June 24, 2013
Sometimes I swear the social media world is like an episode of As The World Turns. There seems to be a whole lot of intrigue and one-upmanship going on in Silicon Valley right now as companies scramble for customers. This means that you have more options than ever before so it’s worth taking a moment to see what’s been going on.
First, Google is going to be adding photos to their Google Adwords for direct marketing. The tool, which is called Image Extensions, is meant to help make ads more appealing to consumers Whether this is also a shot across Facebook’s bow given that their ads have long incorporated images I’ll leave that up to your to ponder. One noticeable difference between the Google Ads Image Extensions and Facebook Ad images is that you’ll be able to incorporate more than one image. This example of how an ad with Image Extensions would look:
Google is currently Beta testing this new feature but if you’d like to try it, you can fill out this form to let Google know you’re interested.
Facebook is also going head to head with Twitter these days with the release of Instagram’s new video feature. Let me step back a minute here in case you don’t know how Facebook and Instagram are related.
- Facebook purchased Instagram, the photo sharing site/app, last fall for a reported $741 billion (little side story, rumor has it that Mark Zuckerberg – founder of Facebook – held up the deal so that he could finish watching Game of Thrones).
Not too long ago, Twitter purchased a little app called Vine which has seen its audience numbers skyrocket. Vine enables users to create short, 6-second, looping videos and share them via social media. Why would anyone want to create a 6-second video? Well, it was originally intended to be a way for people to express themselves a little more freely – be it their art, their thoughts, or their view on the world. Not surprisingly, the porn industry saw this as a fantastic venue by which to showcase it’s good and as such Apple put a NC-17 rating on the app at their iStore.
That being said, even with the porn component (or perhaps because of it?) Vine has grown substantially so it shouldn’t have come as any huge shock to anyone that Instagram last week released something similar. Now Instagram allows you to not only take and share pictures (and add funky cool filters to those pictures) but you can also take 15-second video, add funky cool filters to the video, and share that.
What does all this mean for business owners? Personally, the idea of 15-seconds of video is much more appealing to me than 6-seconds as it’s just enough time to share a piece of your story without getting long-winded and boring. It’d be a great way to add some different content to your Facebook business page and perhaps even your website or blog. And yes, this is my not so subtle way of suggesting you might see some videos from me in the future. Sure, the quality of an Instagram video you or a friend shot may not be the highest quality, but that will also give it an air of authenticity and show that you’re genuine.
Lastly, in the list of recent changes to the social media sphere, Facebook has also started incorporating hashtags – things like #smallfoodbiz to their posts. Hashtags were the domain of Twitter which used them as a way to help people search for topics that were of interest to them. For example, you could go onto Twitter and search for #smallfoodbiz and all tweets with that hashtag would be displayed to you. Instagram follows a similar format but until now Facebook has stayed away. By incorporating hashtags, Facebook hopes that it will help people who share similar interests are able to connect up. Facebook promises that even with hashtags, your posts won’t be seen by anyone you don’t want them seen by as long as you’ve set up your security settings. So, if you’ve made your Facebook posts private to only your friends how will hashtags really benefit you? That remains to be seen but it might be an interesting thing to test out on a business page and see if that brings you new fans.
*If you really want to turn this article into a social media soap opera then it’s worth remembering that Facebook turned down an offer by Google to buy an ownership stake in the company that was valued at $15Billion back in 2007.