Platform 5: This week’s most important social media changes (edition 105)

Platform 5: This week’s most important social media changes (edition 105)

This week’s 5 most important social media changes

What’s changed in the last seven days? What does it mean?

Facebook’s Explore Feed and new group admin features, LinkedIn unveils smart replies, Twitter’s ad transparency centre and Instagram announces Live Guests.

Let’s take a look at these changes in more detail.

Twitter increases ad transparency

In the wake of the ongoing investigation into how social media advertising impacted the 2016 US Presidential Election, Twitter has announced it will launch a new transparency centre in coming weeks to provide greater transparency over all ads on the platform. It will cover how long ads have been running, overview of advertising creative, ads targeted to you and the personalised information available from your profile which impacts ads you’re eligible to be targeted for.

Read more about the new transparency centre here.

Facebook expands new Explore Feed

Is this the end of organic reach? As part of its new Explore Feed, Facebook is exploring whether to make this the place to receive posts from all pages – not just those you aren’t connected to. While organic reach has been dwindling for years and the ‘pay to play’ mantra for brand content has increased, any permanent switch to this Explore Feed set-up could spell the end of organic reach for good and shake up paid strategies even further.

Read more about the trial of Explore Feed here.

LinkedIn smart replies

LinkedIn wants to help you keep the conversation going, unveiling its smart reply feature which will suggest phrases to keep you chatting. These predictive phrases will help improve the messaging function on mobile and tablet, ultimately aiming to help LinkedIn built its market of professionals using its messaging service. It also signals the platform’s commitment to trialing Artificial Intelligence technology and how it can improve user experience.

Check out more about smart replies in LinkedIn Messaging here.

Facebook group admins get new features

LinkedIn isn’t the only platform looking to improve dialogue this week. Facebook has launched new group admin features this week to help admins communicate with and build their communities. A new welcome post feature will help admins welcome new members, admins will be more readily identifiable, and group-specific profiles based on publicly available information will help group members learn more about each other in the hope that this will foster more and greater connections.

Read more about the features and how they’ll impact your in-group experience here.

Instagram extends Live Guests access

Instagram has rolled out its Live Guests feature to all users. Aimed at young users and the increasing popularity of Instagram Live, the function will allow users to invite anyone who’s watching to join the chat. For now, you’ll only be able to go live with one other person at a time – though you can change who that person is mid-stream.

View the full announcement and additional features from Instagram here.

Follow us on Twitter for news of these social media and content marketing changes as they happen.

Social Media Trends 2014: #14for14 SlideShare Summary

Social Media Trends 2014: #14for14 SlideShare Summary

Social Media Trends 2014: #14for14 SlideShare Summary

Over the course of the last month we’ve featured 14 blogs posts outlining our predictions for 2014’s big social media trends.

Now that each trend has been explained in full, we’ve compiled them all together in one easy-to-digest SlideShare presentation.

In our opinion, the importance of content in the constantly evolving era of social media will be the over-arching trend of 2014.

This presentation captures the 14 sub-trends resulting from this bigger movement.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions for 2014.

Simply add them to the comments section below.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 14): The one constant will continue to be…

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 14): The one constant will continue to be…

View the full Social Media Trends 2014 SlideShare summary here.

…change, faster and faster change.

Welcome to the final instalment of our 14-part Social Media Trends 2014 series.

We’re actually going to follow up with one more post summarising all 14 projected trends in one, easy-to-digest, SlideShare presentation.

Check back for that post soon.

Trend 14: The one constant will continue to be…change, faster and faster change.

This last trend is one that should probably be present in any 2014 trends preview given the nature the constantly changing digital marketing space.

So is ‘change’ a trend?

It is, but more specifically it is the frequency and increasing speed of change which is the thing to look out for next year.

Change comes from so many directions too.

Technological changes.

Platform changes.

Behaviour changes.

Let’s examine this prediction in a bit more detail and why staying on top of all this action will be one of the keys to digital marketing success in 2014.

The recent history of social media changes

Last year, as part of my 2013 prediction series, I ‘guaranteed’ that Facebook would undergo a huge functionality change in 2013.

It made a lot of changes in 2013, but the most significant one was the new look, feel and experience associated with the news feed.

This wasn’t a ground-breaking prediction as Facebook makes major changes every year, and smaller ones every second week.

But it is the increased regularity of these changes which is the thing to take note of.

Facebook is not given enough credit for adapting to the feedback of its users which is what has continued to make it relevant at a time when a new social media toy surfaces every week.

You can take a look at the 11 most significant changes made by Facebook in 2013 here.

In part 11 of this Social Media Trends 2014 series we looked at the major changes made by Google that has started to transform the search engine experience.

Twitter continues to tweak its user experience.

Google+ continues to be integrated into the broader Google product suite.

And, YouTube has instituted just as many changes as any of the other major platforms, including the evolution of YouTube channels to become more like Facebook pages.

Can this rate and frequency of social media changes rapidly increase in 2014?

It can and it will.

What can you expect to see in 2014

Overall, expect each of the major social media platforms to evolve at a faster pace next year, including a (another) probable major overhaul of Facebook.

The rising platforms and apps like SnapChat began making changes towards the end of 2013, but expect even more in 2014.

Instagram introduced 15-second videos in 2013 which was a response (in part) to the arrival and popularity of Vine.

And, Instagram, is likely to serve up the most significant and frequent changes in 2014.

Why?

Apart from the introduction of video, and the recent addition of sponsored posts, the Instagram product is still the same as it was when it launched a few years back.

There is so much room for growth and adjustments for Instagram next year.

What can you do about it?

The most successful social media and content marketing programs are ones that are channel agnostic.

While some tweaking is always required to bring your content strategy to life, getting the foundations right will be the key to success.

But in order to tweak the content you produce to get the best results across the key social media channels, you need people within your organisation that are passionate about the space.

You need these people spend at least 30 minutes a day reading industry blogs and monitoring active platforms to be across these constant social media changes.

This is one of the reasons digital agencies exist, they provide advice and solutions that suit the rapidly evolving space, ensuring that on-going activity and campaigns can work.

With the rate of change expected to escalate substantially in 2014, it may well be the most challenging trend to adjust to next year and beyond.

The summary presentation

Swing by tomorrow to view and download the summary SlideShare presentation which will capture all 14 trends that are set to shape social media marketing, content marketing and digital marketing in 2014.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 13): The (Unavoidable) Social Media Backlash

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 13): The (Unavoidable) Social Media Backlash

View the full Social Media Trends 2014 SlideShare summary here.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 13): The (Unavoidable) Social Media Backlash

Welcome to the send last instalment of the Kamber Social Media Trends 2014 series.

Being an agency that specialises in social media you might think that this one was a tough one to include in our predictions for 2014.

It was, and it wasn’t.

In 2014, you can expect to see social media’s role recalibrated to play a support role for the ongoing content produced by brands and organisations.

This is a good thing.

The backlash we’re more likely to see comes in the form of particular age groups and niche audiences who will increasingly avoid the mainstream networks in 2014.

The mainstream media will also continue to find stories about the negative impact social media is having on society while glossing over the positive impact it can bring.

Privacy will also be even more of a pressing issue.

Our general technology obsession will be increasingly called into question too.

Why will this happen? Let’s find out.

Trend 13: Social Media has enjoyed a period of being the flavour of the month, but some big questions will be asked in 2014

social media trends part two diffusion modelIn part two of this series, we touched on the diffusion of innovations model (see right).

This theory lays out the role early-adopters play in the adoption of new ideas and technology, which then spawns more mainstream use.

The by-product of this process is that many early adopters move away from these ideas and technologies once they are adopted by the masses.

We’ve seen teenagers exhibit this behaviour in 2013 with many ‘fleeing’ Facebook and turning to new school messenger apps.

It is important to note they aren’t giving up on social media completely, they are just being social in a more direct way.

But, in the eyes of many people, Facebook is social media.

The more that this audience moves away from traditional platforms like Facebook, the more you’ll see stories appear about the ‘death of social media’ which will only fuel the broader backlash movement.

This article from Yahoo.com back up that argument.

The industry backlash

The marketing industry, particularly industry publications, will be where the backlash is likely to gather the most momentum.

Serious questions about the value of social media will be asked.

Serious questions about the money spent on social media in the last few years will be asked.

Serious questions about the commercial impact of social media will be asked.

As touched on in the introduction, as long as the industry recognises that a recalibration is taking place, then most of these questions will be able to be answered adequately.

But, as we know, little things become big issues at great speed in the modern media environment.

And, ironically, it is social media participants who will the fuel this fire.

Traditional media’s role in the backlash movement

If the rumblings start in industry media, mainstream media is likely to pick up on it and extend the conversation.

This will only encourage more people to voice their displeasure at the tech-shaped world we now live in.

It’s true, we’ve got completely drunk on social media and general technological advancements and it is a point of contention for many members of the public.

Watch out for this to be amplified in 2014.

The public’s relationship with brands

In 2013, we saw a number of examples of the public reacting negatively toward social media ‘campaigns.’

This isn’t anything new, but it is happening with more and more regularity.

A good example was Domino’s who promised a ‘game changing’ announcement via social media for it only to be a new range of pizzas.

In the defence of Domino’s, they did a terrific job of reaching out to people that had voiced their displeasure towards the brand and offered them the chance to try one of the new pizzas for free.

It is a good reminder that adding value to the lives of your online communities, as opposed to pushing commercial messages, is the best way to achieve social media success.

Will the backlash really be worse in 2014?

All signs point to yes even though there has been no shortage of detractors over the last five years.

As outlined, the primary factors will be platform fragmentation, several (fair) questions from the industry, and the increasing apprehension of the public in response to overly commercial social media tactics.

It will be interesting to see how far the expected backlash goes and what impact it will have.

We only have one more instalment left in the Social Media Trends 2014 series.

Once that is posted, look out for our summary SlideShare presentation which will bring all of our predictions together in one easy-to-digest pack.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 12): The (big time) return of the blog

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 12): The (big time) return of the blog

View the full Social Media Trends 2014 SlideShare summary here.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 12): The return of the blog

It’s time for the third last post in our Social Media Trends 2014 series.

This trend focuses on the humble blog, which contrary to many reports, isn’t dead and buried.

In fact, blogs the blogging mentality will regain its rightful spot as content marketing’s most valuable asset.

Trend 12: Blogs aren’t dead, they’re more important than ever before

In recent posts in this series we’ve touched on the many changes that indicate content will be the main focus for marketers in 2014.

The changes made to Google’s algorithm and general approach to rewarding quality content is one reason.

Another reason is that the popular art of curating 3rd party content is slowly becoming a less fruitful social media tactic.

Connected to this reason is that original content is what makes you stand out from the crowd.

Here are eight more reasons why blogs are alive and well, and more important than ever before.

Eight reasons why blogs aren’t dead

social media trends 2014 the return of the blog1. Google loves the fresh and consistent content blogs provide

2. ‘Blogs’ can be featured anywhere and in any format

3. Blogs are an investment in something you truly own

4. Static websites don’t bring people back or attract new visitors

5. The blogging mentality helps you create content that works elsewhere

6. Blogs encourage collaboration (which extends the reach of your content)

7. Blogs can increase influence in your niche

8. Loyal and vocal communities can be built around blogs

For more commentary around each of these reasons, refer to this blog post.

Where to from here?

For some individuals and organisations, blogging can seem like a daunting thing to implement. And, in some cases, they’re just not practical.

However, the ‘blogging mentality’ is something that can make an impact in businesses of all shapes and sizes. Even just having someone within your marketing and communications team who has some experience in the blogging space, can help develop content solutions that can cut through the noise.

The blog is well and truly back and will play a huge role in the success of content marketing strategies in 2014.

Look out for part 14 of our Social Media Trends 2014 series which examines the one constant trend in the digital marketing space and why it will only escalate next year.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 11): It’s Google search, but not as you know it

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 11): It’s Google search, but not as you know it

View the full Social Media Trends 2014 SlideShare summary here.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 11): It’s Google search, but not as you know it

We’re back with part 11 of our Social Media Trends 2014 series and this one is all about the rapidly changing nature of Google search.

While the recent changes to Google have been well documented, all signs point toward even more in 2014.

With this in mind, we’re going to take a look back at the changes Google has made in 2013 and make some predictions for what we might see in 2014.

Most importantly, want to provide some insights around the continuing impact of Google’s changes from a search engine to a recommendations engine.

Is search engine optimization dead? Let’s find out.

Trend 11: SEO isn’t dead, it has just been redefined thanks to a refocused Google

Search engine optimization has traditionally been one of the world’s most relied upon digital marketing tactics.

One of the main reasons why is because the majority of desktop web sessions begin with a specific need in mind.

Sure, social media has become another default port of call, but Google still rules the roost for most.

Let me bring this to life on a basic level based on my own internet behaviour.

Of my last 2,000 web sessions (anytime I’ve opened my web browser) this is the breakdown of my site visits:

  • Google: 1416
  • Facebook: 210
  • Twitter: 67 (although I use TweetDeck more than the web-based version)
  • LinkedIn: 44
  • YouTube: 23

70% of my desktop internet sessions have started with a Google search.

While this may not be the most robust sample ever, a study conducted earlier this year by PEW found that 77% on online health seekers start at search engines.

So there is evidence to suggest that we’re as reliant on Google search as we’ve ever been.

social media trends 2014 googl search engine optimization your vote countsBut, the information we’ve been provided with has traditionally been ranked by the results that Google’s algorithm ‘liked’ the most.

For the most part, we’ve trusted these results because Google has consistently helped us discover the information we’ve needed in an incredibly efficient manner.

The advent of social media has changed things…a lot.

We now operate in an online world where we our content consumption is heavily influenced by the recommendations our networks make.

Google, known for adjusting their product to suit consumer trends, has recognised that in order to maintain trust, they need to integrate human recommendations into their search product.

So, for Google, it has been a very busy 12 months.

Recapping the changes Google has made in 2013

This terrific article from Eric Enge over on Search Engine Watch captures the six major Google changes that reveal the likely future of search engine optimization.

The key outtakes from Eric’s post included:

  1. ‘(Not provided)’ – This year, Google essentially cut off all keyword data that explained how people discovered your site through search. It is part of a calculated provide better online privacy but also to put a premium on the insights linked to the paid Google AdWords product.
  2. PageRank goes missing – Google’s PageRank has traditionally been a way to measure the importance of websites in the eyes of Google. In 2013, PageRank scores were not updated as regularly as we’re used to which suggests that it may disappear completely soon.
  3. Hummingbird – Google names each of its algorithm updates which tend to be rolled out every few months or so. The Hummingbird update essentially made it easier for Google to process conversational enquiries e.g. “tell me where to find a search engine optimization provider in my city”
  4. Google+ – Google’s ‘social layer’ continues to evolve and have greater influence on Google’s search product. It is the engine that drives people-powered search results and has become a major page ranking factor in 2013.
  5. Authorship – Google’s ‘Author Rank’ is an attempt to make verified content producers more visible in search results. There are many reasons for the increased focus on authorship but mainly it aims to make anonymous content creators less relevant, while rewarding long-time and trusted sources.
  6. In-depth articles – This feature is a recent introduction from Google and it serves up a block of in-depth articles along with the standard results based on your search query.

What does it all mean and what can we expect in 2014

Put simply, Google is doing all it can to humanise search results.

People trust people more than they’ll ever trust an algorithm.

People-powered results are also more difficult to manipulate from an SEO perspective.

This is why people are regularly say that ‘SEO is dead’.

It isn’t dead, there is just a renewed amount of importance on creating quality content designed for humans, not algorithms.

The other factor, which people often forget, is that Google’s reason for being is to make money.

It makes a huge slice of it’s money from the AdWords product which delivers sponsored results alongside the organic ones.

Google is explicitly telling content creators to produce better quality content.

It is telling people that poor quality content, over-packed with keywords, will not be rewarded like it has been in the past.

This is why content marketing has become such a buzz phrase of late.

In 2014, we can expect more changes along the lines of the ones introduced in 2013.

Also expect Google+ to be even more widely integrated in Google search and other Google products next year.

And, expect an increase in the use of AdWords in 2014 as using ‘black hat’ search engine optimization techniques deliver even less of an impact than we saw this year.

Look out for part 12 in our Social Media Trends 2014 series in the next few days.

‘Your vote counts’ image via apcmag.com

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