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Social News Roundup | August 27, 2014

  
  
  
  
  

1. Facebook Emphasizes Link Format Over Links In Captions and Status Updates

Facebook Linkbaiting

To improve the content that users see on their News Feed, Facebook is taking the steps to move against click-baiting headlines and favoring links that are shared via the social network’s link format. Read more… 

2. Pinterest’s New Analytics Tool Is Now Available to Businesses

Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest has released a new analytics tool that allows businesses to see detailed data such as the number of users who engage with their pins or which countries those users are from. Read more…

3. Instagram Releases Video Editing App Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse

Instagram releases a video editing app named Hyperlapse, which makes it easier for users to create tracking shots and fast, time-lapse videos on their mobile phone. Read more…

4. 64% of Back–to-School Shoppers Discover Products via Social Media

School Supplies

It’s back-to-school season, and nearly 65% of last minute shoppers are turning to social media to discover new products. Read more…

5. ‘Rice Bucket Challenge’ In India Helps Local People In Need

Rice Bucket Challenge

Described on Facebook as an “Indian version for Indian needs,” the “rice bucket challenge” encourages participants to share photos of themselves donating rice to those in need. Read more…

Social News Roundup | August 15, 2014

  
  
  
  
  

1. Facebook Releases Cross-Device Reporting for Ads

Facebook mobile ad

Facebook launches a new cross-device reporting feature that allows advertisers to see where a consumer saw an ad, the device they used and then the device they used to buy the product. Read more…

2. Pinterest Adds Vevo Music Videos to its Site

TwitterTrendsUK 730x373

Pinterest partnered with Vevo,allowing users to search for, share and watch Vevo videos on Pinterest itself. Read more…

3. Twitter Launches Data Visualization Tool For Commonly Tweeted Topics in the UK

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Twitter has launched a data visualization tool in the UK that shows exactly where, when and how often people interact when talking about certain topics. Read more…

4. Facebook Closes Acquisition Deal With Video Ad Tech Startup, LiveRail

Facebook LiveRail

Facebook’s acquisition deal with LiveRail is now closed. The video ad tech start-up could help Facebook better target the video ads it runs in the News Feed, and Facebook can help LiveRail with its own targeting of video ads across the web and mobile apps. Read more…

5. Twitter Adds New Features For Verified Users

twitter verified tick

Twitter added two new features for verified users. Verified users can now receive notifications when another verified user follows them, as well as the option to filter their followers so only verified users are visible on iOS. Read more…

6. Flipboard Is Introducing Video Ads in September With Chanel as an Initial Advertiser

flipboard

Social reading service Flipboard will introduce video advertisements in September, and fashion brand Chanel is confirmed as an initial advertiser. Read more…

Social News Roundup | August 13, 2014

  
  
  
  
  

1. Pinterest Adds Messaging Feature

Pinterest Messaging

Pinterest now offers a chat feature designed for group messaging. The messaging feature is meant to encourage collaboration and discussion on the site. Read more…

2. Snapchat Is the Third Most Popular Social App Among Millennials

Millennials Mobile

According to a recent report by comScore, Snapchat is now the third most popular social app among millennials. Read more…

3. Twitter Launches Promoted Video

Twitter Promoted Video

Although the new feature is still in beta testing mode, Twitter has launched Promoted Video, which allows marketers to upload and distribute video content on Twitter. Read more…

4. Facebook Offers Can Influence Purchasing Decisions [Study]

Facebook Mobile2

Facebook offers have proven to be quite successful for local businesses. In a study by G/O Digital, 84% of those polled said that they believe offers or deals on Facebook are important to their in-store purchasing decision. Read more…

5. Australian Dominos Franchise Relying on Social Media and Web For 60% of Sales

 

 

 

Dominos Pizza

60 percent of total annual sales for Australia’s Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd were through orders via social media, apps and its websites. Read more…

Social News Roundup | July 23, 2014

  
  
  
  
  

1. Pinterest Ranks High In Customer Satisfaction

Pinterest

When it comes to user satisfaction, Pinterest ranks as the top social media site. Read more…

2. Twitter Is Making Improvements to Direct Messages

Twitter Mobile2

Twitter plans to update its iPhone and Android app by allowing users to access their entire direct message history on mobile. Read more… 

3. Social Campaign Promotes Boys Wearing Pink

Boys Wear Pink

A new social campaign is working to show support for boys who wear pink to promote acceptance and individual expression. Read more… 

4. Facebook Rolls Out “Save” Feature

FB Save Feature

Over the next few days, Facebook will unveil a new save feature for all users via the Web, iOS and Android. Saved items are listed by category, and users can swipe right on each item to share it or move it to an archived list. Read more… 

5. 55% of Couples Used a Hashtag During Their Wedding

Married

More than half of newlyweds (55%) used a hashtag during their wedding, and 28% updated their Facebook status within hours of tying the knot. Read more…

6. LinkedIn Acquires B2B Marketing Platform Bizo for $175 million  

LinkedIn Bizo

LinkedIn has acquired Bizo, a marketing platform that helps B2B marketers increase their reach across the web. Read more… 

7. mCouple Keeps Track of Your Loved One’s Smartphone Activity 

mCouple

The mobile app mCouple gives users access to their significant others’ location, Facebook and text messages, photos, videos, Skype activity and even voice conversations. Mutual consent is a requirement for downloading the app onto another person’s phone. Read more…

 

 

 

 

 

Social News Roundup | June 13, 2014

  
  
  
  
  
1. Pinterest Officially Launches Guided Search 
Pinterest Guided Search

A new Guided Search feature will be available on Pinterest over the next few weeks, and the feature helps users discover things that they didn’t even know they were searching for. Pinterest will also suggest terms based on what a user searches for and users are then able to refine their search based on those suggestions. Read more…

2. Facebook’s New Feature Tells You Why You are Seeing Those Ads
Facebook Ads

Facebook’s new feature now lets users know why a certain ad is being targeted to them. There is also an option to avoid having targeted ads for those who are not comfortable with them. Read more…  

3. Video Platform Graybo Is Bringing Real-Time Highlights to Wimbledon’s Broadcast
Graybo

Graybo, a real-time video company, is teaming up with The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) to share real-time video highlights across Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Read more…

4. Ads Related to the World Cup Are Shared More Than Super Bowl Ads
Shakira World Cup Ad

Before the games have even begun, ads related to the World Cup have already been shared more than this year’s Super Bowl commercials. Read more…

5. Facebook’s Latest Update Includes Nearby Friends Invites and Offline Likes
Facebook Update

Facebook’s latest iOS update includes a Nearby friends feature that allows users to search and invite friends. As well, Android’s latest update includes the option to like posts, photos, and pages when you’re offline. Read more…

6. Open Table Acquired for $2.6 Billion
People Restaurant

Priceline Group has acquired Open Table for $2.6 billion, expanding their reach beyond travel reservations into food reservations. Read more…

Social News Roundup | June 4, 2014

  
  
  
  
  

1. Apple Announces iOS 8

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Apple’s latest update offers a slew of new features that includes health metrics, predictive typing suggestions, and the option to search for photos by location. Read more…

2. Instagram Unveils New Photo Features

Instagram Filter

Instagram announced 10 new editing tools that include adjustments to contrast, brightness, saturation, and intensity. Read more…

3. Adding Value to Ads is Key to Acceptance for Pinterest Users

Pinterest Logo

As long as brands add value in their messaging, Pinterest users are OK with advertisements. Read more…

4. Myspace Entices Users to Return With Old Photos 

Myspace

With the hopes of attracting former users to return to the site, Myspace is emailing users old photos of themselves to pique their curiosity. Read more

5. “Breaking Bad” Named Most Followed Series on Twitter

Breaking Bad

Between September 2013 and May 2014, “Breaking Bad” had the highest Twitter presence of any TV series. Other TV season highlights according to Twitter activity also includes the Super Bowl, the Grammys, and Ellen DeGeneres’ famous selfie. Read more…

6. The Vatican Cannot Ignore The Benefits of Social Media 

Vatican

Despite the negative comments from social media users, the Vatican turns to social media for greater opportunities for evangelization. Read more…

7. You May Be Following a Socailbot [Study]

Socialbots

Researchers in Brazil created 120 socialbots to infiltrate Twitter and discovered that the bots not only escaped detection, but also became influential among different social groups. In addition, the study found that activity level is a big factor in accumulating more followers. Read more…

Women & Social Media in 2013

  
  
  
  
  

Maybe you’ve heard, but 2013 was a big year for women on social media. Believe it or not, we ladies now outnumber male users on almost every major platform, and we’ve got some data to back it up.

The Pew Research Center recently released the results of a 2013 survey in which 1,445 people across the U.S. were asked about their Internet and social media habits. Among the findings, Pew discovered that about 15% more American women than men use Facebook (76% of female respondents versus 66% of male respondents), and they outnumber men by 6% on Twitter, 33% on Instagram and a whopping 413% on Pinterest.

Which platforms do women use the most? In first place is Facebook (76% of American women 18+ use it), followed by Pinterest (33%), Instagram (20%), LinkedIn (19%) and Twitter (18%). When we raise the age of respondents to 25, the numbers change slightly. According to research by SheKnows and Harris Interactive, nearly 4 out of 5 women ages 25 to 54 use Facebook regularly (79%), followed by Pinterest (30%), Twitter (22%) and Instagram (13%).

It seems that more adults than ever are using social media across the board, as you can see in this handy Pew chart, with Pinterest and Instagram seeing the largest increases.

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These gains are mirrored among women, as well. When asked about the frequency of their social media use, women ages 25-54 reported using Instagram, blogging platforms and Pinterest more than they were six months ago.

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Are women just more connected than ever? In a poll taken by Real Simple and The Huffington Post, 69% of women said they sleep with their smartphones nearby, 68% eat dinner with them and 76% check them at least once an hour. That’s a lot of time spent just an arm’s reach away from the next tweet, pin or Facebook post.

Looking at these figures, the show-stealer is Pinterest, by far. The Internet referral traffic generated by Pinterest has overtaken Twitter, Reddit and LinkedIn—combined—and is second only to Facebook as far as social networks go. Taking into account that a third of women are on Pinterest, immediately we know that Pinterest is a force to be reckoned with, or at the very least, considered as part of a social media strategy. 

Social media traffic trends October 2013 from Shareaholic resized 600

The takeaway? If your brand is hoping to reach women over social in the new year, it’s wise to consider all platforms, but Pinterest may soon have the biggest impact on your bottom line.

Social Media is the Aleph

  
  
  
  
  

In his short story “The Aleph,” Jorge Luis Borges recalls an experience he had gazing into an aleph. He describes it as “one point in space that contains all other points. The only place on earth where all places are—seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending.” This fictional story regards the aleph as a both a gift and a curse because it gives the gazer a chance to see and know everything on earth. That is what social media has developed into today. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other sites, we now have the opportunity to see all—to see into people’s lives and to see the world like never before. Social media has opened up the unimaginable universe. Like peering into the aleph, checking your newsfeed or your Twitter timeline provides insight into everything in our world, from every angle—simultaneously, infinitely.

The aleph is significant beyond Borges’ short story. Its symbol is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is literally a part of the word “alphabet.” It is venerated by Kabala and other mystic traditions that put value on an aleph as the pursuit of truth. Like the aleph in these ancient traditions, social media is the means by which we seek truth in modern times. From companies to customers, from artists to fans, from friends to family, and from your PC to mine, we can now paint a more accurate, “truer” picture of the people we interact with via social channels. Social media offers us an endless amount of communication that is continuous and extremely transparent. Through following people, companies, bands, etc. on social media, we can see who their friends are, what interests them, where the have been, where they plan to go, their religious, and political stances and a plethora of other information that we otherwise wouldn’t have discovered.

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"Aleph Sanctuary" - Mati Klarwein

Thanks to the advances of social media technology and the massive amounts of information these sites are processing, we have transitioned into the age of the “recommendation.” There are logarithms, programs and software that can now introduce you to more people, places, and things based on what you already like and your physical location. You can discover when concerts and art festivals are happening in your area, what news is breaking, and what song will go well with your mood for the day. Other sites will recommend vacations spots, restaurants, lawyers, and doctors. Heck, these sites can find you a job or an employee—all out of the comfort of your living room! This age of “recommendation” is giving us options like never before and it is shocking how incredibly accurate the recommendations are.

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As our technologies grow and progress, we must accept that our lives are no longer veiled in secrecy. You can be a pessimist and see this as an intrusion on your privacy, but if you are receptive to this information exchange, the possibilities are endless. The more you share, the more people will share with you. The more you follow, the better recommendations you will get and the more useful social media will be for you. So instead of being wary of this connectivity, you could revel in the endless possibilities of this aleph. It will undoubtedly open your world to bigger and brighter things while introducing you to more people and experiences you would have never had an opportunity to access before.

Jake Annear

From A Pinterest Lover: Five Tips For Brands

  
  
  
  
  

When I first joined Pinterest, I was like any other social media user. I was excited to try a new network, prepared to link my pins to my Twitter and Facebook, and to create content that would be shared. Though I was initially thrown off by the columns upon columns of wedding gifts, recipes, and fashion I saw on my first log-in, I now can easily find things that I'm interested in and spend a minumum of one hour per day on the website. Thanks to Pinterest, I click on images that link to pages I would have never seen from a Google search. I feel like the creators of Pinterest knew exactly how to keep my attention. Because pinning only take a couple of clicks and is the site's main encouraged behavior, one user can easily pin and re-pin a lot content in a matter of minutes. 

Screen shot 2012 08 23 at 3.52.34 PM resized 600

(Easily one of my favorite pins. Don't lie, you tried to eat your screen)

One day while looking at my activity, I noticed that a brand that makes recipe books repinned the above picture onto their dessert board. After looking through the board that it was pinned on, I discovered a whole new world of food images that linked to new recipes I’d never seen before, and I immediately clicked the ‘Follow’ button. This certain brand got me.  I fell into the strategy of a great marketer. 

I've noticed that a few major brands have also joined the Pinterest ranks, and they have quickly set the trend for marketers to follow in order to receive engagement and increase their referrals, all while gaining likes and followers.

Some best practices that I’ve seen are:

1)   Properly name boards and fill the description with appropriate keywords.  Name your boards after the pins that it will represent. If the name of a board is "Ice Cream Creations," I’d expect to see images of large sundaes, shakes and floats. Babble’s board titles have names that clearly represent the pins that will be found within each.  When a user clicks on their ‘Outdoor Play & Getaways’ board they’ll see a bunch of outside activities that users and their children will enjoy.

Screen shot 2012 08 23 at 3.48.54 PM resized 600

Pinterest’s search option is very specific. It won’t go out of it’s way to find corn by-products for a user.  A search for corn recipes will return pins, boards and people that contain this keyword.

Screen shot 2012 08 23 at 5.22.59 PM

(Yum, corn)

2)   Don’t only self-promote. Pinterest is a social community, so the key to growing is to be social; in other words; make it a two-way conversation. Comment on and share other user’s pins that relate to your brand. Starbucks does a good job of this. They have entire boards dedicated to things that have nothing to do with Starbucks. This can give a level of transparency to the brand to show that a company is more than just the products it creates. This outreach can lead to a follow for that particular board or your entire page. A brand can search for their keywords to find users, boards, or pins to follow or re-pin.

Screen shot 2012 08 23 at 3.58.59 PM

(This is a Starbucks board)

3)   Use good quality images that don’t directly promote.  Pinning images that contain all your products with a white background that links to a page where a user can buy them is boring. People want to see how they will use your brand’s product in their everyday life so that they can see how they can benefit from it. Chobani pins images of mouth-watering food that link to recipes that use their products. Users don't want to see images of Chobani's different flavors, so the company became creative and displayed other ways to promote Greek yogurt. Additionally, Pinterest is an image-focused network, so the most aesthetically pleasing pictures will command attention.

4)   Add contributors that share common interests. Brands can let users add pins to their boards. Of course, they should make sure that they are pinning images that relate to a particular board first before they're given this permission. Whole Foods has a number of boards that use several users. Brands can also use this tactic for contests as well. 

5)   Put a Pinterest link on your website. If a brand is serious about growing their Pinterest following, they should add a ‘Follow Me’ button to their website in a prominent position.  You can find a button on Pinterest’s Goodies page. Adding social buttons creates exposure for the brand's presence on social networks, and gives users a more in-depth look into who you are as a brand. That's the true essence of all social media.

There’s no doubt that Pinterest has massive potential for reaching users of all demographics. It’s up to marketers to figure out how to use it best for their brand. 

-- Sean Clark is a blogger and social media enthusiast. Follow him on Pinterest.

Does Your Mobile App Have Viral Potential?

  
  
  
  
  

From gaming and social video to personal money and time management, there is indeed a mobile app for everything…or so it may seem. Today’s mobile applications are cheaper and easier to build than ever before. This growth has primarily been fueled by the rapid innovation in mobile technology, which is predicted to soon replace Web 2.0 altogether. With that said, what elements will comprise the successfully viral mobile apps of tomorrow, and who will create them? In varying degrees, future viral apps will embody the five integral elements listed below.

(1) Solve real problems

The viral mobile applications of tomorrow must aim beyond solving small problems. Historically, web applications (including mobile) spread quickly because they addressed our basic individual needs, such as human connection (Facebook, and LinkedIn), knowledge of our immediate surroundings (Foursquare), and discovery of our personal interests (Pinterest, Spotify, StumbleUpon).

It should come to no surprise, however, that there are huge problems affecting billions of people daily—problems much bigger than being the next “Instagram for video.” Although these issues may be quite complex, it is possible that the capabilities afforded by emerging mobile technologies and social media actually could make the mobile apps of the future the missing pieces to the puzzle.

(2) Deep Design

It is becoming increasingly common for mobile and web app founders to consult with UI/UX designers before partnering with actual developers. User experience is everything, and its nuances can make or break the success of an app. Pinterest, for example, utilizes technology that isn’t that much different from Tumblr’s—both are microblogging platforms. Pinterest’s pin board design, however, is a simpler, more intuitive way to display what can seem like an overwhelming amount of information.

Mobile apps, in particular, are operated on devices designed for touch. This requires developers to think ergonomically in designing apps for fingers and thumbs. Whether on the run, in the kitchen, or waiting in the airport, understanding how, where, and when your target audience uses your app is needed for proper design.

Flipboard is an example of a mobile iPhone and iPad app that has brought a familiar element of touch back to the publications we consume. Users “flip” through pages of a digital magazine by swiping their finger over the screen in way that resembles flipping through its paper counterpart.

 

No longer is design an afterthought to a product’s development. Design has the capability to completely alter the definition and use of a product and set the tone for its relationship with the user. Those who build tomorrow’s viral apps will be visual decoders of sorts—gathering and visually organizing information in a way that is appealing, simplified, and engaging while fully recognizing the relationship between the user and mobile device.

Upon establishing the purpose of the app and approaching the design of the user experience, the following elements are also key:

(3) Instant utility via simplicity 

How long does it take the user to realize the core benefit of the app? Are there tasks or processes that could be simplified? Apps will differ in complexity based on their purpose and target audience, but simplicity should be achieved in the app wherever possible, whether it’s reducing steps to complete a task or finding a way to accomplish a specific thing that was once quite complex. Much of what makes Instagram engaging is the app’s ability to apply a number of beautiful visual effects to a photo without the need of a comprehensive photo-editor.

(4) Repeatable

How often would anyone want to use an app again, and who would do so? Successfully viral apps typically give users a strong reason to come back by fulfilling an important or unique task, and/or by finding a way to engage with users like no other app does. Angry Birds is amongst thousands of other games in our mobile marketplaces, but its simplicity, comedic storyline, and variety of harder levels encourages users to come back for more.

(5) Sharable  

Is this an app that users would likely share with others? The app can be interesting enough for users to share it on their Facebook Walls, or the app can have extended social functionality. Draw Something is an example of a sharable app by its ability to bring two people together (either friends or strangers) for a friendly drawing competition. Via a simple and engaging utility, Draw Something built a social gaming experience around something that many people already love to do—draw and doodle. Ultimately, developers must understand the extent and the means by which users will engage others with the app.

Although there isn’t a clear-cut formula as to what embodies a viral mobile app, the ones that are viral have varying degrees of the above elements. Entrepreneurs, developers, and brands should find innovative ways and approaches for their apps to encompass these elements. In the words of Forbes technology contributor, Eric Jackson, “Fortunes will be made by those who adapt to and invest in this new greenfield [mobile applications]. Those who own the future are going to be the ones who create it. It’s all up for grabs.” 

 

-- Thomas Varner

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