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Facebook Boosts Search, Instagram Launches Boomerang

Facebook, social network and…search giant?

Facebook search

Credit: Facebook

Facebook sees 1.5 billion searches each day and has indexed more than 2 trillion posts so, needless to say, there’s an opportunity that the social network is looking to explore there. This week the company announced some new steps being taken to help users find content related to searches. Some of the new features include:

Better search suggestions to bring up more relevant content when you begin typing your search (similar to Google).

Posts from your friends will show up if a search is performed with a topic they posted about. Example: Derek Adams post about being at game 5 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals if a search about Stanley Cup Finals is performed.

Public posts relating to a topic being searched will come up to allow users to dive in and engage in discussion with others.

These new changes should be made available to you soon if they are not already.

Instagram throws a Boomerang out there

A new standalone app from Instagram, called Boomerang, want to let you experiment and use one second video loops – similar to a GIF. This app (available now), lets you shoot either one second of video or allows you to loop five photos together into a video that plays and then reverses in a loop over and over again.

The interesting thing is that Boomerang doesn’t even require an Instagram account to start going out there and creating your own GIFs now! See how Boomerang can be used below! Boomerang

Facebook Dislike Button, Instagram Engagement & Annoying Hotel Guests

Facebook Dislike Button debuts…sort of

After years of requests from users Facebook finally unveiled the Dislike Button they had recently mentioned they were working on. The only thing is that the button they talked about turned out to be an emoji-like face to allow users to express an emotion they feel.

Called “Reactions”, they are a series of emoji alongside the good ol’ Like button to give users the ability to express the emotions seen in the image below.Facebook Reactions

Reactions are being tested out in Ireland and Spain with no word on if they will become available for worldwide use.

Instagram Organic Engagement is dropping

Social analytics company, Locowise, deduced that Instagram organic engagement is dropping after conducting a study of more than 2,500 brand profiles. The findings suggest the social network is moving closer to a pay-to-play model similar to Facebook (which owns Instagram). Interestingly enough, Instagram ads are beginning to become more widely available to pages…

Don’t be an annoying guest

Annoying Hotel GuestsExpedia has a list of the most annoying hotel guests. After conducting a hotel etiquette study and asking more than one thousand people which traits and behaviors they found most annoying of fellow guest the list is interesting:

  1. Inattentive parents who let their kids run wild
  2. People who are exceptionally loud in the hotel hallway for all to hear
  3. Guests who berate hotel staff

Check out the full list here and stay polite, friends!

 

Facebook Experimenting with Carousel Page Posts

Not just for ads anymore?

Carousel-type post from TwoSix Digital client, Hamilton County Tourism

Carousel-type post from TwoSix Digital client, Hamilton County Tourism

A new posting option on Facebook seems to mimic the carousel ad format it rolled out last year for non-advertised posts. When posting a link to Facebook you may soon see the option to include multiple images from the landing page (or uploaded by the channel manager) in a carousel format – with each image allowing for customized text.

When posting the link, the carousel format auto-generates and a blue box with text pops up reading:

Choose images from this website to include in your post, or upload your own. Each image will link to the website”.

Carousel-type post

Credit: Social Times

This option seems like a great feature for channel managers to showcase multiple aspects of a blog post or page (see the example above), or to use multiple images to draw eyes to a story (see the example right), but it should be noted that images in this type of format cannot be clicked on to enlarge – so if you experiment, make sure the images are clear!

At this time, Facebook has not commented or released information regarding these types of posts, so there is no confirmation that this is here to stay or just another new feature the social network is trying out.

What kinds of stories can YOU tell with the carousel?

 

Ad Blockers Big, Money for Snaps and a Dislike Button

Ad Blockers Big, Money for Snaps and a Dislike Button

mobile-ad-blockers

Credit: Apple

Ad blockers popular on App Store

Apple’s support of ad-blocking software in its latest iOS9 software appears to be paying off – for ad blocking apps. Three of the App Store’s top paid apps in the U.S. are ad blockers, causing concern for advertisers.

The adoption is reported to be even more popular in Europe. As of right now, the popularity of such apps appears to be on the rise but, like desktop ad blockers, it remains to be seen how popular the ad blocking software will be in the long term.

Snapchat cashing in?

Love that kitty Snap your sister sent you but bummed it disappeared before you could show a friend? For one dollar you can re-view up to three times. However, you can only use the paid review once per Snap.

Of course, this model marks a big change from a social network whose model is based upon the feature of a disappearing message.

Dawn of the Dislike button?

According to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg a Dislike button is on its way. He made the comments earlier this week and said testing would roll out “soon.” Zuckerberg went on to say that Facebook has heard requests for a Dislike button for years and wanted users to know the company was listening to them. He mentioned that not every story or post is a happy one (like crises or tragedies) and that a Dislike button could actually be used positively for users and in a supporting way.

Travel Reviews, Facebook Live and Fall Foliage

Travel Reviews, Optimizing Content and Fall Foliage

The most important parts of travel reviews

We’ve known for some time that reviews are incredibly important, but what is it in reviews that people look for most – especially when it comes to travel reviews? A new study set out to find out what that was and examined a number of factors in reviews for casual travelers, romantic travelers and business travelers. People were asked to read reviews and then select a property to stay at based on a number of pre-selected factors. The findings? Cleanliness is big across the board, but comfort and amenities are major factors for frequent travelers.

Some of the other big findings were:
Family travelers focus on the room, with comfort also scoring high. Wifi was a fairly important feature and food scored the highest for travelers in a party.

Facebook Mentions Live

Credit: Keir Simmons, Facebook

Facebook Live lives

Facebook’s version of a live-streaming platform, Facebook Live, is now available to people with a verified account and not just celebrities. The function will allow people like reporters to post content, report from a scene and even respond to questions people ask. Right now, the Live is only available through Facebook’s Mentions app, meaning the content being put out won’t show up for everyone to see – which could be beneficial when a journalist wants to avoid spamming newsfeeds with updates.

Catch the fall colors

If you’re looking to travel this fall and want to see some spectacular fall foliage you may want to start planning now – depending on where you are or want to go. In some places the colors are already turning! Check out this map to find out when the peak times to go before you’re too late.

Facebook Mobile Ad Format and Instagram isn’t Square

Facebook Mobile Ad Format and Instagram isn’t Square

Another type of mobile ad?

Facebook looks to be exploring a new format for mobile ads. These ads will first appear as normal Facebook posts, but will open into a full screen representation of a brand’s website.

According to reports, users can scroll through multiple pages of videos, images and text, most of which is hosted on Facebook.

The new ads are being tested with a small group of brands right now. No word yet on if and when this new ad type

Instagram

Credit: @Aashleyyuki

No longer hip to be square

Instagram users are no longer stuck using square photos! The social network’s new changes allow for portrait and landscape imagery to be uploaded by users. As you scroll through your feed you will instantly see new formats from pictures that will be seamlessly integrated.

This will, undoubtedly be, good news for all of us who struggle to get a photo to appear just right for our personal pages and have to continually go through photo banks to look for the appropriate photo that won’t be awkwardly cropped for our business or brand pages.

Speaking of Instagram for business and brands, we came across this great article showcasing 10 Instagram tools and applications marketers can use.

Facebook M and the Importance of Customer Reviews

Facebook M and the Importance of Customer Reviews

Facebook M

Credit: Facebook

Facebook launches Siri, Cortana competitor

A select number of users were greeted this week with a new feature when they opened their Facebook Messenger: a virtual assistant. Called “M”, the new tool allows you to make restaurant reservations, shop online, suggest and then book travel getaways – among other uses.

So, how is M different from Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana? M actually utilizes both artificial intelligence (like the others) as well as people, called M trainers, who work behind the scenes to ensure requests and questions are correctly answered. If successful, Facebook’s Messenger app will obtain more traffic and may even eventually take a cut of transactions it helps obtain. Right now, the feature is only available to a small number of people but, if successful, will begin rolling out to a wider audience. Wired has a great article on M you can check out here.

Customer reviews are more important than you probably realize

We all know that it is important in this day an age to cultivate good customer reviews and ratings online, but did you know that a whopping 87% of potential customers won’t even consider a business with low ratings? That’s according to BrightLocal‘s 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey.

Also notable is that the survey reported 92% of respondents saying they read online reviews when it comes to local businesses. Stats like these continue to drive home the importance of good customer service and a good online presence to help curate brand advocates.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the report is that 73% of those surveyed indicated they still read reviews on their desktop or laptop. That’s compared to 38% who read reviews on mobile.

Profile Tags, Snapchat for Business and RIP Google+?

Profile Tags, Snapchat for Business and RIP Google+?

Google+ DecouplingNo Google+ Requirement

At this point, Google+ is a bit of a joke (much like the image to the right). Fortunately, for those who groan every time they realize a Google+ account is needed for Google accounts, the end of the dark times has come. Google has announced it will decouple Google+ profiles from its regular Google accounts.

The first service that will be affected is YouTube. This means that a Google+ account won’t be needed to upload videos or leave comments.

Google emphasized that the platform is not dead. While that may be true, it certainly isn’t helping Google+, which has struggled to attract users since it launched in 2011.

Facebook Profile Tags Coming?

Do your friends think you’re sassy? How about funny? They may soon be able to describe some of your qualities publicly on your Facebook profile through the use of profile tags, much as people do with certain skills on LinkedIn profiles.

Facebook is reportedly testing the feature out in New Zealand right now and is fully controlled by users, meaning any tags you don’t want to appear publicly will not. There’s no word just yet if the feature will be rolled out to the greater public.

Snapchat for Business Use

If you’re struggling to figure out how to use Snapchat for your business or CVB you certainly aren’t alone. Fortunately, there’s some great tips from Social Media Examiner you can check out here, but the five tips they provide boil down to:

  1. Give Access to Live Events
  2. Deliver Private Content
  3. Offer Contests, Perks or Promotions
  4. Take People Behind the Curtain
  5. Partner With Influencers

Of course, it’s important to first identify if a social network makes sense for your particular brand or business and to also ensure you can fully commit to using it so that in six months it’s become a ghost town account.

Facebook CPC, Newsfeed tweaks and Instagram HD

Facebook CPC, Newsfeed tweaks and Instagram HD

Cost Per Click Redefined

To alleviate any confusion and better demonstrate what marketers are paying for, Facebook is redefining how it measures cost per click. Very soon, CPC will only register what the social network considers to be link clicks. Those being clicks to other websites, call-to-action clicks to other sites, clicks to install apps and clicks to view videos on other websites.

Facebook currently measures CPC with any click taken within an ad, including likes and comments. The change will hopefully clarify any confusion advertisers or marketers previously had when reporting spending and performance on ads.

Newsfeed Toolbar

Credit: Facebook

More Power to the People

Also in Facebook-related news, a newsfeed change being rolled out introduces users to a set of tools allowing them to select who’s updates appear first in a timeline, the ability to unfollow or hide posts, reconnect with people you’ve unfollowed and also discover new pages.

Obviously, the biggest potential impact may be see by brand pages which underscores the increased importance Facebook has been putting on paid outreach over the past few years. The new tool is available now on iOS and will be rolling out to Android and desktop in the coming weeks.

Instagram HD

Some interesting new changes are also coming out from Instagram with photos being in a larger 1080 X 1080 size. It’s a move that many will likely welcome and should make it much easier to aggregate and feature user generated content from fans by brand pages. However, there is a slight catch: right now the new changes are only available to view on mobile. Sorry desktop users.

Instagram HD

Credit: Sean O’Kane

Lead Ads and Ignored Messages

Lead Ads and Ignored Messages

Facebook Unveils Lead Ads

Lead Ads

Credit: Shutterstock

Facebook wants to make it easier for people to fill out forms to subscribe or sign up for services or programs through the use of lead ads. Lead ads work by auto-populating information in forms for newsletters, asking for follow-up calls or a price estimate.

Essentially, it’s more of a one-stop shop option that keeps users from jumping page-to-page, which can lead to people becoming disinterested and stopping the process. These ads will also provide instant information and data for marketers. The image to the right provides a great visual representation of what a lead ad would look like. Right now, the ads are only available to a select number of advertisers.

Customer Messages go Ignored

Any social media manager can tell you that a large amount of messages they receive on their channels is spam or completely irrelevant…but are 87% of those messages such? A new Locowise report measured 900 Facebook pages and found a whopping 87% of customer messages went completely ignored. Less than stellar customer service, you might say. Additionally, of the pages that did respond to messages, only 37% of their messages went answered.

It’s not all bad news, though. More than 60% of messages that received a response were communicated with in 2-4 hours. As previously mentioned, a large number of irrelevant posts  and messages are sent to social networks. No one is denying this, but in order to provide an excellent level of customer service that is expected from social media it may be beneficial to give our pages or inboxes another look – or look a bit more frequently.