If we told you that Facebook advertising changes were coming your way next month, would you be surprised? We’re guessing you wouldn’t. Marketers and consumers alike notice frequent changes (often with shock and dismay) to their favorite social networks. While sometimes these changes are for the better from a consumer perspective, more often than not social media users are frustrated by surprise layout and functionality changes. As marketers, we understand the ramifications these changes can have if they catch you off guard! Scrambling to catch up is never fun, which is why we’re here to let you know that yet another round of Facebook advertising changes is set to roll out beginning in June 2014. The right-hand column ads we all know and love (pictured below) will be displayed at a larger size starting next month. The current 100×72 size will be phased out, which means the best way to get the most out of your right-hand column advertising is to create new 600×315 versions of your ads. These new ads will be rendered at 254×133 and are expected to increase engagement with your potential customers. We certainly can’t argue with that. Start planning your new right-hand column advertising strategy today and stay ahead of the curve!
Social media continued to gain popularity in 2011 and will grow even more in 2012. If you haven’t caught the social media bug yet, 2012 may be your year! Below are some of the trends we expect to see in the next 12 months.
The latest big idea from Google and major social network on the scene, Google will continue expanding Google+ in 2012 and plans to integrate the social network with many of their other properties such as SEO, Reader, AdWords, and YouTube.
Though most social media users still spend the majority of their time on Facebook currently, it’s a good idea to create personal profiles and business pages on Google+ now so that you’ll be one step ahead while interest in Google+ continues to grow. Furthermore good implementation of your Google+ page can produce search engine ranking benefits.
2. Facebook on it’s own timeline
While Google+ is giving Facebook a run for its money, Facebook is projected to reach 1 billion users in 2012 (via dreamgrow.com). We’ve seen major changes with Facebook since Google+ entered the scene, not least of which is Timeline. This new profile format encourages users to “live their lives via Facebook” and use the social network as a virtual scrapbook. Although introduced a year ago, timeline is yet to be implemented on all personal profiles. You still have a choice. However, to remain competitive in 2012, Facebook will be releasing Timeline for brand pages and introducing mobile ads. Additionally, Facebook’s 2011 purchase of Gowalla is expected to result in some 2012 enhancements to Timeline. (This links up with the Geolocation trend as described below.) Mobile meets local meets social meets viral.
While 2011 was the year of the URL shortener, 2012 will be the year of advertising. We are used to seeing sponsored tweets, but expect to see increasingly prominent ads on Twitter this year.
Additionally in 2012, Twitter will continue to be an important part of the world news landscape. In 2011 we saw microblogging play a major role in sharing news about Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, and the 2012 presidential election will make Twitter usage even more mainstream.
While technology becomes more advanced across social media, Twitter aggregators are making excellent gains as well. Buffer, an aggregator that schedules your tweets based on when your followers are most likely to see them, is now offering ifttt (if this then that). The ifttt service allows you to specify an action (such as favoriting a tweet) that will then trigger another action (such as retweeting said favorited tweet). There are many combinations that can be used with this technology so it is definitely worth a try! Buffer also allows users to email tweets via your phone or iPad.
Crowdbooster, another scheduling tool, provides a chart with data regarding your most successful tweets. With impressions on one axis and retweets on another, you have the ability to view total reach of your tweets. Pretty cool!
5. Pinterest – Yes, pin your interests!
Interest in Pinterest grew immensely in 2011. By allowing you to “pin your interests” with images you find online, Pinterest is blazing the trail for an even more image-centric social media landscape. Additionally, Pinterest is leading the way in the transition from long form curation (such as tweets) to push-button curation. Much more popular with women than men, because of it’s wide usage for planning weddings and looking at fashion, Pinterest is a niche network competing in some ways with the likes of Stumble Upon.
As Pinterest continues to gain steam in 2012, more and more brands will sign on as well. Expect to see more “Pin It” buttons next to the “Like” buttons you see across the web.
6. YouTube – the number 2 search engine
Using video to get the point across (whether you are an individual or a business) will become even more prevalent in 2012. With 4 billion daily views on YouTube, why not put yourself out there? YouTube videos are very sharable on practically every platform and 57% of internet users surveyed by Yahoo say they watch videos daily. People will be online to watch videos even more in 2012, so now is the time to get in the game.
7. Geolocation – “I am here, are you near?”
Social will be even more local in 2012 with services such as Foursquare expanding their offerings and geo-deals such as Scoutmob becoming more and more popular. Users can already add their location to tweets and Facebook posts, so expect to see more and more connection between location and social media in 2012.
While certainly on the scene in 2010, infographics became even more ubiquitous in 2011. Practically anything can be expressed via infographics these days and soon visual.ly will be providing a service that lets you easily build your own infographics. There are already several such tools available.
Infographics will be used more and more to display data. It’s easier to learn from a colorful picture than three paragraphs of statistics, right?
We’ll be back soon with 2012 trends in search, so stay tuned!
In the meantime what are your thoughts about social media trends for 2012? Please add your comments. Thanks!
Google recognizes the power of the social connectors (aka social media) by showing real-time search results including content from Facebook and Twitter. Google is unveiling the “Latest Results” which will show tweets from Twitter streams, updates from Facebook, answers from YahooAnswers and more. To me this indicates the power of real-time results. The freshest content and opinions are what searchers are interested in. Google obviously respects the power of the crowd and continues to believe in us. After all, we are the people who power Google. Google both serves us and we serve them by clicking on ads. It’s a symbiotic relationship. I wonder if they will start showing Aardvark results as well.
On Sunday, I gave a presentation on Social Media for Market Research in Michaela Hayes‘ Market Research class for the Green MBA Program students at Dominican University of California.
In working on the deck, I came up with a new way to remember your what your social media plan should include. And it’s so easy to remember, because it spells the word LOVE. We all love to be loved, to be in love, to give love and to get love and that’s what social media is all about. It’s about LOVE.
L = Listen
O = Offer
V = Visit
E = Engage
Listening is one of the best ways to show your love for someone. You can’t have a conversation unless you are listening to the other person, (think your ideal audience) and asking them questions about how they are and what makes them happy. If you haven’t started listening in the social media space, a good place to start is with Google Alerts. Simply enter the name of your product, business, favorite person or project, and alerts will send you emails detailing any mentions of your interest on the web.
Twitter’s search allows you to see what peeps are tweeting about in the Twittersphere. Enter a few keyword phrases into search.twitter.com and see who is talking about it in on Twitter. Find the people you want to follow and join the global conversation.
Collecta.com is another way to get real time results and listen to the buzz about your product or industry online.
And a little out of the box, but still part of listening, is asking questions of your network: On Facebook, I dare you to ask your friends their opinion of __________ and on LinkedIn, pose a question to one of the groups you are a member of. You’ll be amazed at the number and quality of responses.
Having something to offer the love of your life is always a good thing, so think about what you can offer your ideal audience in your social networks as well. Are you sharing links to valuable content with them? Are you posting humorous videos, inspirational quotes, or even just quippy remarks. Whatever you are offering keeps you top of mind for the people that see your posts and that is always a good thing, because when they are thinking of referring a friend to an expert in your field, hello, you’re it.
What would a relationship be without visits? You have to spend time with someone in order to get to know them, silly. So go and visit some blogs about your favorite product, or topic. Post a comment or two and join the conversation. It may not lead to your next million right now, but it will make you feel good and allow you to practice sharing the love.
Yes, you’ve reached that point in the relationship when it’s time to pop the question. Is this a relationship with long term potential or mutual benefit? To engage your ideal audience, you need to add value, spark their attention, keep them informed and be top of mind. You want your ideal audience to think of you as an expert, a friend, a confident and someone with whom having a long term relationship will be good, so treat them with respect and show them some love.
Contests and giveaways work well for engaging as does plain old GOOD CONTENT!
So, my friends, here’s my advice to you: For best results in social media, think L.O.V.E.
P.S. I love you.
Save the date: September 25, 2009 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
I am honored to have been invited and excited to be giving a presentation titled “An Introduction to Social Networking: Tools to Grow Your Business, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…what works for you?” The presentation is to women entrepreneurs as part of a joint effort by Honorable Jane Brunner, Oakland City Council President and the East Bay Community Foundation. It is one of many presentations in Councilperson Jane Brunner’s “Women In Business” Brownbag Lunch Series – Informative workshops targeted at women entrepreneurs.
It should be a great way to personally network with some cool women in business as well. Please share this flyer with your friends and colleagues.
To attend, please RSVP by September 21, 2009 to Luis Aguilar via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (510) 208-0845.
“Burson-Marsteller, in a July 2009 study of Fortune 100 companies, found that more companies had a presence on Twitter (54%) than on Facebook (29%). “
Furthermore when resources are limited in terms of time to spend on various social media channels, 21% of Fortune 100 companies use only one channel and 76% of those companies were likely to use Twitter, with only 14% choosing Facebook and 10 choosing blogging.
- Twitter means business, where Facebook is entertainment.
- Twitter is a place to connect around specific topics, where Facebook is a place to connect with friends and family.
- Twitter is about following people you respect and being followed by people who respect you. Facebook is about having friends, sharing photos, events and having fun.
- The twitter platform enables sharing of good links more freely and with a bigger reach than Facebook. Repeating on (and retweeting) on Twitter is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged, where repeating on Facebook makes your brand across as annoying.
- Twitter is faster than blogging
- Tweets are more easily digestible than blog posts. Think “byte” sized chunks of valuable information.
- Tweeting a link to a blogpost is the norm
- Twitter combines the fun of Facebook with the information and knowledge value distributed in blogs.
- Twitter is more mobile and easier to do quickly than Facebook and blogging.
- Twitter requires more listening than Facebook and blogging and that means the people that embrace the medium are better conversationalists, because dialog means listening and responding.
- Twitter is real-time, blogging is as soon as I can get to it and Facebook is whenever. Time means money and money means business.
According to E-Marketer spending on virtual goods is about to explode. How can this be? Why do people want to buy things that they can’t even touch, smell, taste or handle?
If you haven’t spent much time in virtual realities like Second Life, playing roler player games or sending virtual gifts on Facebook you may not be aware what these virtual goods are. They are things like virtual flowers, virtual cupcakes or even virtual hugs. Remember when you used to send someone a birthday card or present in the mail when you couldn’t see them in person? Well in the digital age this process is being completed via emails, SMS messages and even more – virtual cards and even virtual gifts.
It’s the thought that counts, right? Well if it really is, then whether the gift is virtual or physical it shouldn’t matter. Could that be why virtual goods are a growing industry? Is everyone just being budget conscious or cheap by sending virtual gifts? I don’t think so. I think it’s all about connections.
Let’s face it, the world we live in today is much smaller than it was even twenty years ago, because there are many more opportunities to remain connected with people all over the world despite any physical distances. Virtual gifting is a way to let your friends and family know you care about them. My friend Helen sends her friends virtual flowers and gifts for birthdays. Because of that she is top of mind to me and likely most of her other friends when we think about a friend who knows how to play the piano or do administrative work at a law firm.
Showing you care is a way of building connections with people and virtual goods offer a way for you to do that. That’s one reason.
The other reason is that your virtual presence is just as important as your physical presence. Think about it. How many people can you talk to or be in front of physically in one day unless you are at a conference or giving a presentation? In the virtual world there are endless opportunities to be on various networks connecting, sharing, listening and talking with people. Sometime you may not even be aware of the people who are following you.
Virtual goods enable people to improve their virtual presence (avatars) and profiles and since trends in the digital space change so rapidly, there is always an opportunity to purchase something more up-to-date. The good news here, except for the expense is that virtual goods are a zero waste product. That’s the joy of virtual – nothing to throw away, recycle or feel guilty about buying because you’re ultimately adding to the physical landfill. Virtual waste is far more easily erased.
I think we are just at the tip of the virtual ice berg, ha ha, but it’s something to be aware of at least for the near and virtual future.
For the past few years I have been a member of Kezar Road Runners, a fabulous group of runners who meet every Wednesday at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. We do a speed workout under the direction of Coach Joe and that is a story for another post, but just know that he is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet and the best friend you could ever have. He’s also a great coach, an accomplished runner and just an overall good guy.
After Joe’s workouts, the tradition is to head over to Kezar pub for a pint or two of Guinness or your beverage of choice. It’s the best part of the evening, not only because you deserve it after the track workout, but also because you get to spend some quality time with interesting people with a variety of backgrounds and careers, but with one important thing in common: an appreciation for running.
So that’s why I’m at the pub on Wednesday evenings (well as much as I can anyway.) My reason for this post however, is that I was recently invited to become a fan of Kezar Pub on Facebook. Of course I accepted the invitation because Kezar Pub rocks and it’s definitely the Cheers of San Francisco. I know the names of the bar tenders and the very appropriately Irish and as appropriately hilarious Sinead is even a Facebook friend.
Thinking about this, I’m not sure if Kezar Pub understands the value of their presence on Facebook, but it makes me smile anyway. They can now
- build a fan base BEFORE they need it so that when they do need it, they can notify their fans of events – the jello wrestling fund raisers are always fun!
- understand who their fans are and make them feel important by providing special offers – nudge nudge, wink wink, can we get a Facebook Freebie please Bridgett?
- be available for public comment online (for free) even though they don’t have a website – what no website yet? Scandelous! (but actually do they even need one? Could their Facebook presence be enough?)
- offer information about hours, payment methods and updates
- let their fans promote the pub through the social network effect with comments and photos (again for free)
Kezar Pub should have a website, but I’m sure they don’t feel like they need one. They are a San Francisco staple for both locals and sports fans. Most importantly, they are real and a cold one always goes down well after a good workout. Welcome to Facebook, Kezar Pub!
In the last five days I posted responses to an article titled 5 Reasons why Facebook is better than Twitter for your Business. Here’s the conclusion to those posts:
While both services off ways to expand your network and become more visible in the social sphere online, I don’t believe it is wise to focus on just one over the other.
I use Facebook mostly for personal connections with friends and family, for sharing photos and for having fun. The entertainment value on Facebook is big, but for me, it’s not really a place to be thinking about business. That’s not to say businesses shouldn’t be there, but if you are, you need to engage your fans and group members to keep them interested in what you are doing.
Is having a Facebook page a way to keep in touch with your customers and reach out to potential customers? YES, but only if you actively monitor it and keep adding interest to it.
Does Facebook have something to offer advertisers? YES, especially if your customers are active on Facebook.
Can Twitter help you understand your customers and build your brand? YES, but you also need to listen to what people are saying on Twitter and engage in conversation with them around your brand and related industry topics.
Does Twitter itself offer value for advertisers? No, but third-party sites can help you reach out to Twitter users who may be interested in publishing your ads.
Finally, I don’t believe it is an either/or question. Participating in any marketing medium means you have to do the research to understand what the medium has to offer and whether it is the right medium for you. For some businesses a presence on Facebook will perform better than a Twitter presence, and for other businesses vice versa. Comparing Facebook to Twitter is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes they are both fruits, but they have different textures and flavors and require different preparation and treatment for consumption.
It’s interesting that Facebook is ranked number 4 and Twitter is ranked number 25 on Quantcast and also that both sites skew more towards women than men.
Also according to Quantcast, Facebook “attracts a more affluent, teen and young adult, very slightly female biased following.The typical visitor reads USA Today and subscribes to People,” and Twitter “attracts a slightly more female than male group.The typical visitor reads Perez Hilton, subscribes to Entertainment Weekly, and visits tennayalayouts.com.”
What does that say about Facebook and Twitter? Could it mean that Facebook is old and Twitter is new?
The conclusion: It all depends on who you are talking with.
For the past four days I have been talking about why I am not convinced that Facebook is better for business than twitter. This is the final in five posts in response to 5 Reasons why Facebook is better than Twitter for your business.
5. Facebook Connect API
There’s no doubt that Facebook Connect has extended the ways people share information from sites external to Facebook on Facebook. The Connect application was a brilliant idea and many companies are using it effectively to showcase their stories and products within the Facebook networks.
Since Twitter also offers an API and countless developers have created tools that enable sharing through twitter as well. For example take a look at any Mashable article and you see the “ReTweet” button.
Retweeting on Twitter may not be the same as Sharing on Facebook, but both enable benefit to the sender and the recipient.