Snapchat users were sending 700 million photos and videos a day in May 2014, according to the company. Users take photos and videos, add text and drawings, and send them to their personal recipient list. The key feature is that the "Snaps" have a user-set time limit for how long their messages can be viewed by their friends, ranging from one to 10 seconds, after which they are no longer visible, and are deleted from Snapchat's servers (supposedly, but that's another story). Amanda Grinevich, blogging for PR agency Shift Communications writes, "Snapchat, the app we all love to hate, introduced us to the world of temporary sharing; it's no longer just a shiny toy that has yet to be figured out. Brands are diving in and taking advantage of the different experience that Snapchat offers." Brands are starting to use Snapchat Stories, a feature introduced in October 2013. Unlike Snaps, Stories stick around for a full 24 hours. Snapchat is hot: in addition to the 700 million Snaps per day in May, 500 million Stories were being viewed every day. Is Snapchat right for your brand? Taco Bell and some National Hockey League teams are having a lot of success with it.
Businesses need ways to collect feedback from customers. Online technologies like social media and email can provide them with the tools they need. Online surveys are an ideal way to tap into the ideas and feelings of your customers, and are easy to deliver on social media pages, websites, or by email. Point-of-sale software integrates with other analytical tools, including CRM, and can provide insight into customer behavior and preferences. As social media use is widespread, and everybody has email, they're ideal places to solicit and collect customer feedback. Writing on Search Engine Journal, business and online marketing consultant Larry Alton says, "Collecting customer feedback can be a challenge. But it's a worthwhile endeavor for any business looking to increase profits and improve its image."
Google has announced that "mobile-friendly" websites rank higher in its search algorithms. That poses a challenge for website owners, and now Google is providing them with some guidance through a tool for testing any website by entering its URL. While the site returns a simple pass-fail, it does offer some information on why a particular site fails to be mobile-friendly. In addition, the site contains links to more extensive advice on what site owners can do to improve the mobile experience for their users, and get a better grade from Google. Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land's news editor, provides examples on using this new tool.
Newcomers to Twitter are often baffled by the hashtags (# plus a word or phrase) that are sprinkled liberally in their feeds. Other sites use them as well, especially Google+. A hashtag is a way to tag a tweet so it can be searched and shared by other users, allowing more coherent and extended conversations to take place in the context of 140 characters. For example, conferences often publish hashtags for their events, and attendees can use them to share information about the conference instantaneously. Popular and trending topics on Twitter are often associated with hashtags as well. At the time of writing, #immigrationaction was one of the top 10 topics on Twitter. This infographic by Irfan Ahmad, founder of Digital Information World, tells the story of hashtags, including their pre-Twitter existence in musical notation, use on the telephone network, and in computer languages.
Facebook will be cracking down on page posts considered to be "overly promotional" in the near future. The social media giant has surveyed hundreds of thousands of users, and they've sent the clear message that people want to see posts from their friends and from pages they care about on subjects they care about. They don't like to see purely promotional content, even from pages they have liked. Facebook users can control the number of ads they see and can hide ads they don't want to see, so paid advertising is actually less objectionable to survey respondents than blatant promotions, over which they have little control... other than un-liking pages or un-friending connections. Matt Southern, lead news writer at Search Engine Journal, explains further.
Half a trillion - that's trillion! - tweets will soon be indexed and searchable. The best way to search all of Twitter will be by using Twitter's Advanced Search tool. Social scientists, historians - and yes, creative brand marketers - should all find plenty of uses for this unprecedented resource. For more details, check out this blog by Twitter Search Infrastructure Engineer Yi Zhuang on Twitter's Engineering Blog.
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