Countries that block Social Media

On Thursday, the Turkish government blocked the country’s access to YouTube, after banning Twitter earlier this month, in an effort to quell anti-government sentiment prior to local elections on March 30. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that social networks are facilitating the spread of wiretapped recordings that have been politically damaging. The YouTube block reportedly came about after a video surfaced of government officials discussing the possibility of going to war with Syria. The government officially banned Twitter after the network refused to take down an account accusing a former minister of corruption. Twitter is challenging the ban and a Turkish court overturned it on Wednesday, but it’s not yet clear how an appeal might play out.

Turkey is hardly the first country to crack down on social unrest by going after social networks. There are at least six other countries currently blocking Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter in some capacity (see map below), and many more have instituted temporary blocks over the last couple of years. Here’s everything you need to know:

socialmediamap-emineo mediaChina: China blocked Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in 2009. The Twitter and Facebook bans took place after a peaceful protest by Uighurs, China’s Muslim ethnic minority, broke into deadly riots in Xinjiang. In September 2013, the government decided to stop censoring foreign websites in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, a 17-square-mile area in mainland China, but these social networks are still largely blocked nationwide.

Iran: Iran has blocked Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube on and off (usually off) since they were banned in 2009 following Iran’s contentious presidential election.

Vietnam: Over the last couple of years, there have been widespread reports of Facebook being blocked in Vietnam. The block is fairly easy to bypass, and many Vietnamese citizens use the social network. However, in September 2013, Vietnam passed a law prohibiting citizens from posting anti-government content on the social network. Facebook did not comment on access in Vietnam.

Pakistan: In September 2012, Pakistan blocked YouTube after the site reportedly refused to take down an anti-Islam video that sparked protests in the country. The block has continued through March 2014, according to Google.

North Korea: Internet access is highly restricted in North Korea.

Eritrea: According to Reporters Without Borders, in 2011, two of the country’s major internet service providers blocked YouTube. Freedom House, a US watchdog that conducts research on political freedom, said the site was blocked in its 2013 report and notes, “The government requires all internet service providers to use state-controlled internet infrastructure.” Eritrea is routinely listed as one of the most censored countries in the world. Google does not include Eritrea on its list of countries in its transparency report that currently block YouTube, but notes that the list “is not comprehensive” and may not include partial blocks.

This data was compiled with help from Google’s transparency report, Twitter, and the OpenNet Initiative, a partnership between the University of Toronto, Harvard, and the SecDev Group in Ottawa. It doesn’t take into account countries where only certain pages or videos may be censored. The United Arab Emirates, for example, jailed an American citizen last year for posting a comedic video to YouTube—but it doesn’t block the entire network, so it’s not on the map. Additionally, Google and Twitter don’t list their services as being blocked in Cuba, but social networks there are difficult to access, in part due to cost barriers. 

 

Source Mother Jones

Survey Shows Facebook Has the Most Potential for Small Businesses

As you develop a social media presence for your small business, where should you put most of your energies? If you’re like most businesses, Facebook ranks tops when it comes to both current ubiquity and future potential, a survey from The Creative Group reports.

Social-media-small-business emineo mediaMore than three-fourths (76 percent) of advertising and marketing executives polled in the survey say their company has an active presence on Facebook. In contrast, only about half report having an active presence on Twitter (52 percent), LinkedIn (48 percent) or Google Plus (48 percent).

The survey also asked which social media site has the greatest potential for business. Facebook beat out other contenders, cited by 45 percent of respondents—far ahead of second-place Google+ with just 13 percent of respondents.

What do the results of the survey mean to you? Three lessons stand out to me.

  1. If social media intimidates you, get started by creating a Facebook page for your business. In most cases—especially if your company sells to consumers, as opposed to other businesses—Facebook is the best place for beginners. In fact, for some small businesses, it may be the only social media presence you need (at least for now). With even seniors now feeling comfortable on Facebook, it’s far and away the most widely used social site—not only by business owners, but also by consumers.
  2. Don’t get complacent. While Facebook is currently the 800-pound gorilla in the room, it won’t always be that way. Keep your eye on up-and-comers like Pinterest and Instagram. While these sites capture far fewer users, if your business is highly visual—such as a boutique, home décor store or hair salon—these image-focused social sites could be huge traffic drivers. And don’t ignore Google+–even though many of its users’ accounts are rarely used, the power of the search engine giant means you can’t count Google+ out of the running. Spend some time every week keeping up with social media news and trends so that you won’t be taken by surprise when a new social media site springs up or an old one surges in popularity.
  3. Remember that social is a two-way street. No matter what social media site/s your business relies on, success at social media requires a different approach than pure advertising or even public relations. Instead of talking “at” your fans and followers, you need to talk with them. Use the power of social media to solicit their opinions, emotions and insights. The information you gain by holding a conversation with your customers can only improve your business in the end.

Source SCORE

5 Ways to Find the Right Niche

One of the first steps in the business planning process is determining who your target market is and why they would want to buy from you.

emineo media nicheIt sounds simple, but do you really know what you are selling and to whom? Is the market you serve the best one for your product or service? Are the benefits of dealing with your business clear and are they aligned with those or your target customers?

If you aren’t sure about the answers to any of these questions then you need to step back and revisit the foundation of your business plan.

The following tips can help you be clear about what your business has to offer, identify the right target market for it and build a niche for yourself there.

Be Clear about What you Have to Offer

Sounds obvious, but more than just a product or service, what are you really selling? Think about it.  Your town probably has several restaurants all selling one fundamental product—food. But I’ll bet one sells drive-thru fast food, perhaps another sells pizza in a rustic Italian kitchen, and maybe there’s also a fine dining seafood restaurant that specializes in wood-grilled fare. All these restaurants sell meals, but they sell them to targeted clientele that is looking for the unique benefits each has to offer. What they are really selling is a combination of product, value, ambiance (or not), and brand experience.

So, if you are starting a business, be sure you understand why anyone would buy from you. What needs does it fulfill? What benefits and differentiators will you bring to the table that will help you stand out from the crowd?

Don’t Become a Jack of All Trades, use Strategy to Focus

One of the pitfalls of not defining what you have to offer is that you can quickly become a jack of all trades and master of none and this can have a negative impact on business growth.

Think about it from the perspective of a consumer. How often do you see marketing flyers promoting the service of a local handy man who claims to be an expert in everything from drywall installation to plumbing repairs, and so on? Now, this handyman may get some business out of his efforts, but he’d win a lot more if he specialized in doing one or two things well, building a reputation for himself, and fine tuning his marketing message.  This is why you need a strategy: it will focus you.

Identify Your Niche

The flip side of being a jack of all trades is finding your niche and playing to your strengths within that niche.  Creating a niche for your business is essential to success. For example, say you want to quit your day job and become a freelance writer. You know there’s a need in the market for a trustworthy, reliable, and consistently good technical writer – and clients are willing to pay a certain price point for that quality and value.

Now you could simply advertise your services on an online freelance marketplace, as many do, and hope to pick up any business from any customer anywhere on the map. But by identifying your niche and choosing to attract customers who will value your services, you will quickly build on that niche and be on the path towards business success.

Source SBA