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Ten Crucial Social Media Changes and Their Effect On Your Marketing Strategy

“Every second you’re not current, a thousand people are changing the channel to the guy who is. That’s the business you’re in.”  Aaron Sorkin penned these words for his HBO drama, The Newsroom. The ever-changing world of social media challenges even the best marketers. Those who change their strategies win the game. The year 2013 introduced a vast array of crucial social media changes. Here’s how they should influence your marketing strategy.

1. Google+ Related Hashtags

In May of 2013, Google+ introduced a new feature called related hashtags. These hashtags resemble those on Twitter and Facebook, but boast some distinctive features. Along with the hashtags you add to your posts, the Google + gremlins will contribute their own related hashtags. As the voice of G+ explains:

Hashtags with grey colouring are those used by the author of the post while hashtags with blue colouring are added by Google based on the content of the post. Related hashtags help posts get discovered and build conversations around the content of that post.

2. Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest and Pilates exercise share a common problem: Some people assume they’re just for girls. With time, male athletes discovered the benefits of Pilates. Likewise savvy social media marketers learned what Pinterest can do for their business. Pinterest now proves its value with free analytics tools for business accounts. This new feature shows you which pins people share, and who interacts with them. Use these insights to tailor your Pinterest boards.

Add the analytics tool after you set up and verify your Pinterest for Business site. Then, read this article about the science of color in marketing. If your pins are not attracting the right customers, use this chart to adjust your color strategy.

3. Twitter Adds Images to News Stream

On October 29, 2013, Twitter announced its plans to start displaying images in your news stream. This change excited Brittany Leaning, a blogger for HubSpot Marketing. Leaning conducted a test, which compared tweets with images, and tweets without them. She reported that tweets with images have:

  • A 36 percent increase in clicks
  • A 41 percent increase in retweets
  • A 48 percent increase in favorites
  • A 31 percent increase in visits
  • A 33 percent increase in visitor to conversion rate
  • A 55 percent increase in leads

Your visitors no longer need to click on your tweets to see your photos. Add compelling visuals to your text-based tweets, and improve your marketing strategy.

4. Instagram Direct Messages

In December, 2013, Instagram unveiled a new feature called Direct Messaging. This tool allows businesses to send photo and video-based messages to their followers. Social media marketers can use Direct Messaging to tell an ongoing story about their brand. Stephanie Frasco of Social Media Today has some useful strategies for this tool. She suggests that marketers use it to target different types of followers. As you learn who liked specific posts, you can customize your messages to suit their tastes. To find new clients, do an Instagram search to find people who are a fit for your brand, and send them a Direct Message.

5. Facebook Trending

What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s happening. Why should you want to know? Good question! Facebook Trending shows you what topics people care about. This new design displays lists of often mentioned words and phrases. It includes a short explanation about why these topics have gone viral. Relate your product to subjects of interest, and watch your following grow.

6. Twitter Lead Generation Cards

The snail-mail postcards you send to potential customers often end up in the trash. Twitter Lead Generation Cards claim prime real estate: right below your tweet. This ecological approach to marketing feature a description and a call to action. Twitter also provides analytics to show the performance of your cards. To take advantage of this feature, you must have a paid subscription to Twitter Ads.

7. Rich Pins

Designed for different types of content, Pinterest Rich Pins take pinning to a new level. Article pins display a headline, author and story description. Product pins show pricing and purchasing information. Recipe pins list ingredients, cooking time and serving information. Place pins show a map, address and phone number. Movie pins include casts and reviews. Use Rich Pins to increase the depth of information about your company.

8. Facebook Direct Replies

The Facebook Direct Replies feature allows you to post a direct response  underneath another comment. Random, confusing postings characterized the former world of Facebook. This type of disorganization often triggered De Niro- like “You talkin’ to me” comments. By facilitating direct communication, this feature personalizes the business owner-client relationship.

9. Klout Content Sharing

Klout has a new feature, which its creators believe will help you increase your influence. Now, when you log into Klout, you’ll see a list of articles related to your area of expertise. The content falls into four categories:
Viral content
Crowd pleasers
Unique Content
Newsworthy articles
This feature parallels Facebook Trending, but offers specific articles on relevant subjects.

10. LinkedIn Showcase Pages

The new LinkedIn Showcase Pages let businesses create niche pages off of their main page. These pages showcase specific products, and allow you to target a specific type of client. Each company can develop up to 10 new pages.

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