Snow Day Stikes Again! TuneUp For Facebook Ads Rescheduled

We are deep in Snow Day Season, which means that TuneUp Wednesday came and went with no peep from us! Yup, this week it snowed in New York, which means that schools close (it seems that NYers have confused themselves with North Carolina, where a school closure would make more sense).
This TuneUp: "Beyond The Boost: How And Why To Create Facebook Ads" is going to be a good one. It stars guest experts Patti Devine and Devin Holmes of Digital Impact, who know Facebook Ad Manager like the back of their hands, and are going to walk us through the basics of how to set up an ad (literally, like, where is it in Facebook), and the best strategies behind making your ad artwork and content.

Right now, the TuneUp is on for Wednesday, February 27th at 1pm EST. You can register early here, and be notified if anything changes.

You know our position on Facebook - use with caution and with exact reasons. So we'll be guiding this TuneUp with that approach.

If you see your competition in those ad slots and want to start bumping them out, this TuneUp will teach you how to do that.


Facebook Buys Shop-By-Picture Tech Company

Photo Credit: Tin Shingle

Photo Credit: Tin Shingle

Facebook just bought a shopping tech company, GrokStyle, that was a shopping tool created for the visual search space, and was used in Ikea’s mobile app. The way it worked was, a person could take a picture of a piece of furniture, and the technology would match it to similar pieces of furniture that the person could buy.

Deep dives by the media (social or print/digital brands) into shopping integration with online content continues. As StarOnline pointed out in their article, GrokStyle stated that they were shutting down as a company, but would continue on in team and technology. The statement did not include that the team would be at Facebook.

Screenshot of  GrokStyle’s announcement  of winding down the company as it’s known now.

Screenshot of GrokStyle’s announcement of winding down the company as it’s known now.

According to every article that published a story about this, they credited Facebook’s statement announcing this purchase including Bloomberg News, quoting Facebook’s spokesperson Vanessa Chan: "We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook. Their team and technology will contribute to our AI capabilities."

How Facebook Benefits By The Shopping-By-Picture Feature

Print media began adopting shopping into its print and digital pages, by way of picture scanning, like at Seventeen, and via good old fashioned affiliate links like with GQ, or that time in 2012 with Nordstrom sales. Facebook replaced Craig’s List with its group selling groups, where you could post a picture into a Buy/Sell group, and get immediate response as to if you had a buyer.

Then Facebook released Marketplace, where this buy/sell activity could begin happening instead. Simultaneously, visibility of anything posted at the then old Buy/Sell groups got slow. Instead, Facebook suggested ways to share the post (ie more work for me, and to keep me on the website), which is an attempt to increase activity on their website. I used to use the feature quite a lot. People in Buy/Sell groups moved to Marketplace, and is now is the place where people can have instant garage sales. Brands can also have a shop on Facebook and sell that way. Anyone can start Donation pages. Collections for birthdays, etc.

Facebook is trying to hook the next generation. The children. But the kids these days see Facebook as a Grandma and Parent Hangout, and don't want to hang with their parents. If Facebook can’t lock in teens and kids by way of whichever strategies they are attempting at the moment, Facebook is trying to lock it in with shopping. It must be hard to appeal to all of the people in all of the world all of the time. That’s a big customer base!

In Other News, Facebook Snuggles With Cryptocurrency…$$ To Buy The Stuff? Or Kill It…

Bloomberg also pointed out that Facebook acquired a blockchain technology company earlier this year. “The GrokStyle purchase marks the second reported acquisition by Facebook this year. Earlier this month, the company bought the team behind blockchain technology company Chainspace for an undisclosed sum. The company purchased at least four firms last year, including startups focused on messaging and AI.”

Interestingly, Facebook had blocked ads related to cryptocurrency, stating that the crypto marketplace is too high risk. This done in Facebook’s attempts to step away from being the vehicle people use to guide people down a bad - or wrong - path. In June of 2018, Facebook reportedly lifted that ban on cryptocurrency ads a little bit.

However, since that time (November 2018, actually), Tin Shingle wrote an article about cryptocurrency when we highlighted a blogger, Digiconomist, who covers cryptocurrency in depth. Facebook blocked our ability to Boost that article on their platform in November 2018.

Insert: Thinking Emoji…

GQ's 2019 Editorial Calendar Available At Tin Shingle

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The 2019 Editorial Calendar for GQ has been added to Tin Shingle's PR Center. Get ideas on where the print version of the magazine is headed over the year. Enjoy it, it’s one of the few remaining titles at its publisher, Condé Nast, that is producing a monthly print book.

Themes to look forward to include a Mothers Day Gift Guide. Followed by a Fathers Day Gift Guide. And sports! Lots of NBA. They are even doing a Wedding Season feature. Lots of fashion over there at GQ.

Oh! And they have made a point to celebrate Amazon Prime Day. Why you ask? Well, readers might love their Amazon Prime memberships, but magazines are getting in on the affiliate link trend that very, very small businesses and bloggers started doing years ago - a decade ago at this point. Amazon affiliate links. Yes, that old trick. The old dogs are trying it! GQ started a few years back (see here with their “Best Stuff” newsletter discovery). Seventeen Magazine was a big user of it in their print magazine with Q-code like picture snapping to go shopping from the print pages. BTW, Seventeen Magazine stopped publishing their monthly cycle, but are staying digital.

All Access Tin Shingle Members can gain instant access to this and our entire Editorial Calendar Catalogue when logged in.

Good 'Gram: How Blix Bike Is Using Instagram To Stay Fresh And New


Tin Shingle Member Blix Bike has been killing it with their Instagram. Though they sell a handful of products - a variety of models of ebikes and accessories like a basket and touch-up paint - their Instagram feed is always fresh and new. One way they do it is to show customer photos of how customers are enjoying the bikes. See how these two bikes fit into this mini car!

Google + (Plus) Shuts Down...Why This Matters, And The Huge Implications For Everyone

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Google+ is/was Google’s social network for people. Google+ launched in 2011, and wasn’t the first social network that Google tried to create to compete with Facebook. Led by Vic Gundotra and Bradley Horowitz, the philosophy coming out from them back then about social media was: “we believe online sharing is broken,” as stated in this TechCruch article. This was back in 2011. Imagine what they think now. Super broken on many levels, from broken data security to human behavior. Both of these reasons contributing to the expedited and now immediate shutting down of Google+.

What Is Google+?

Google+ was a place where you could share articles, share photos, connect with people who were your friends or random people you’d never met. You could organize them by “Circles,” which was at first neat, but then became laborious as you kept organizing and micro-organizing your connections. You could chat with others, message, and just play like you would in a social network.

For SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, Google+ was great. Because it was a product of Google, the leaders of how SEO works, you had some faith that articles shared on Google+ would get higher treatment in search results. For instance, posting an article I wrote to Google+ would be part of my digital content strategy, because that post would show up in search results, thereby taking up space on Page 1 of Google search results to elbow out my competitors, especially if my actual article was already ranking highly. In fact, according to Google+ Support: “there's no way to make the content you share not searchable.” Hurray!

Google+ is much more than SEO, however. Google recognized that people like sharing documents, conversations and photos with each other, so they built a Google+ enterprise tool where companies can use it internally on private networks. The enterprise version of Google+ will continue to live.

What Happened? Why Is Google+ Shutting Down?

Two reasons: people just weren’t using it, and a data leak impacting 52.5 million people.

Despite myself knowing the high value of Google+, even I stopped using it years ago. Of all of the hundreds of articles I’ve ever written, I’d only shared/posted maybe 20 to my Google+ account. Google+ was just so clunky to use. Normal things to do, like sharing an article, or connecting with someone, was so hard to figure out how to do. The user experience of its ecosystem seemed discombobulated - disconnected - sliced and diced.

Developers at Google and these big social/data companies seem to spend most of their focus on creating new tools, and then creating more tools on top of those tools. They seem dedicate less time to studying and understanding how their users are actually using and interacting with their tools.

When Google first announced the shutting down Google+ (aka “sunsetting,” which is the sexy and friendly version of “shutting down”), they marked “poor usage” as a driving factor. They finally did a very deep dive in October 2018 into how their users used the tool, and found that most people actually didn’t.

But in that deep dive, Google also found a data leak. Impacting 52.5 million people. Eeps. That’s when Google announced that they were shutting down Google+, and would do it gradually, ending in August 2019.

However, they announced in December 2018 that they were speeding that up, and were starting everything now, and would end in April 2019, with some connections ending on March 7, 2019. 9to5Google laments the shutdown, and alerts people to different API failures that will begin happening if developers don’t update their tools to stop using Google+.

Is Google+ Widely Used In Places You Don’t See?

Creators at Google believe in sharing. That’s why the Google search engine was created in the first place. To share the world’s content. Google has also been known to respect its users and their privacy (I know - debatable as they have all of our data - but they’ve arguably been the most proactively protective about it). An “open source” market was born, which means that developers (i.e. people who code and make things work on the internet), could design things that would connect with Google+ and work with it. These are called APIs.

The ability for developers to connect into Google+ using an API to grab your data for some reason (like to log into something to make your life more convenient) was exposed. Google patched that, but got spooked, and have expedited the shutdown. There are probably more vulnerabilities, and for a tool that nobody is using, what’s the use in maintaining it. As they said here in their announcement.

What This Means For Buzz Building Business Owners

One less thing for you to do! You don’t need to share there, and you don’t need to know how it works anymore. Hurrah.

Why Google+ “Sunsetting” (aka Shutting Down) Is A Bummer

For the SEO reasons, and for the “let’s not depend on Facebook to share our information” reasons. If Google’s shutting down has a theme song, it would be Tiffany’s: “Could’ve Been.”

Why This Matters To People

Social media is run by Facebook and Twitter right now. It used to also be run by Instagram, but since those co-founders resigned in late 2018, implying too much meddling by Facebook, it’s down to Facebook and Twitter (Facebook owns Instagram). Oh right. Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitch, and a few others. But really, it’s just the first two.

The Facebook and Twitter founders approach life very differently. We have Jack Dorsey at the helm of Twitter, trying to keep it going and steering it in the turbulent sea of trolls and bad human behavior and data privacy. Jack gets very philosophical and thinks deeply about the social product and how it impacts people.

In the other corner, we have Mark Zuckerburg, who is nobody’s favorite, and maybe nobody’s friend despite his high friend count on Facebook, who is snarky and condescending when appearing before Congress and in any news interview, yet still remains relevant because people keep using Facebook.

There are other social networks, and each one will be tested by the trials that Google, Facebook and Twitter are currently enduring. People have asked: “Can’t someone just create a new social network so that we don’t need to use Facebook?” But can we wait for each of these new social networks that pop up to prove themselves and carve their belief system and actions to back that up?

Google was a big daddy that has flaws, but is a leader in (trying) to do right by its users. Google grew so big, working in so many different fields (healthcare, cars, phones), that they renamed to Alphabet (their website is - cute), and Google is a fraction of what they now offer to the world.

Google+ could have been a social network for people to turn to after Facebook burns down. But it just wasn’t designed visually very well, and there were no signs that that would have improved.

Could have been so beautiful…

Awe, Dang It!...MSNBC's Your Business With JJ Ramberg Closes Up Shop

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After 12 years on the air every Sunday morning, after what was supposed to be a 6 month run, Your Business with JJ Ramberg has ceased production in December 2018. You can look at their first show announcement over at Ad Week when they were just babies in 2006!

According to a comment down in the show’s Facebook page, the sponsor did not renew for 2019. Which is a stinker because one would think there would be other sponsors out there. According to Wikipedia, American Express OPEN was the sponsor.

JJ Ramberg showcased many small businesses - small and large - including a few Tin Shingle Members - on her show over the years. During that time, she got married and had three kids, who she brought to work at times (see them in the show’s last highlight reel). She also has a podcast, Been There. Built That, that reveals details on journeys to success, what it took to build companies, and turn a No into Yes. The last episode, however, was released in December 2018.

What Will JJ Ramberg Do Next?

She’s unstoppable, so is sure to pop up again somewhere, in probably a big way. The show had a loyal following of small business enthusiasts. JJ knew that small business is personal, and talked about that often in her segments. Your Business was the longest running at MSNBC after Chris Matthew’s Hardball.

JJ is the co-founder of Goodshop with her brother. Goodshop “has the most powerful coupons in the world.” They provide the best shopping deals on the internet, but they also make a donation to the nonprofit or school of your choice for almost every purchase you make. “You also give, at no extra cost,” is their motto.

Goodshop is connected with over 114,000 nonprofits and schools. You can shop for your cause no matter the scale: whether it be your local animal shelter, or a national cancer research organization. If your nonprofit or school isn't listed, you can add them to their list.

Over the past nine years, Goodshop has helped organizations do everything from medical research, to buying books for local libraries, to helping clean up pollution from city rivers. Through deals and coupons generated from the website, Goodshop has raised over $13 million dollars.

We are looking into JJ Ramberg’s next steps for our members-only Media Contact Research Center. If you have a tip, email it into us!

What Business Show To Pitch Now?

Consider Poppy Harlow’s podcast Boss Files with Poppy Harlow. There is of course her show that she co-anchors on CNN, but you should also pursue the podcast. Contact details and ideas for Poppy’s podcast can be found in Tin Shingle’s Media Contact library.

Happy Money Monday! Keep Staying Ahead Of It

Happy Money Monday!

Another Monday, another chance to stay ahead of it. As painful as it may be, stay ahead of it today by paying a bill. Maybe two. Pay an invoice. Send an invoice. Be kind in your correspondence. Have faith in others and feed them encouragement. Your team will stay strong with you clear headed and hopeful.

Push through it. You got this.


Polar Vortex Throws TuneUp Off Its Game - Rescheduled!

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While New York doesn’t have the coldest numbers of the way below freezing polar vortex temperatures, we are having school closings in the most unusual way, which does impact our live broadcast delivery of the TuneUp. Being that we’re a family friendly company, when a school calls a snow day one day, followed by a 2hr delay the next day, followed by a phone call just as you’re taking your kids to school that says: “Just kidding! There is an early dismissal, you’ll be back in 2hrs to pick up your kids!,” followed by another 2hr delay the next day, your work-game is going to be a little off.

So. Deepest apologies for not broadcasting the TuneUp on Wednesday, but know this: it is happening. We are rescheduling it and will have new registration links shortly. We will also have new a new signup session for the Member-Only TuneUp, where Tin Shingle Members can come onto the call either by video or phone, and have a group strategy session.

Thank you again for your patience!

Wishing everyone warmth and safety.

Woot Woot! Vyllage Founder Laura Borland's Hard Work Is Paying Off!


Tin Shingle Members are getting Media Hits! Laura Borland, developer of Vyllage, the app that makes getting package deliveries easier by connecting neighbors, has been pitching and getting hits. Her latest is at The Story Exchange and a local news TV station.

Laura credits pitching to her success - pitching a lot. We asked her how she did it:


Repetition and Intensity. I followed your advice (from the Members-Only TuneUp) and made a commitment to send my pitch to at least 25 journalists everyday, and used your PR Planner and Tracker to know who I had contacted.

When I started looking at pitching to South Florida media, Local 10 was the only channel in which their journalists have an email address listed versus a Twitter handle. I’m also familiar with the types of stories that reporters on that station tend to cover. So, I sent my pitch to 10 recently hired reporters because I’m sure they could use the content.

Within 15 minutes, I received a response from a reporter, who asked if I had pitched to any other stations and I responded that I had not. He then requested an exclusive interview. We shot the footage the day before Thanksgiving and it first aired one week later and was in rotation for 5 days!


See who else is getting press in Tin Shingle’s Press Portfolio!

Join Tin Shingle today to up your PR game and have fun with us! You can do big things. Tin Shingle gives you the resources and support to believe and make it possible.

The Media Contacts Database At Tin Shingle Is Getting A Total Refresh!

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Right now as we speak, the Media Contact Database at Tin Shingle is getting a total refresh and shakeup. With the media landscape changing so quickly as more magazines are abandoning traditional 12 month publication cycles for 10 months or no months at all, we are finding more and more valuable freelance writers and editors, as well as regular contributing writers at magazines and other forms of media, including podcasts, TV programs and even business websites that offer services but have invested in a content campaign.

Our focus on the individual person working in the media profession is strengthening, as we want to highlight the different Media Outlets that these people work in. Therefore, we putting all of the Media Outlets onto the person’s page that they work for, write for, produce for, or host.

For example: From Tin Shingle’s Media Contact Database, let’s look at Mandi Woodruff. Mandi works in the personal finance world. She is the executive editor at, and the host and founder of the podcast, Brown Ambition, a show about money, career and business. She’s a gold nugget, and most likely, a pretty good person to pitch about money, business, and careers.

“But wait,” you ask, “How would I have found Mandi in the first place?”

We tag each Media Contact with a unique identifier we call “Area of Interest.” When you’re searching through our lists, you can search by “Area of Interest.” Mandi has been tagged with: Finance, Personal Finance, Black Media, Black Voices.

As a recommended Media Contact in Tin Shingle’s members-only database, you’ll find Mandi’s bio (as she wrote it from her Brown Ambition About Us page), as well as both of her job roles: one at, the other at Brown Ambition. If she has different social media handles or email addresses that she may have recommended you use (or if she doesn’t recommend an email address, then we usually guide you to the writer’s Contact Us page on their website - those pages really are pretty effective).

Here’s Mandi’s bio:


Mandi Woodruff has been reporting on finance and business for more than seven years. She joined personal finance startup MagnifyMoney in June 2016 as Executive Editor of their personal finance content. Less than a year later, the company was acquired by In her newly expanded role as executive editor, she leads a team of 20+ freelance writers, two full-time reporters and two editors to create stellar personal finance content for half a dozen websites. Mandi was previously the personal finance editor at Business Insider and a personal finance reporter for Yahoo Finance, where she hosted the weekly web series “Money Minute” and “The Payoff”. She’s an alumna of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia (go Dawgs!) and an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the New York chapter of NABJ, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and the Journalism & Women Symposium.


The update to the Media Contacts is underway now, but you can still access them and dig around for your research. Thank you for your patience, and you encounter anything amiss, please Contact Us about it! If you’re not a member yet of Tin Shingle, join today for instant access to our media research lists! See what others have to say about their membership.