How to enable two factor authentication on 50 top websites including Facebook, Twitter and others

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Two factor authentication (also called 2FA) is the term for a second form of authentication that is required before a web service allows you to log in. Typically, 2FA is enabled by sending a text message with a one-time code to your mobile phone, which you then need to enter in addition to your password. (This is often referred to as needing to have “something you know” such as your password, and pairing it with “something you have” such as your phone.)

Decided to do a little research on a number of common web services, in the wake of the Heartbleed bug from this week. While engaging in a best practice such as using a different password for every site and managing those passwords through a password manager (e.g. LastPass or 1Password) can provide an increased level of security, enabling 2FA is another highly recommended tool in the personal security toolbox. So, without further ado, here are the links to enable 2FA for fifty top websites. If you see any errors, or have other sites to add, please leave them in the comments and I’ll try to update this list.

Site

Comments

How to enable 2FA

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud does not currently support 2FA.

N/a

Amazon.com

Amazon.com and Amazon Prime do not currently support 2FA.

N/a

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

“AWS Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a simple best practice that adds an extra layer of protection on top of your username and password. With MFA enabled, when a user signs in to an AWS website, they will be prompted for their username and password (the first factor – what they know), as well as for an authentication code from their AWS MFA device (the second factor – what they have). Taken together, these multiple factors provide increased security for your AWS account settings and resources.”

http://aws.amazon.com/iam/details/mfa/

Apple iCloud

“Two-step verification is an optional security feature for your Apple ID. It requires you to verify your identity using one of your devices before you can:

Sign in to My Apple ID to manage your account.

Make an iTunes, App Store, or iBooks Store purchase from a new device.

Get Apple ID-related support from Apple.

Turning on two-step verification reduces the possibility of someone accessing or making unauthorized changes to your account information at My Apple ID or making purchases using your account.”

https://support.apple.com/kb/HT5570

Apple iTunes

“Two-step verification is an optional security feature for your Apple ID. It requires you to verify your identity using one of your devices before you can:

Sign in to My Apple ID to manage your account.

Make an iTunes, App Store, or iBooks Store purchase from a new device.

Get Apple ID-related support from Apple.

Turning on two-step verification reduces the possibility of someone accessing or making unauthorized changes to your account information at My Apple ID or making purchases using your account.”

https://support.apple.com/kb/HT5570

Bank of America

“The SafePass feature is Bank of America’s extra layer of protection against fraud and identity theft as you use Online Banking. The SafePass feature lets you authorize transactions using one-time, 6-digit Passcodes.”

https://www.bankofamerica.com/privacy/online-mobile-banking-privacy/safepass.go

Basecamp

“Add another layer of security to your account by enabling phone verification. Every time you sign in, we’ll send a text message to your mobile phone with a verification code. You can also verify your sign in with a phone call.

Phone verification will be applied to all the accounts you access with your ID. You’ll also be prompted for a security code on mobile devices.”

https://basecamp.com/help/guides/you/phone-verification

BitPay

“For added security on your account, you can enable your smartphone as a second authentication method at login. Once two-factor authentication is setup, you will need to use it with your username and password at login.”

https://bitpay.com/two-factor

Bitstamp

“Phone verification will be applied to all the accounts you access with your ID. You’ll also be prompted for a security code on mobile devices.”

https://www.bitstamp.net/article/update-bitstamp-adds-support-two-factor-authentica/

Bluehost

BlueHost does not support 2FA.

N/a

Box.net

“In order to enable 2-step login verifications for your users, navigate to the Security tab within Enterprise Settings. In the Application Management section, check the box next to the “Login verification” label. Please note that if Single Sign On (SSO) is enabled for your account, you will not be able to turn on 2-step login verification.”

https://support.box.com/hc/en-us/articles/200520628-Admin-Console-2-Step-Login-Verification

Buffer

“2-Step Login, adds an extra layer of security for your Buffer account. Whenever you log in to your account, after entering your username and password, you will be asked for a second authentication code that was sent to your mobile phone via text or free mobile app.”

https://bufferapp.com/2step

CapitalOne

CapitalOne does not support 2FA.

N/a

Chase.com

“When you first attempt to log in to Chase Online with using the Chase Mobile browser, we’ll ask you to verify that you own the accounts you want to access. To do this, you’ll need to request an Identification Code, which you can receive by phone, email or text message. When you receive your Identification Code, use it to complete the activation process and log in to the secure site on m.chase.com. This helps protect your accounts from unauthorized access, even if someone has your login credentials.”

https://mobilebanking.chase.com/Public/Docs/Faq?nodeId=1&itemId=2

Cloudflare

“With web performance and security being the core of CloudFlare, we are always looking for ways to improve not just our customers’ website security, but their account security as well. Therefore, we are excited to now offer two-factor authentication for all CloudFlare accounts.”

http://blog.cloudflare.com/2-factor-authentication-now-available

Coinbase

“Two-factor authentication is a great way to make your Coinbase account more secure.

What is it? Well, it’s a fancy word that basically means “getting a pin code on your cell phone” when you log in.”

http://blog.coinbase.com/post/25677574019/coinbase-now-offers-two-factor-authentication

Dreamhost

“Multifactor Authentication is a way to increase the security of your account that requires you to enter additional one-time passcodes before you can gain access to your DreamHost account. It’s a smart move that can help to protect you from hackers and website hijackers.”

http://wiki.dreamhost.com/Enabling_Multifactor_Authentication

Dropbox

“Two-step verification is an optional but highly recommended security feature that adds an extra layer of protection to your Dropbox account. Once enabled, Dropbox will require a six-digit security code in addition to your password whenever you sign in to Dropbox or link a new computer, phone, or tablet.”

https://www.dropbox.com/help/363/en

eBay

eBay itself does not seem to support 2FA, but purchases completed using eBay’s PayPal do support two factor authentication.

Via PayPal

Etsy

“When you first joined Etsy, you entrusted us with the responsibility to protect the personal information necessary to set up an account, make a purchase, or open a shop. In turn, we ensure that each new feature we launch on Etsy lives up to our high standards of security and Internet privacy. We are happy to share that today we’re launching three new optional security settings that offer Etsy members further control and visibility into their accounts. Additionally, as our platform has evolved in the last year, we’ve revisited our policies and are making several changes to our Privacy Policy. I’ll walk you through both below.”

https://blog.etsy.com/news/2012/safety-and-privacy-first/

Evernote

“We take the security of your data very seriously. Several months ago, we introduced two-step verification along with several other security features. Today, we’re opening two-step verification up to everyone.”

http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2013/10/04/two-step-verification-available-to-all-users/

Facebook

“Facebook has always been committed to both protecting our users’ account and information, as well as giving them more control over their Facebook experience. From our User Operations team, who work to re-secure compromised accounts, to the Engineering team that designs and implements new security features like login notifications, one-time passwords, and remote session management, everyone at Facebook is working to ensure users have a safe, enjoyable experience.”

https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150172618258920

Github

“Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is a way of logging into websites that requires more than just a password. Using a password to log into a website is susceptible to security threats, because it represents a single piece of information a malicious person needs to acquire. The added security that 2FA provides is requiring additional information to sign in.

In GitHub’s case, this additional information is a code delivered to your cell phone, either as a text message (SMS) or generated by an application on your smartphone. After 2FA is enabled, GitHub generates a security code that is sent to your phone any time someone attempts to sign into your GitHub account. The only way someone can sign into your account is if they know both your password and have access to the security code on your phone.”

https://help.github.com/articles/about-two-factor-authentication

Gmail

“2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security to your Google Account, drastically reducing the chances of having the personal information in your account stolen. To break into an account with 2-Step Verification, bad guys would not only have to know your username and password, they’d also have to get a hold of your phone.”

https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/185839?hl=en&topic=1056283&ctx=topic

GoDaddy

“Two-Step Authentication adds another layer of security to your account by texting you a validation code to enter whenever you log in or make important account changes.”

http://support.godaddy.com/help/article/7502/enabling-twostep-authentication?pc_split_value=4

Google Apps

“2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security to your Google Account, drastically reducing the chances of having the personal information in your account stolen. To break into an account with 2-Step Verification, bad guys would not only have to know your username and password, they’d also have to get a hold of your phone.”

https://support.google.com/a/answer/184711?hl=en

Google+

“2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security to your Google Account, drastically reducing the chances of having the personal information in your account stolen. To break into an account with 2-Step Verification, bad guys would not only have to know your username and password, they’d also have to get a hold of your phone.”

https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/185839?hl=en&topic=1056283&ctx=topic

Hootsuite

“HootSuite’s 2-Step Verification security feature uses Google Authenticator (powered by Google) to enhance the protection of your HootSuite account.

Google Authentication uses something your know (your password) and something you have (your mobile device). You will receive a short numeric code on your mobile device to enter in addition to your username and password. Each code has a one-time use, and a new code will regenerate every 30 seconds.

Paired with HootSuite’s Location Verification System, your HootSuite account has added protection no matter where you are.”

https://help.hootsuite.com/entries/22527304-Managing-Google-Authenticator

HostGator

HostGator does not support 2FA.

N/a

Instagram

Instagram does not support 2FA.

N/a

Intuit TurboTax

Intuit TurboTax does not support 2FA.

N/a

Joomla

“Two Factor Authentication (TFA) is a 100% Open Source, free to use security system for your Joomla site’s backend. Two Factor Authentication works in collaboration with the Google’s famous Authenticator App.”

http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/access-a-security/site-security/login-protection/24822

LinkedIn

“At LinkedIn, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the security of our members’ accounts. All LinkedIn accounts are already protected by a series of automatic checks that are designed to thwart unauthorized sign-in attempts. Now, we are introducing a new optional feature that adds another layer of security to your LinkedIn sign-in: two-step verification.”

http://blog.linkedin.com/2013/05/31/protecting-your-linkedin-account-with-two-step-verification/

Mailchimp

“AlterEgo is a MailChimp app designed to add two-factor authentication to your account. Integrating AlterEgo with MailChimp helps keep your data safe by providing an additional layer of security that must be breached before an attacker can access your account. Because we feel so strongly about security, we also offer a 10% discount for MailChimp accounts integrated with AlterEgo.”

https://blog.mailchimp.com/alterego-now-works-with-google-authenticator-and-yubi-key/

PayPal

“The PayPal Security Key creates random temporary security codes that help safeguard your PayPal account when you log in. It comes in 2 types, each with different advantages:

Security key: You carry this small credit-card sized device with you. It creates a unique security code on the go.

Mobile phone security key: You can sign up to get security codes sent by text message to your mobile phone.”

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_security-key

Pinterest

Pinterest does not support 2FA.

N/a

Salesforce.com

“Two Factor Authentications – is a system wherein two different methods are used to authenticate. Using two factors as opposed to one delivers a higher level of authentication assurance.”

https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewSolution?id=000005464&language=en_US

Secret

Secret does not support 2FA.

N/a

Snapchat

Snapchat does not support 2FA.

N/a

Soundcloud

Soundcloud does not support 2FA.

N/a

StackOverflow

StackOverflow does not support 2FA.

N/a

Steam

“Steam Guard is an additional level of security that can be applied to your Steam account. The first level of security on your account is your login credentials: your Steam account name and password. With Steam Guard, a second level of security is applied to your account, making it harder for your Steam account to fall into the wrong hands.”

https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=4020-ALZM-5519

SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey does not support 2FA.

N/a

Target

Target does not support 2FA.

N/a

Tumblr

“TFA makes it especially difficult for anyone other than you (e.g., hackers, exes, et al) to access your Tumblr account. How? Well, aside from your regular login info, you’ll need a couple extra things to get to your Dashboard:

Your phone (which you’ve password-protected, right?)

A unique, single-use code (sent via text or generated by an authenticator app)”

http://www.tumblr.com/docs/en/two_factor_auth

Twitter

“Every day, a growing number of people log in to Twitter. Usually these login attempts come from the genuine account owners, but we occasionally hear from people whose accounts have been compromised by email phishing schemes or a breach of password data elsewhere on the web.

Today we’re introducing a new security feature to better protect your Twitter account: login verification.

This is a form of two-factor authentication. When you sign in to twitter.com, there’s a second check to make sure it’s really you. You’ll be asked to register a verified phone number and a confirmed email address.”

https://blog.twitter.com/2013/getting-started-with-login-verification

Wells Fargo

WellsFargo does not support 2FA.

N/a

WordPress.com

“The Google Authenticator plugin for WordPress gives you two-factor authentication using the Google Authenticator app for Android/iPhone/Blackberry.

If you are security aware, you may already have the Google Authenticator app installed on your smartphone, using it for two-factor authentication on Gmail/Dropbox/Lastpass/Amazon etc.

The two-factor authentication requirement can be enabled on a per-user basis. You could enable it for your administrator account, but log in as usual with less privileged accounts.”

http://wordpress.org/plugins/google-authenticator/

Yahoo

“For Yahoo! checks not only the password when somebody—you, hopefully—attempts to log in to your account; it also looks at the location and computer whence the attempt is made. If one looks suspicious (say, a device you’ve never used before), Yahoo! Mail can require more than merely the password—if you have two-step authentication enabled.”

http://email.about.com/od/yahoomailtip1/qt/How-to-Protect-Your-Yahoo-Mail-Account-with-Two-Step-Authentication.htm

YouTube

“2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security to your Google Account, drastically reducing the chances of having the personal information in your account stolen. To break into an account with 2-Step Verification, bad guys would not only have to know your username and password, they’d also have to get a hold of your phone.”

https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/185839?hl=en&topic=1056283&ctx=topic

How to move a WordPress blog from WPEngine to GoDaddy

Disclosure: As of the time of this writing, I am currently consulting to GoDaddy, and this is my personal opinion.

After watching the Google Hangout with the GoDaddy Managed WordPress team, I wanted to check out the process from start to finish for myself. Here’s what I did, step by step, to move this blog from WPEngine to GoDaddy. I backed up my WPEngine installation (they have a tool to download a .zip file of everything on the site, which worked fine). And here we go…

1) Sign up for GoDaddy Managed WordPress (or add it to your existing account)

This was easy. Go to http://www.godaddy.com/hosting/wordpress-hosting.aspx and choose a plan. This blog gets a moderate amount of traffic, with a few big spikes, so I went with the Basic plan.

I already have a domain, so I skipped the “get your free domain” option, but if I was setting up a new blog, that would have been a nice perk.

Okay. Piece of cake. So far, so good.

2) It’s go time!

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 4.40.24 PM.png

I clicked the button, and I was taken directly to my hosting homepage.

3) I clicked on “Set Up”

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 4.44.52 PM.png

Nice page. I clicked the green button.

4) Migrate my existing site

Ok, first moment of truth. I need to move the site from WPEngine, so I clicked on “Migrate Your Existing Site.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 4.47.09 PM.png

5) The GoDaddy migration tool migrated everything over from WPEngine for me

I need to put in my credentials so the GoDaddy hosted system could do the automated move for me.

I made sure I had both my WordPress login credentials AND my FTP credentials, since both are needed for the migration.

Here we go…

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 4.49.38 PM.png

And success!

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 5.31.58 PM.png

Only minor glitch was that I fat-fingered one of the credentials, so I needed to wait 20 minutes for the timeout cycle to complete. With that minor inconvenience, the process worked as expected.

6) Oh noes

I hadn’t received the email that I was supposed to telling me that my migration was done, so I logged into my account and found that for some reason the migration had failed. It ended up that WPEngine uses SFTP for their file transfers, not FTP. I let GoDaddy support know this (I just dropped an email to the support email address, but I could have also called), and they restarted the migration using SFTP instead of FTP.

7) All better!

Success! Going to my dashboard at http://gateway.godaddy.com shows all my sites, and the Social Customer Manifesto blog is there, at a temporary address. I dig the automatic screenshot of all the sites.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.37.51 AM.png

Clicking on “Manage” took me to a WordPress  dashboard. Everything looks sound.

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 10.11.29 AM.png

8) Time to move the domain over from the temporary domain to my permanent one

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.37.51 AM.png

I went back to the Gateway. Clicking “Settings” took me to a dropdown that let me tie the site to my http://socialcustomer.com domain.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.44.19 AM.png

I clicked on “Add Domain.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.44.34 AM.png

I selected “socialcustomer.com” from the dropdown, and then selected the “Make this the primary domain for your account” checkbox.

Now I wait for a few minutes while things propagate.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.49.38 AM.png

I waited about five minutes, and then refreshed my Gateway page. And…this looks promising!

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.51.07 AM.png

9) Success

And, that appears to be it. With the exception of the minor hiccup around the SFTP migration, everything went smoothly. My site is up and running and feels fast on the GoDaddy servers, at a fraction of the cost of WPEngine (about six bucks a month at GoDaddy). Winner!

What is bitcoin? And why should I care?

bitcoin-book

Have you been hearing a lot about Bitcoin, but still not entirely sure what it is? This easy-to-read ebook answers the following questions:

  • What is Bitcoin?
  • Why should I care about Bitcoin?
  • How do bitcoins get exchanged?
  • Are bitcoins money?
  • Why should a business accept bitcoin?
  • Why should I personally use bitcoins?
  • What are the risks?

You can download the ebook at http://coindale.com/bitcoinbook.

For Bitcoin to hit the mainstream, it needs to address its gender issue

Money Honey

image: freshphoto

Bitcoin has a woman problem that, unless solved, will keep it from hitting the mainstream as a medium of exchange, at least in the US. The following conversation is primarily aimed at the particular challenge Bitcoin faces in getting to mainstream adoption, and is not focused on the speculative rises and falls that have dominated the news cycles for the past few weeks in particular.

Right now (Dec 2013), the overwhelming majority of activity in the Bitcoin space is dominated by males. In doing a review of the market for consumer activity, and then comparing it to the market at large, it is clear that there is a significant gender gap that will need to be filled before Bitcoin can hit the mainstream as a payment mechanism in any meaningful way. Although all web statistics of this type are prone to some margin of error, these are certainly directionally correct. Read more at Coindale.

Andreessen Horowitz invests $25 million in Coinbase

Things just got very interesting in the bitcoin space. Andreessen Horowitz, never a firm to shy away from large bets, just invested $25MM into Coinbase. It looks like other current investors including Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital were also a part of the Series B raise. The story from AllThingsD:

“If you’re a bitcoin doubter, you might want to turn away. The doors to venture funding in bitcoin startups are about to swing wide open.
Andreessen Horowitz has led a $25 million Series B investment in San Francisco-based Coinbase, the companies are announcing today, in what may very well be the largest-ever venture investment in a bitcoin-related company. Coinbase previously raised nearly $7 million.
Existing investors Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital will contribute some cash, as well. And Union Square’s Fred Wilson and Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon are taking seats on Coinbase’s board of directors.”

Read more at AllThingsD.

Coinbase founders

Coinbase founders Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam (AllThingsD)

Macbook Air trackpad issue resolved

Just documenting this here for others, in case it’s useful. I have a 2012 (or maybe it’s early 2013) Macbook Air. This week, the trackpad started selecting everything, as if it was in permanent click-and-drag mode. This was maddening, and made it literally impossible to use the machine.

Trackpad y Teclado

image: cyfuss

I spent a couple of hours digging around the various forums online, as it appears this is a fairly common problem. I tried both the “remove it from power” trick (no dice) as well as a number of other remedies that were indicated, such as selecting and/or deselecting various options in the Accessibility menu. None of these worked. I hooked up a USB mouse as a workaround until I could get the machine fixed.

After hooking up an external mouse, I went online, got a Genius Bar appointment, and went in. The Apple store folks were able to confirm the problem and took the machine at about noon, saying it would be done by 7pm and that I’d get a call and an email when the work was done. They were going to replace the trackpad, and they had one in stock.

7pm last night came and went with no notice from the Apple folks, so went over to the store at opening time today. The trackpad had been replaced, work was complete, and the machine was ready. I just picked it up and am typing on it now. The problem seems completely fixed. (Bonus to boot: they cleaned the outside of the machine and keyboard area to showroom new…sweet! It’s like getting my machine detailed.)

My MBA is still new-ish, so the work was covered, but had I needed to pay for it, the total cost would have been about $90 (about $50 for the trackpad and about $40 for labor).

So: net-net for anyone who finds this post – this seems to be a pretty common problem, and a replacement of the trackpad might be indicated, instead of spending many hours on hunting down obscure folk remedies. It’s quite likely a hardware failure that needs to be replaced, but it can be done easily.

Talking ’bout my motivation

By way of a path through this whitepaper from Limelight networks and Digital Clarity Group, found an interesting presentation from this month’s Inbound Marketing Summit (#IMS13) that was created by Allen Bonde from DCG. Not only does Bonde’s presentation echo research we are seeing from the likes of Forrester and others that points to the reality of video channels becoming an increasingly important asset in the portfolio of B2B marketers, it also brings up an interesting model on the steps from engagement to action in the medium. In particular, Bonde outlines three phases of note: Inform, Connect and Motivate.

  • Inform: Tailored, simple and relevant content results in initial attention and gives the organization the opportunity to develop a deeper relationship

  • Connect: If your prospects, customers and influencers are spending time on social channels, your stories need to be reachable from social networks as well

  • Motivate: Simple, smart, responsive offers result in action

These three phases are critical, in my opinion. The things that drive initial engagement are either things that are educational or entertaining. (They’re the types of things that get saved or passed around.) As such, for a B2B marketer seeing to become a trusted advisor to her customers, skewing content toward the informational is a sensible route to take. Similarly, one needs to fish where the fish are. With social networks dominating the usage landscape, an organization simply can’t ignore their potential customers.

Which brings us to “motivation.” (And a brief mini-rant.)

As anyone who has been within earshot of me in the past couple of years can attest, I think it’s critical that we all actively work to end the process of “engagement for engagement’s sake.” On that note, “engagement” is a weak metric. In and of itself, engagement is near-worthless. What matters is the action that’s taken as a result of the engagement. That action can be the “next step” in the buying cycle, or it can be a request for further information, or it can be a phone call. But it needs to be something. The “counting metrics” don’t count anymore.

Check out the rest of Allen’s presentation here:

Lead generation and social marketing key for marketers, says Forrester

Forrester has published a detailed research report comparing the marketing approaches of over 200 organizations across a wide variety of industries including software, electronics, media, publishing and professional services (e.g. marketing, agencies, business consulting, etc.).

There were five key recommendations from Forrester in the report, which dug into the marketing approaches of organizations with between 50 and 2500 employees. These recommendations were:

  • Take lead generation as seriously as lead management – There was a significant opportunity for marketers to contribute to their business by focusing on “top of the funnel” lead generation activities. In most cases, conversion rates on leads were within expected norms, so focusing on getting more leads into the pipeline could significantly “move the needle” according to Forrester.
  • Get serious about social marketing – The Forrester quote on this one was spot on: “Social is not just an abstract and immeasurable buzz-generating tool. It’s an integral part of the lead-to-revenue management process – an engagement strategy that can have a measurable impact on lead generation.”
  • Get online and start using digital marketing techniques – The chart below shows that SMBs, in particular, keep going back to the well with “what they know” with respect to marketing approaches. Unfortunately, these approaches don’t scale. Digital is critical and organizations that want to survive need to get moving.
  • Use marketing automation to complement your CRM – Get leads, nurture them, ruthlessly qualify the leads and get them to sales. Process leads to success.
  • Don’t reactively cut the marketing budget in a down economy – The companies that outperform their peers continue to invest, and sometimes even double-down, during recessionary times.

One final bit of interest from the report was the set of tactics that organizations in the study were using to acquire new customers, as alluded to in the point above. All of the top tactics being employed by the marketers in this study were inherently not scalable, as they relied heavily on face-to-face channels.

marketing_techniques_customer_acquisition

What’s working in your organization for lead generation and customer acquisition?

You can download the report from the report sponsor Act-on.

How a meme spreads on LinkedIn

I always find it interesting when things get used in unexpected ways, like using a nutcracker as a bottle opener or using rice to dry out a smartphone that got soaked. So when I saw that Koka Sexton had run an experiment that sought to understand how a meme could travel on LinkedIn, I was intrigued.

What Koka did was share an on-brand and topical image into his LinkedIn network which, frankly, isn’t something one sees every day. In this case, the image was a riff on the Liam Neeson “Taken” character.

taken_linkedin_meme_koka_sexton

A couple of weeks ago, we linked to an article about how scientists had solved the fundamental problem in viral distribution of information. The research showed that seeding information into key groups in a network could significantly affect at what velocity and distance information spread throughout the network. Koka found that by sharing this type of content as a LinkedIn update, as opposed to the more typical link to external content, he was able to have an initial interaction with many more individuals than he typically would.

Perhaps even more interestingly, however, was Koka’s recognition that certain individuals in his network act as bridges between different parts of his overall network. (Social network analysis researchers measure this concept being a bridge or a broker as an individual’s “betweenness centrality.) In this case, he saw that many of the links to his third-degree network went through one of his colleagues and once the meme “jumped” into this other part of his network, it continued to propagate. This also showsthe strength of weak ties.

Once someone interacted with the meme, the most important thing was to take some form of action to take the first step in turning what could be a one-off engagement into the start of a business relationship. Four ways to do that included:

•   Liking their interaction

•   Thanking the individual for their interaction

•   Messaging the individual directly

•   Connecting with the individual on LinkedIn

“The idea isn’t to create the content, get engagement and then start pitching your product. The idea is that you share great things and then use the engagement to expand your network.” – Koka Sexton, LinkedIn

In reading the original post, it clearly cast the network that the meme traveled through into an explicit model of “1st, 2nd, 3rd degree connections.” While I know that’s how LinkedIn technically refers to individuals in the system, I don’t think I’d ever really used that frame as actively. When I look at the world, I typically didn’t go through the mental action of “do I know this person, or do I know someone who knows this person, or are they further away than that?”

A few key takeaways for me:

•   I’m definitely going to start to look for more instances where LinkedIn has worked as a medium through which information can travel, and not solely a place to build connections.

•   Need to do some more thinking on this “1st, 2nd and 3rd degree” framing of the world

•   Liam Neeson still kinda spooks me out a little bit with his intensity

What do you think? Have you seen other examples where this type of content achieved significant distribution through LinkedIn, as opposed to the more obvious venues such as Facebook or Twitter?

Bonus link: The voiceover is pretty funny

Mac Lethal fast-raps the news


(I also wanted to try out the Facebook embed post thing, just to check it out.)