As 2012 comes to a close, it’s natural to reflect on events of the past year. Social media, an increasingly important part of a unified digital strategy, has seen many changes over the past 12 months.
A recent article on HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog looks at the “The 16 Most Important Social Media Updates of 2012.” A few of these were discussed earlier this year in our GreyMatters newsletter. While some of these changes amounted to little more than “tweaks,” they have still affected marketing use of social media in many cases.
According to HubSpot, the major changes include:
- Global Brand Pages for Facebook. This feature allows a company or brand to have one primary Facebook page for its brand, from which users can be directed to different versions of the page based on individual locations. This is particularly relevant for companies/brands with a presence in more than one country.
- Mobile-Only Facebook Ads. This feature has been a boon for companies who either know their audience is primarily mobile or mobile at certain defined times. Now they no longer have to pay for both desktop and mobile ads to reach their mobile customers.
- More Facebook Targeting Options. Facebook now allows more criteria for targeting an audience, including age, gender, gender the user is interested in, relationship status, education, college graduate (college name, major), in college (college name, major, years), in high school, and workplace, in addition to the targeting criteria already available.
- Opening Open Graph Facebook applications. Open Graph apps allow a user to share his/her various experiences on social media by giving permission one time to an app. For example, a Facebook user who plays a Zynga game will have that experience posted on his timeline. Other Facebook users who see this may decide to play a Zynga game themselves, via this “pseudo” word-of-mouth game recommendation.
- Twitter Tailored Trends. This feature notifies Twitter users of available Tweets based on the user’s interests, followers and location. Marketers can take advantage of tailored trends by using them to find out about trends specific to their industry and acting on this information via their own Twitter feeds.
- Twitter Cover Photos. Cover photos, similar to those used on Facebook profile pages, are now available for Twitter profile pages.
- Twitter Targeting by Interest or Username. This feature allows for more specific paid targeting by marketers.
- New LinkedIn Company Pages. This new feature on LinkedIn allows for more customization on a company’s profile page, which allows for more targeting of visitors to the page.
- Targeted LinkedIn Updates. By giving marketers the ability to further target and segment their messages to LinkedIn members, LinkedIn has seen a 66% increase in engagement. Using criteria such as company size, industry, job function, seniority, geography, and including/excluding company employees, marketers can further refine their marketing efforts on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn and Twitter Breakup. Twitter and LinkedIn ended their partnership in June, 2012. While you can still post to Twitter from LinkedIn, you can no longer post to LinkedIn from Twitter.
- Promoted Foursquare Updates. A Foursquare user is no longer required to have already checked in to a business to receive information from that business. With the “Explore” tab, marketers can appear in any Foursquare user’s feed, even if the user hasn’t engaged with that business before to promote specials, share photos and provide other information about their business.
- Foursquare Rating System. This new rating system was rolled out recently to help recommend places to its users. It uses a combination of various factors such as popularity, likes and dislikes, tips, loyalty, local expertise and check-ins from around the world.
- Google+ Hangouts on Air. Originally, Google+ Hangouts were simply an option for small conference calls between business teams. Hangouts on Air allow for broadcasting the Hangout to much larger audiences.
- Google+ Integrated into Google Searches. Now, Google searches incorporate information from Google+ user accounts in the search results. Thus, an organization without a Google+ presence will not fare well in such Google searches.
- Google Places Becomes Google+ Local. Users of Google+ will now receive more information about a business when they search in Google+ Local, such as contact information, photos, and reviews.
- Pinterest Business Accounts for Brands. This feature allows for business pages on Pinterest, rather than just an individual account. Pinterest has exploded in the past year as a platform for businesses, and the new features allow for a quick, easy setup. Additional features especially for business users are also available.
What do you think was the most important change to social media in the past twelve months? One of these or something different?
And of course, as we look back over 2012, we also look forward to 2013. All of us at Greystone.Net wish each of you a happy and safe holiday season and a joyous and prosperous New Year!