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Taking Back Your Data: Exporting Before You Exit Social…

In today’s hyper-connected world, social media platforms hold a treasure trove of our digital lives: photos, messages, memories, and connections. But what happens when you decide to hit the “delete” button on your account? Does your data vanish into the ether, or can you take it with you?

The answer is yes, you can! Most major social media platforms offer data export options, allowing you to download and archive your information before closing your account. This empowers you to control your digital footprint and potentially repurpose your content on other platforms.

So, before you bid farewell to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, follow these steps to export your data:

Downloading Your Facebook Memories:

  • Click the downward arrow on the top right corner and select “Settings & Privacy.”
  • Go to “Your Facebook Information” and choose “Download Your Information.”
  • Select the data you want (posts, messages, photos, etc.) and the date range.
  • Click “Create File” and wait for the export to complete. You’ll receive a notification when it’s ready to download.

Archiving Your Instagram Treasures:

  • Open your profile and tap the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines).
  • Go to “Settings” and then “Security.”
  • Select “Download Data” and choose “Request Download.”
  • Enter your email address and wait for the link (it can take up to 48 hours).
  • Click the link in your email and download the ZIP file containing your photos, videos, stories, and comments.

Capturing Your Twitter Timeline:

  • Click on your profile picture and select “Settings and privacy.”
  • Go to “Your account” and then “Download your data.”
  • Enter your password and click “Request Data.”
  • You’ll receive an email notification when your data is ready. Click the link and download the ZIP file containing your tweets, direct messages, and media.


  • Each platform has its own data export process and timelines. Refer to the specific platform’s help center for detailed instructions.
  • The exported data might be in a specific format (.json, .html). Consider using data converters or online tools to make it more readable.
  • Be mindful of the data you choose to export, especially if it contains sensitive information.

By exporting your data, you reclaim ownership of your digital memories and content. You can use it for personal archiving, create backup copies, or even migrate to alternative platforms. So, go forth, download your data, and delete your accounts with confidence, knowing you’ve secured your digital treasures!

ChatGPT: The end of blogging as we know it

ChatGPT has been in the news a lot lately. Everyone is at least vaguely aware that it’s some sort of artificially intelligent chat bot. But I didn’t fully grasp the ramifications until I took the time to play with the tool myself. You can check it out too at https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt/.

You will need to create a user account, but that is free. And then you can see some examples of prompts that it can respond to. Have a conversation and marvel at the fluidity. Ask it questions and get answers back promptly and completely.

The major criticism (and rightfully so) is that it is so fast and authoritative on subjects that people tend to believe it – even when it’s wrong. It’s also using information scrapped from the internet to build its knowledge. There was a time that Google Translate was a free online tool that could be used to translate websites in real time. Until they realized that most of the translated content out there was translated by them, and a feedback loop occurred resulting in poorer quality. They eventually put a very small fee to use the API and knocked most users off as a result to try to preserve the bank of human generated content to pull from. What happens to ChatGPT when the internet it pulls from was also written by AI?

Want to know why I think it will have a big impact? Because, secretly, I didn’t write my last blog: Registering your nonprofit with PayPal. Instead, I went to ChatGPT and said, “Write me a blog about registering a nonprofit with PayPal” and the body of that blog was its immediately response. Nobody noticed. And I really had no notes of how to improve it after the fact.

Now that’s scary.

How to un-suspend your Twitter account

I have had a Twitter account for Dijon Marketing for years, despite never having tweeted. The primary reason I got it was so nobody else could – a little brand protection. I have an all but unused Instagram account as well. Some day I may choose to share content on either of these accounts like I do regularly on Facebook.

But when I logged into my Twitter account for the first time in a couple of years, I was met with a message telling me my Twitter account was suspended. Possible reasons included:

  • Posting spam
  • Leaving my account unsecured
  • Abusive tweets

Well certainly none of those described me!

The first thing I did was ensure I had a backup email address and phone number. Just in case it was a security issue. I already had both set. Then I clicked the button to contest my account suspension and filed an appeal.

Within 2 minutes, I had received an email that my account had been reviewed and unlocked for my use. If you find yourself in a similar situation, follow the prompts to contest it. If there is a real issue or if there has been a violation of the terms of service, they will let you know and you can work to remedy it from there.

My Experience Purchasing Followers on Facebook

In the HBO movie, Fake Famous, four relative nobodies are given a full social media makeover. Not only do they get new clothes, hair, and makeup, but a healthy injection of paid followers and engagement. It had never really occurred to me to try to game the system by purchasing followers.

Then one day, I tried to unlock Audience Insights on my Facebook Business page only to find that you need at least 100 followers before you can view those analytics. Over the course of four and a half years, I had amassed a grand total of about 30 followers. Getting to 100 seemed daunting if not impossible. So the idea hatched – what if I just purchased followers on Facebook?

Where to purchase followers?

There are lots of different sites offering all sorts of social media engagement. And each one is generally a separate fee – likes, shares, follows, comments – all for a price. I started with a cursory search for the best, most reliable social media farms online. After the first one on the “Best Of” list failed to process my payment, I landed on SidesMedia.

Their online reviews were great (a little too good, to be honest). I appreciated some content on their site about the pros and cons and potential pitfalls of utilizing their service. The payment plans and packages were clearly laid out and the investment was minimal. So I decided to give a whirl. 250 Facebook followers cost $9.99.

What did I receive after purchasing followers?

The first thing to expect is that new followers won’t come rushing in all at once. And that’s a good thing. To avoid triggering any watchdogs inside Facebook, followers will trickle in over about a 72 hour period. They promise that all of the new followers will be real profiles and they delivered on that. All have profile photos, friends, and activity on the platform. It has increased my reach and impressions slightly, but just because they follow me doesn’t mean they engage with me – not for free anyway.

About 30 minutes after payment was processed, I got my first new follower – Sanjoy Sarkar. Followed a few minutes later by Abdullah Al Mamon, Akash Foysal, and উড়ন্ত মন. In the end, despite purchasing only 250 new followers, I ended up with about 500 new profiles following me. 476 are located in Bangladesh. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but for a small, independent, Dallas-based marketer, there’s certainly a fishy smell to anyone poking around. I did get more followers than I paid for, they all have active profiles, and they have all stuck around for months now. Sometimes the problem is that your paid followers disappear after a short time, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my experience.

Was it worth it?

Ultimately, I got exactly what I paid for – more even. The payment process was fast, easy, and secure. No shenanigans were employed and no penalties incurred. While I may not have built up my social following for real, it did allow me to unlock advanced Audience statistics that were previously unavailable to me.

Facebook Audience Statistics

I probably didn’t increase my actual reach, nor did I onboard engaged participants for my brand. In order to drive further, I would need to purchase Instagram followers to match, a certain number of likes on my posts, and by the time it appeared genuine, I would be out of pocket a few hundred dollars. I can’t say I would recommend it as a strategy for your social channels, but as a kick start to unlock some features, I believe I got my $9.99 worth.

Benefits of a Social Media Management Tool

If you’ve ever tried to manage multiple social media profiles on multiple platforms, you know how quickly it can overwhelm your day. You could outsource to a marketing company, or hire a teenaged intern. But what if there was a way you could more easily maintain your profiles without spending a lot of money. That’s where a good Social Media Management Tool comes in.

There are lots to choose from, but I’ve had great success with Hootsuite. Not only does it have a great feature set and integrate with many platforms, but it has a great free option. In the free option you are limited to 3 platforms and can only schedule ahead 30 posts. The paid models include expanded limitations there as well as additional features.

Why to use a Social Media Management Tool

  1. Schedule ahead. No longer will you scramble to remember to post certain message on certain days. You can set up your Veteran’s Day post months in advance and schedule it to go live at the appropriate day and hour. Just be careful if you schedule too far out in advance that there aren’t any sudden current events that could make the context of your post seem inappropriate.
  2. Create an editorial calendar. Similar to scheduling ahead you can plan ahead. Instead of social media being a daily chore, you and your team can meet once a month and plan out the editorial calendar in a few hours. That makes it seem much more manageable when you’re sticking to a plan versus hunting for fresh content constantly.
  3. Easily collaborate. If you share the social media task with one or more people, you might accidentally post at the same time or duplicate messages. Scheduling ahead will let your collaborators see what messages are planned for the week and maybe they can opt to fill in gaps in the schedule, or ask you to move your post to another day.
  4. Cross-post your message. While I’ve advocated against straight cross-posting, it is still easier to hit multiple sites from a consolidated user interface. You can copy and paste your message onto Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all from the same screen and that’s easier that remembering 3 logins and going to 3 different sites.

If you could use a boost to your productivity, or find social media to be a necessary burden, give a Social Media Management Tool a try!

Don’t cross-post on social media platforms

If you are maintaining multiple social media profiles, it can be enticing to cross-post the exact same message on all at once. And certain social media management tools even explicitly allow/encourage this. But cross-posting can hurt the effectiveness of your social campaigns for a number of reasons.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t post the same message or content, it just needs to be tweaked to perform optimally on each network and avoid errors or follower confusion.

Things to make unique for each platform

  1. Post times. The optimal time to post on each network varies based on the network and your audience. You can use some statistical averages, or use your own analytics and insights to determine the optimal time of day to reach your audience, but chances are it will vary by platform.
  2. @ Mentions. Depending on which other profiles you are tagging or mentioning, the syntax may vary per network. That organization’s usernames may also vary. Or they may not participate in all the same social networks you do. Make sure to customize your @ mentions of other profiles for the network you’re on.
  3. #Hashtags. Hashtag best practices vary by network as well. Whereas Twitter and Instagram rely on them heavily, Facebook was late to the game and they were not intrinsic to the platform. Overuse of hashtags can actually hurt your organic reach on Facebook.
  4. Message length. Twitter is definitely the limiting factor on this one. You don’t necessarily want to cut your captions or messages to Twitter-length on all platforms, so customizing for the allowable length makes sense.
  5. Photo/video aspect ratio. The best sizes and aspect ratios to get the optimal cropping on preview varies by platform. Understand the best size for images and you’ll get better engagement as users scroll past your content. In general, Instagram is the only 1×1 square content.

With minimal extra effort you can take a single message or post and tweak it slightly. That way you can take advantage of the features of each social media platform. And your content can perform optimally on each.

Choose the right #hashtag for your social media post

Hashtags in social media posts serve a few different purposes. They can be funny. They can categorize your content. Or they can extend your reach to a new, larger audience. Knowing your goals can help you select the right mix of hashtags for your social media posts.

Sorry to break it to you, but expert use of hashtags requires some research up front. I like to use a free tool called Ritetag. It will give you some stats on the frequency of use as well as some related tags to consider. Once you find some relevant tags with high volume, take the time to search them on your favorite social media platforms. The last thing you want to do is unwittingly contribute to something unsavory! You never know when a hashtag has a hidden meaning.

Four Categories of Hashtags

I generally divide hashtags into four categories with different objectives.

  1. Branding – It’s great to use your brand name, product name, or something unique to your organization. You may not get a lot of new traffic from it, but it’s a nice addition to posts and can be a fun categorization to review for your users.
    Example: #DijonMarketing
  2. Engagement – Keywords that speak to your message, vision, or calls to action may not drive a LOT of traffic, but the traffic they do drive will be highly engaged and interested in your message.
    Example: #ConnectGoodPeople
  3. Reach – These are the keywords that have tons of posts. With the right message, imagery, and timing, you could gain yourself a much larger audience than without.
    Example: #DigitalMarketing
  4. Event – If you are attending an event, check first to see if they’ve proposed a hashtag for attendees to use. Similarly if you are the host, let your guests know there’s a hashtag to use.
    Example: #MeetAndGreet2020

Choose a couple keywords from each category to get the best mix of eyeballs on your social post. Don’t go overboard though. Nobody likes to see a list of hashtags longer than the post content. Strategic alignment on hashtag strategy will elevate your social media presence to the next level.

Open Graph Tags for Social Sharing

When sharing a link on Facebook, sometimes it will pop up with a nice, big, clear photo. It depicts the logo of the organization you’re linking to or something specific about the page you’re sharing. Some of this happens automatically, but chances are if it looks really great, that’s not by accident.

Web developers can control the appearance of shared links in social media platform using Open Graph Tags. They’re not quite as daunting as they may sound to set up or use.

How to View Open Graph Tags

Right-click and View Source on this page. You’ll find a number of open graph tags right in the header of the page. They are all denoted by an og: prefix. For now, we’ll just focus on the og:image tag and how that works.

<meta property="og:image" content="https://i2.wp.com/www.dijonmarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/dijon-marketing-logo-open-graph.jpg?fit=1000%2C500&#038;ssl=1"/>

It’s a metadata with a property of og:image and a content URL pointing to the photo I want to use. You can cut and paste the photo link into your browser to view it like any other image. This one happens to have “open-graph” in the name. That’s because it’s scaled properly to show on Facebook with no skewing or sections of the logo cut off. Here’s what it looks like if you share my website on Facebook (which … feel free to do).

Open Graph Tags using default og:image

Default Versus Featured Open Graph Images

In this case, the home page has no Featured Image set in the WordPress document. I’ve defined a default fall-back photo inside the Yoast SEO plugin. Just go to SEO > Social > Facebook and upload the photo of your choice. The aspect ratio should be 2×1 and preferably 1200×600 pixels large. Then Facebook can scale it as they wish.

If you have a featured image set, then Facebook will default to using that, like with this blog post:

Open Graph Tags using WordPress Featured Image

Sites Without Open Graph Tags

If you have no open graph tags, it doesn’t mean you won’t have shares with nice images. You’re just leaving it up to Facebook’s crawlers to scrape your page looking for some image to use. The results can be completely random, or even inappropriate. If you haven’t defined your og tags, take a moment to get at least a default photo set up. The click-through ratio of your social shares will thank you!

How to respond to negative reviews

Whether your online business or organization is listed on Yelp, Google My Business, or any one of countless vertical search engines, it’s almost inevitable these days that you’ll eventually receive a negative review. Or maybe it’s not exactly negative, but it’s less than 5 stars with no supporting comments or explanation. What should you do?

First, you should respond. It’s not fair that they should get the last word and sour your reputation for anyone who may find you later. You can decide for yourself what the best tone of voice is, but a few simple rules are:

  1. Be courteous. You don’t want to come off as defensive, or combative – two things that could do more harm than good.
  2. Be honest. Don’t deny the facts even if the exact details of the exchange weren’t perfect.
  3. Recount the details. Line out what happened, or sometimes more importantly, what didn’t happen.
  4. Accept responsibility. The buck stops with you. Be accountable or if the situation warrants it, apologetic.
  5. Offer a resolution or ask for another chance. Tell them you’d love another chance to earn that fifth star and look forward to seeing them again soon.

By monitoring and replying to negative ads, you maintain control over your online reputation and show that you’re an attentive, responsive, and caring individual. That’s the kind of person people like to do business with!

Build a basic audience for Facebook Ads

One of the most powerful aspects of advertising on Facebook is the ability to tailor your audience. Now you can take it to the nth degree. That’s the reason Facebook is free. Users trade their personal data for an engaging social platform. Advertisers purchase that data to find audiences who resonate with their message (read: buy).

In non-profit and charity fundraising, dedicate your precious advertising dollars for donors and volunteers sympathetic to your cause. The focus needn’t be myopic. However, audience consciousness makes a difference in the effectiveness of an ad.

Building a basic audience is easy. There are a few things to consider:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Connections – whether they like or follow your page
  • Detailed targeting – this is where it gets fun!

Detailed targeting allows you to find pet lovers, runners, or social warriors. Users either gave this information willingly or performed telling behaviors on the platform. Some audience examples might be:

  • Women aged 55+ in Dallas, TX who speak English and list knitting as a hobby
  • Anyone 18-40 within 20 miles of Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio concerned with LGBTQ equality
  • Spanish speakers in Texas who like BBQ

Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, who you’re trying to reach is a huge part of success!