By Janette Speyer and Alison Brown, Web Success Team
The potential that online marketing has to brand companies and engage a targeted audience is growing exponentially. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ have been adapting to this new wave of marketing by rolling out new features that make it easier for marketers to brand their businesses online.
So which one of these marketing platforms should you use for your social media management when you have limited time and budget? Below are some of the most important recent changes in social media and how they can impact your brand promotion.
Facebook has been the frontrunner in providing features that allow companies to take advantage of social media marketing. The biggest and most talked about new Facebook feature is the timeline. With the timeline feature you can go back in time and see some of your older posts. It’s more visual than your original profile, and you can see a timeline of everything that you’ve posted since you first joined Facebook. In addition the new Facebook Places allows you to check-in or add the specific location of your business.
The addition of the open graph technology on the Facebook Timeline gives marketers the ability to monitor interactions. You can also get more in depth insights on what people like and share with their networks.
Observation: At this point business should have a presence on Facebook and take advantages of the many opportunities it offers, like apps, contests and many other business features. With it’s new changes it seems to be emerging as the leader in social media platforms. The downside would be that it is getting very crowded and in order to stand out from the crowd you have to spend more time and PPC dollars to get to your audience.
Twitter Targeting Changes
Twitter has also jumped on the bandwagon and has implemented their changes as well. The whole website enjoyed a major overhaul. Users will be able to Tweet from anywhere within Twitter, not just their home page. The new integration of #discover is all about trending and showing notable stories and videos that are geared towards your interests. The #discover feature is also really helpful for marketers who want to engage a targeted audience. Tweets will now have the ability to become more targeted based on people’s interests, as opposed to Tweeting to the general Twitter population.
Additionally, a new feature called @connect can show you who has followed you, mentioned you, or retweeted something that you shared. Tweets will also become more informative by allowing information such as replies, retweets or photos to be visible within a Tweet by clicking the “expand” button. With these new additions, it’s a lot easier to track trends and see how many people you are reaching with your Tweets. Twitter will be easier to sort through, and you can see how you’re making an impact and who is worth sharing Tweets with based on their insights.
Observations: With the new changes on Twitter you have the ability to brand your pages and target you audience this can be essential to your online success. However the changes are rolling out very slowly and there is no word from twitter as to when everyone will have their new profile.
Google+ — The New Game
Google+ has expanded to allow companies to create pages and use them as you would for any social media company page. Google+ company pages have many features. The “Circles” feature allows you to put your clients and followers into different categories and share relevant information. The “Hang Outs” feature offers the ability to use video conferencing so you can host a webinar or an event online and invite followers to join the live discussion. You could create an interactive blog by hosting Q&A and having followers stop by your hangout. All these interactions can take your marketing efforts to a very personal level.
Additionally, Google+ has added a Google+ search feature that allows you to “search keywords, names or anything else, and use your search results to understand better what people are saying about your brand, reward superfans with rebate coupons, or even jump in to help resolve customer service issues.” In other words, Google+ is taking its new features to another level beyond the interactive abilities of Facebook or Twitter.
Observation: The powerful “circles” feature allows you to segregate your leads and clients by creating circles for each market and you can share information based on your target market’s needs. It’s a powerful tool for online marketing. The downside is that Google+ for business is still in its infancy so there are many bugs to even out.
What Do These Changes Mean for You?
Changes to our social media websites are becoming more and more frequent. The good news is that a lot of these changes are geared towards the expansion of great online business ideas. Branding is very important for the success of any business, and social media is now making it easier by allowing users to gain more tangible results. With all the changes that have taken place in the last several years, it’s hard to envision what Facebook, Twitter or Google+ will be like a decade from now, but as long as you stay up to date on changes, you should stay ahead of the rest of the crowd.
Are you taking advantage of any of these new features? Join our discussion and let us know what you think!
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