Bug Bytes is a weekly roundup of the Web’s best links, blog posts, and news articles related to web design, application development, and online marketing. Continue the conversation and share your thoughts on these stories in the comments below – we’d love to hear your own insights!
Foursquare originally found success as a location-based social network, attracting one of the largest user bases of all mobile ‘check in’ apps. The company’s explosive growth in 2010, combined with the heightened popularity of local daily deal sites, has resulted in an agreement between Foursquare and LivingSocial, which is backed by the online retail giant Amazon. LivingSocial will supply Foursquare with discount offers from its partnerships, giving consumers a compelling reason to check in on Foursquare.
Insight: Despite its small size compared to social network behemoths like Facebook and Twitter, small business owners looking to build buzz using social media should consider Foursquare as an effective, multifaceted promotional channel. Foursquare users are eager to share their consumer experiences with friends online and take suggestions from the network’s users. Foursquare’s partnership with LivingSocial will give businesses that offer a discounted deal even greater exposure, and should facilitate a bigger conversation around the brand as well.
Surfing the merger of Gmail address books, early adoption, and the “and she told two friends” phenomenon, Google+ has accumulated 10 MM users a week after launch. While this pales in comparison to Facebook’s 750 MM users, at this pace, Google+ will reach Facebook’s current user figure around Christmas 2012.
What Google is after is your and your friends’ information. This year, Facebook is expected to become the single-largest seller of online display ads with a haul of approximately $2.2 billion. Facebook can attract the interest of online display dollars for several reasons, including the amount of time people spend on the website, the ability to “like” or share an ad, and, primarily, the ability to hyper-target based on the information provided in users’ profiles. Google, in contrast, makes the majority of its revenue through AdWords, which targets users based on keywords within a search query.
Insight: While content may be king online, for marketers, personal information is the Holy Grail. Facebook profiles provide both demographic and psychographic insight into its users, an asset that Google covets and is actively trying to obtain.
Later this month, Google is expected to start distributing user invites for its new photo sharing service, Photovine. However, by and large, the service is still mostly enigmatic, and many have not even heard of its upcoming release. According to its online teaser video, Photovine will offer users the ability to thematically share photos with others, adding according to topic relevancy. Unfortunately, as of now, we still know very little about how the service inherently functions, as well as if it will align with one’s existing social networks.
Insight: With the rollout of new products, such as Google+ and Photovine, the interactive powerhouse is proving that ‘shareability and exchange’ are both brand priorities. It will be interesting to see how Google’s various initiatives align – providing for consumer engagement, while benefiting the company’s larger ‘information collection’ goals. Regardless, as more and more people learn about the upcoming service, the rush to garner a coveted ‘Google invite to use’ will likely ensue.
When used strategically, Twitter hashtags can streamline disorganized online comments into full-fledged conversations. While television series, news stories, and sports events are popular topics for hashtag focus, PR professionals and marketing teams have also harnessed the power of user interest to drive conference-style dialogues and brand campaigns. In addition to providing these valuable exposure opportunities for both companies and individuals, thoughtful hashtag use can also be utilized for promotional or focus group purposes.
Insight: While Twitter’s inherent stream-of-concious style can be somewhat overwhelming, when successfully harnessed, the results can be both approachable and effective. Keys to hastag success include clear topic focus, purposeful dialogue, and a conscientious participant group. Likewise, dedicated conversation management and leadership can also prove valuable to ongoing or repetitive success.
We’re all accustomed to discussing the CAN-SPAM Act in regard to email marketing; however, attention should also be paid when it comes to social media campaigns. For any commercial messaging, PR Web recommends that some basic rules be followed, such as: avoid deceptive titles and headers, acknowledge that your message as an ad, and make sure the recipient can easily identify the sender. As of yet, the United States has not experienced a large share of social media-related court cases; and to avoid such, marketers should be attentive in respecting these basic guidelines of online advertising etiquette.
Insight: While many individuals and corporations use social media for straightforward self-promotion and branding, others attempt to be more evasive with their marketing attempts. No matter how tempting the alternative, opt for honesty when portraying both your role and reason for social media presence. It’s better to have readers’ respect, and potential support, than to run the risk of being considered fraudulent in your efforts.