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Every Day Connected: Socialize

Make Social Media Marketing Work for You



By Michelle Hainer for Every Day Connected

Make Social Media Marketing Work for You

They pop up along the side of my screen on Facebook all the time: “Ways to grow your business,” “Find the best coffee,” “Get a good deal on shoes.” Sometimes my friends even “like” these various services, prompting me to take a look for myself.

But these ads aren’t just a fluke. For instance, recent stats show that parents are top users of social networking sites -- and marketers now want to target them on sites like Facebook, MySpace, even Gmail accounts. So how can you get something out of these retailers who are so eager for your business -- without selling your firstborn child? Here are some privacy tips to keep in mind:

1. Avoid clicking on social media marketing ads when you’re on a public computer or Wi-Fi network, because anyone -- including marketers -- can access your personal information, such as credit card info, addresses, even the number of kids you have! If you’re using Facebook, make sure your privacy settings are updated. Click on “Account” in the upper right corner. Select “Account Settings,” then “Account Security.” Select “Secure Browsing (https)”, then hit the “Save” button just below it.

2. If you use location-based apps like foursquare or Gowalla, never “check in” at your home, the homes of your friends and family, or your child’s school. Do you really need marketers knowing where your child is all day long? No. Limiting the amount of information people can access about you helps protect your privacy. Besides, there’s no prize for checking in at your own house anyway.

3. Be wary of what information you post. Most social media marketing is targeted to your specific interests. Posting pictures of your new baby could lead to the appearance of advertisements for professional photographers or birth announcements from stationery sites. If this seems a little too “Big Brother” to you, be very discerning about what you post. If, on the other hand, you want the discounts and promotions, post away -- but know that what you’re saving in cash, you could be paying for in an invasion of privacy.

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Photo: Getty Images

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