The past few months have brought some interesting and important changes to the world of social media and online marketing. We’re taking a look at the most important updates to the top social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest and how they can impact the way you market your business on those sites.
Taking a page out of the Twitter and Instagram playbooks, Facebook announced earlier this month that it will now support hashtag functionality. Users can add a hashtag to a word or phrase, and the word will become clickable. Then, when a Facebook user clicks on that word or phrase, a news feed will pop up that pulls up public posts that have been tagged with the same word or phrase. This makes it easy for users to discover other similar content or for a group of people to follow the conversation on Facebook around a specific hashtag term, such as a sporting event, campaign, public event, concert, TV program, or promotion. As a business, you will be able to use Facebook hashtags for a variety of purposes, such as promoting your products or services, integrating them into your Facebook campaigns, and more. Remember not to use too many hashtags, and only use those that are relevant to the post or to your business.
Twitter is currently conducting a staged rollout of a native analytics dashboard for a select group of users. If you’re a selected user, this dashboard is accessible by logging into your account on Twitter’s advertising page. From this dashboard, you can see how many times your tweets were retweeted, received replies, or were favorited. You can also see a graph of your mentions, follows, and unfollows. You can also sort your tweets by “Best, Good, or All” and even download the list into a CSV file for offline analysis. If you’re unable able to access Twitter Analytics today, Twitter will eventually make this feature available to all users. You can use these native analytics to learn more about how your tweets, campaigns, and twitter strategies are performing.
Google Plus Dashboard for Business Pages
Google is rolling out its Google+ Dashboard to all users. This dashboard gives SMBs a way to update company information, including website URLs, store hours, and phone numbers from a single location. This information is then distributed to Google Maps and Google+ pages. Page owners can also use this area to assign page managers, share photos and videos, and start hangouts (video chat) with fans and customers. The dashboard also provides a way to monitor your Google+ page, see “at-a-glance” information about your AdWords Express account, generate special offers through Google Offers, and get insights about your business, such as top searches, sources of driving direction requests, and performance of your posts on Google+.
LinkedIn: Rich Media
LinkedIn is rolling out its rich media feature to users over the course of the next few weeks. What is rich media? It’s images, videos, documents, and presentations – the visual and written content that gives more depth to a LinkedIn profile than words alone. With rich media, LinkedIn members can post pictures, videos, and other content to their individual profiles. Rich media can help the SMB owner reach their personal LinkedIn network through helpful content that promotes their business and industry and engages audience interest. For example, a professional portrait photographer could post work samples to her profile and then promote that post out to her LinkedIn network.
Pinterest: Rich Pins
Pinterest recently added a new feature called rich pins, which include more information than a standard Pinterest pin. There are three types of rich pins: recipe, product, and movie pins. Recipe pins include ingredients, cooking times, and serving information. Product pins include real-time pricing, location, and availability information. Movie pins include ratings, cast members, and reviews. SMBs whose products or services fall within these categories are now well positioned to create pins with more information, which can lead to more shares and discoverability by other users on the site.
Video continues to be a popular way to reach consumers and add depth to your marketing content. Now, Instagram has added videos to its photo-sharing platform. SMBs who use Instagram can record videos that are up to 15 seconds in length. Thirteen video filters are also available. Plus, after recording a video, you can select a frame from a video to use as the video cover image. When considering adding video to your marketing plan, think about the kinds of video you can create within the 15-second limit, such as part of an event, an introduction of a new product, or a quick tour of your store. Take advantage of Instagram’s and Facebook’s hashtag support to tag your videos with relevant content. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can choose to post your “Instavideos” to your Facebook page as well.
Google Maps Update
The next generation of Google Maps was announced at the Google I/O convention in San Francisco in May and the launch of its app for Android was announced July 10. Although still in phased rollout, Google Maps’ refresh will offer some promising features small businesses will appreciate once the full rollout occurs. For example, information cards will provide helpful information like a company’s business hours, business ratings, and Zagat reviews. And your customers will enjoy road re-routing directions to your business in the event of slow traffic or car accidents near your location.
Do you plan to use any of these new features in your social media and online marketing? Let us know in the comments section!