Friday, July 29, 2011

Introduction to Social Media Sharing

The conversation on social media in our society is changing. Watch any TV show, listen to any Radio show and hear the presenters state their “Twitter and Facebook Page” names to encourage further interaction. There is also clear numerical evidence (for example: 600 million people on Facebook, June 2011) that people want to share online. Companies contact Rocktime to enquire about how they can effectively and positively connect with their site visitors via social media. Users of social media are also getting to grips with how they can effectively manage their ever growing networks and streams of notifications.

In setting a social share strategy, there is a clear need to consider the old Martini phrase “Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere” and companies need to provide the ability to share their news on a variety of platforms, suited to the customer (“Tip: remember the people!!”). Also a big point to consider when setting your “social share” strategy is “will this news be of interest to my site visitors / customers?” as, if it isn’t, then over time (as your customers own personal networks of interaction grow) your news that you, for example “have a Sale on!” each day will be an unwelcomed distraction to them. Think about that some more and don’t be a bore! Furthermore in accordance with social media channels guidelines, saying the same thing again and again can also be classed as spam.

There is already a trend towards brands delivering their customers relevant and timely content, this is now moving more towards delivering more quality content. Make your content compelling so that people will want to share it.

Why Social Share is great

It takes little investment to add the social share tools to your site and from this development, your site visitors then have the opportunity to organically spread your news, your latest blog, your offer, your tip of the day etc, to their personal networks. News which can be shared again and again amongst networks of interaction, at no additional cost to you (apart from perhaps the time it takes to send a “thank for sharing tweet”, if relevant). Also social share now links with ranking positions in search engine result pages.

Make your site a social experience

As part of our quest to make our client's sites a more social experience, we would like to recommend that you consider adding social share icons to relevant sections of your website. Letting your site visitors know where else they can keep up to date with your news, updates, happenings and also giving them the ability to spread your news/content further.

Social Share Audit

We would recommend that you invite Rocktime to provide a social share audit of your website, where we will review social engagement icons and social sharing options that are used by your website visitors. For further details on our social share audit please call in and talk to sales or a member of the Flashlight Search Marketing team. Alternatively find out more about how Rocktime can help you with your Social Media Strategies here.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Augmented reality and Aurasma

Aurasma is powered by pattern recognition technology; it represents the future of how we use our mobile devises, using some of the most advanced systems in the world to bring the physical and virtual worlds together.

It has been described as the latest ad recognition technology to challenge QR codes, it has the ability to bring static content / print materials to life.

PR Newswire reported early this week that, Aurasma had passed one million installs (PR Newswire, 10th July 2011), indicating that this is set to be the most broadly deployed mobile platform of its kind.

For more information visit the Aurasma website, which states that they have over 1 million users, over 100 partners, featured in major publications.

There is huge potential for social commerce and advertisers in using augmented reality technology, for example: if you hold the phone in front of cereal packets and get a lot more information, recipes, nutritional advice etc.

There is also huge potential for brand building too, where on holding the phone in front of a product a number of unexpected but brand building things can happen i.e. launches a video on how to use the product, how the product was made. The first ever print advertisement to come to life was in a national UK newspaper for a luxury yacht company, which you can find out more about here.

It's not just magazines and papers looking into promotion through augmented reality. London based football team Tottenham Hotspurs, with their new sponsors Autonomy, the owners of Aurasma, are in the process of giving their own team kit a touch of augmented reality.

We also had a go at the Aurasma located in the last weeks Stylist magazine, after seeing this tweet.

The Flashlight Search Marketing team are very excited about this technology and urge you to go and find out more over at the Aurasma website. If you would like to find out more about how your brand can integrate with Aurasma please give our sales team a call, who are watching Aurasma developments with interest.

Author: Alice Cheetham

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Geek Video of the Month

This month’s Geek Video combines one of our themes of the month, social commerce, and our love of anything Smartphone and App based into one neat little package.

Last month saw the release of Pizza Express and PayPal’s innovative new app, combining the physical retail industry with online payments for the first time in the UK market. As demonstrated in the video above, it’s not just about paying! You can also find a restaurant, book a table, see the menu and keep track of receipts for purchases.

Currently the app can be used in all 370 Pizza Express restaurants in the UK, and will ultimately be supported by a company-wide roll-out of free WiFi in each restaurant. Depending on its success and uptake, perhaps we can look forward to seeing versions developed for other operating systems and maybe even other retail companies taking a look into integrating their online-offline shopping experience! Well done Pizza Express ;)

Author: Alice Cheetham

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Excited about Social Commerce

This month on the blog we will be discussing what we love about Social Commerce. We aim to talk about word of mouth marketing, social commerce websites we like, integrating your shop with Facebook and social commerce functionality we recommend.

Retail / E-Tail has entered a new phrase where product discovery and purchase decisions are informed by the collective and distributed via social intelligence of peoples’ own networks of interactions/social graphs. There are a number of websites that encourage social discovery of products found online; two of our favourites for social discovery of products are Polyvore and Kaboodle.

Social commerce is not new; Amazon's customer reviews and Ebay's groups could be classed as early examples of social commerce. The term has come back in the lime light, with announcement of Facebook Credits and news that some of our favourite brands have set up a Facebook shop. Of late there have also been some clear winners in social commerce, with Groupon (a social deal site) reported as being the fastest growing company ever. Furthermore, within our industry there are many stories about brands making their website more social, for example integrating Facebook plugins to their websites.

There was a recent survey of Facebook users (by 8th Bridge) which found that one third of Facebook users prefer never to leave Facebook for functionality, including shopping, suggesting that Facebook is morphing into a social commerce platform giving further insight that is people not brands that are driving social commerce. However, in contradiction to that point, it must be noted that, social commerce on Facebook is yet to make its mark in the UK. The IAB recently reported (5th July 2011) that a survey found that 89% of UK social networkers have yet to buy anything from Facebook and with 44% not interested in doing so.

From the same study, the IAB found that “tapping into the power of online recommendations and the influence of friends is essential to make UK shopping more social. Some 53% of consumers were more likely to look up information about a brand if a friend had recommended it, and almost one fifth (17%) stated they were likely buy from a brand if it was recommended by someone they knew” Read more about the IAB study on UK social shopping behaviours here on the IABUK website.

It is important for any brand to consider how they are creating a social experience for their customers, both online and offline. We think Simple engage well with their skincare customers

Common questions include: How will their customers recommend them to others? Are our customers likely to rave about our latest products? Would they be interested in sending a coupon to friends? Which social media channel i.e.: Facebook, Twitter, should we use? How will this relate to our overall business objectives? Which social share icons will be useful for our customers and for overall website growth?

Rocktime are regularly making changes to their client websites to enable them to create a more social shopping experience. Where appropriate they are advising their clients to add appropriate social share icons, where possible think niche, to mine and nurture their brand ambassadors and to monitor customer behaviour to maximise return on investment from social activities, i.e.: identifying that competitions are best run at lunch time.

Word of mouth has always influenced purchase decisions; we are encouraging clients to bring reviews onto their site for social and SEO benefits and to enable site visitors the option to spread news of their reviews / interaction further. This is based on the fact that 90% of purchasing decisions are subject to social influence (Wired magazine, 2011).

According to research from Booz and Company (May 2011) it is expected that the social commerce market will soar to $30 billion by 2015.

A few of our other social commerce facts, which we have collated whilst monitoring trends over the past 3 years, include:

  • 150 million people engage with Facebook in external websites each month (Facebook, 2011)
  • Social Media in the UK: A visitor coming from a social media site is ten times more likely to make a purchase online than an average visitor- 7% vs. 71%. (Simply Zesty, 2010)
  • 53% of people on Twitter recommend companies/products in their Tweets and 48% state their intention to buy the product (ROI Research for Performance, June 2010)
  • Two or more channels are used by 78% of consumers to browse, research and make purchases. (ATG, March 2010)
  • In the near future we will no longer search for products and services, they will find us via social media. (Opinion from Socialnomics, August 2009)
  • 90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know and 70% trust opinions of unknown users (Econsultancy, July 09)
  • 60% of retailers use customer reviews, 55% say reviews are a priority in the company year (, July 09)
  • 25% of search results for the world's 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. (Socialnomics, August 2009)

It was also interesting to find out recently that the most active social sharers are women aged 27 to 33; this demographic also drives the highest conversions on social media sites (Research from Spinback, reported in Mashable 12/05/2011).

Rocktime has set up an internal Steering Group on Social Commerce to make strategic decisions on the growth of social commerce within the Rocktime E-commerce shop. Best practice will always be promoted.

Social Commerce functionality will include, but by no means limited to, RSS Feeds, User Generated Content, Social Share Functionality, Social Network Integration, Social Layering, Communities and Niche Groups/Messages.

If you have questions on how you can effectively implement a Social Commerce strategy and are unsure about the best route to take, please call in and talk to a member of our Sales team. With our active ‘Social Commerce’ internal steering group, you can be positive that we will be on the ball with the most up to date trends and social functionality.

If you have any further social commerce statistics that you would like to share with us, feel free to leave a comment below.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Image credit goes to Sarah, who snapped the Facebook Credit Cards in her local Tescos and for the second image credit goes to the Janrain Blog who write about the four emerging social commerce tools for retailers.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Facebook Spam and Online Security

There are many different channels open to spam; it is always annoying, often disruptive, sometimes expensive to repair and frequently avoidable.

The main area of spam in the past had been from unsolicited bulk email messages sent indiscriminately. In today’s blog post, we are concerned with protecting ourselves on social networks and especially Facebook.

There are some interesting words we hear, whilst trying to stay safe online, against spambots, malware, botnets, worms, scareware, attacks, hackers, Trojan, cybercrime, ID Fraudsters, re-directs etc.

Facebook does get spammed a lot with third party apps. The old adage that prevention is better than cure still holds true in the case of Facebook spam. The offending apps are third party and not created by Facebook.


Sometimes hackers will simply phish for your log-in information and hijack your account, spamming your friends in the process. Other times, the app will instead download and install malware on your computer.
Be aware that Hackers and identity thieves do get into Facebook accounts and create fake profiles and pages.

There has been about a 75% rise in link-spam in Facebook over the past 6 months. Facebook isn’t alone in these spam issues; Twitter has suffered a similar fate but has been more responsive to dealing with it. This warning sent out today by ComputerworldUK; “It's the hottest invitation in technology right now, an email telling you how to "learn more about Google+." If you get one though, be careful about clicking on it. It may be spam. Linked In has also come under heavy scrutiny.

Avoid online spam

The main thing to remember is Just don’t click a link if you don’t trust it.
Don’t be drawn into following at a link that invites you to view a message like "See who is viewing your profile OMG I cannot believe it!!!!!!", or “see who’s blocking you!”. DON’T click a suspicious link is the simple rule. The links are fake apps and nearly always posted on your wall by someone you don’t have a regular communication with. Criminals are looking for us to open up our computers to viruses and spyware; thus allowing them to infect our systems and thereby increasing the chance that they may stumble upon your banking details.

There are a few simple guidelines we should all follow to keep our Facebook and computer secure. Always run system cleaning tools, as some of the spam is actually malware and is attacking your computer. Always run antivirus scans, McAfee comes highly recommended. Keep your applications updated; after all, if you’ve installed it you should update it. Actually, the same is also true for removing unused programs.

Just as you don’t install software on your computer that you don’t trust, this is the same rule on the social networks.

Facebook Security

Facebook has a page dedicated to Facebook Security and you can read the Facebook Guide to Controlling how you share.

According to Facebook and pertaining to Spam: Ads cannot contain or promote 'spam' or other advertising, or marketing content, that violates applicable laws, regulations or industry standards. Spamming on Facebook will lead to your account being permanently disabled.

The Web-of-Trust (WOT) add-on tells users which websites you can trust, based on other web users' experiences. WOT is building a community of users sharing information on bogus websites. There is a free download available for all major browsers, to stop access to dodgy websites.

There are lots of helpful sites and blogs that alert users to how Cybercriminals are adopting a new disguises, like suggesting that the "Facebook password had changed" but it was in fact a malware attack. Computer users discovered malicious code had been sent to their email inboxes, pretending to be a notification from Facebook that their social networking account has been used to send out spam. Don’t believe the email address as they can disguise and redirect emails.

There are products that can intercept these attacks like Mal/BredoZp-B from SOPHOS. They also post regular Facebook security news and how to Follow Best practices. Only trust what is from someone you know, or something you’re subscribed with. This applies to games as well.

The market for the safe URL shorteners has become a huge opportunity for security companies, that also offer URL shortener providers like and Their URL shorteners offer enhanced security which is a step in the right direction for bringing down spam and supporting transparency of the destination domain.

Among the many specialists who write helpful blogs about how to remain secure online, there are of course many groups on Facebook offering helpful advice. Some more useful than others!

Make sure you are in control of your page.


  2. Check your privacy settings related to applications; from the "Account" drop-down menu located at the top of any page on Facebook, Click the "Edit your settings" link under the Applications and Websites section towards the botton of the page, Click on the application you'd like to view. If you don't see the application listed, you can find it by clicking the Edit Settings button towards the top right-hand side of the page.

  3. As a Page admin, you can target updates to specific people in your audience and choose to send an update, such as a status or link, to everyone who likes your Page, or to target your update to people in a specific location, or in different language. When you click to update a status, question, photo, link, or video, you will see an option called "Everyone, Friends of friends, Friends only, Customise”. i.e. Click on the small drop-down and select "Customize." Only people who like your Page in the target group selected will receive the update from the Page.

  4. Proactively moderate content posted on my Page by adding comma-separated keywords to the "Moderation Blacklist" in the "Manage Permissions" section, available after selecting "Edit Page".

  5. When people include blacklisted keywords in a post and or a comment on your Page, the content will be automatically marked as spam. Wall posts will be moved to the Pages Spam filter, which is hidden from public view. Comments will appear in grey to admins, but will not appear to the public.

  6. Use the automatic content filtering on Page walls that will ensure that posts soliciting spam are removed from public view, as well as ensure that posts containing good content remain more visible. Go to the conversation. Open the Actions menu. Select "Report Spam."

  7. You can easily remove people connected to your Page if you don’t want to read their posts: Click "See all" under the Likes section, Select the "X" next to a user's name, Click "Remove."

  8. If your friends are sending you messages through applications you haven’t added, you will need to either contact your friends to resolve the issue or block the application from its Profile Page.

  9. To stop an application from sending you messages, you will need to remove the application from the application's Profile Page.

  10. You can report an offending app issue directly to the developer by going to the application’s Profile Page and clicking "Contact Developer" at the bottom of the page, or by clicking "Contact" at the bottom of any canvas page within the application.

  11. Report the application for abuse by going to the application’s About page and clicking "Report Application" at the bottom of the page, or by clicking "Report" at the bottom of any canvas page within the application.

  12. Be aware that Facebook messages are indexed by Google, which is great for brands but worth mentioning that these messages can be searched for on Google even when they are marked viewable by friends only.

  13. Read about Blocking Applications in the Help Centre.

  14. Make your profile only viewable by friends. That works well for personal profiles but less easy for Brands trying to be inclusive.

  15. Use an email account that isn't attached to your online banking account, your PayPal account, your eBay account, etc.

  16. This one is quite funny! Don't use your pet's name as your password if you're going to post your pet's picture and name on your profile!

  17. For your password, be sure to use capital letters as well as lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, break up words you use.

  18. Sometimes a simple virus can be sorted by just changing your login and password.


Facebook is constantly making security improvements listening to their 500 million active user feedback and there are discussions for future improvements, like Privacy by default, vetted app developers, HTTPS for everything. Until some of these security measures are put in place it is going to make it harder for businesses using social media monitoring tools, as spam skews the metrics.

On a positive note; University of California PhD students and security experts from launched a free BETA app service this week called MyPageKeeper. The App aims to keep spam and hackers off your Facebook Wall and keeps Facebook safe from malware and spam.

We will be interested to find out how it detects a piece of content as spam, but it's most likely that MyPageKeeper is simply database driven. Regardless, if it gives us added security protection by allowing a free safe app, which only takes 2 minutes to download, then it is worth it.

Author: Fiona Anderson