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July 16 2010

LinkedIn Groups have a new look!

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This month LinkedIn is revamping the Groups section of their site.  You may already be a member of a group on LinkedIn, but if not, I would highly encourage it.  More than likely, there are groups about your industry or a specific topic that is of interest to you.  LinkedIn’s groups have always been a great way to portray your expertise in a particular area or stay up to date on news topics, but with this recent update I imagine that they will become even more helpful.

The focus of this revamp seems to be to place an emphasis on discussions within groups.  You will now be able to find news and discussions all in one place, making it easier to start discussions around recent news topics.  One of my favorite features is the carousel within the discussions section. This area is a great place to highlight topics, such as blog posts, as MoreVisibility’s group features. Members of the group can then scroll through the different featured topics.

Individuals within these groups can comment on an article, news, or discussion topic.  When they do, a thumbnail image of that member will appear. Simply scrolling over that user’s image will enable you to see their comment.

Other features include an area called Top Influencers This Week.  Following top influencers can help you to stay current with their topics and discussions. You can actually follow any members within a group. This follow feature in particular seems to be very “Twitter-like”.

There is also a Manager’s Choice section, where the Manager of the group can select a discussion topic of their choice to feature. You can also search discussions to find a specific topic that interests you. 

Become a member of a LinkedIn group today to learn about how you can get involved.

June 11 2010

People do Connect with Brands in Social Media

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Many argue that users of social media channels have no interest in connecting with companies while they are spending time within their social networks.  Recent data from emarketer and comSore make a good argument against this thought.

Social media is not a fad.  It is a change in the way that people are communicating. Whether using a desktop, laptop, Smartphone, etc. people are accessing social networks on a regular basis. In 2010 about 127 million people (57% of all US Internet users) will use a social network at least once a month, according to emarketer. This is estimated to grow to two-thirds of internet users by 2014.

In addition, 33% of Facebook users have connected with brands on Facebook.

Online retailers have the ability to offer coupons, promote new products, encourage customer reviews, etc., and are thriving in social media. Those companies that have not yet ventured into social media marketing are realizing that they are falling behind and are letting the potential of social media marketing pass them by.  Emarketer estimates that 9 out of 10 companies are planning to build a presence in Facebook during 2010. Some might think that these companies are just jumping on the bandwagon. While that may be true, it’s a smart choice.  ComSore data shows that users who spend time on social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, spend more money online than those who are not engaged in social networks.  If you have an online store, why would you not want to be in social media to put your brand in front of these individuals?

This data may also coincide with the growth of social networks. Channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are no longer just for teenagers.  The fastest growing age groups are adults, and not necessarily younger adults. This leads to more people using these channels who have a bit more disposable income than the average teenager.

While social media is extremely important for online retailers, it will not replace the importance of search engines.  Social media is great for awareness and creating a positive brand image, but when someone is really looking to research a product, they will turn to search engines. Social media does not replace search. They each have their own place in the buying cycle and enable companies to reach customers and an interested audience in different ways.

May 6 2010

Make Your Website Your Facebook Page

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On April 21, 2010 Facebook expanded its presence across the web through the Open Graph protocol. This Open Graph enables any website to be a part of Facebook’s social environment without having a Facebook company page.  So if you are a business owner and don’t currently have a Facebook company page, but want to have a presence on Facebook, you can now do just that. 

You may have recently seen Recommend or Like buttons on some website’s pages.  With these buttons, users can easily share the website’s page with their friends on Facebook.  Below are examples of these buttons and how they may look:

You may see some sites that have these buttons with a bit more personalization. For example, it may show how many of your friends Like or Recommend the same content (when you are logged into Facebook) while viewing the page. If you are not logged into Facebook, you will simply see the number of people who Like or Recommended the page. You can choose whether you want to have Like or Recommend text within the button, but these are often used for different types of content.  For example, you wouldn’t really want to “like” an article about a natural disaster, but you may choose to recommend that article instead.

When someone Likes or Recommends a page, that page is pushed to the user’s Facebook news feed allowing their friends to see, and a link will be included back to the original page. In addition, your content can be included within the search results on Facebook and in user profiles. As the administrator or “admin” of the page, you will have access to Facebook’s new Insights for Your Domain.  These new insights will provide you with detailed information about how users share and interact with your content.

So how do you get your website’ to be part of Facebook? First you need to make sure that you tell Facebook specific information about your page. This is done by adding tags to your pages, following Facebook’s Open Graph protocol.  The buttons will need to be installed on the page as well.

Facebook has and will continue to make changes that will further enhance the capabilities for marketers.  This is just one step toward integrating any type of web content into Facebook and making Facebook more prominent throughout the entire web.

Posted in: Facebook

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