Social Media 2016 in Review

2016 has been a period of consolidation for many of the biggest social media platforms. In this blog post, I review the year and highlight a number of key product launches from a marketing perspective. 2016 was the year that video exploded across the major platforms, with Facebook emerging as the winner. However, let’s explore this and other emerging trends from the year.

Facebook

In 2016, Facebook shifted to become a video-centric social platform. With the launch of Facebook Live and vertical video ads , both relatively new products, they are already seeing fantastic brand popularity. Facebook forecasts that its own News Feed will mostly focus on video within the next five years. As such, brands must focus their efforts on delivering compelling videos which drive engagement. This will be easier said than done! Brands will need to experiment with a variety of video styles, which best reflect their own individual narratives.

Here are a four of the main highlights from Facebook in 2016:

  • Facebook LiveAllows anyone with a smartphone to broadcast to anyone, anytime and anywhere in real-time.
  • Instant ArticlesThese are fast and interactive articles on Facebook and load up to 10 times faster than regular articles on smartphones.
  • ReactionsFacebook Reactions enable expression with five additional emojis, in addition to “like.”
  • MarketplaceIn a move to promote social selling, this feature enables you to buy and sell items to the Facebook community.

 

Facebook growth

2016 has been another record-setting year for Facebook. In their latest earnings report, Facebook earned $7.01 billion in revenue during Q3 2016 and now has 1.79 billion monthly users (up 16% from Q3 2015).

The importance of search

In 2016’s Q2 earnings report, Facebook revealed that it now sees 2 billion searches per day, up from 1.5 billion a year ago. Google remains the leader in search with 3.5 billion searches per day. But it is clear that Facebook sees search as a key discoverability tool for brands.

Since April 2016, Facebook has been automatically adding alt tags to images that you upload, and are populated with keywords representing the content of your images. Most regular Facebook users have no idea to the amount of information that is now routinely being extracted from photographs. Below is an image from my own feed, that shows the keywords Facebook is able to extract from the image.

 

Search has the potential of increasing your reach on Facebook and driving attention to your key shared posts. It is worth keeping a close eye on Facebook search in 2017.

 

Twitter

In 2016, Twitter refocused its product strategy. It is no longer a social network, instead it is a news product. In a recent message to Twitter’s employees, CEO Jack Dorsey made it clear:

“Twitter is what’s happening, and what everyone is talking about (literally!). News and talk. We’re the people’s news network.”

People choose us for news because we’re the fastest. Fastest to get news, and fastest to share news with the whole world. Now let’s strive to be the first. The first place people check to see what’s happening…and the first place to break what’s happening. In the moment LIVE, or a fast recap of what we know so far…what matters.

This makes sense for Twitter, particularly as Twitter is where many people go to learn about breaking news. In 2016, both Twitter and Facebook had to deal with the prospect of people creating and sharing fake news.  This problem will continue into 2017, and new tools will need to be created to deal with the problem. Particularly new tools to help with fact checking.

Key product launches from Twitter in 2016:

  • Customer support tools: Easier ways for businesses to provide support to their customers on Twitter.
  • MomentsTwitter Moments enable users to stitch together multiple tweets into slideshow-like stories.

Twitter focused on providing customer support features in 2016 at the request of many brands who deliver support on the platform.  On the marketing side, there were no new tools for marketers.

 

Instagram

2016 was an incredible year for Instagram. The Facebook-owned company has gone from strength-to-strength with a number of key product launches and achieving growth with more than 500 million monthly users.

Key product launches from Instagram in 2016:

  • Stories:  Instagram Stories enables its users to post photos and videos that disappear after twenty-four hours, much like Snapchat Stories.
  • Business toolsInstagram is getting serious about businesses and has worked with hundreds of brands to enhance the Instagram experience. The focus has been on three key areas —customer acquisition, data insights and post exposure. 

Instagram trends to watch in 2017 

Live video

Facebook has been extremely bullish on live video, and has shared that its users watch live videos more often and for longer periods of time than non-live videos. So it’s no surprise to see Instagram is testing live video too (though there’s been no confirmed launch date for this feature yet).

The evolution of Instagram Stories

Instagram launched a Snapchat style stories to “fill the gaps” between the posts in our Instagram feed, as Kevin Systrom explained to The Verge:

If Instagram is built around highlights, we’re filling in the space in between — and becoming more about visual expression in general. We’re capturing all the world’s moments, not just the best ones.

The stories product, will continue to evolve and give brands a way to drive traffic from Instagram. Those with verified accounts can now share links through Instagram stories. 

 

YouTube

The top 100 advertisers on YouTube have increased their spend on YouTube video ads by 50 percent. This goes to show the faith in video ads that marketers now have. YouTube has also seen an increase in brands partnering with creators on branded content opportunities such as product placements, promotions and sponsorships, this trend will continue.

There you have it, 2016 was the year social continued to evolve particularly on mobile platforms and a year of consolidation of products and features.

 

100 Tech Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following | Tech Vendors | Tech Security

Tech Vendors

The official twitter accounts of some of the more popular hardware and software vendors. These will help keep you up to date on new releases, sales, and announcements pertaining to your favorite company.

@AMD_Unprocessed – AMD_Unprocessed: Official Twitter account for AMD. CPUs, Graphics & Balanced Platforms

@ATIgraphics – ATI Graphics: Dedicated to providing the latest news, product information and contests from the ATI Graphics team at AMD

@ATTNews – ATTNews: AT&T’s Official Newsroom Twitter Feed

@BlackBerry – Research In Motion: www.blackberry.com

@buyHP – Shop at HP: Buy HP products & services (Got a suggestion – twitter @ hp.com)

@CiscoSystems – Cisco Systems: News and info about Cisco, our CEO and execs. I am John Earnhardt and am your tourguide on our official Twitter feed. Cisco Support @ http://www.cisco.com/ta

@DellOutlet – Dell Outlet: Refurbished Dell™ computers, electronics. Question/comment? Contact Stefanie Nelson at @StefanieAtDell. More Dell Twitter accounts at www.Dell.com/Twitter

@forumnokia – Forum Nokia: Driving Mobile Innovation

@googleapps – Google Apps: Official Google Apps team feed, moderated by Kevin Gough. Google Apps is software-as-a-service for business email, information sharing and security.

@HP_SMB – Hewlett Packard

@hpnews – News @ HP: Got a suggestion? Some constructive criticism? Let’s tweet! (DM @iange – Ange Embuldeniya or E-mail: twitter AT hp.com)

@HTC – HTC – Connecting with smartphone users everywhere. have a question or comment about HTC? Just tweet!

@IBMResearch – IBMResearch: IBM’s Research Division

@intel – Intel: @kenekaplan and @kfcochrane of Intel Global Communications sharing news, views and events about tech & innovation.

@motodeals – MotoDeals: The official word on exclusive deals and user tips for Motorola phones and accessories.

@MSWindows – Microsoft Windows: Your source for all things Windows on twitter.

@NEC – NEC: NEC Unified Solutions

@NeweggDailyDeal – Newegg Daily Deals: For US Newegg Deals, follow us. For Canadian Newegg Deals, follow @NeweggDealsCa

@Oracle – Oracle: Oracle News

@palm_inc – palm_inc: Stay connected with Palm and learn about news, products, tips and tricks, deals and more.

@RedHatNews – RedHatNews: Official news and announcements from Red Hat.

@Seagate – Seagate: The worldwide leader in hard disk drives and storage devices.

@sprintnews – sprintnews: Official feed for news about Sprint Nextel. For ?’s about us or customer service issues, see @jgoldsborough, @jbtaylor, @cndavis, @srdoherty, @svinge

@TigerDirectNew – Tiger Direct Now: Great Deals on Electronics!

@ToshibaLaptops – Toshiba

@vmware – vmware: Virtualization Technology

@vzwupdates – vzwupdates: Timely Updates on Verizon Wireless Phones, Network, Plans & Policies

@WesternDigital – Western Digital

Tech Security

Receive up-to-the-minute news on the latest virus and security threats from these top information security vendors.

@bitdefenderlabs – BitDefenderLabs: antimalware software – the future of security now!

@CiscoSecurity – CiscoSecurity: Cisco Security events, products, and solutions. Also, general network security news updates. (Updated for CMO Security Solutions by L. Friedman)

@fortinet – Fortinet: Consolidated security solutions for enterprises, MSSPs, carriers and more

@McafeeAvertLabs – McAfee: The official tweets of McAfee Avert Labs

@McAfeeNews – McAfee News: Get McAfee’s official news announcements by following this feed. (Not an interactive feed.)

@mssecurity – Microsoft Security: Microsoft and Windows home security bulletins

@Kaspersky – Kaspersky Lab: Leading developer of antivirus software that protects against all forms of malware with the fastest updates

@symantecnews – symantecnews: @coryedwards providing the latest news, updates and insights from Symantec on all things security, storage, and data protection

@trendmicro – TrendMicro: Trend Micro provides leading Internet content security solutions for businesses and consumers.

@verisign – Karen@VeriSign: VeriSign is the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure. Tweets by @karensnyd.

@websenselabs – WebsenseSecurityLabs: The security research team at Websense. Researchers, coders, incident handlers, across the world.

@zonealarm – zonealarm: ZoneAlarm®, a Check Point Software Technologies, Inc. Company, is one of the most secure brands in consumer Internet security.

via 100 Tech Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following | Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy.

100 Tech Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following | Tech Websites/Publications

Tech Websites/Publications

These are the accounts of some of the top technology destinations on the net. They provide useful information for us computer professionals and enthusiasts. Follow these accounts for the latest news, trends, and articles on all things tech.

@arstechnica – Ars Technica: The Art of Technology

@CNET News – CNET News.com

@engadget – Engadget: Official Twitter account of Engadget!

@geekforever – Forever Geek: forevergeek.com

@gigaom – GigaOM:The GigaOM bot brings you all the latest headlines from GigaOM network of blogs.

@gizmodo – gizmodo: gizmodo.com

@google – A Googler: News and updates from Google

@MacObserver – The Mac Observer: All TMO articles directly from our rss feed

@MikeTechShow – miketechshow: Podcaster

@pchere – pchere – Chief Blogger & Editor of QuickOnlineTips.com: Publishes technology news, blogging tips, wordpress hacks, web 2.0, new media

@PCMag – PC Magazine: The Independent Guide to Technology since 1982

@Techcrunch – Michael Arrington – Breaking Technology News And Opinions From TechCrunch

@Technibble – Technibble: Technibble is a resource for computer technicians to help them with their business

@TechRepublic – TechRepublic: TechRepublic is a trade publication and online community for IT professionals

@Techwatch – Tech Watch: Providing you with all your tech updates in one place! Formaly comming summer 09!

@techwatching – techwatching: This is the “Stories” feed for TechWatching.com, technology news and views minute by minute. Links go directly to stories.

@The Force Field – The Force Field: Producer and Host of The Force Field a podcast and portal for IT Service Providers

@Wired – Wired: Wired magazine and Wired.com’s twitter feed | Currently hosted by Wired.com science editor @betsymason

@ZDNetBlogs – ZDNet Blogs: Top Tech Blog Network

via 100 Tech Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following | Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy.

Twitter RSS

image

Twitter RSS/Atom feeds can still be found here

http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=hello and http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=hello

For profiles searches use:

https://api.twitter.com/1/favorites.rss?screen_name=jas 

https://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=jas

To create a custom RSS/Atom feed all you have to do is change the last word in the above address (in this case hello) to the term you are searching for.

As an example, http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=xxxxxxxxx

But if you have a more complicated search you may need to “URL encode” your search terms. What this means is, if you are looking for any tweets with a specific #tag or tweets from a specific @user you will first need to change the # and @ signs into something Twitter can understand. This page over at Albion Research will do this automatically for you, all you have to do is copy in the search term and press “Encode” then copy the code it gives you into the address.

For hashtag searches, you need to put a “%23? before the word. For example, if you’re searching for #epicwin, the URLs would be

http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=search%23epicwin
http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=search%23epicwin

Twitter’s search API provides these links as examples for creating advanced search RSS/Atom feeds.  You can change the search terms to customise your search.

Now, this is where it gets complicated, say you want to search for tweets from a specific location containing a hastag. To do this you will have find the geocode for the location.  As a starter the basic address will look something like this, http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?geocode=40.757929%2C-73.985506%2C25km.

Imagine you want to see all the #technology tweets coming from within 25km of Dublin, Ireland.First visit this page and input Dublin, Ireland as a search term. This will give you two numbers – 53.344104 and -6.2674937 – this is the Latitude and Longitude for Dublin.

To turn this into a search RSS/Atom feed simply include these numbers in the above address, like this, http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?geocode:53.344104%2C-6.2674937%2C25km.  The %2C25km in the address limits the search to users within 25km of Dublin, for miles change km to mi.

To search for any tweets using the #tag #technology within 25km of Dublin add %2C%23technology (“%2C” is a URL encoded comma and %23 is a URL encoded #). http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?geocode=40.757929%2C-73.985506%2C25km%2C%23technology

Five Winning Tactics For An SMB Using Twitter

social media smb

 

One of the best means to get to get your message across is to use Twitter for SMB marketing. Below are five tactics where Twitter can help.  This post was originated posted by Small Biz Trends, with edits and additions made. Picture via Karibu Games

Don’t Ignore SEO Value

SMB owners often forget to apply SEO best practices to Twitter when they engage. As a rule, anything that exists on the Web can (and should) be optimized for search. Just because Twitter ‘nofollows’ the links shared, doesn’t mean they can’t bring value to your business or that you shouldn’t be trying to collect as much SEO value from your Twitter account as you can.

Here are some good practices:

  • Use a Twitter handle that reflects the product or service that you offer or the experience you’re trying to create.
  • Optimize your Twitter bio, using important keywords + a link to your site.
  • Use hashtags to categorize your tweets to make them easy for like-minded users to find and follow.
  • Integrate Twitter into the rest of your site to encourage others to share your content and to build awareness.
  • Tweet links to your blog posts, product pages, Web site to expose them both to users and the search engines.

With the search engines increasingly integrating Twitter data into the SERPs, taking care to optimize your engagement there can pack a pretty effective punch.

Follow People That Matter!

Your Twitter experience is directly tied to the users you choose to follow. If you flood your account with lots of random people who will never have an interest in your brand, then you’re really wasting your time. Use tools like Twitter Search, Listorious, WeFollow andTwitter Graderto help you find like-minded Twitter users and people who have an interest in what you’re all about.

For example, doing a Twitter search for a popular industry blog or SMB topic will you help find folks who have the same interests, mining Listorious (or lists created by other Twitter users) for categories related to what you do will help you find users who identify themselves similarly. Participating in Twitter chats is another great way to find people to connect with. What you don’t want to do is get blinded by follower numbers and lean toward only engaging with A-listers. Instead, focus on locating real-life customers or people who could become customers.

Amber Naslund’s post on how to build a Twitter community with substance is a must read.

Enhance Your Tweets

It can be hard to engage with people that you don’t know in real life. Therefore, it is a good idea to kick start your activities by creating or sharing content that you and other SMBs with find of value. Vary your tweets by incorporating different types of media and something that will engage your audience and start a discussion.

A good way to start would be to include:

  • Photos of your business, your product, what you’re having for lunch, etc.
  • YouTube links of your favorite artist, a tour of your office, a recent presentation you gave, etc.
  • Links to surveys or polls to get user feedback.
  • Links to reviews, discussion questions, etc.
  • Product coupons, links to promotions, special Twitter deals

Syndicate Broader

To ensure you are always growing your SMB audience, you should spend some time to make sure your content gets in front of as many people as possible. Depending on your business objectives, it may make sense for you to sync your Twitter account with you Facebook or LinkedIn profiles. You can also use a Twitter widget on your homepage to build awareness to current customers and search traffic, actively encourage followers to retweet your message, use automation sparingly to manage your account, etc. You don’t want to get too aggressive but you should always be looking for new ways to smartly cross-link accounts and get your message to as many people as possible.

Measure Watch You Share

If you are sharing content, without a means to measure it you will have no idea on what is resonating with your audience and what is not. Use services like Bit.ly to monitor which tweets or content pieces attract users. If your Twitter traffic is going up or down, monitor which Twitter calls to action get the best response and which users are most responsive.

The Official Twitter Text Commands

 

Turning Twitter off and on: device notifications

  • ON: turns ALL phone notifications on.

  • OFF: turns ALL phone notifications off.

  • STOP, QUIT: stops all messages to your phone immediately
  • ON username: turns on notifications for a specific person on your phone. For example, ON alissa.
  • OFF username: turns off notifications for a specific person on your phone. For example, OFF blaine.
  • FOLLOW username: this command allows you to start receiving notifications for a specific person on your phone. Example: follow jeremy
  • LEAVE username: this command allows you to stop receiving notifications for a specific person on your phone. Example: leave benfu

Fun Stuff: friends, favourites, and stats!

There’s more to Twitter than OFF and ON! Use the commands below to send private messages, mark updates as favorites, or even remind someone to update their Twitter page if you’re wondering what they’re doing!

  • @username + message
    directs a twitter at another person, and causes your twitter to save in their "replies" tab.
    Example: @meangrape I love that song too!
  • D username + message
    sends a person a private message that goes to their device, and saves in their web archive.
    Example: d krissy want to pick a Jamba Juice for me while you’re there?
  • WHOIS username
    retrieves the profile information for any public user on Twitter.
    Example: whois jack
  • GET username
    retrieves the latest Twitter update posted by the person.
    Example: get goldman
  • NUDGE username
    reminds a friend to update by asking what they’re doing on your behalf.
    Example: nudge biz
  • FAV username
    marks a person’s last twitter as a favorite. (hint: reply to any update with FAV to mark it as a favorite if you’re receiving it in real time)
    Example: fav al3x
  • STATS this command returns your number of followers, how many people you’re following, and your bio information.
  • INVITE phone number
    will send an SMS invite to a friend’s mobile phone.
    Example: Invite 415 555 1212

Noteworthy Facts

  • using on/off username from your phone only stops notifications to the place the command comes from; you’ll still collect a person’s updates on the web.
  • using follow/leave username from your phone is the same as using on/off username
  • following someone from a phone for the first time will also cause you to follow them on the web
  • there is no way to stop following a person on the web without visiting their profile and removing them. The off, leave, stop, and quit commands will only disable updates for the device(s) from which they were sent.
  • you don’t have to use ON/OFF username from the phone, you can also set individual notifcations from a person’s profile page, or check your following page and manage all phone notification settings there.

Twitter me happy!

 

Twitter is fast becoming a way of life. It’s living with an active “publicity policy”. It’s friends, Romans and country people the world over, engaged in timely snippet conversations that fit into 140 character chunks. Those great people at CommonCraft have released a video which explains what Twitter is and how it can be used. Great Stuff!

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