Social Media and Keeping Up with the Joneses (The Competition!)


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By Hector Cisneros

Massive Change
Massive Change (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)
The marketing world we live in today is a far cry from the one our parents grew up in during the 50’s and 60’s. TV, News Paper, Yellow Pages and Radio have hardly changed their format since their inception. In contrast, the internet is a rapidly evolving medium. If you look at all the marketing segme
nts of the Internet, Social Media is the most volatile. In fact, more rapid changes are coming to LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. The last 12 months showed massive changes. The past four months have seen a slew of new features, many updated or upgraded elements and there does not seem to be an end in sight! How will these social media changes affect your businesses' social standing? Will it mean additional changes in how you manage your social media? Are you going to have to join other networks? Read this week's blog post and listen in to our weekly radio show and learn why you need to keep up with the Joneses, (your competition) to win with social media.

So you might be asking who are the Joneses? In this article we are referring to your competitors. Rapid change in technology and software tools can make or break your social media standings. Not taking advantage of new features can leave your social media sites looking old school and unrefined. More importantly you will not be taking advantage of the opportunities available to your business. Let's look at a half dozen changes that have taken place in various social media platforms and how they have affected some businesses.

Facebook Changes Worth Noting

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface
Illustration of Facebook mobile interface
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Facebook biggest change for the year was the addition of Global Brand Pages. This allows a company to create a single URL, yet have it customized for each local market it services. Next is massive growth. Facebook started the year with a professed 900,000,000 subscribers and is now well over a billion. Facebook has changed how you interact and post to the news feed timeline and how you organize and pay attention to your friends. This is true both for personal accounts as well as Fan Pages. They have also revamped how Pay Per click and Pay per view is organized, reported and executed. They have even added mobile-only ads. This effects not only how you interpret your analytics it also effects how you use Facebook psychographics to drill down to your intended target market. Make sure you study Facebook’s tutorials for advertising and make sure any YouTube training videos you watch are current and that they reflect the new changes. Without understanding these changes your marketing will not produce like it once did. Facebook has plateaued in growth. Look to see its growth slow in 2013. 

Twitter Changes Worth Noting

 

Twitter has added "Tailored Trends," which is designed to notify a subscriber about trends in which users should be interested. This is based on your profile and what Twitter knows about you as a
 subscriber. Twitter has added more options to PPC and sponsored links this year. You can now target users by their interests as well. They have also changed their look and feel, added banner backgrounds and also allow subscribers to create a photo/video gallery. Twitter has shown massive growth this year, more than any other network. They have shown the greatest percentage of growth, from a mere 125,000,000 subscribers to 500,000,000 subscribers this year. I have also noticed an increase in their sensitivity to the number of follows you make per day. There sometimes seems to be no rhyme or reason to their limits. Just err on the side of caution when setting up a new account and spread out your follows throughout the day if you want to avoid being tagged as a spammer. Make sure you take advantage of the photo gallery and the new banners. It will improve your look and feel, increase your traffic, and help grow your following.


Google+ Changes Worth Noting

Google Plus Circles - Pros and Cons
Google Plus Circles - Pros and Cons
(Photo credit: Squidooer)

Google + has folded had several other Google properties and integrated a couple of new ones into the platform this year. The most important of these is merging Google Local, Google +1 and Google Invite, in to Google+. Google+ also upgraded free teleconferencing/screen sharing facility called Hangou
ts. In addition, you can now broadcast your hangout events to the world and record them straight to YouTube.  Google+ also updated/tweaked its brand pages format. This has improve the look and feel and the ease of use. Google+ subscribers have also grown in number. Their active user community is over 150,000,000 strong with 400,000,000+ total users. Continue to watch Google+ grow and add even more functionality in 2013. This is Google’s “MO” when it comes to dominating a market. Don’t ignore anything with the word Google in it. Make sure you take advantage of Google+ Hangouts and always add your post to Google+ if you want them to show up in the search engines.

LinkedIn Changes Worth Noting

 

Linked in has shown steady growth and has also added several new features. The most significant is the additional of Business Pages. LinkedIn’s B2B functionality has always been 
strong. It's widely used "Recommendations" feature has always been a favorite of its subscriber base. Now LinkedIn has added an active element to its recommendation section where LinkedIn actively invites your connections to recommend and endorse you. If you haven't given this a shot, you need to log in today. Make sure your best customers are providing you with recommendations and endorsements. This can pay big dividends and can be used as content for other network posts.

YouTube Changes Worth Noting

 

YouTube has grown to be the second most visited search engine in the world, only exceeded by Google Search itself. YouTube now receives 4 billion views a day! They have also refined the

pinterest logo
pinterest logo (Photo credit: UGL_UIUC)
back-end search features and refined their pay per click system. It is now tightly integrated with Google+ and they have also added a built-in video editor, so now you don’t even have to purchase third party video editing software. Look to see continued growth of YouTube subscribers, along with its use as a search engine, and as an important ranking factor in Google Search. Keep an eye out for further integration into Google+ and refinement of its PPC model next year. Take advantage of its current low cost pay per click rates. Soon the rates will start to climb as traffic and usage increases.

Other Changes Worth Noting

 

A new player that is showing promise is Pintrest. This social network is very effective for businesses that are visually oriented or that routinely use photos to sell their products. Graphic artists, photographers,
printers, sign companies, magazines and any business that relies on a picture being worth a thousand words loves this medium. Other networks worth mentioning are Tumblr and Reddit both of which have shown steady growth. Overall losers include Taringa, Digg, Bebo, Friendster and MySpace. All of which have shown a significant loss of subscribers and or market share.

There you have it, an overview of the rapidly occurring changes that make up the Social Media landscape today. What has happened over the last six months to a year is that the major players and wannabes have been dukeing it out to see who can provide the best platform for social media subscribers. Needless to say, all of the players in this arena are striving to be number one. This article has intended to keep you abreast of major changes that have taken place this year. The coming year promises to provide even more changes, so pay attention to what they are doing. Better yet, keep reading this blog and tune into our Working the Web to Win radio show every Tuesday at 4pm Eastern if you want to stay ahead of the curve.

That’s my opinion, I look forward to reading yours. 


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Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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