» What’s Next in Social Media: 2014 Year in Review

What's Next in Social Media

What’s Next in Social Media: 2014 Year in ReviewThe big social networks are still finding new ways to innovate and introduce new features, even though they’re years old at this point. Don’t be fooled – just because networks like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest aren’t shiny and new doesn’t mean that their updates don’t constantly influence the way businesses conduct online marketing. 2014 was still a huge year for the big social players!

If you’re just now deciding whether or not to start a new social media marketing strategy, make sure you catch up on the latest social media news and updates before you start planning for the New Year.

Before you spend time searching the news stories to find out what’s next in social media, check out the biggest updates to social networks in 2014!

Facebook

Facebook’s biggest update for businesses was announced in December – new tools and insights for businesses are coming for 2015! The exciting announcement came as a result of feedback from publishers who need more social media marketing tools than just paid options. Facebook is introducing interest targeting for organic posts that allows you to target a subset of people who like your page so only that subset sees your post. Facebook will also give publishers the option to add a Post End Date to prevent users from seeing out-of-date posts from your business.  Finally, Facebook will introduce Smart Publishing to help businesses publish the most relevant and timely posts automatically. Besides the Facebook redesign in March and the News Feed algorithm update in June, these new tools are the biggest Facebook news for businesses in 2014!

Twitter

2014 was a big year for Twitter. Following its late-year IPO in 2013, Twitter created a new desktop design that radically changed the layout of the social network. The network then added Promoted Accounts to Twitter search so businesses could suggest their account to users searching on a similar topic. In July, Twitter helped businesses out in a big way by expanding Twitter Analytics so businesses could find out more about those following them as well as other users who show interest in their brand or activities. In the final months of the year Twitter also made strides in the e-commerce market by adding the “Buy” button to tweets as well as adding Offers to help businesses drive urgency with deals. All these features helped Twitter to solidify its presence in the top of the social media world, and businesses would do well to take advantage of these features in the New Year.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: September 2014

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from September 2014:

Facebook enforcing “real name” policy

While Facebook’s name policy is not new, the social network has made headlines this month as it began enforcing the policy. Facebook’s policy maintains that it requires “everyone to provide their real names, so you always know who you’re connecting with.” This policy affects personal, individual Facebook profiles, not business pages – but if you have yet to create a real business page for your business, now’s the time to make the switch!

Read more on the Guardian >>

Twitter unveils Twitter unveils “Buy” button

Twitter took its first steps towards fully integrated e-commerce this month with the “Buy” button. While the process is still early and the button is only available for test partners, this new feature allows retailers to monetize their Twitter followers by allowing them to buy while on Twitter. This is especially easy for mobile users to purchase through their smartphone with fewer steps.

Find out more on Twitter’s blog >>

Pinterest to launch conversion tracking

Great news for Pros looking to advertise on Pinterest: the network is releasing new advertising products that will help grow your Pinterest following and help you track conversions! Promoted Pins have been an advertising product for a while, but Pinterest is getting serious with its tracking abilities to help you determine ROI and give you insight into your audience.

Learn more from TechCrunch >>

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» Infographic: How to Build a Buzzworthy Brand

In today’s marketing landscape, 72% of internet users are active on social media and 46% of online users count on social media when making a purchase decision. Those are impressive statistics! Is your wedding business taking advantage of these statistics to reach couples planning their wedding?

If you need help building a buzzworthy brand in the wedding industry, our infographic has tips for using social media to grow your business’ presence!

Infographic: How to Build a Buzzworthy Brand

» What’s Next in Social Media: August 2014

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from August 2014:

Facebook's new Save featureFacebook’s new Save feature

For those who use the Facebook app on iOS, you may have noticed a new option in the drop down menu you see in the right corner of link posts. Facebook is following the lead of services like Pocket and allowing users to “save” links to a list to be found later. This feature makes it easier for users to find stories they may not have had time to look through at the time they first saw it in their News Feed. This feature extends the life of links you post on your page, as your audience can save them for a more convenient time!

Read more on Wired >>

Twitter tests Favorite changes

Twitter has been testing the value of different on actions on Twitter and how they show up in your Twitter timeline. Previously, when a user “Favorited” another tweet, a notification was sent to the other user, but it did not create a story within other people’s timelines. Now, Twitter is testing including Favorites within the timeline, similar to a Retweet. Similar to this test is including tweets from accounts that are followed by one or more of your followers.

Learn more from Mashable >>

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» What’s Next in Social Media: July 2014

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from July 2014:

Facebook separates Messenger app

In a move some in the industry are questioning, Facebook is separating its Messenger functionality from its mobile and tablet apps, thereby forcing users to download Messenger if they would like to continue receiving Facebook messages on their phones. While user research suggests that users like to use separate apps for separate activities, many have complained about using multiple apps to interact with friends on Facebook. Messenger remains a free app for those who like to use Facebook chat on mobile devices.

Read more on Mashable >>

What's Next in Social Media: July 2014Google+ re-evaluates real names policy

When Google+ was launched three years ago, Google pushed heavily for the use of real names on its social network. The goal was to create a new social network built around real people, but it also caused those users who wanted to remain anonymous to avoid using the network. After the forced integration with YouTube comments, however, there was even more backlash from users who wished to keep their identities private. Google+ has begun rolling back this policy so that users can alter their names in order to keep a level of anonymity.

Continue reading on Small Business Trends >>

Twitter allows for more analysis

Twitter’s analytics service SocialRank has received a significant upgrade to allow brands to evaluate your followers on Twitter. Previously, the service allowed you to identify the most influential users who follow your business in order to help you create targeted strategies. Now, brands can drill down into their analytics to find out more about those following them as well as other users who show interest in their brand or activities. The limitation on searches, which was previously capped at 10, has now been removed so that brands have even more options.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: June 2014

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from June 2014:

Facebook’s latest algorithm change

Facebook has updated its News Feed algorithm yet again! This change, though, should make users a bit happier: the change will assist Facebook in serving users videos that are most relevant to them. Now, a video’s “weight” or value in the News Feed will be partially determined by how long a user watches a video and the number of engagement metrics such as likes, comments and shares. If you typically watch a lot of videos when browsing your News Feed, you’ll start seeing more of them with this new change! The good news for businesses is that the videos that are popular and being watched will reach a larger audience than those that have low engagement.

What’s Next in Social Media: June 2014Read more on Facebook’s newsroom >>

Instagram adds new editing options

After years with no upgraded photo filters, Instagram releases its biggest update so far! Rather than adding new photo filters, the photo-sharing app has improved its editing options for existing filters. Users can select a filter and use a slider to determine how much of the filter’s effect they’d like to apply. Then, users can also choose from eight new photo adjustment tools that many editing programs offer, such as brightness, contracts, saturation, highlights and more. Businesses can use these new tools to really have more control over images posted on Instagram, which makes it easier to keep a brand identity flowing through on your social networks!

Get more details on Wired >>

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» How to Boost Your Social Media with Images

Social media is an extremely important part of your wedding business. While you may be posting statuses about your business to build brand awareness, a recent study shows that posting images may be the best way to take advantage of social media.

This summer, amp up your social media game by using more images! Below are a few things to take into consideration as you begin to leverage more images:

How to Boost Your Social Media with ImagesUse images to convey positive emotions. Did you know that posts with images are four times more likely to convey positive emotions than posts with just text? This means that when one of your customers sees that you posted an image, they are more likely to think positively about you. Images also allow more positive engagement with your customers – it’s much harder to complain about a photo than it is to complain about text.

Know where and how best to post an image. When posting an image to one of your social networks, think about your audience on that network.. A recent study revealed that Instagram posts have 58 times more engagement than a Facebook post and 120 times more engagement than a tweet, so Instagram could be your best bet. Remember, though, that since most updates on Facebook and Twitter are text, an image may help your brand stand out a bit more. Consider where you’re posting and how your audience usually interacts with your updates.

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» Instagram Tips and Tricks

Instagram Tips and TricksAs your business continues into the busy season this summer, you’ll be out and about and away from the computer for a lot of your time. Social media is likely not a priority when you get back to your desk after a long day, but you don’t have to allocate alone time specifically for a network like Instagram!

Because Instagram is mostly a mobile social network, it’s easy to manage and post while you’re out of the office. It’s a great network for brands to post behind-the-scenes photos and videos, as well as product or service photos at events. If you’ve never used Instagram or you’re struggling to get started, use these Instagram tips and tricks to boost your account’s performance!

Spend time exploring

If you don’t use Instagram personally, spend some time exploring Instagram before you start using an account for your business. Like most social networks, the majority of users are individuals. Instagram is fairly informal, so pay attention to the way others are using it – how they use captions, what hashtags they use and any other trends you spot that would be good for your business’ use. The better you understand how individuals and brands are using Instagram, the better you’ll be able to reach potential clients and interact with them in a native way.

Use hashtags

Hashtags used to be only for Twitter, but not anymore! Hashtags are extremely popular on Instagram, as they’re used to explore certain topics and help accounts gain followers. Check out some of the photos in the Explore tab to see what hashtags people are using and if any of them are a good fit for your posts. It’s a good idea to use popular hashtags so that your account will be found by the people searching those hashtags, but you can also create a few branded hashtags of your own. Creating a hashtag with your business’ name or some other identifier can also help set your business apart and establish your branding within Instagram. Even if you forget to include a hashtag in your original caption, you can always comment on your own photo to include more.

Mix in photo and video

While Instagram was created to share photos, it has also expanded to include short video clips as well. Be sure to experiment with both and mix up the content you’re posting. Posting photos is easy as long as the image can be cropped into a square, and there are a number of filters and other photo effects you can use to give your posts a distinct look. You can create a video on Instagram using live video or a video already on your mobile device – or a mix of the two! Instagram will also allow you to pick the thumbnail that appears on Instagram for users to watch, and you can add filters to videos as well.  It doesn’t take a lot of time or work, so make sure you try both post types.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: April 2014

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from April 2014:

What’s Next in Social Media: April 2014Facebook’s Business Manager Tool

Facebook has officially launched Business Manager, a tool that allows Facebook business page users to manage multiple campaigns and collaborate with multiple employees! The best part of this new feature is that people who use their personal Facebook accounts to log in to their business pages will now have better separation between the two. Additionally, multiple administrators can be added without being “friends” with each other (thereby giving access to personal page information). Facebook will now function much more like a professional marketing platform for businesses rather than a social network.

Read more on Mashable >

New Twitter Profiles

If you’ve logged into your actual Twitter account lately, you’ve probably noticed Twitter user profiles have a new look. Much like Facebook’s timelines and cover photos, the new profile layout features a wider cover photo and streamlined feed. Most importantly, Twitter will now “call out” your best performing tweets by making them appear larger on your profile.  Now visitors to your profile will see your most engaging tweets, and you can even pin a specific tweet to the top of your profile.

Find out more on The Verge >

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» What’s Next in Social Media: February 2014

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from February 2014:

Facebook Shows Who Posts

If you have multiple users on your business’ Facebook page, you’re now in luck – Facebook’s new feature allows page admins to see which admin wrote posts! It’s easier than ever to know who has been participating the most, who posted last and other benefits depending on how your business uses your page. Don’t worry though; this feature is only visible to other admins, so none of your fans and followers will be able to see the individual admins.

Read more on AllFacebook >What's Next in Social Media: February 2014

Twitter Adds Ads to Search

Twitter will soon be taking a page out of Google’s book by including Promoted Accounts, a form of Twitter advertising, in Twitter search results. Recent research by the network indicates that users are 72% more likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow, and this new feature will attempt to foster those relationships with brands while users are searching on a topic.

Find out more from Fast Company >

Pinterest’s New Chrome Extension

Pinterest has updated its “Pin It” button for Chrome users. When the extension is enabled in Chrome, users can hover over an image and the “Pin It” button will appear, where you can save it to your Pinterest boards in a matter of a few clicks. Notably, this new function will also include the image’s URL in the description, which makes it easier to see where the image originally came from!

Learn more on The Next Web >

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» Why Your Business Should be on Instagram

Why Your Business Should be on Instagram

Instagram, the increasingly popular online photo- and video-sharing social network, is not often the first choice for businesses as a marketing platform. But with 150 million monthly active users and over 16 billion photos shared thus far, it’s getting increasingly hard for businesses to ignore! Young engaged couples are on Instagram, so it’s important that you reach them where they’re already spending time.

So how can your business make use of Instagram? If you already use the app as a personal network, you know it’s extremely easy to take mobile photos and make them look instantly more professional through the editing options and filters. By uploading photos and videos that support your business’ brand, you’ll place yourself right in front of your audience.

Below are some of the reasons why your business should be on Instagram:

Brand Awareness

You can easily build brand awareness on Instagram through the use of high-quality photos and videos with hashtags. Similar to how they’re used on Twitter, hashtags allow users to filter posts by interest. Using industry hashtags such as #wedding, #WeddingPlanning, or #RealWeddings, will put your posts in front of users interested in those topics. Users will associate your brand with those topics, and follow to see more from you.

Brand Personality

Instagram is not as serious as other networks as it’s relatively new and simpler than networks like LinkedIn or Facebook – so show some brand personality! While always remaining professional (no cursing!), have some fun with your Instagram account. Show behind-the-scenes photos or videos of your events, the process for getting ready for events, or just goofing around at the office. If your business is friendly and good at what you do, couples will want to hire you (or at least take the time to look you up – so make sure you add your website or contact info in your short bio).

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» What’s Next in Social Media: 2013 Year in Review

What's Next in Social Media

2013 was a big year for social media! Even though many of the networks in the post below are several years old, they’re still finding new ways to innovate and introduce new features and functionalities that constantly influence the way businesses conduct online marketing.

What's Next in Social Media: 2013 Year in Review

If you’ve been busy the past few months or you’re just now deciding whether or not to start implementing a social media marketing strategy, make sure you catch up on the latest social media news before you start planning for 2014. Before you spend time searching the news stories to find out what’s next in social media, start here!

Below are the biggest updates to the major social networks in 2013!

Facebook

Although Facebook is the oldest social network in this post, there were still several big changes this past year. Early in the year Facebook announced Graph Search, the new functionality that allows anyone to search and find terms in posts, pages, groups, and comments from your friends or those who post publicly. This was the first update toward allowing users to dig deeper into trends and conversations. Facebook then announced it would begin using clickable hashtags to help users further follow conversations they are most interested in. Both of these updates allow Facebook users to expand their reach beyond their own friends and make new connections. Businesses can use both of these features to build their customer base and reach fans in real-time.

Twitter

In addition to Twitter going public with a late-year IPO, Twitter made a few visual changes to expand its use past 140-character tweets. Twitter completely re-designed their mobile app to enhance the visual experience for users, most notably adding a photo stream. The traditional four tabs at the bottom of the app’s screen were replaced with swiping functionality to get to the different streams. Additionally, in the home stream, Twitter made it so images automatically appear (previously, users had to click on a tweet to reveal the photo). These changes mean that businesses can give their followers a more complete picture of their business by incorporating images into their Twitter conversations.

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