Stay N' Alive

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Monday, August 11, 2014

The Facebook Fraudster's New Strategy: Friend, Fraud, then Forget - How to Protect Yourself


A common Facebook social engineering or fraud tactic is to pick someone with friends you want to target, copy their Facebook profile entirely, and then start friending their friends one by one, until your new profile looks completely authentic. In the past, it was easy to get rid of these fraudsters by just reporting their account (click on the "..." in the upper-right of their profile, and then click "report"). But they've gotten smarter. Once the fraudsters realize you're onto them they now block you, and you can't access that account to report them any more - this is a flaw in Facebook's system that I think needs to be fixed.

The problem happened with a distant cousin of mine. I received a friend request from him, and I had forgotten I even friended him. I've also had it happen with a few friends of mine where I had just thought they unfriended me and were changing their minds. Out of habit, I accepted the friend request, and immediately the fraudster (go report him!) messaged me as my cousin. He started asking me about some sort of military retirement plan - my grandfather, who served in the military, has the same name as me so I thought my cousin was just mixing me up with him.

Before I knew it, I realized it wasn't the real cousin of mine. A quick look at the profile of the individual I was talking to confirmed such (there was only one update on their profile), and I called him out on it. Next thing I know, as I was just about to report it, the profile is gone - I thought it was a success and Facebook had discovered the impostor. I was wrong!

It turns out Facebook has a flaw where fraudsters like this can block you, removing your ability entirely to report them, and making it even harder for Facebook to identify these fraudulent accounts. He's now harassing other family members of mine, the ones that don't know how to report him. It's actually a pretty smart move for a social engineer. So how do you protect yourself?

There a couple things you can do first, to protect yourself, and second to report these individuals:


  1. Don't friend people you don't know in real life! If you want others to follow you, go to your "Friends" page (see instructions in step 2), and click on "Followers", then enable the follow button there. You can then use Facebook privacy on your posts to enable some posts as public for your followers and others just for your friends. The fraudster may not even be someone you know, and this is an easy tactic for social engineers to gradually get control of your profile, your Facebook Pages, or even your money. They just have to make you think they're your friend!
  2. Mark your friend list to only be visible by a specific Facebook list you've identified as "trusted". This is tricky, because it's not in the normal Facebook privacy settings. You can do this by going to your Facebook profile (click on your name in the upper-right), and then clicking on the "Friends" link to take you to your list of Facebook friends. In the upper-right of that, click on the little pencil/edit icon, and select "edit privacy". Now you'll be given the option to select who can see your list of friends - in this area you want to select either just your friends, or get even narrower with a list of "close friends" you trust even more. When you're in my friends list, you're protected. You should protect your friends too.
  3. If you've previously friended the individual friending you before, look back at their profile to see how many posts they have. Usually the impostors only have one or two posts. They may have the same friends though. Also, search for the friend, and you'll now see 2 profiles. Don't accept this individual's friend request! And that brings us to my final suggestion.
  4. Report the individual! Assuming they don't block you, you can do this very easily by going to their profile, clicking the "..." in the upper-right, and then select "Report". Select the appropriate categories and make sure you check the box to report to Facebook. The more of these Facebook receives, the faster the impostor will go away. Get all your friends to do this - it works!

    If the individual has blocked you, it's not as easy (and something Facebook really needs a better solution for if you ask me). It took me about 5 clicks to finally find the form using Google Search (and good luck finding it directly on Facebook). Just go to this link, fill out the form, and they'll be reported: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/274459462613911
Unfortunately, there are many of these fraudsters that get away with what they're doing, constantly harassing individuals and their friends because they don't know how to get rid of them. Many older individuals end up just removing their Facebook accounts. Some go to the extent of removing all their Facebook account and opening a new one, erasing years of history with the individual.

Facebook really needs better solutions around this, but for now I hope this article can help you. Oh, and if you get a chance, go report this fraudulent profile for my cousin!: https://www.facebook.com/bill.stay.1

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Protect Your Online Social Media Presence Using Facebook Business Manager

Facebook's recently released Business Manager is a God-send for any social media manager or strategist or even security department desiring to manage multiple Facebook Page admins among dozens (to even hundreds or thousands) of Facebook Pages and Ad accounts. With just a few clicks you can know exactly who has access to your Facebook Pages and Ad accounts, and remove that access within just a click. As an agency, this is a dream come true! But there's one element of security marketers and businesses need to be aware of, and it could compromise their entire Business Manager access if they're not careful.

The problem I'm referring to is social engineering. The fact is it's pretty easy to duplicate or copy another person's Facebook account. I saw it happen just today - a fraudster finds the friend of someone influential, copies the account of that friend, and starts friending the same people the original person was friends with. If they can make it far enough, the account can look pretty authentic! And if you're onto them they'll just block you so you can't report them (more on that later).

So what happens when a Facebook Page admin, or Business Manager admin is the target? The fraudster just needs to send a request from Facebook Business Manager to one of the owners of the Facebook Page as someone that looks like a legit admin of that account, and if that admin is not paying attention, before they know it, they've been removed from the Page, and the new owner is posting on their behalf with basically whatever they want. It could be a Social Media manager's nightmare!

So how do you protect yourself? Here are a couple tips:


  • Email or call the person sending you a request. This is probably the easiest way to protect yourself. Don't trust their Facebook account, as it could be hacked. However, sending them a separate email or even better a phone call or walking over to their desk, ensures that you're messaging them at a guaranteed communication channel. If they respond and say it was them, you're good to approve the request!

    Also, don't trust an email from someone that says they sent you a request - it's easy to spoof the "from" line of an email. Always make sure you directly email them (not in a reply), and ask them if you must use email.
  • Turn the management of your Facebook Page and Ad Account access over to your security team. Marketing teams may hate me for this one, but it truly is the safest means. Your security team is trained to watch for stuff like this (and if they aren't, have them contact me and I can get them trained!). A good security team will both watch out for your security, ensure only those that need access to your accounts have access to them, and also empower you as a marketing team to get as much done as you need to get done. A good security team will never be a hinderance, but also protect your online presence as a company.
  • Only give the requesting party the access they truly need to your page or ad account. This is important. It's so easy to just give "admin" access to just anyone, which means that individual can completely remove other admins making it a nightmare to recover your Facebook Page. Some times if it's an agency, and you don't have the experience to manage your page, admin access is appropriate. But make sure your agency (such as Fit Marketing, the company I work for - your security is something we have experience with, and are good at) understands how to keep your account safe, and make sure you email them to know it's them sending the request. Beyond that, ONLY give access to people what they need! Hopefully your agency is following this as well (many agencies don't, so be careful).
  • Develop a contingency plan. Most companies don't have one of these. A contingency plan can help your organization prepare in the event someone does compromise your Business Manager access. It can also ensure employees are educated and following best practices to make your company as secure as possible. Companies such as Fit Marketing and myself can help you develop a solid contingency plan for your business.
Facebook Business Manager is an incredible tool - I'll be posting more about it on the Fit Marketing blog shortly. It can actually make your organization safer if used right. However, if business owners and marketers aren't careful, your social media presence could easily, and quickly be compromised. Hopefully these tips can help secure your social media presence using the tool.

Monday, June 2, 2014

I'm Writing Minecraft For Dummies, and This Time it's a Family Affair

Hi, my name is Jesse Stay - I'm writing Minecraft For Dummies and Minecraft Recipes For Dummies, and yes, I'm officially crazy (but loving it!). I guess you could say I'm now addicted to writing books.

When I first started writing my first book, I'm on Facebook--Now What??? with Jason Alba, I thought I was crazy. Then, I started writing FBML Essentials, and I thought I was even crazier. I then wrote Facebook Application Development For Dummies, then Google+ For Dummies, and following that Google+ Marketing For Dummies. We did a Second Edition of I'm on Facebook--Now What???, this time targeting marketers, and following that I wrote the Facebook Development section of Facebook All-in-One For Dummies. That's 7 books! At this point I think I'm a professional crazy person, and I'm getting pretty used to it.

That's why I jumped at the chance when talking recently with Wiley to write the full version of Minecraft For Dummies (link to come soon). I'll also be following that up with Minecraft Recipes For Dummies (also link to come soon), both scheduled to be finished this year. I mean, who can say they actually get paid to use Minecraft? That's definitely not crazy.

I'm joining up with  the fabulous Youtubers, Team Crafted, on this one, and will include sections from Jacob Cordeiro's (who I'm told is a very mature 15 years old!) Portable Edition of Minecraft For Dummies. What I'm most excited about though is my 12 year old son Thomas will be writing the majority of the book (his name will be on the cover with me, Team Crafted, and Jacob Cordeiro), with me filling in the gaps, and I'll also have my 10 year old son Joseph contribute little "tips" here and there (I'm going to suggest to Wiley we call it "Joseph's Corner"). It will be a book about a game played primarily by kids, written by kids, and an occasional blip or two from me, the adult (I'm also in charge of getting it all in a format consumable by the general public). I'm so excited to bring my kids into the process of writing books with me!

With a movie on the way, entire LEGO sets built on the brand, entire communities built around the game, mods for the game, and new updates coming out to the game weekly, it is a prime time to be publishing this book. Minecraft is truly taking the world by storm, and chances are if you have kids, or you feel like a kid like me, you're very familiar with the game!

With my previous books all being on social media, the next 2 books will be a fun break for me as I focus on my family, and finally make book writing a family affair. Expect to hear more for me here, as well as on Facebook and Google+ as I make progress! Also, I'm looking for schools and the like that are interested in learning about the book writing process as we write this book - please contact me at jesse@commercefuturists.com for further inquiry. I'm also happy to make Comic, Gaming, and Fantasy Con appearances (I can also bring my sons)!

I want to know though - what would you like to learn in a Minecraft book? Go ask your kids. What do they want to learn? As parents, what interests you? Please feel free to share thoughts and ideas in the comments and maybe I'll find a way to include them in the book.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ford's Future Competition Won't be Cars - It Will be Software

Google gave us a peek into its future and vision today as it announced, and showcased new, Google-designed cars that are built entirely for driving on their own, without humans. The future indicates, to me not that Google is building its own cars as one would expect to be competition with companies such as Ford, Chevy, Toyota, and others, but that Google is sticking to its core strength and vision - software that makes the world more openly available to everyone. The future, my friends, for the automobile industry isn't cars - it's in software that gets you from one place to another - it's all about Google Maps, and competitors to it.

As I visited Silicon Valley recently with my wife as I attended Facebook's F8 developers conference, I had the opportunity to briefly stop by Google Headquarters in Mountainview. The one building that greets you, and says goodbye to you as you leave likely isn't noticed by everyone. It has a big, teardrop-shaped marker in the front, and a couple Google maps and other types of cars in front. It stands practically across from the Google Android building with all the dessert statues. That building is the home to Google Maps, and I'm now thinking it is not a coincidence that it is one of the first and last buildings you see on Google campus.

Google's Entrance Into the Collaborative Economy

My very smart friend, Jeremiah Owyang, as I've shared numerous times on this blog, is becoming well known for coining the phrase, "collaborative economy", a future (and now present) where people no longer just share virtually with each other, but in real life through things like cars, homes and places to stay, and even real goods. In Chicago recently I got on my phone, connected to the Uber app, and it showed me a host of normal operators using their own cars to give people rides from the airport to their destination. As I toured the city, a company let me "borrow" a bicycle from one of many "Divvy bikes" and get around the city where I was able to tour one of the tallest buildings in the world and see Monet paintings at the Chicago museum of fine art. Jeremiah is most definitely onto something.

Companies like Ford and Walmart and others are taking notice to this new trend, many starting to partner with the likes of Uber and AirBNB (a service that lets people rent out rooms in their homes), and others. Some even creating their own similar services to empower and encourage people to use their (the company's) products which those people own. The problem, I fear, is that in the end this is not the essence of where the collaborative economy is taking us. Google gets this, and I think we're seeing a hint of it with today's announcement.

Social Design in the Collaborative Economy

You see, the future doesn't matter about the product itself. It's about what the product can do for you. I've preached often about the concept of "social design" inside your product and even covered it in Facebook Application Development For Dummies. The idea is that you take the functionality of social networks and bring a person's close friends and family from those social networks into the design of your app or product (which is often entirely virtual but not always). The next iteration of "social design" is to build software that truly, and ubiquitously integrates the collaborative economy within the product itself. In a perfect, socially-designed product you can't distinguish between the "social", and the product itself. It's all one. Google is doing this with their self-driving cars.

In Google's world, no one will ever have to own a car. In fact, they won't even care if anyone else owns a car they can borrow. Google's key asset is information, not "things".  Where the cars come from won't matter. In the future you'll just say, "Ok Google, give me a ride from Chicago Midway to the Sheraton" on your mobile phone or Google Glass or desktop, and a Google Car will come, pick you up, take you to your destination as you get work done along the way, maybe even ask you if you'd like to stop for a bite to eat along the way (through a contextual, location-targeted ad by McDonalds, of course), and you'll never even have to pay for the ride. It's the collaborative economy at its finest, and the automobile industry may not even know what hit them when it does. In the end, information is always more valuable than tangible things.

The competition in the future for the automobile industry, I'm afraid, isn't the fact that people are borrowing cars from each other and taking public transportation more. Granted, that's part of it, but not the end result. The future competitor for the automobile industry is the same thing that took out many of the hardware companies of the 80s - it will be software, and the information it indexes. The key players will be software giants like Google, Microsoft (maybe?), Yahoo, and Facebook.

As the information industry makes its way into the collaborative economy, Ford, Chevy, Toyota, you name the automobile company - they will all need to develop competitors to Google Maps and others in the future if they are to survive, or at least remain as large as they are now. The big question is, is it too late? In the end, software still rules the world, and hardware just works for it.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Growth Hacking: How to Know Who Has Viewed Your Facebook Profile

I shared earlier a method I came up with that allows you to target the subscribers (now called just "followers") of a public profile on Facebook (you know, the profiles with the "follow" button like mine at facebook.com/stay - not to be confused with a business page). It turns out that you can also use this to not just target ads to, but learn about the subscribers of those profiles as well. For instance, I can tell the approximate salary ranges of my followers on Facebook. Let me share how.

If you go to my previous article on the topic, I show you how to create a list of the subscribers of a profile. The same can be done for the friends of a profile, the attendees of an event, members of a group, and many more "groups" of people if you know what you're doing - do some research of what data is available (I have a book that can help), if you want to dive deeper. Go ahead and create this list, and then go to Facebook's Power Editor where you would have created your ad targeting these people.

Previously I only talked about targeting ads to these people. You can actually get very specific in targeting only sub-groups of these followers, allowing for much more targeted ads in the process. But you can also use Facebook's Power Editor to just learn more about your audience. This can be a great way to know what types of things the audiences of individual profiles in your brand are interested in.

For instance, if I go the Partner Categories (under "Audience" when creating or editing a new ad in Power Editor), and select "Acxiom", then "Personal Finance", and then "Income", I can select any income range. If I select the $100,000-$125,000 range, in the right column it tells me an approximate number of people amongst my followers that are in that range. As you can see, the majority of my audience makes less than $100,000! If I were representing a brand, this would tell me how to price any products I sell to my audience of followers.



You can segment it any way you want at this point, just as you would a typical Facebook Page. Find out how many of a public profile's followers/friends buy baby products. Find out how many of a public profile's followers/friends are Republican/Democrat/Independent/etc. Then if you follow the advice in my previous article you can target ads to these individuals!

Okay, I fooled you a bit with the title and you can't really tell who's viewed the profile, but you can tell at least anonymously those viewers that have clicked the "subscribe" button on your profile, or learn more information about the friends of any profile on Facebook. For brands with influencers representing them as public Facebook profiles, this can be a very useful way for those brands to allow those influencers to keep a personal profile without having to have a duplicate Facebook Page.

Previously, I showed you how to create ads using this method. The cool thing with Facebook ads is you don't have to create ads to get benefit. The ads interface itself, and in particular Facebook's Power Editor, is a great learning tool to get approximations of an audience, and to learn more about who you should be targeting and how to target better - use this to your advantage as a brand as you engage your employees to use Facebook more as ambassadors for your company (through tools such as EveryoneSocial). Then use ads, and your own products to prove those theories.

Have another good use of this? Share in the comments!

Let me help your brand! These little "Growth Hacks" are the core of our business, and how we excel against other marketers and firms in this space. If you want to get an advantage against your competition that other marketers can't touch, send an email to jesse@staynalive.com!

Oh, and like what you see here? Did it help your marketing strategy? Please consider sending donations to paypal@staynalive.com (Paypal), or send me Bitcoin!:

Address: 19AdCAbjshRuEFhx4py1Ny7i48s1d6RFi

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bitcoin Use-cases: Turning Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, and the Blockchain into a Fully Functional Peer-to-Peer Internet

A lot of non-Bitcoin investors and people with little knowledge of Bitcoin are freaking out right now about the fall of Bitcoin's value in the last 24 hours due to China forbidding deposits into their main Bitcoin exchange. I'm actually kind of excited about it, because I think of Bitcoin as more a protocol than I do a currency. This means it has long-term sustainability. It also means my investment into it is a much more long-term investment into the future of the internet, as a whole. It means I now have an even greater opportunity to buy until the world grasps onto this concept. One of these use-cases is the possibility of completely replacing the internet as we know it. Let me explain.

DNS

Let me start with an example. An exact duplicate of the Bitcoin protocol with a separate blockchain, Namecoin (read all about it here), was created to prove some of the points I'm making here. Namecoin was invented to allow the use of its own Blockchain (remember, the worldwide, public accounting ledger for tracking transactions) to track ownership of domains on the .bit namespace.

Domains and DNS are in essence based on a peer-to-peer network of their own, with one major flaw. They rely on a central authority called the Internet Consortium for Assigned Names and Numbers (or ICANN) to tell other DNS nodes who owns the domain being queried. When you type in a URL into your browser, it likely searches your ISP's DNS servers (your computer is in essence itself a DNS node that knows to talk to your ISP and other DNS nodes on the internet). Those DNS servers communicate with other DNS servers and so on until they find out who the owner of the domain is. Once the owner is determined through ICANN, your browser knows to pull content from "X Server" and you are delivered a webpage from that server. With Namecoin, however, ICANN isn't needed because the ownership is recorded on the blockchain.

Namecoin, in essence, is replacing the need for ICANN in domain distribution for the .bit top level domain. They do it by storing the domain names in digest form on the blockchain (and suggest you can do this with other types of documents and text, as well), giving a permanent place to look up ownership with guaranteed authenticity. Currently they're integrating this with existing DNS architecture, providing translation of those blockchain records in a way ICANN can understand, but in the future, the DNS protocol could be updated to accept blockchain records as sufficient ownership as well. This could be done with something as simple as a browser extension or plugin on most current browsers that overrides the browser looking at DNS servers for ownership, instead looking at the blockchain for ownership.

This is a powerful concept, which shows one use-case in this potential "internet replacement". And it's already in place, and it's already working! You can invest in Namecoin now, and even convert your Bitcoin into Namecoin through exchanges like btc-e.com. (and guess what, the Chinese now don't have this opportunity, at least not to the scale they used to!)

Storage

So now we have a way to tell where to retrieve content on the internet through a peer-to-peer, Bitcoin protocol-based architecture. Now we just need a way to deliver that data in a distributed manner. What if you could use Bittorrent as the storage for a Bitcoin-powered internet? We're already headed there.

Recently, a bittorrent client called Frostwire announced they're working to integrate Bitcoin into their Bittorrent client, allowing seeders of Torrents (which don't all have to be illegal, by the way - Bittorrent, too, is just a P2P protocol, this one focused on storage) to pay and receive Bitcoin for files. I think this could go further though. What happens when you can associate something like Namecoin with an address of an HTML file on the Bittorrent network? Now, entirely server free, a document can be served (no server-side code required in this case - JavaScript has become quite powerful of recent on client machines, and could be extended even further to more powerful functions within the browser itself to embrace the blockchain and even bittorrent for more info) across a peer-to-peer network delivering documents to your browser at speeds potentially even faster than your current internet can.

As for a database, there are already distributed, file-based databases (see Hadoop, for instance). Instead of owning your own servers to store those files, why not store them across the P2P Bittorrent, or similar network? There are details to be worked out, but the technology is definitely almost there.

The Network Infrastructure

Now the only thing left is the ISP, and infrastructure for giving you bandwidth and access to your internet. What if we made this peer-to-peer as well? There are already many plans in foreign countries for "mesh" wireless networks. What if we took a concept like this, allowing anyone who wanted internet access to set up a wireless receiver of some sort, and that receiver would "pay" into the network to get access using Bitcoin or similar. These payments (this would be the equivalent of "mining" in current Bitcoin) would then go to those willing to provide longer distance wireless access using things like Ham Radio towers and the like to provide access over this entirely wireless, peer-to-peer internet. The bandwidth each node provides to the network would in essence "mine" new tokens and recycle those paid into the network in the process.

Of course, details of how all this can work still need to be worked out. Hopefully now you can see the potential though, and we're really not that far from something like this happening with very little needing to be done by any central entity (perhaps wireless laws in the USA and other countries would need to be opened up a little to the public). Many of these protocols are already being used. But once they're all put together, we have an internet that works without central authority, no need for ISPs, no need for server hosting. The entire internet experience is 100% controlled by the user, and companies will need to adapt to this.

This will all lead towards new forms of commerce. My friend Jeremiah Owyang talks about "The Collaborative Economy", which is already occurring. The idea is that the future of commerce is moving towards more social, consumer-to-consumer models instead of business-to-consumer. Businesses now become facilitators of these transactions instead of sellers of a single product that a consumer can buy.

In "The Chain" era it works the same way - no longer will we need DNS, hosting, or even storage. Ownership records will all be stored on "The Chain", all delegated to the proper owners of the content and storage and names. Businesses will need to start preparing for this in order to adapt to this new model - I'm actually seeing some of the smart ones do this now, which I'll talk about later on this blog.

Bitcoin is not just a currency as you can see. If you're seeing it as just a currency that goes up and down, you're looking at it wrong. Instead, you should be looking at it as a new paradigm. It's a paradigm shift in not just currency, but the entire internet as we know it, and you should be looking to hop on, pay in, and get on board. Those that do so now will be the leaders of this new era in the next 5 years.

My company helps businesses adapt to these new paradigm changes such as Bitcoin, strategizing new innovation and marketing shifts to gain an edge on their competitors. If you think we can help, contact us (contact@staynalive.com) - we even take Bitcoin!

Like this article and want more like it? Consider a donation! Here's my Bitcoin address:

Address: 19AdCAbjshRuEFhx4py1Ny7i48s1d6RFi


Monday, December 9, 2013

Growth Hacking: How to Target Ads to the Followers of a Public ("Follow") Profile on Facebook

I shared earlier on this blog the benefit of using a personal, "Public Profile" on Facebook over a Fan Page on Facebook to personalize the experience and grow your network. I encourage each of my clients to, when they have the choice, choose the public profile over the Fan Page for personalities in the company for the reasons I shared earlier. It personalizes the company better, and I think the opportunities to grow organically are stronger.

There has always been one downside though - you can't advertise to the followers of public profiles. It turns out there is actually a way to finally advertise to the followers of a traditional profile on Facebook with a "follow" button. It involves just a little Graph API knowledge (see my book to learn!), use of Graph Explorer, and a Facebook Page for your brand that you can use to create the ad. Here's how you do it - let me know if I can help your company or brand do the same!:

Using Graph API to Get the User's Followers

The trick involves just a little Graph API (the Facebook developer platform used to get data out of Facebook). To start, open up Graph Explorer from the developers.facebook.com "Tools" section.



Give your user the "user_subscriptions" permission by clicking on the "Get Access Token" button and checking the box under "User Data Permissions".



Now, type in the following path next to the "GET" drop-down:

jessestay/subscribers?fields=id&limit=5000



You can replace "jessestay" with the id of any public user. The limit=5000 lets you traverse through the more subscribers at a time. Hit "Submit", and a bunch of data will be returned.

Now is the part you need to figure out, and where a little programming knowledge might help (I may upload this as a tool on SocialToo.com at some point if it makes sense). Each page has only 5,000 subscribers listed, but there is a "next" link at the bottom that takes you to the next 5,000 subscribers. Your job is to traverse through this list, follow all the "next" links until there are no more, and extract a list of facebook ids in a text file (csv or txt). You can do this either manually or through an automated script that you create



This script took me about 15 minutes to write on my own, so it's not too difficult a task if you have a little programming knowledge. Of course, this is also a service I provide to my clients so let me know if I can help! Once you have this file, you're ready for the next step!

Uploading the Followers to Ad Manager

Now that you have your file, you need to upload it to Ad Manager as a "custom audience". This used to only be available to Facebook's Power Editor, but it's now a native piece of the Facebook Ad management experience.

Start by going to http://facebook.com/ads/manage and make sure the account you're using is selected (for those that might manage multiple accounts like me). On the left is a link that says "Audiences". Click on that.

Now, click on "Create Audience". A dialog box will appear - select "Data File" from the dialog box.



Now name your audience whatever you like, and choose the file you just created in the above section. If it's a text file that has a Facebook ID on each line of the file it should work. Also, make sure you select "advanced options" and "user ids" so it recognizes your ids as Facebook ids and doesn't try to read them as email addresses. Click "Create Audience", and now your custom audience should be created! Pretty quickly you'll start seeing the number of potential people you can target show up next to the audience stats on this page.



Creating Your Ad

Now that you've created your custom audience out of the user's subscribers, you just need to create an ad that targets this custom audience. This is where you'll need an existing Facebook Page for your brand (Not the user themselves - to me Facebook Pages are for brands. Facebook Profiles are for users!) if you want to do a promoted post. If you don't want to use another Facebook Page you can just do a right-nav ad that targets a URL and that will work too.

Start by creating a promoted post using Ad Manager, or on the Page itself (don't use the "boost" option!). You can make this visible or invisible to your fans - it's up to you. Include a link if you like, just text, or whatever you want. Maybe even put the image of that user in the post so it's recognizable to the fans of that user. Another option is to have your Facebook Fan Page share a post of that user, and then you can promote that!

Then in your targeting options, select the custom audience you just created. You can further refine the audience if you like, should the post be needed to target a specific subgroup of that audience (allowing for much stronger micro-targeting and perhaps even better results for less cost). Set all your bidding options, submit the ad, and now you have an ad targeting all the followers of a specific user on Facebook!



The great thing about this is you don't have to limit it to subscriptions - it works with any data your user has access to. You can access your friends, your friends' friends. You can target the attendees of an event you're going to. Or members of a group you participate in. You also don't need to limit it to your own user if you're targeting just followers. Because public profiles are public, you can target the followers of any user that has their profile marked as public!

Just a side-note: I did notice a bug in Facebook's Graph API that doesn't return all of the subscribers. I think it excludes subscribers that are subscribing to you through Facebook lists. It will return most though, which makes an ad campaign totally worth it!

So when you think you have to use a Fan Page because you can't advertise on a public profile, think again! You indeed can target subscribers of public profiles on Facebook, making the use of a public profile even more powerful, and something every brand should consider!

Let me help your brand! These little "Growth Hacks" are the core of our business, and how we excel against other marketers and firms in this space. If you want to get an advantage against your competition that other marketers can't touch, send an email to jesse@staynalive.com!

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