Category Archives for Social Media

Sophisticated Tools Lead to Breakthroughs in Prenatal Surgery

Many breakthroughs in prenatal surgery have only been possible because of ever more sophisticated instruments. Since 2011, Michael Belfort, the chief obstetrician at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, has been enhancing the tools he uses to operate on a developing fetus. His modified instruments have led to fewer preterm deliveries and C-sections for mothers, and his surgeries have helped improve survival rates for infants. He can insert optical fibers that let surgeons see inside the uterus. He can also tug delicate fetal skin and guide suture needles using a grasper. And he can work wonders that only a few decades ago would have defied belief.

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How to Reverse InfertilitySave the PreemiesThe Year's Best Tech PlaythingsCashing in on Kiddie YouTubeThe #MiniMilah EffectRethinking Screen TimeA Brief History of Digital WorriesSolving Health Issues at All Stages


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School’s police firing range trip ‘eased pupil terror fears’ – BBC News

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Pupils were pictured aiming plastic replica firearms at targets metres away

A school trip to a police firing range that saw pupils with toy guns aim at targets helped put their minds at ease over terrorism, the school says.

The Year 3 pupils were invited to West Midlands Police’s firearms training facility after writing to officers following recent terror attacks.

A police picture of the pupils aiming plastic replica firearms at targets drew criticism on social media.

But Kings Norton Primary School parents had only “praise”, a spokesman said.

West Midlands Police said the visit was to give pupils an insight into their work.

See more stories from across Birmingham and the Black Country here

‘Horrified’

Lyn Turner wrote on Facebook: “I’m not comfortable with this at all. Primary school kids? Parents don’t like buying toy guns let alone showing them real ones. Not sure about this at all.”

Sarah Massey said she was “horrified” by a picture of the event.

But an anonymous parent of a child who went on the trip said: “We just want to express our support for the trip, our son got a huge amount from it and it went a long way to explaining why armed police exist and why there have been more visible recently.

“We hope the actions of a minority of parents have not damaged the opportunities of other children’s education by stopping such trips happening in the future.”

Image copyright Kings Norton Primary School
Image caption The school said no parents have made a complaint about the visit

The school said any issues that concern pupils are freely discussed and, after some had noticed an increase in armed police in the city in light of the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester, they “were naturally concerned”.

Children then wrote to the force to thank them for their work and were subsequently invited to the firearms training facility in Aston, where they spent a day looking at “all aspects of police work, looking at the firing range was a small part of the visit”, the school said.

“The children enjoyed themselves. They learned a great deal and their minds were put at ease around their initial concerns,” the spokesman added.

No parents have contacted the school about the visit apart from to “praise us for the work we do”.

As part of the visit to the facility, the pupils also got to dress up in riot gear and talk to officers about their jobs.

Det Insp Danny Delaney said: “The visit was also used as an opportunity for us to take the time out to talk with the children and stress to them that they shouldn’t feel scared, and that we are here to keep people safe and give them an insight into our work.”

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Serena Williams gives birth to baby girl, coach says

(CNN)Serena Williams has given birth to a baby girl, according to her coach and the US Open’s official Twitter account.

The US Open congratulated Williams on its Twitter page, “@serenawilliams won a new title on Day 5 at the #USOpen: Mom.”
Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced on his verified Twitter account, “Congratulations @SerenaWilliams for your baby girl. I am so happy for you and I feel your emotion. Recover well & enjoy without limitation.”
    He also wished her a speedy recovery. “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
    Serena or fiancé Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, have not issued an official statement on social media.

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    Israel confirms Palestinian was behind bus bombing; Hamas calls him ‘martyr’ | Fox News

    A bus exploded in the heart of Jerusalem Monday, wounding nearly 20 people. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

    Israeli police on Thursday confirmed that a 19-year-old Palestinian man carried out a bus bombing in Jerusalem this week, as the Islamic militant group Hamas praised the man as a “martyr” for the attack.

    Police identified the attacker as Abdel Hameed Abu Srour, a resident of the West Bank city of Beit Jala. Police said he was critically wounded in the bombing and died Wednesday in an Israeli hospital.

    About 20 people were injured in the bombing, some seriously, including a teenage girl who suffered severe burns. A hospital spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday one man later died, but did not name him.

    In an announcement on one of its websites, Hamas said Abu Srour was a member of the group but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack.

    Israeli police said they arrested Hamas members a day after the attack who are suspected of planning and executing the attack, which was reminiscent of the grisly suicide bombings that hit Jerusalem and other cities during the Palestinian uprising over a decade ago.

    The blast came amid a seven-month wave of Palestinian assaults — mostly stabbings, shootings and car ramming attacks — that has killed 28 Israelis and two Americans. At least 190 Palestinians, the majority said by Israel to be attackers, have been killed during the same time.Israel says the violence is fueled by a campaign of Palestinian incitement compounded on social media sites that glorify and encourage attacks. Palestinians say the violence is due to a lack of hope for gaining independence after years of failed peace efforts.

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    UKIP leader faces make-or-break vote

    Image copyright Reuters
    Image caption Henry Bolton says he is the right man to lead UKIP out of its current troubles

    UKIP members will vote later on whether to back or sack leader Henry Bolton.

    An extraordinary general meeting in Birmingham will decide the fate of the former army officer, who has been in the job for less than six months.

    He has faced calls to quit since it emerged his partner Jo Marney sent racist messages about Meghan Markle.

    But he has won the backing of ex-leader Nigel Farage who said “for all his faults”, removing Mr Bolton would hasten UKIP’s path to “irrelevance”.

    Mr Farage has warned the party – which won 12.6% of the vote in the 2015 general election but has been in a tailspin ever since – was in danger of “collapsing” and it might be “too late to save it”.

    ‘Done nothing’

    Mr Bolton has come out fighting on the eve of the vote, saying he is the man to “reform, professionalise and unite” UKIP.

    But Paul Oakley, general secretary of UKIP, told the Today programme Mr Bolton had let the party down.

    “I have no interest whatsoever in his personal life,” he said. “For me, it’s the fact that he’s done nothing as leader, he’s not making the case for Brexit.”

    Mr Oakley said he was also concerned by the lack of campaigning ahead of May’s local elections.

    “We’ve done nothing. Henry will be out after the local elections if he isn’t out today,” he added.

    Several senior figures, including former leader Lord Pearson, have called on party officials to prepare for the future by uniting behind MEP Gerard Batten as interim leader, should Mr Bolton lose the vote.

    Up to a thousand UKIP members have registered for the event.

    The vote, to take place behind closed doors, will be preceded by speeches by Mr Bolton and a member of the party’s national executive committee, which expressed no confidence in him last month, triggering the ballot.

    When he was elected in September in the wake of its disastrous performance in last year’s election, Mr Bolton became the party’s fourth leader in 18 months.

    But his authority has steadily eroded since it emerged in December that the married father of two had left his wife and was dating UKIP activist Jo Marney, who is nearly 30 years his junior.

    Soon afterwards, it emerged she had sent offensive messages about Ms Markle, Prince Harry’s fiancée, before Ms Marney’s relationship with Mr Bolton began.

    In the messages, for which she has since apologised, she said black people were ugly and suggested the American actress, who is of African-American and white heritage, would “taint” the Royal Family.

    Image copyright PA
    Image caption Nigel Farage has thrown his weight behind Mr Bolton

    Mr Bolton condemned the remarks as absolutely unacceptable and indicated the “romantic” element of their relationship was over.

    However, the two have remained close since and he has said he is committed to helping Ms Marney – who remains suspended from the party pending an investigation but has continued to express her support for him on social media – through a turbulent period in her life.

    His handling of the episode has been widely criticised.

    ‘Self-destruction’

    A number of key figures have resigned from the front bench but Mr Bolton has insisted he can turn the party around and this week he published plans to draw up a new constitution and effectively axe the current NEC.

    He received a major boost ahead of the vote when he got the backing of Nigel Farage, who remains an influential and respected figure in the party.

    Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Farage said the party was in chaos with scores of local councillors jumping ship ahead of May’s elections and local structures “disappearing”.

    “I believe it would be better to allow Mr Bolton, with all his faults, the chance to turn UKIP into an electoral machine again,” he wrote.

    “The alternative is for the party to carry on down the path of self-destruction into irrelevance. It may be too late to save UKIP but you never know.”

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    5 things for September 7: Irma, Trump, Russia, Australia vote, Michael Bennett

    (CNN)After recent deadly collisions, there are new concerns over the readiness of the US Pacific fleet. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

    Historic. Unprecedented. Devastating. No word seems strong enough to convey the damage that Irma has brought to the Caribbean. So far, the hurricane has killed nine people. About 95% of buildings on Barbuda are damaged. More than a million people don’t have power in Puerto Rico. And there are still millions in this monster storm’s path.
      We still don’t know if Irma will hit the US, but people are getting out of the way. In Florida, there’s gridlock on the roads as people evacuate. Governors in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia have declared states of emergency.
      And Irma, one of the strongest storms ever seen in the Atlantic, isn’t alone out there. There are two other hurricanes — Jose, out in the open Atlantic, and Katia, in the southern Gulf of Mexico. It’s the first time since 2010 there have been three active hurricanes at the same time in the Atlantic Ocean. And we’re only about halfway through the season.

        Airplane races Irma to evacuate passengers

      2. President Trump

      Donald Trump likes to brag about making deals — and being unpredictable. This time, it bit his own party. The President cut a deal — with Democrats! — to ensure passage of Hurricane Harvey disaster relief funding. The deal also raises the debt ceiling (but for only three months) and keeps the government funded through December. GOP leaders were “shell-shocked” by it because it puts Republicans in a tough spot. They don’t want to raise the debt ceiling without getting cuts in government spending in return, but would they dare torpedo disaster relief for Harvey’s victims to make that point?
      So why did Trump do this? One, he wanted a win on something, and two, he wanted to get these items out of the way so Congress will have time to take up tax reform before the year ends. But one GOP Senate aide told CNN that what Trump did actually killed any hope of advancing his agenda this year.

        GOP official: Trump-Dems deal blindsided GOPers

      3. Russia probe

      Now, Facebook has been dragged into the Russia mess. The social media giant told congressional investigators it sold $100,000 in political ads during the presidential election to a so-called Russian troll farm that wanted to target US voters. The ads, Facebook’s chief security officer says, were meant to sow discord among American voters by pumping up “divisive social and political messages.” The use of social media to spread fake news and misinformation is a key part of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the US election.

        Facebook sold ads to Russian ‘troll farm’

      4. Same-sex marriage

      Australia is going to hold a national vote on same-sex marriage. It will be a mail-in vote, and ballots will be sent to Australians starting next week. Voters have until November 7 to mail in their votes, and the final result will be revealed on November 15 — but it won’t be binding. Though a recent poll showed 63% of Australians supported same-sex marriage, domestic politics has stood in the way of making it legal. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he will introduce legislation to do just that if same-sex marriage is approved by voters, prompting several conservative politicians to promise to oppose it.

      5. Michael Bennett

      He won’t stand for the national anthem before NFL games, and now football star Michael Bennett accuses the Las Vegas police of racially profiling him. Bennett, a defensive end with the Seattle Seahawks, said the cops put a gun near his head before handcuffing him after gunshots were heard following last month’s Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight. Bennett says he was detained simply because he was black and in the area of the shooting, but Las Vegas police said race had nothing to do with it and that the officers had genuinely believed Bennett may have been involved in the shooting.

        NFLer: I’ll protest anthem until we’re equal

      BREAKFAST BROWSE

      People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
      Pass the Bordeaux
      Richard Branson rode out Hurricane Irma in style — on his own private island, in a wine cellar, playing games — because that’s how billionaires roll.
      Rap the vote
      Welcome to Atlanta, where the players play and rap stars moderate forums for mayoral candidates.
      Hey, ladies
      For the first time in more than three decades, the semifinals of the women’s US Open will be an all-American affair.
      Makes you want to scream
      The King of Pop is gone, but his music lives on. A new Michael Jackson album is due out in time for Halloween.
      Doughnuts and subs don’t mix?
      A NASCAR driver reportedly lost his sponsorship with Subway after he handed out Dunkin’ Donuts to race fans.

      QUOTE OF THE DAY

      “I’m a very good diaper guy, which I didn’t know I would be”
      Actor and director George Clooney, on what it’s like to be a father

        George and Amal Clooney welcome twins

      NUMBER OF THE DAY

      200
      The number of Gap and Banana Republic stores that are closing

      AND FINALLY …

      Cat vs. spider
      Another day, another cat video. This time Snowflake the Persian cat freaks out over a very real-looking robot spider. (And who wouldn’t?) (Click to view)

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      Twitter gets real about mental health with #WhenIThinkOfMentalIllness

      When people talk about mental illness, they are sometimes referring to their own histories of depression, anxiety, and other disorders. They are sometimes referring to the histories of mental illness that run in their families. They are sometimes referring to celebs who have lost their lives to suicide, or discussing the connection (or lack thereof) between untreated illness and the rising rates of gun violence in the United States.

      What is clear, however, is that none of these individual conversations reflect the totality of the one in five adults in the U.S. who live with a mental illness. Rarely are the conversations happening publicly in an effort to support those affected by disorders. Experts say that public dialogue is critical in the effort to building community and ending stigmaand it is happening today on Twitter, under #WhenIThinkOfMentalIllness.

      #WhenIThinkOfMentalIllness is the brainchild of writer Amanda Stafford. A self-described “prolific tagger,” she often takes to social media sites like Twitter and Tumblr to talk about mental illness and the stigmas surrounding it. In August, she started a conversation on Twitter using #TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs, and she hopes to continue the discussion that hashtag began with #WhenIThinkOfMentalIllness.

      “I made this tag not to change the world, or for accolades, but to maybe help one person get one day of their life back,” Stafford told the Daily Dot in an email. “If this tag can prevent someone from looking back on today in 10 years, the way I look back on the last 10 years of my life, then I’ll be content.”

      Stafford lives with bipolar and borderline personality disorders and struggled with her illnesses and alcoholism for years. She explained to the Daily Dot that she finally took control of her health when she became sober last year. Her doctor wrote her a prescription for Prozac, and within two months, she began to notice significant improvements in her quality of life. Among her #WhenIThinkOfMentalIllness tweets today included a photograph from a journal entry she wrote once she began to feel the effects of her medication.

      “I am feeling much better,” she wrote. “I realize now that this is prob not a placebo effect…I finally enjoy time with the family.”

      The effects of mental illness are deeply personal to Stafford; in addition to her own struggles, she lost her father to suicide when she was 9-years-old. She has devoted some of her tweets today to remembering him and his battle with mental illness.


      Stafford told the Daily Dot that starting conversations on social media and through her writing have helped her cope with the challenges of mental illness and celebrate her victories in recovery. “I find writing about my experience is cathartic,” she said. “It can get a little intense, but it helps remind me how far I’ve come.”

      Part of Stafford’s desire to engage in these conversations is to connect with and inspire others who may be suffering in isolation. She has found that “there are more tags about man buns than mental health” on Twitter. Given the severity of the mental health crisis in the United States, thats something that needs to change. “I wanna talk about it. I think we all do,” Stafford continued. ” I find myself marveling at how many of us are frustrated about the same things, and how little we talk about it.”

      In less than a day, #WhenIThinkOfMentalIllness has already brought a wide range of perspectives and ideas to the mental health discussion. Some people are tweeting about loved ones:

      Others are celebrating their victories and remembering their struggles:

      Others still are drawing attention to the disparities that exist in treatment and care:


      Even Nev Schulman from Catfish weighed in:

      Perhaps most significant is the support that #WhenIThinkOfMentalIllness is receiving from leading voices in mental health advocacy.

      For those who might be concerned that “hashtag activism“isn’t a valuable strategy in addressing the mental health crisis, the unyielding support of organizations in the field may change their minds.

      “I think that the risk is greater when you don’t talk about things,” explained Katrina Gay, the National Director of Communications for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in an interview with the Daily Dot. “Particularly when it comes to mental illness, people feel really isolated and alone. To have a hashtag that people can participate in can be helpful, because it give people encouragement and hope and removes some of the barriers of isolation.” Gay added that NAMI frequently engages with people with mental illnesses on social media by using hashtags such as #IAmStigmaFree.

      Erin Wallace, the Vice President of Communications and Marketing for Mental Health America agrees with Gay. “While hashtags come and go, what is constant is the need for individuals to feel comfortable sharing their stories,” she said. “MHA welcomes dialogues on any social media platform that can do that.” Added Pamela Greenberg, the President and CEO of the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness,”If this hashtag can help just one person talk openly about their mental illness then its more than worthwhile.”

      Greenbergs words echo Staffords, whose intentions for #WhenIThinkOfMentalIllness are articulated perfectly in her own tweets.

      #WhenIThinkOfMentalIllness may not be around foreversuch is the nature of hashtagsbut its potential impact on the lives and wellbeing of its participants may be life-changing.

      Image via dierk schaefer/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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      We have so many questions about Thanksgiving’s worst brand tweet

      Norman Glockwell
      Image: wikimedia commons

      1. Why?

      2. Are you expecting relatives to stage an armed insurrection?

      3. Is the idea here that the pie is staging an insurrection?

      4. Why is it outside?

      5. Why is it on the ground?

      6. Why is the gun just smooshed into the pie like that? You took the time to procure a pie, but couldn’t get a gun-shaped pie mold off Amazon or something?

      7. Who made that pie crust? That pie crust looks absolutely bush league.

      8. Is a good pie with a gun the only way to stop a bad pie?

      9. Who at the Glock corporation comprehended and approved of this and what state of mind were they in? Related: Who gets a job in social media at Glock?

      10. Is the Glock corporation endorsing its products being used in baking, here?

      11. What sort of statement, if any, is this pie trying to make? What does the Glock corporation imagine it says about its brand?

      12. Can the Glock corporation please, please, please run a marketing seminar built solely around explaining this tweet?

      13. Is it really a surprise that we live in a country where this isn’t the first time someone has put a gun in a pumpkin pie?

      Image: screenshot, guns and food

      14. Is this another sign that coastal elites are living in a bubble?

      15. Is there a worse possible way to dispose of evidence?

      16A. Is that pie still edible?

      16B. Did someone eat it?

      17. Has any research been done into gun powder’s effect on diet?

      18. Will this dish endor escalate dinner-time political feuds?

      19. Do guns kill people or do pies poisoned by guns kill people?

      20. Where does this fall in terms of concealed carry laws?

      21. What about congealed carry laws?

      22. Again, and no, really: Why?

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      Baton Rouge cop killer may have stalked police before ambush, say sources | Fox News

      The former Marine who killed three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge Sunday may have spent days “hunting” cops and staking out the gas station where the shocking attack occurred, police sources said.

      A portrait of Gavin Long, who was killed by return fire from police, is beginning to emerge, including his ascent to the rank of sergeant and his one-year deployment to Iraq in 2008. Investigators going through his computer and cellphone are eyeing two unidentified people he had contact with, including one they have talked to and another they are searching for, sources told Fox News.

      Police believe Long, who was wearing body armor during his attack, had been in Baton Rouge for six days and knew that cops often frequented the gas station and car wash where the shooting unfolded, sources said. One of the officers shot was vacuuming his car at the time.

      The FBI was running down Long’s social media activity and phone records to flag people he may have contacted and why he targeted Baton Rouge.

      Long was associated with the Nation of Islam, the militant Muslim group led by Louis Farrakhan, according to a report by The Daily Caller. That report cited YouTube videos in which a person believed to be Long called for violence against white America, and revenge for the death of Alton Sterling, a black man killed July 5 while being arrested by Baton Rouge police.

      If I would have been there with Alton clap, Long says in a video posted on July 14.

      The three murdered cops have been identified as Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald and Brad Garafola. Another police officer was in critical condition and two suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

      While in the military, Long was awarded several medals, including one for good conduct, and received an honorable discharge. His occupational expertise was listed as “data network specialist.”

      The University of Alabama issued a statement saying Long attended classes for one semester in the spring of 2012. A school spokesman said university police had no interactions with him.

      Law enforcement sources told the Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate, that Longs military records matches that of a so-called spiritual adviser, life coach and author who went by the name “Cosmo Setepenra.” The persona claimed to have been in Dallas during the protests over the police shooting deaths of Sterling as well as the racially charged police shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota.

      The paper reported that Long posted a video in a YouTube series called Convos with Cosmos titled Protesting, Oppression and how to deal with Bullies, where he talked about Sterlings death and the protests that came after it.

      Jackson, who was black, posted a message on Facebook on July 8, just three days after the death of Sterling, a 37-year-old black man killed by white Baton Rouge officers after a scuffle at a convenience store.

      In the message, the 32-year-old Jackson said he was physically and emotionally tired and complained that while in uniform, he gets nasty looks. When he’s out of uniform, he said, some people consider him a threat.

      A friend of Jackson’s family, Erika Green, confirmed the posting, which is no longer on Facebook. A screenshot of the image was circulating widely on the internet.

      Gerald, 41, has served on the force for less than a year.

      Garafola has been with the sheriffs office for 24 years, Casey Rayborn Hicks told the Associated Press.

      Hicks also identified the injured sheriff’s deputies as 41-year-old Nicholas Tullier, an 18-year veteran, and 51-year-old Bruce Simmons, a 23-year veteran.

      Hicks said that Tullier is in critical condition while Simmons has non-life-threatening injuries.

      The shooting began at the gas station on Airline Highway. According to radio traffic, Baton Rouge police answered a report of a man with an assault rifle and were met by gunfire. For several long minutes, they didnt know where the shooting was coming from.

      The radio exchanges were made public Sunday by the website Broadcastify.

      Nearly 2½ minutes after the first report of an officer getting shot, an officer on the scene is heard saying police do not know the shooter’s location.

      Almost 6 minutes pass after the first shots are reported before police say they have determined the shooter’s location. About 30 seconds later, someone says shots are still being fired.

      The recording lasts about 17 minutes and includes urgent calls for an armored personnel carrier called a BearCat.

      “There simply is no place for more violence,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “It doesn’t further the conversation. It doesn’t address any injustice perceived or real. It is just an injustice in and of itself.”

      The FBI and the ATF were on scene, helping state and local police investigate what is being described as a “very large crime scene.”

      President Obama said in an address Sunday that the shooting deaths underscore the danger police face every day.

      “Our hearts go out to the families who are grieving, go out to the officer fighting for his life,” Obama said.

      Major Doug Cain said that the individuals from Addis were questioned and released, but that the investigation was still ongoing. He said no charges were filed against them.

      Sterling’s nephew condemned the killing of the three Baton Rouge officers. Terrance Carter spoke Sunday to The Associated Press by telephone, saying the family just wants peace.

      “My uncle wouldn’t want this,” Carter said. “He wasn’t this type of man.”

      Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Lucas Tomlinson, Bree Tracey, Leland Vittert and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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      How To Integrate Social Media With eCommerce in 2019

      Both eCommerce and social media have enjoyed meteoric rises in the last few years. Facebook and Instagram have over a billion active users each month, while the eCommerce sector is positively booming.

      But while your online store is where the sales happen, social media is where you can warm prospects up. Indeed, 84% of American shoppers review at least one social media site before making a purchase, while social proof itself is a very powerful marketing tactic.

      This is why you should consider the idea of integrating social media with eCommerce in 2019. If you aren’t sure what steps to take, let’s take a look at everything you need to do.

      Embed Social Buttons On Your Product Pages

      If a customer is perusing your product page and wants to find out more information about your brand, it’s helpful if there are a few social buttons for them to click.

      Adding social buttons to your product pages makes it super easy for your customers to jump from your product page to your social channels.

      And while you may think that this option might have the negative effect of distracting them and preventing them from making a purchase, it’s important to note that most customers don’t make purchases the first time they visit an online store. In fact, 78.65% of customers will bail out even after adding items to their carts.

      Making it easy for your prospects to find your social channels will give them the chance to interact with your brand. It will help you to engage them and to ‘warm them up’ before they’re properly in the mood to return and make a purchase.

      Post Videos of Your Products To Social Media

      Consumers watch a lot of videos online. And while they use social media to be social first and foremost, they’re also willing to interact with brands if the content is compelling enough.

      So don’t be afraid to create a product video that you then share to your social media channels.

      The key is to keep the video short, concise, engaging and – where permissible – even a tad entertaining.

      Optimize it with the right hashtags and encourage sharing. You could even incentivize more shares by offering rewards.

      Exploit Instagram Stories to build a buzz around any new products you’re about to launch, too. Over 250 million people use Instagram Stories each day, which means your audience is already there. With Instagram Stories, you can create:

      • Brand intros
      • Product tutorials
      • Stories Q&A
      • Behind the scenes videos

      Be careful when you post to your Instagram feed itself. Optimum Instagram videos don’t typically last longer than 26 seconds, so you’ll need to keep yours nice and tight. If you find that you need more time than that, consider chopping one video up into 3 or 4 videos.

      You could also live stream on Facebook. This is a tough one because not everyone will be experienced with live streaming, but if you properly prepare in advance, you can pull it off. It’s a really good idea too, because 82% of people say they prefer to watch live content. Here are some ideas:

      • Product demonstrations – Demonstrate how to use your product live. This is a great way to boost sales and integrate social media with eCommerce
      • Product introductions – Got a new line of products? Live stream them!
      • Brand building – Get your audience to ask you anything about your brand, your products and your industry

      Whatever you do, make the most of social media, where visual content is a must. And always add a call to action that directs people to your online store.

      Interact With Your Customers On Social Media

      The more time you spend with your customers, the more they will see that you care about them. Moreover, spending time with your customers also gives you the chance to answer objections, and it’s great for building trust and relationships.

      Take your time to respond to comments on your social media feeds. Get involved in the conversations. Be the brand that listens.

      You can use a tool like Social Mention to engage in social listening, too. This is where you find branded mentions on social media before joining in the conversation.

      When you do interact with your customers on social media, make sure to use the right tone of voice. Be positive and upbeat, friendly and humorous. Don’t be angry, moody or defensive. If the other person changes the tone of the conversation and even goes as far as insulting you or your brand, remain calm, show understanding and invite them to chat privately. Remember, if a customer turns a bit nasty it might be that they’re frustrated by their experience with you. So show some empathy.

      Add Your Logo Everywhere

      Your logo represents the face of your brand. It’s what people instantly recognize and it helps to build trust, familiarity and credibility. So add it to your online store and your social media channels, and make absolutely sure you use the same logo all the time.

      The last thing you want is for customers to arrive in your store from your social media channels, only to feel lost. Seeing your logo front and center will reassure them that they’re in the right place.

      Add it to all your visual content, too. Each time you create a product image on Instagram, for example, add your logo to the top left.

      If you don’t yet have a logo, or if you feel as though yours could be improved, you can use a tool like Hatchful.

      Encourage User Generated Content

      User-generated content is content created by your customers that is then shared to your social media channels. The purpose? To create social proof and build a buzz around your brand and products, and to ultimately drive more people into your store.

      The best user-generated content shows your customers using – and enjoying – your products. It’s super valuable to you as a brand because it’s 100% authentic.

      The stats back this up, too, with eCommerce stores experiencing a 25% increase in conversion rates thanks to user-generated content such as photos. Put simply, people have more trust in content created by your customers than they do in content created by you.

      Here is what else user-generated content should do:

      • Demonstrate the benefits of your product
      • Highlight your brand’s values
      • Act as a customer testimonial

      To ensure any user-generated content is as powerful as possible, talk to your customers about what you expect from them. Share your brand’s values and give them some guidelines. Make this as easy as possible for them and be there with them every step of the way.

      Add The Facebook Track Pixel To Your Store

      Retargeting is going to be key to the success of your online store. With retargeting, you place targeted ad’s in front of individuals who have already engaged with your store in some way. For example, they might have abandoned their cart at checkout. By installing the Facebook tracking pixel, you can bring them back into the game with an ad that, for example, offers free shipping with their purchase.

      The Facebook tracking pixel may not work straight off the bat but it’s well worth taking advantage of. As it takes up to as many as eight touch-points before a lead turns into a customer, retargeting helps to keep folk interested in your store and products.

      Once you’ve installed the pixel, you can then customize your conversions. Here are some we recommend:

      • Complete purchase
      • View content
      • Initiate checkout
      • Add to cart

      By customizing your conversions, you can segment your groups into custom audiences. This makes retargeting that bit easier.

      The Facebook tracking pixel is compatible with most eCommerce platforms. Here is a useful resource that will help you set it up.

      Use Influencer Marketing

      In a nutshell, influencer marketing is when you work with an influencer on promotional content. You could, for example, pair up with a micro influencer who flaunts your products on their social media feed via a series of images. Or, you could create a blog post together.

      Influencer marketing is a surefire way of growing your online store because it opens you up to a new audience. Moreover, while shoppers might be a bit mistrustful of you at first because they don’t know who you are, they’ll trust the influencer who they’re already fans of. If the influencer endorses you, a number of their fans will check you out, too.

      Pick influencers relevant to your target audience and brand. For example, if your brand’s values are wholesome and family-oriented, you’ll need to work with an influencer who shares those values. Work out a compensation plan and make sure to outline how the influencer will benefit from working with you in your pitch.

      Go here for more information on how to succeed with influencer marketing.

      Conclusion

      This is how to integrate social media with eCommerce in 2019. It’s simply a matter of doing the right things and taking care of the basics. Things like your logo and videos help to build trust, while adding the Facebook tracking pixel and embedding social buttons on your product pages are just good sense. Use the tips here, execute and become a big star on social media.

      BIO:

      Michelle Deery is a conversion copywriter that leads the content production at Heroic Search, a link building agency in Tulsa. She strives to find new ways to help eCommerce companies increase their bottom line. You can find her on Twitter.

      LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-deery-ba7131123/
      Twitter:  https://twitter.com/michwriting

      Gravatar: michelle@heroicsearch.com

      The post How To Integrate Social Media With eCommerce in 2019 appeared first on DreamGrow.

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