Socialize: March 2014

Posted by: in Communication, Social Media Insights & Trends on March 31, 2014

The ides of March have come and gone, but new social media trends and updates are sticking around! In March, Facebook acquires yet another company, Pinterest wants big money for their ad spots and Twitter is rolling out multiple changes across their channel.  Check it out and Socialize!

What you need to know in March:

  • Facebook to Acquire Oculus Virtual Reality
    • Facebook announced that they are buying Oculus VR, the company behind the popular Rift Headset.  The channel creates virtual realities and Zuckerberg believes it ‘has the chance to create the most social platform ever and change the way we work, play and communicate.’”
    • Why it matters: Brands looking to gain more experience or awareness in the online gaming world will have opportunity to join forces with Facebook, presenting a great opportunity to introduce gaming into campaigns and promotions.
    • What you have to say about it: “Only time will tell if virtual reality will be a game changer for Facebook or emerge as the computing platform of the future, as Zuckerberg positioned it in his announcement of the Oculus deal. The potential for increased engagement is alluring, I know far too many non-traditional gamers addicted to Candy Crush to question the appeal of gaming to the masses, and Zuckerberg certainly knows a thing or two about enabling human connection through computing. Will virtual reality be the next big disruptor, akin to mobile and social?  We’ll have to wait and see.” – Kursten Mitchell, Group Director, Technology, Austin, TX
  • Instagram Reaches 200 Million Users
    • Instagram has announced that they currently have 200 million monthly active users, sharing 60 million photos each day.
    • Why it matters: With this social platform continuing to grow and advance its capabilities, each brand should be determining how they can best utilize the channel to reach their audience, producing strong social strategies and opening up the opportunity for cross-channel campaigns and advertising.
    • What you have to say about it: “Instagram is primarily used as a mobile app, and the ability to reach 200 million users through a single interface exemplifies how much consumers rely on mobile. With 170 million users joining after the acquisition by Facebook in 2012, the interrelatedness of social media and ability to easily connect through different channels becomes more important as diverse channels gain momentum. In Instagram, the consumer can easily share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare with a single push of a button. ” Tara Gallagher, Associate, MDigitalLife, Austin, TX
  • LinkedIn Opens Publishing to All Users

    • LinkedIn expanded its publishing platform to allow all members the chance to write and share posts to their personal profiles. The platform expects to see an increase in user-generated content online, boosting engagement.
    • Why it matters: Brands already using LinkedIn to form and build relationships, now have a greater opportunity to engage their audiences and showcase their capabilities. However, this alludes that brands should keep active pages with high-quality content.  
    • What you have to say about it: “LinkedIn’s new publishing platform allows anyone in your network to become an influencer. Quantifying digital influence is still a huge business as seen with the recent acquisition of Klout. I would be curious to see how the publishing platform integrates with the enigmatic “Profile Strength” metric, and how LinkedIn incentivizes ordinary people to contribute.” – Dan Zhao, Associate, Analytic, Los Angeles, CA
  • Pinterest to Offer Ads for Large Price
    • Pinterest is asking for $1 million and $2 million from eager advertisers in order to launch their first advertisements on the channel.  With this hefty cost, Pinterest plans to offer a premium ad package, similar to what we have seen Instagram do with high-quality imagery and high-profile brands.
    • Why it matters: Advertisers will have the opportunity to target Pinterest users based on their behaviors and pins, creating a more defined target audience and increasing the amount of people that an advertiser can reach within the platform. These advertisements could bring forth more opportunity to reach targeted audiences through another channel.
    • What you have to say about it: “The high cost of entry here will certainly narrow the playing field of potential advertisers. But for brands that have budgets at that level and have seen success on Pinterest already, particularly consumer brands with a heavily female audience and a strong e-commerce presence, it may be a smart option.” Kathy Casciani, Director, Consumer, Los Angeles, CA
  • Twitter Redesigned Homepage, Keeping Mobile in Mind
    • Twitter has redesigned their homepage for the desktop version of their site to resemble the mobile version. The new layout show a user’s cover photo behind the profile picture, adding a more visual element to the homepage. The toolbar across the top is white, font sizes are larger and color customization on each homepage is now offered.
    • Why it matters: With any new change, brands need to keep on top of how they are designing and formatting their content. Brand pages must test out how content (i.e. – cover photos, background, fonts) look against the new layout and how the brand page will appear to desktop users. The additional color customization option gives brands the opportunity to be creative and take ownership of their brand identity.
    • What you have to say about it: “I view this is an upgrade from the previous Twitter layout for both brands and consumers for creative expression. Brand campaigns will have a new opportunity to benefit from the use of these changes on the Twitter page, for example: cover photos exhibiting campaign branding to raise awareness. The increased font size also brings attention to text surrounding the user/brand – highlighting large follower counts as a positive and allowing for increased attention to description sections of the Twitter profile.” – Jessica Vanner, Senior Account Manager, Consumer, New York, NY
  • Twitter Rolls Out Two New Mobile Features
    • Twitter is rolling out two new mobile features that make photos on Twitter more social; one which allows users to tag people in their Twitter photos and the other allowing users to upload up to four images at a time into a collage.
    • Why it matters: Brands can upload multiple pictures at once, keeping fans engaged during events, campaigns and promotional times. This also opens the opportunity to connect with more people via tagging, such a sponsors and partners, expanding reach on a Twitter image.
    • What you have to say about it: “This will definitely impact the way we view Twitter. So far, it has been a channel that was heavily based on the 140 character text, and this will change as emphasis will now be focused on the photos. I think it reflects an overall trend of social media nowadays, which is increasingly becoming more and more photo-based (as seen on Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest).  Brands will now be able to promote local events, products, and their overall company culture through their Twitter photos. This will definitely boost engagement overall as people are more likely to engage with interactive content.” – Alexia Moustroufi, Analytics Associate, New York, NY
  • Twitter Tests “Fave People” Tracking Capabilities
    • Twitter began testing a new feature called “Fave People” that allows users to keep track of their favorite Twitter handles in a separate timeline.
    • Why it matters: Identifying important influencers and brand ambassadors to then highlight in the “Fave People” section could be very useful to brands, making communication with these users easier and can also help track who competitors keep in their “Fave People” lists.
    • What you have to say about it: “At the Syracuse Social Commerce Days, I spoke to SU students about breaking through social media noise to create a distinct voice – which is not always easy to keep on top of in this industry. While I get news updates by following social pages, it’s frustrating when I miss insightful commentary because my Twitter feed is inundated with the latest in “conscious uncoupling.” The Twitter favorite people functionality should help individuals zero in on key influence areas to keep up with the conversation, despite oversaturated networks. It will also be beneficial for our clients, especially pharma communicators as FDA begins to solidify. Identifying a core group of “favorite” people – peer companies, health reporters, etc. – will help our clients focus on key influencers to avoid being sidetracked as they venture into the social conversation.” – Allyssa Masi, Account Manager, New York, NY

For more detailed information, please view our deck.

Social Channel Updates – March 2014

By: Samantha Hershman

Account Manager, Social Strategy W2O Group - New York, NY

Find me on: Twitter
Pre-Commerce Check out W2O Group President Bob Pearson's new book, Pre-Commerce, in which he shares ideas for leaders to engage directly with customers to shape their brand and marketplace success. Now available for order on! Join the conversation #precommerce.

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