Articles written in October, 2012

October 12 2012

Three New Features You Should Know About On LinkedIn

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Within the last two weeks LinkedIn has introduced multiple changes to make connecting with other sociable professionals easier.  Here are the top three we think you should know about.

Endorsements

You can now endorse your LinkedIn connections for a skill that they have listed on their profile or better yet, you can recommend them to add a skill that they haven’t listed.  There are two ways to endorse your connections:

1. By going to the new Skills & Expertise (beta) page from the “More” drop down menu on the LinkedIn home page.

2. By clicking the yellow “Endorse” button in the blue box on the profile page of your                        connection as you can see in the screenshot below.

LinkedIn will notify you by email if you get endorsed. You can also scroll to the bottom of your profile page to see the people who’ve endorsed your skills.

Follow Professionals
As you might know, if you aren’t a colleague, old classmate, friend, in a group with or done business with someone on LinkedIn you cannot connect with them.  Now, LinkedIn has made it possible to follow other professionals.  Currently, you can only follow what LinkedIn considers 150 of the most influential leaders.  Some of those as you can see in the screen shot below include Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Sir Richard Branson.

Once you follow any of these thought leaders, you will be able to like, comment and share their posts.  Fortunately, LinkedIn plans to expand their list of influencers within the next few months to individuals who they consider to be industry specific movers and shakers.  Want to get on that list?  LinkedIn is also offering you the opportunity to submit a request to become an influencer by going to http://partner.linkedin.com/influencer/.

New Company Pages
LinkedIn started testing new company pages a few weeks ago a select few companies. Recently they rolled out the new company pages to more than 2 million companies.  The changes on the new company pages are mostly aesthetic.  It now includes room for a larger cover image, easily visible content and they are now viewable on mobile devices.  You can see what the new company pages look like in the screenshot below.

October 11 2012

Social Shopping: Do You “Want” It?

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This week, Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Collections, a Pinterest-Inspired social shopping feature aimed at giving advertisers another avenue to reach Facebook’s 800 million active users.

And Facebook Collections isn’t the only social foray into e-commerce. Sites like Fancy and ShopStyle are upping the ante when it comes to engaging users – and their credit cards.

While ShopStyle feels more artistic and aspirational in nature, allowing its users to play the role of fashion editors (or at least their interns), building lookbooks based around certain themes, trends or color schemes, Fancy brings the visual aesthetic of Pinterest fully into the territory of e-commerce, allowing users to “fancy” various products with the option to buy them.

This is exactly what Facebook is setting out to do with its Collections feature. While only select advertisers are in at the onset – Pottery Barn, Victoria’s Secret, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, and Fab.com among them – if user’s buy into the concept, advertisers of all stripes could soon be adding their creative to Facebook Collections.

While these early advertisers aren’t paying anything to be involved – and Facebook isn’t taking a cut of the purchase price – you can be sure that Facebook Collections will come at a price to advertisers eventually. Once, of course, Facebook has the data to backup whatever revenue model they roll out.

As for other social shopping sites, their revenue models look more like affiliate marketing models than anything else – which is good for advertisers, who get brand exposure while only having to pay an affiliate-style finder’s fee once a user clicks “buy.”

October 4 2012

The (Business) Case for Google+

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A little more than a year after the launch of Google+, usership of Google’s “social layer” remains anemic. Brands, many of which jumped on board in the early days of Google+, have yet to enthusiastically embrace the platform. This is either because of simple platform fatigue, or – and most likely – because Google+ still looks like a ghost town.

But consider the long tail for a moment. There might not be as many users on Google+ as there are on Facebook or Twitter, but Google+ does have users – passionate, creative, enthusiastic users – who might love to follow your brand, if only you were active on their preferred channel.

Now, consider that many Google+ brand pages are mere shells – they exist, but they’re not active. These are brands you might compete with (either directly, or for attention) on other channels, but that just haven’t bought into Google+ yet.

And in that, is opportunity.

The business case for Google+, as it stands today, is not the various sharing options and ways to connect with your audience – those will always be there. The best reason to come on board right now is that your competitors are likely not active in the channel. And as long as brands stay away from Google+, the easier it is to get the attention of its users.

Like many opportunities, this one won’t last forever.

This year, Google has made several moves aimed at increasing adoption. This includes integrating Google+ into a user’s overall search experience (SPYW), converting Google Places listings into Google+ Local pages, and merging Google+ Business pages with Google+ Local pages.

Given this, brands will either come on board whole-heartedly or be left behind. The brass ring will go to the brands that do it sooner, rather than later.

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