» What’s Next in Social Media: June 2015

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 2015:

Facebook mobile appFacebook favors video

In late June, Facebook announced that it has made yet another News Feed tweak – this time to take more video engagement into account. Previously, Facebook tracked whether you watch a video and for how long. This new update takes into account even more video actions, such as turning on sound or playing the video in full screen. These actions taken on videos affect the prioritization of videos in your News Feed, so the more you interact with videos, the more videos you’ll see.

Continue reading on Forbes >>

Pinterest unveils Buyable Pins

Though the social network has been building towards more integrated e-commerce for a while, Pinterest has finally unveiled a new type of Rich Pin that allows users to purchase things directly from Pinterest partner retailers like Macy’s or Nordstrom. Pinterest users will be able to see prices, select details about the product (like color), and purchase with one tap of a button with a credit card or though Apple Pay. Buyable Pins will also show up in Pinterest recommendations and search.

Find out more from TechCrunch >>

Twitter adds Product Pages

Twitter has taken a page out of Pinterest’s book with new Product Pages and Collections. These new features include multiple tweets from a brand, but they also have basic product information and the ability to actually purchase those products. Collections look like normal tweets with multiple images, but when a user opens it they get more information and more images which all link to actual product pages. Twitter plans to extend this initial test to provide more personalized and relevant information to users.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: April 2015

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 2015:

What’s Next in Social Media: April 2015Facebook updates News Feed algorithm (again)

Facebook has once again updated the way its News Feed algorithm distributes page posts from users and brands. In an effort to improve the balance of posts between other Facebook users and brand pages, posts or articles from brands are being reduced in favor of non-business content. It’s unclear how much these updates will affect businesses, as there are a number of factors that determine placement in the News Feed – but be sure to watch your Insights over the next few weeks.

Learn more from Facebook >>

Twitter acquires Periscope

Earlier in the year Twitter announced its acquisition of Periscope, a live streaming app that allows users to broadcast their streaming video via Twitter. Previously, an app called Meerkat made live streaming video popular, but Twitter’s Periscope makes sharing your live streams easier and faster. Because it’s integrated with Twitter, sharing a live stream can be accomplished with the same experience as sharing a tweet with your followers.

Continue reading on TechCrunch >>

Pinterest releases Marketing Developer Partner

Pinterest has debuted a new program called Marketing Developer Partner, which allows Pinterest partners and publishers to create, schedule and publish Pins and boards for their clients. Currently, social media management platforms like Hootsuite do not allow for scheduling or publishing within their platforms, but a new API would change that. Pinterest also announced plans for an Ads API to give outside ad platforms the ability to push ads to Pinterest.

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» Facebook Like Gate Changes

Facebook Like Gate ChangesThe day has come – those who rely on contests or promotions with a “like gate” (meaning a user must first like the page before entering) are losing the feature forever.

Like gates are used to increase likes quickly by requiring those users to like the page before they can see or interact with the page’s content. The problem with like gates is that once the user likes your page to access whatever they were looking for, they’re likely to unlike or unfollow your updates. Even if they do remain one of your fans, likes acquired through like gating are often less qualified as actual fans of your business.

Like gates go against the new user experience Facebook has been implementing since March of this year. With the big News Feed algorithm update, Facebook announced that engagement (likes, comments, shares) played a much larger role in what is displayed for each user. Facebook began displaying the most relevant content based on engagement and prioritizing those posts over others that you don’t engage with as frequently.

So, what can you do? Unfortunately, like gates are likely to go away sometime this month and there’s no way to keep them in place. However, you can take the following steps to continue your social media strategy beyond Facebook like gate changes!

Think about what high like counts contribute to your business

Does it really matter if you have 100 likes or 1,000? Sure, a higher number may be desirable, but is it actually useful? Facebook can help your business reach new customers and build brand awareness whether you have a huge following or a modest one. Here, the quality is much more important than the quantity. You don’t need to trick users into liking your page – acquire them in more natural ways such as through your website, Storefront or other tactics. Even just asking clients to like you on Facebook during face-to-face conversations helps!

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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: November 2013

What's Next in Social Media

What’s Next in Social Media: November 2013Social 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!

Here’s what’s next in social media for November 2013!

Facebook Updates Chat

Facebook has been testing a new feature in its messaging that allows users to see which friends are using a mobile device to access Facebook or if they are using it via desktop. Before this feature, Facebook users who were not using desktop could use Facebook messenger but were shown to be offline, or they were shown to be completely offline even when accessing through the app.

Users chatting via Facebook can currently see that the other user is on a mobile device from within the message, whereas the new feature will allow users to know which device their recipient is using beforehand, allowing them to make more informed decisions in their messages such as sending shorter chats or choosing to wait until the recipient is on a desktop.

Continue reading on TechCrunch >

Custom Twitter Timelines

If you’re sick of searching through a constant stream of tweets to find something relevant, Twitter’s custom timelines are for you! Users can use Twitter’s Tweetdeck to create your own timelines around particular events or topics.

Twitter had dipped into this territory previously with Twitter Lists, but the new timelines differ in that they are completely embeddable. For those who would like to embed a Twitter stream based on a specific topic in real-time, this new function makes it possible.

Learn more on Mashable >

Pinterest’s New Place Pins

Last week, Pinterest introduced its newest feature, Place Pins. Place Pins allow users to geo-tag photos they pin, which means that they can be added to a map. Addresses and phone numbers are also optional so that users can easily get directions to the places they’re pinning.

Pinterest Place Pins use Foursquare locations to link up the address/phone number with the name of the location. With the introduction of this new feature, users are also invited to create boards with other users to plan trips or activities. Additionally, this new feature should save avid Pinterest users time when searching for answers about where an image came from.

Read more from Pinterest >

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» What’s Next in Social Media: October 2013

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing, so 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!

Here’s what you need to know for social media news and updates from October 2013!

Facebook Custom Audiences are Coming

Facebook’s newest ad product, Custom Audiences, allows marketers to import their own contact lists for targeting. The product is being rolled out to a limited number of U.S. advertisers over the next few weeks, with all advertisers having the import capabilities by the end of November.

Businesses can easily upload customer information such as email addresses or phone numbers and target users with ads for their business’s website, Facebook page or mobile app. The ability to use MailChimp lists with Custom Audiences will also be available for the first time.

Read more details on Inside Facebook >

What's Next in Social Media: October 2013Instagram’s Sneak Peek

Last month, we shared with you Instagram’s plans to add advertisements. This month, Instagram has released a sneak peek of what ads on Instagram will look like. Ads will be in the same format as photo posts on the social network, but you’ll know the photo or video is an ad when you see the “Sponsored” label in the top right corner of the image.

In addition to a look at the format of advertisements, Instagram also explained that you can hide an ad by tapping the “…” below the ad. This functionality takes a page out of the Facebook playbook, allowing users to have more control over the ads that appear in their accounts. The network is first testing these ads with a handful of brands that are already popular on Instagram.

Read more from CNN >

LinkedIn Gets Mobile Makeover

Based on mobile usage statistics, LinkedIn has decided that its future lies in reaching users beyond their desktops on mobile devices. The professional network is releasing five different apps that will cater to the varied needs of LinkedIn’s 200+ million users.

The first app, the main LinkedIn app, will be an extension of the experience on a desktop, with mobile-specific features such as the ability to press a button to instantly apply for a job. The other LinkedIn apps include a contacts app directed at sales people who need easy access to their contact lists; Pulse, a news aggregation app that combines LinkedIn news with news from other outlets; Recruiter, an app that addresses the needs of LinkedIn’s recruiters; and Intro, an add-on that routes a user’s email through LinkedIn servers to gather information about the sender from their LinkedIn profile.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: September 2013

What's Next in Social Media

What's Next in Social Media: September 2013Social 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!

Here’s what you need to know for social media news and updates from September 2013!

Facebook Plays with Auto-Play

Facebook is testing videos that play automatically on mobile, similar to how Vine and Instagram default their videos. The videos will be silent when they appear in a user’s newsfeed, but have the option to be expanded and un-muted when clicked.

This option will only be available for individual users during the test, but Facebook said it would “explore how to bring this to marketers in the future.” The social network is taking it slowly when developing this feature, as it would dramatically change the user experience.

In addition to users showing off videos with auto-play, Facebook is planning on offering this functionality to advertisers. This means ads would play automatically as well, stopping only when the user scrolls past them in the newsfeed.

Read more details on TechCrunch >

Twitter’s Next Major Upgrade

Twitter is planning its next move in the wake of its IPO announcement – a complete overhaul of its mobile apps. Twitter is trying to tap into the highly-engaging visual content that Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have already adopted.

The new design will enhance the visual experience for users, most notably adding a photo stream. The traditional four tabs at the bottom of the app’s screen will also be replaced with swiping functionality to get to the different streams. The Twitter feed we all know and love will stay, as well as the Interactions stream, with a few tweaks.

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» It’s Official: Facebook Graph Search

Earlier this year, we let you know about the introductory announcement of Facebook Graph Search – a new way to navigate your connections and interests on the world’s largest social network.

On Monday, Facebook announced it has started rolling out the new Graph Search tool to U.S. users. Facebook’s new search engine lets you search your Facebook social graph for people, places, photos and interests. The ultimate goal is to establish Facebook as a powerful search tool and a resource to get useful information and connect with others.

Many experts think that Graph Search will have a huge impact on the future of personalized searchfueled by users sharing information about themselves and their interests, checking into locations, liking pages and more.

The tool is an exciting search launch for the social site where many people and businesses share their interests, business needs, feedback and more. However, it is still a work in progress from its original beta launch this January. For example, the tool is not yet live on mobile, and does not incorporate information from third-party apps, such as Instagram or Yelp, though they are owned by Facebook. Also, it is currently only live for U.S. users*. However, stay tuned for what is sure to be many more exciting updates to come with added exposure this year!

Ready to check it out? Learn more about this new feature, and opt-in to ‘Try Graph Search’ directly from Facebook, and check out this article about the new tool from The New York Times.

*Note that Facebook indicated all U.S. users should have it within the next few weeks if not yet available in your account.

» The Social Media Revolution

How much time during your day would you say you spend on social media? Five minutes on your metro ride to work? 15 minutes during your lunch break? Or do you seem to be on some type of social media network all day? Working at a techonology company, I know I usually have my Facebook account open all day (and connect with clients online) and seem to search YouTube at least once a day.  According to a recent article on Slashgear.com, Americans spend over 2 billion hours on social media per month!

Clearly, social media has a definite impact on our daily lives — from catching up with friends and sharing recent updates and photos, to forming new relationships, promoting certain brands and companies, and sharing updates from our own businesses!

For some amazing statistics and insights into how we use social media and the internet, check out this installment from a social media video series, the Social Media Revolution: Social Media in 2013.

Here are just a few social media and tech highlights:

  • Social media has become the #1 activity on the web
  • There are over 1 billion Facebook users (making it the third largest country in the world!)
  • Each day 20% of Google searches have never been searched before
  • 1 in 5 couples meet online
  • Every second, two new members join LinkedIn
  • Every minute, 72 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube

Check out the full video, below! What are your favorite stats or what do you find most surprising?

» Tech Update: Facebook News Feed Facelift

Yesterday, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, announced that Facebook’s News Feed will be changing to a more visually appealing layout.

The News Feed will move to a design that focuses on images and video content. Another notable change is that Facebook’s new look will appear the same on your computer as it does your tablet and phone. This is yet another example of how the world is going mobile first!

Zuckerberg is comparing the new Facebook’s News Feed to a “personalized newspaper” where you will be able to organize and categorize your feed based on the type of content. For example, you’ll have the ability to create a Friends feed, a Music feed, a Photos feed, an Industry feed, and so forth to categorize your updates based on your interests. Also, the more you check a certain feed, the more important it will become to your account and will show on the top of your list of feeds in order to make the entire experience of the Facebook network more customizable. Check out the full overview of redesigned News Feed from Mashable. The new version started rolling out yesterday, so stay tuned for these changes to your feed!

Are you excited for the new Facebook News Feed? Do you think it will impact your business?

» Google Celebrates Diversity with the ‘Legalise Love’ Campaign

Just a little over a month ago, WeddingWire launched our Wed We Can campaign, celebrating DC’s Capital Pride Parade and our partnership with GayWeddings.com.

So, imagine our delight as we were perusing some headlines, and read via Mashable that as of Saturday, July 7th, Google has launched a campaign called ‘Legalise Loveto mark their support in eliminating gay discrimination worldwide. Google wrote in a statement, “‘Legalise Love’ is a campaign to promote safer conditions for gay and lesbian people inside and outside the office in countries with anti-gay laws on the books.”

Google is not the only tech-focused company committed to supporting same-sex couples. Since 2007, WeddingWire has made same-sex avatars available to couples who use our site, and recently, Facebook also updated its icons to include options for same-sex couples when they post a ‘married’ relationship status to their profiles.

While it may seem like a simple change to some, to the couples in the LGBT community who now feel included and represented by such influential companies, it’s a strong show of support.

» Introducing Facebook Promoted Posts

Facebook has recently started to roll out Promoted Posts for Brand Pages, a feature that allows your business’ posts to be more predominantly displayed on news feeds. Promoted Posts allow for businesses to reach and engage with more of your fan base that “like” your business and increase the percentage of fans your content reaches on fan news feeds.

These Promoted Posts will get shown to users who are already fans of your page in addition to friends of people who interact with the promoted post through shares, likes and comments, which is an opportunity to reach other engaged couples!

You can promote any type of post you can create in your page’s sharing tool, including status updates, photos, offers, videos, and questions. Promoted Posts cost $5, $10, $15 or $20, and are labeled as “Sponsored.” The post will be directly in the news feed, compared to ads which are located on the right rail, and will be viewable on both desktop and mobile devices, and has the ability to be geo-targeted to receive the most impact for your business.

How to Use Promoted Posts:

  • Click ‘Promote’: When creating a new post, click the “Promote” button at the bottom of the status box.
  • Specify Targeting: In the Choose Your Audience section, click the “Public” drop-down arrow to select from the targeting options. You can make it public or choose to target by location and language.
  • Set Your Budget: Decide on your budget based on the estimated reach of your post ($5, $10 or $20, and Facebook will indicate the estimated reach for the budget you select to help you decide how much to spend. Click ‘Save,’ and your promotion will become live.
  • Measure Promoted Post Success: Track your success via the automatically generated campaign in Facebook Ad Messanger which will provide statistics including click-through rate and impressions.

To learn more about Promoted Posts, check out Facebook’s overview video. Promoted posts are being rolled out gradually, so if you don’t have access yet, it should be unveiled to your page soon!

What do you think? Will your business use Promoted Posts?