this and believe that it is normal and justifiable, perhaps you have wasted your time. I hope that you at least had learned how small businesses can benefit from social media.
However, ... remember, there is always a but.
This information is also accessible to major corporations such as coca-cola, PepsiCo, Cargill, Adidas, Nike, ford, gm, Novartis, and many others. And do you know what the difference is between them and Beloved?
Basically, it is a LOT of money to invest in ads and hire mathematicians, consumer psychologists, and so many other specialists.
With all this investment power, you will see much more advertising from these companies than from the local merchant. Not to mention that the SMB owner will have to invest a lot more to get your attention.
Is it worth it for SMB owners? Yes, it’s up to a limit—the business health CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost).
How can you have a healthy experience with Social Media?
Start by deleting any and all unnecessary profile information on social networks.
Who needs to know that you have children?
Who needs to know the company you currently work for? Only LinkedIn.
Who needs to know that you are married? Only your jealous spouses.
Who needs to know all the schools you have studied at? Not even LinkedIn needs this information.
Do you publish photos from your trips? Share with your loved ones through Dropbox.
Delete the social networking applications on your phone and use them via a browser (browser with blocking, like Brave).
Do you use Gmail, Hotmail, and any other free email? Yeah, it’s not free. Everything in your email box is information that Google uses to target advertising to you. Don’t delete your Gmail account, but use it to create newsletter signups and those annoying places that ask for your email that you will never read.
Create a ProtonMail account; it is free and one of the safest providers in the world today.
This one is going to hurt
WhatsApp. You send audio, photos, videos, etc. every day to your family and school groups. WhatsApp is the youngest and smartest spy in your personal life.
From the moment you authorize the microphone, WhatsApp keeps it active by listening to everything you say. It does not record the audio, but it transforms everything you are talking about into text (metadata).
Take a test, start talking about a trip you want to take near your phone. And 30 minutes later, check your Facebook and see the advertisement that will appear to you.
WhatsApp also has a few alternatives, better and safer options. I will list only three, which in my opinion are the safest:
Confide App: Zero trace of message and photos;
Signal: The most powerful encryption available for free;
Telegram: Flexible, it’s beloved by developers and cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
Searching the web, Google is fantastic, I agree and going without using it is very difficult. If you want to test a search without any advertising, try Qwant. Now, if you don’t live without Google to search, at least change your browser. Switch to using Brave.
iOS 14.5 (Update on April, 2021)
If you’re Apple user, don’t forget to update your OS, to the newest version, the iOS14.5. Apple is not solving the entire problem, but they are offering us two important things with this update:
Transparency: They’re forcing all companies to leave clear what they are tracking with they’re apps
Giving us a choice: We’ll at least be able to choice of allowing to be track across our mobile use from different apps.
Is Apple the good guy? No, however they’re at least trying to be transparent and giving the choice.
Are you 100% safe when making these simple changes? Of course not. To protect your data privacy, you will need to build and maintain a few critical barriers. If we all start to complain, abandon companies that don’t respect our privacy, they will not have another choice, and they’ll change.
I hope you have learned something new today. Subscribe to receive my weekly newsletter, and don’t forget to share with your friends…👇