Friday Jun 28, 2013

Social Network Updates: While You Were Busy Marketing 2

biz showerSince social moves at the speed of data, it’s already time for another update, as we did back in April, on the changes the various social networks have made or gone through while you were busy marketing.

Facebook

There’s a lot of talk Facebook’s developing a mobile product to act like Flipboard and surface news, from both users and media outlets.

The biggest news was Facebook/Instagram’s introduction of 15-second videos, enhanced with with filters, to take some of Vine’s candy. You can also delete parts of videos and rerecord them, and there’s image stabilization.

Facebook’s ad revenue is coming along just fine, thank you very much. 35% quarter-to-quarter growth in Q2. And it looks like new formats like Mobile App Install Ads and Unpublished Page Posts are adding to the mix.

If you don’t already, you’ll soon see a little camera in comment boxes letting you insert photos right into the comments you make. The drive toward “more visual” continues.

The other big news is Facebook’s adoption of our Twitter friend, the hashtag. Adding # sets apart the post topic so it can be easily found or discovered. It’s also being added to Google Plus, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Twitter

Want to send someone a promoted tweet when they’re in range of your store? That could be happening by the end of this year.

Some users have been seeing automatic in-stream previews of images on Twitter.com. Right now it’s images in your own tweets, but we can assume all tweets are next.

Get your followers organized! Twitter raised the limit on the number of lists you can create from 20 to 1,000. They also raised the number of accounts you can have in a list from 500 to 5,000.

Twitter started notifying you when someone favorites a tweet you’re mentioned in or re-tweets a tweet you re-tweeted. Anyway, it’s the first time Twitter’s notified you about indirect interactions like that.

Who’s afraid of Instagram? A study shows 6-second Vine videos are being posted to Twitter at the rate of 9/second, up from 5/second 2 months ago. Vine has over 13 million users and branded Vines are 4x more likely to be shared than video ads.

Google Plus

Now featuring a 3-column redesigned stream, and images that take up a whole column. And photo filters Auto Highlight and Auto Awesome work to turn your photos into a real show.

Google Hangouts is the workhorse for all Google messaging now, it’s not just an online chat with 9 people anymore.

Google Plus Dashboard improves the connection between your company’s Google Plus business page and your Google Plus Local. Updates go out across all Google properties and you can do your managing from the dashboard.

With Google Plus’ authorship system, you can build “Author Rank” based on what you write and put on the web. If your stuff is +1’ed and shared a lot, you’re the real deal and there are search result benefits.

LinkedIn

"Who's Viewed Your Updates" shows you what you’ve shared recently, who saw it and what they did about it in real-time.

Influencers” is, well, influential. Traffic to all LI news products has gone up 8x since it was introduced. LinkedIn is quickly figuring out how to get users to stick around awhile.

You and your brand can post images and documents in status updates now. In fact, that whole “document posting” thing is making some analysts wonder if LinkedIn will drift on over to the Dropboxes and YouSendIts of the world.

C’mon, admit it. Your favorite part of LinkedIn is being able to see who’s viewed your profile. Now you’ve got even more info and can see what/who you have in common. Premium users get even deeper insights about how people are finding them.

If you’re a big fan of security, you’ll love that LinkedIn started offering two-factor authentication (2FA). It’s optional, but step 2 is a one-time code texted to your registered mobile.

Pinterest

A study showed pins have a looong shelf life compared to other social net posts. “Clicks kept coming for 30 days and beyond.” Most pins are timeless, and the infinite scroll causes people to see older pins.

Is it a keeper? Pinterest jumped 82% to 54 million users in the past year. It’s valued at $2.5 billion and is one of the biggest sources of referral traffic there is. That said, CEO Ben Silbermann adds, "Right now, we don't make money."

A new search feature stops you from having to endlessly scroll through your own pins looking for that waterfall picture you posted. Simply select “just my pins” in the search bar.

New "Rich Pins" lets brands add info like price and availability to pins that can be updated daily via a data feed from your merchant site. Not so fast, you have to apply to Pinterest for it first.

Like other social nets, Pinterest does not allow sexual content, nudity, or even partial nudity. However…some art contains nudity, and Pinterest wants to allow art. What constitutes “art” will be judged by…what we have to assume are Pinterest employees who love their job.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng, Tim Marmon

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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