Tuesday Apr 30, 2013

Social Network Updates: While You Were Busy Marketing

many phonesYou’re a busy, powerful social marketer, so you may not have time to track every little change the social networks make. And they make a lot of them. Since these trends can inspire and inform strategy for brands, let’s look at some recent developments with 4 of the big ones.

Facebook

Facebook’s moves continue to underscore their growing self-image as a mobile company.

  • Facebook Home, an Android overlay that lives across the operating system, piqued enough curiosity that it got well over 500,000 downloads on Google Play right out of the gate. It’s preloaded in many phones. But do users like it? The average rating has been around 2.2 stars out of 5.
  • Facebook made your brand pages look different on mobile.  Some say it’s about the “Yelpification” of Facebook. It’s easier for your customers to see your hours, get a map, check prices, check ratings, contact you and like or recommend you. It’s more visual and pinned posts are prominent, but…no tabs.
  • On the iOS app, users now see the same choices for viewing their News Feed as they have on desktop.  The dropdown lets them get Most Recent, All Friends, Following, Pages, and other sorting options. Some users have a list for the brand pages they follow. Let’s hope they check that one a lot.

Twitter

Twitter’s developments have mostly been about going beyond text-based messaging toward being a gateway for all online multimedia content.

  • Twitter Music launched, a way for music lovers to use Twitter to find and enjoy music and artists.  They’re open to more music sources, but right now streams come from iTunes, Rdio and Spotify. Basically, it uses Twitter activity to see what tunes you might like and plugs you in to music and artists your fave artists follow and tweet about.
  • There’s talk Twitter’s getting into local tweet discovery. If they execute this take on letting users see tweets from a certain radius around them, whether they follow the tweeters or not, that gets interesting for brands who want to tweet offers to nearby users.
  • Twitter made a deal with the sizable Starcom MediaVest Group that will give its clients access to special ad opportunities on and with Twitter. Those in the know look at this plus Twitter’s keyword targeting and see a commitment from the little blue bird to play ball with marketers so everybody’s nest gets feathered.

Google Plus

King of the “should we or shouldn’t we increase the amount of attention we pay to this” platforms. The value prop, G+’s integration with other Google products, continues.

  • If you open a Google Drive file, now you’ll see G+ profile shots of the others looking at it.  Mouse over the pic and you’ll get the person’s G+ card, cover image, and which circle you put them in. It’s all about making Google Plus a key integrated collaboration tool.
  • Most still use Facebook to log in to websites, but a Janrain report says Google Plus' share went from 31 to 34% quarter to quarter. Google’s also shutting down its acquired Meebo Bar in June. Google Plus tools will then serve as the user/website matchmaker.
  • But they also want Google Plus to be fun!  So now when you put a photo up on your G+ account, you see an emoticon option that (get this) analyzes the expressions on the faces in the photo and assigns each an emoticon that goes over their heads. Let me answer what may be your first question, yes you can turn it off.

LinkedIn

Linked in turns 10 in May and is enjoying nice growth; revenue and profit up 80% in 2012 and 200 million users. LinkedIn knows what it does and doesn’t want to be.

  • The new Linkedin Contacts pulls all your contacts from various sources into one place. You can make notes about each, get details of past interactions, be alerted to meetings and birthdays, and sort on the fly based on several criteria. Info automatically updates when changed on the sourced platform. Not included: Twitter & Facebook contacts. LinkedIn wants to be all business.
  • LinkedIn is also quite aware mobile is where it’s happening.  A revamped mobile app features big visual improvements and works hard to deliver users content informed by their profiles and habits.
  • Speaking of content, LinkedIn has made big moves toward being a key content provider for business.  They acquired newsreader Pulse to “be the definitive professional publishing platform.” That gets added to LinkedIn Today and the ability to subscribe to the content of Influencers.

You have now been quickly caught up on which way the social network development winds are blowing. Therefore, we expect you to be even more busy and powerful.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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