5 Social Networks & Apps Businesses are Getting Creative On (Other Than Facebook, Twitter, G+ & Pinterest)
In 2014, some 73% of online adults use a social networking site of some kind. Facebook remains the platform of choice but according to a study by Pew Research Center, a striking number of users are now also diversifying to other platforms with some 42% of online adults using multiple social networking sites simultaneously.
As a business, you want to be where your customers are. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are obvious social networks you should be using to increase your business reach and impact but there are other popular social networks out there that you are neglecting and that can potentially do your business a lot of good.
For one, millions of people from all over the world use Tumblr every month to find, follow, and share information. Tumblr is the perfect social network empowering businesses to create content and get it in front of the audience they deserve. By all accounts, Tumblr gives you a means to create a brand identity you can be proud of and tell your story using any number of media including pictures, animation, text, music, video, and more.
– 125k new users sign up on Tumblr every day
– There are 140M blogs on Tumblr
– With 63B posts
All you have to do to tap into this traffic is sign up on the social networking site (a process that takes under 30 seconds) and you can create content and engage with the very active Tumblr community by being an authentic member. How you tell your story on Tumblr is entirely up to you. Tumblr also makes it super easy for businesses to syndicate content across the web and other networks.
Instagram is unlike any other platform. The single focus of this social network is captivating imagery and this gives brands an avenue for rich visual storytelling. How you tell the story of your brand is what makes you unique. Instagram, in turn, promises:
– An engaged community; Instagramers are passionate about the platform.
– A visual medium where captivating imagery takes the center stage
– And a beautiful and inspiring environment
– Instagram boasts 200M active monthly users
– With 65% of those users being outside the United States
– 60M photos are shared on the network everyday
– That generate 1.6B likes
Effective communication is never a one-way street. Perhaps this explains the popularity of social media with businesses. Marketing methods used in the past have not been very conducive to back and forth discussions, have they? But social media, that’s a different story. Social media marketing actually thrives on interaction and engagement between a business and its customers. The challenge is to make people feel valued. In social media, you acknowledge the needs and desires of your audience and work towards fulfilling them. More often than not though, getting the conversational ball rolling is easier envisaged than done.
So how can a business increase its Facebook Page engagement?
We’ll get to that in a minute but first, let’s cover how much traffic you can expect from Facebook.
– Facebook has over 1.5 billion users worldwide
– 699 million people log on Facebook everyday
– 700 billion minutes is spent on Facebook every month
With the right marketing strategy, you can tap into that traffic.
1. Posts with Less than 80 Characters Get More Engagement
When it comes to marketing on Facebook, you want your business messages to be short and succinct. Don’t take forever to get to the point and avoid overly long or complex messages. These lessen engagement rates. People don’t want to “read more”.
2. Using Emoticons and Images Increases Comments
Photos and graphic content tend to generate more comments and likes than any other type of content and that includes videos and status updates. So, to increase your Facebook engagement, how about you figure your way around Photoshop and have fun with images. Rather than posting a status update, how about you convert the message into an image or an infographic?
3. Questions Generate More Engagement
Making some of your Facebook posts interactive, for example, by asking a question or posting a “fill in the blank” style post will increase your Facebook engagement. The audience on Facebook reacts extremely well to little quizzes and trivia-type questions. This is a sure-fire way to get people to connect with your business.
For prices as low as $25, you can buy Pinterest followers by the hundreds. Clearly, the decision about whether or not you should buy your way around the social network does not depend on your buying threshold. Other factors come into play and today, we’ll talk about these factors and hopefully help you make an informed decision post a discussion of the pros and cons of buying your fame on Pinterest.
Pinterest is a rapidly expanding social network. As of now, it connects over 70 million users across the worldand according to a Pinterest ROI study by Piqora, one Pinterest pin on ecommerce sites generates an average of $0.78, a number that went up 25% since Q4 2012.
So it does not take a genius to figure out that being on Pinterest and engaging with your customers on the social network can grow your social media following and benefit your business in many ways. Comments, likes, repins and clicks on Pinterest can:
- Drive traffic to your website
- Increase sales
- Generate leads
- And help you increase the reach and impact of your brand
So that covers the question of why you need Pinterest for your business. Now let’s talk about whether or not you should buy your way around the social site in an attempt to build your following.
Building a following on Pinterest, nay any social network is not easy, especially if you are not a business with a strong online following, like say, Coca-Cola, Apple or Nike. Ergo, the most obvious reason why businesses buy Pinterest followers is to make it seem like they are popular.
Now this might work for your business in the sense that, eventually, your account might actually become popular, increasing your online visibility and brand exposure. People on Pinterest come across your account and they see the number of followers and repins; the instinctive response is to join the crowd, right? So buying Pinterest followers might actually, in the long run, make you popular in reality and drive traffic to your website.
Buying Pinterest followers and repins by the hundreds or thousands will probably fool the average Pinterest user and your online connections into thinking that you are this popular authority figure in your industry but it won’t fool Pinterest’s algorithm.
You see, like Facebook, Pinterest’s algorithm works on certain signals that indicate whether or not your content is attracting a lot of attention and engagement. If you post content that Pinterest users love and engage with, your pins will show at the top of the Pinterest search results to popular pinners.
Conversely, if your number of followers increases by the hundreds everyday but no one ever interacts with the content you share, the chances that you will show in the Pinterest search results get progressively slimmer. It indicates that your pins are unimportant.
With that said, buying Pinterest followers and repins is also a violation of Pinterest’s Acceptable Use Policy, which has been recently updated to include subtle changes condemning users who pay others to follow them or re-pin their images.
In simple words, if you buy Pinterest followers, repins, likes or comments, you run the risk of getting your account banned.
Last but not least, by now, we are all aware of the fact that social signals are important ranking factors. But when you buy followers, for example, Pinterest followers, you will see an increase in traffic for 2-3 days but then, the traffic goes away, ALL of it. This may hurt your business’s search results and make you come across as spammy to the search engines.
Nike on Instagram
On Instagram, in addition to its primary @nike account, Nike runs other accounts including @nikebasketball, @nikefootballand @nikewomen.
The question is: Why? Why the extra accounts and the extra work?
You see, the reason why @nike is so successful on Instagram lies in its understanding that being passionate about a sport means being part of a community. And Nike built communities on Instagram defined by, not country borders, but by passion; the passion of fans and athletes from around the world.
@nikerunning is, for example, perhaps one of the most successful Instagram accounts. The way it brings together everything running related and the global running community is extraordinary and gives them a reason to feel that they are part of something bigger with hashtags like #werundirty. And all of this is brought to life on Instagram, with photos and videos.
General Electric on Instagram
General Electric is an American multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut. Now if you were ask to picture what the Instagram account of General Electric looks like, first off, you would probably wonder: Does it have an Instagram account? And secondarily, you will probably visualize photos of light bulbs or videos of how a refrigerator works.
Now let’s see how wrong you are.
The team behind @generalelectric is not here to promote appliances. Instead they are selling a bigger story; A story of powering, moving and curing the world.
Before Instagram, people didn’t know what General Electric stood for but in Instagram, the company saw the opportunity to develop an understanding for what GE does. In addition to successfully building awareness for its innovative technology, General Electric has managed to become one the most esteemed contributors to the Instagram community.
How they did it? It’s all about getting your messaging priorities to align with your business objectives and thereafter committing to a high bar for content for images posted typically once a day.
Ben & Jerry’s on Instagram
@benandjerrys is another Instagram account that deserves a special mention for the sheer way that it brings its ice cream brand to life on the social service. Focusing on things like key flavors, fun and the brand values, Ben & Jerry’s was one of the first brands to join Instagram in February 2011 and is now, one of the most successful accounts.
@benandjerrys is, in effect, a visual storytelling platform that connects people from all over the world. In fact, at least half the photos that Ben & Jerry’s shares on Instagram today are from community members.
On November 20, 2013, Pinterest introduced Place Pins. Now, we are going to go deep into this latest addition to the Pinterest arsenal, but before that, let’s look at some updated Pinterest stats that will no doubt reflect the reason why Pinterest is not just another social network. It is, in effect, the fastest-growing social media site of all time and in its 3 years of existence, Pinterest has become a huge traffic referral for businesses.
1. The conversion rate of traffic referred from Pinterest is 50% higher than the conversion rate of traffic from other sources.
2. Pinterest users are spenders. They spend more money on more goods more frequently than Facebook, Twitter and Google+ users.
3. Pinterest generates four times more revenue per click than Twitter.
4. Pinterest generates 27% more revenue per click than Facebook.
5. 47% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on a recommendation from Pinterest.
6. 80% of Pinterest pins are repins, which means that, although Facebook is the all-time social sharing champion, Pinterest is not far behind.
With stats like those, it comes as no surprise that an increasing number of businesses are leveraging the Pinterest platform to 1) help people discover them, 2) increase visits to their websites and subsequently 3) generate leads and sales.
And it’s working!
About Place Pins
Last year, right before the holiday season, Pinterest launched a new feature that will potentially benefit local businesses massively in increasing in-store traffic. This new feature is called Place Pins. Basically, Place Pins is a new type of pin. It allows Pinterest users to map their pins to certain locations. Originally, the point of this new feature was to benefit travel planners (Every day people pin about 1.5 million places of which more than 750 million pins are of travel destinations). But now that the feature is rolled out, it’s fairly obvious that it has great application for local businesses as well.
The Significance of Place Pins
In effect, Place Pins combine the beautiful imagery that you would expect of a travel magazine with the practicality of an attached online map that you can share with your friends. These maps can be accessed from anywhere on your Android device or iPhone. This means that, with Place Pins, you can find places and get directions on the go. Imagine how convenient such a tool would be if you were in the middle of nowhere in Spain and you needed somewhere to crash or somewhere to go for a warm meal. Place Pins also include details like an address and phone number right on the Pin.
To create a board of Place Pins, simply select “Add a map” when you create a new board. You can also convert an existing board to a board of Place Pins. You can then map your new and existing Pins on the board.
Twitter is the micro-blogging Godzilla. With 500 million Tweets a day and 230 million active users on the social site, everyday, people all over the world turn to Twitter to bring them closer to the things they care about, whether we are talking about world news or businesses down the block.
With numbers like these, Twitter can help your business in many ways.
1. Connecting your Business to What People are Talking About
One of the things unique to Twitter is that people take to this micro-blogging site to talk about things they care about and that could include your business. This gives you a powerful window to connect your business messages to what people are talking about at any point in time. Real-time engagement with Twitter users can help build your business.
2. Listening and Learning
Twitter is a very useful platform to gather valuable industry data, insights and intelligence. In real time, you can see what your competitors are tweeting about and you can get insights into how businesses are using Twitter to drive traffic, increase engagement and grow.
3. Growing your Business
Twitter is also a very good place to promote your business and increase its reach and impact. For example, if you want to grow your business, you can use Twitter as a platform to run promotions and to engage with your customers. To amplify your results, you can also turn to Twitter Ads.
About Twitter Ads – Advertising Tools to Get your Business in Front of More People
Twitter has three ad products.
- Promoted Accounts
- Promoted Tweets
- And Promoted Trends
Through these advertising tools, Twitter allows you to target the right people; In essence, your ads show for Twitter users who are most likely to be interested in your content, products and/or services.
The quickest way to build an active community on Twitter is to promote your account, the rationale being that the more Twitter followers you have, the more people there are to spread your message and engage with your content.
Promoted Accounts can help you:
1. Reach more followers (who are interested in what you have to say)
2. Build a community of Twitter users who will vouch for you
With Promoted Accounts, instantly, your business gets exposed to the right people…and plenty of them. And using Twitter’s targeting option, you can get your Twitter account in front of more people who are like your current followers in terms of say geography or specific interests.
With Promoted Accounts, you can also track your results in real time. For more information about analytics, click here.
We are all familiar with what Facebook is all about. It is a space where people from all over the world come together every day to share their thoughts and participate in real-time conversations from the Premier League standings to Facebook acquiring messaging service, WhatsApp in a $19bn deal.
On January 16, 2014, Facebook announced a new trends section, which will directly compete with Twitter’s popular trends. This new feature is designed to surface the most popular topics of discussion on Facebook, in effect helping users find the best content from across the social site. Till last month, Trending was still being rolled out and is not yet available to everyone.
To the right of your News Feed on Facebook, you can now find a list of topics. It’s only available on desktop at the moment. This list shows you the most popular topics and hashtags that are being talked about on Facebook but that’s not all. Unlike how Trends work on Twitter, this list is personalized based on things you’ve expressed an interest in. Each topic is accompanied by a headline. The headline briefly explains what is trending. For example,
Clicking on any headline will redirect you to stories from people and Pages who have shared them with you or have shared them as Public and you will be able to see what people are saying about a particular topic in one place.
It’s pretty obvious that Facebook is on a mission to become the go-to destination for finding out what’s hot on the Web. Previously, real-time social networks like Twitter was the site of choice for social network users to read on which topics are hot on social media. With Trending, Facebook has now joined the game. If it proves to be successful, Trending will most likely make the jump to mobile at some point in the near future.
Facebook Takes on Twitter Once Again
Yeah, that’s right. This is not the first time that Facebook has found inspiration in Twitter. Previously, Facebook introduced hashtags allowing its users to tag topics, a feature that Twitter pretty much pioneered.
With Trending, Facebook is taking one of several initiatives to become the home of news on the web. If sources are to be believed, Mark Zuckerberg’s next big product will be to launch a newspaper app that brings together content from various publications. Combine this with the real-time news factor that Trending has now brought to Facebook and the social site is well on its way to become the network of choice for people to learn about the hottest topics of the moment.
And with all the talk about Facebook losing popularity among the younger crowd, this new market could well be the sustaining force to make sure that the social network keeps its current users and add new ones. As mentioned before, Trending is currently being rolled out in several countries and as with the other Facebook features we’ve seen over time, continuous improvements will make perfect.
Tell you what, if you go to my Facebook profile right now, you will see that, over time, I “Liked” at least a dozen high fashion brands and two dozen local attractions including restaurants, hardware stores and a few travel agents. For one, there is this little French restaurant 3 blocks over that I have been meaning to drop by for quite some time now. Then there is dinner cruise I am always thinking I will book one day for my birthday or Valentine’s Day.
Basically, I am a potential customer for each and every one of these businesses and I absolutely love the fact that Facebook and the other social networks make it so easy for me to keep up with what’s happening around me. I mean, if tomorrow, the little French restaurant is having a special event like say 50% off steaks, I would want to know but at this point, I am not an actual customer of any of the establishments I “Liked” on Facebook. My “Like” means very little. And I’m not even talking about tweets or +1s!
So here is a question for you marketers.
Why are you guys still obsessed with Facebook likes and Twitter followers? Is it getting you anywhere?
You need to realize that at the end of the day, social media is all about increasing your business potential. A good social media campaign increases the reach and impact of your brand and exposes you to the right people. But an even better social media strategy involves work that converts this potential into action.
So are you ready to get your social media strategy right? Let’s get started!
1. Don’t Be an Attention-whore. Be Tactful!
For social media success, you need eyeballs on your content. What you need to know is this: Getting on people’s radar is a tactful process. You can’t mastermind crazy stunts to build your brand awareness. Sure, faking a hack (*cough* Chipotle *cough*) might draw some attention, but do you think that kind of brand awareness leads to action?
If you are going to invest in social media marketing, make sure people talk about you for the right reasons. You want your followers and Facebook fans to convert into buying customers.
Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm is dead. In fact, it’s been dead for the last two and a half years. Instead, the social networking service is using a more complex algorithm based on machine learning. The current News Feed algorithm doesn’t have a catchy name but it is estimated that as many as 100,000 individual factors are involved in organizing and producing a Facebook user’s News Feed.
Facebook’s original News Feed ranking system worked around 3 variables:
3. Time decay
Affinity is a one-to-one function between a Facebook user and an edge. In Facebook’s EdgeRank, an edge is anything that happens on Facebook. It can be a status update, a like, a comment or a share. For businesses, affinity quantifies and qualifies the connection between a brand and a fan. Affinity is built when a fan repeatedly interacts with a brand’s edges.
On Facebook, a comment is deemed more valuable than a like because it involves more engagement. In the “weight” system used by Facebook’s EdgeRank, certain actions have more value than others. All edges are assigned a value.
Time decay is a measure of how long an edge remains alive. Mathematically, time decay equals 1/(time since action) and the older an edge, the less valuable it is. This serves to keep Facebook’s news feed fresh.
So with EdgeRank, the way people used Facebook determined what stories showed up in their News Feed. This is still the case but now, there are some other factors that also come into play.
Each month, more than a billion people use Facebook. Users are accessing millions of Pages (over 18 million Pages to be precise), many of which actively look for ways to show up in people’s News Feeds and they are using a diverse range of mobile devices to do so with different technical capabilities for processing and displaying content. With all that going on, Facebook faces the challenge of controlling what stories users see each time they log in on Facebook and what content from Facebook Pages make it into people’s News Feed. Affinity, weight and time decay are still important but now, there are also categories and sub-categories of affinity.
Facebook is now measuring how close a user is to specific friends and Pages based on not only personal interactions but also global interactions. For example, if Facebook shows an update to 100 users and only a few interact with it, it may not show in your News Feed but if many people actively interact with it, chances are, the story will show in your News Feed.
1. Relationship Settings
Facebook now allows users to choose different relationship settings. For each Facebook friend that you have, you can label the person a “close friend” or an “acquaintance.” With liked Pages, users can choose to “Get notifications” or “Receive updates”. These factors are taken into consideration to determine what shows up in people’s News Feeds.
With 2013 coming to an end, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have published details of how the world snapped, tagged and posted their way through the year. From the new Pope to pop stars like Justin Bieber, 2013 has seen some familiar faces and surprisingly popular places.
Online Highlights of 2013
Let’s talk Instagram. With more than 150 million users worldwide and around 55 million photos posted everyday, Instagram is the perfect way to look back at the year that has almost gone. Earlier this month, the photo-sharing social network revealed its most popular picture and the most Instagrammed locations, cities and hashtags of 2013.
This year, the most ‘liked’ photo on Instagram was Justin Bieber’s picture with Will Smith, collecting more than a whopping 1.5 million likes.
The top location of the year on Instagram was the Siam Paragon shopping mall and leisure complex in Bangkok, Thailand with Times Square in New York and Disneyland in California in the second and third places respectively. No European landmarks made the list, which also includes New York’s Central Park and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. London was the fourth most geo-tagged city behind New York, Bangkok and Los Angeles.
The year’s top hashtags on Instagram include #friends, #food, #fashion and #selfie with the most popular being #love.
Moving on to Facebook, this year, the most talked about topic on the social network was Pope Francis with Miley Cyrus, Nelson Mandela and the former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also in the top 10. News events that dominated the most talked about topics on Facebook also includes the birth of Prince George.
In Twitter verse, Leah Michele’s post after the death of Glee co-star Cory Monteith and the tweet confirming the death of Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker were the most re-tweeted posts of the year.
What’s Google Saying?
In 2013, people searched for:
1. New Beginnings
– On July 22, the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby boy, delivered at 16:24 BST at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London.
– As of August 19, fifteen countries (Argentina, Belgium, France, Iceland, Netherlands , Brazil, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay) and several sub-national jurisdictions (parts of Mexico and the United States) allow same-sex couples to marry.
– This year, Pope Francis was the most talked about person on the planet.
– Cory Monteith, 31, actor on the television show “Glee” died on July 13 after struggling with substance abuse for years.
– Nelson Mandela, 95, colossus of the 20th century who emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to the white minority rule in South Africa died on December 5.
– Paul Walker, 40, star of the “Fast & Furious” movie series died on November 30 in a car crash.
3. Consumer Electronics
This year, the most searched-for consumer electronics were:
– The iPhone 5s. Although overall opinion to the debut of Apple’s new smartphone seemed to be positive, there were some moments caught on social media that drew wows while others were just ho-hum.
– Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung’s biggest release this year was the Samsung Galaxy S4.
– PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. According to the annual Google Year-End Zeitgeist, PlayStation 4 beat the Xbox One on the consumer electronics searches chart.
4. Other Global Top Trending Searches
1. Harlem Shake. The Harlem Shake is an Internet meme in the form of a video, which became viral early February 2013. The video currently has 68,406,520 views on YouTube.
2. Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by several cities in eastern Massachusetts. This year, during the 2013 Boston Marathon, at 2:50 p.m. EDT, two explosions occurred about 180 m apart on Boylston Street, in the last 205 m of the course. Three spectators were killed and more than 200 people were injured.
3. Malala Yousafzai. In a world where girls are gazed at more than heard, this newsmaker is no less than a revolutionary. Being featured on Time’s magazine cover as the 100 Most Influential People in the world, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, recipient of the 2013 UN Human Rights Prize as well as many other awards and laurels, this girl surely knows how to get her message across. A pen is surely mightier than the sword as they say.
4. Miley Cyrus. The 20-year-old singer took raunchy performances to a whole new level at the MTV Video Music Awards this year with an explicit display of tongue wagging and twerking.
5. Oscar Pistorius, Aaron Hernandez. The two most Googled athletes of 2013 include Oscar Pistorius and Aaron Hernandez. Oscar Pistoriusis a South African runner who used prosthetic legs after having both limbs amputated at the age of 11. He won numerous gold medals at the Paralympic Games and participated at the 2012 Olympic Games. Pistorius was a source of inspiration for the disabled until the sad news broke that he murdered his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Aaron Hernandez has a similar story. A star on the rise, in the summer of 2013, he was convicted for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player for the Boston Bandits. He faces a life sentence in prison without parole.
6. Typhoon Haiyan. Typhoon Haiyan was an exceptionally powerful tropical cyclone that devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, in early November 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record and at least 6,109 people died in that country alone.
A look at Google Zeitgeist