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Facebook Unveils Retail Centre

Two thirds of the UK are now active members of Facebook. That means 27 million people in the UK have an account on the social media platform, with 19 million of this number logging in on our mobile devices. We also spend on average 7 hours on the social site, which equates to 1 in 5 minutes spent online, we’re on Facebook.

The latest stats come just in time and sit in line with a new retail initiative…The Retail Centre. This is a fairly new concept, but one that is already in place in America. Facebook aims to offer advice, useful hints and top tips on how to maximise your use and users on the platform.

It has been proven through statistics that there is a definite correlation between things that your friends online like, recommend and have previously purchased to others purchasing through these channels. Nearly 23% have tried a new restaurant, pub, or bar following a friend’s recommendation, with a larger percentage listening to similar music online to their friends.

The Retail Centre is set to release handy hints of how you can grow readership of your company on the platform, and potentially reach out to those people who are looking at friends profiles to see what they have been buying online.

Facebook targets retail market even more

Facebook is continuing in the pattern of getting more retailer son board, and not just through advertising. Last month we mentioned they were conducting a pilot case study in the states, with brands like Starbucks, where you could buy online to send to your friends as birthday gifts etc. Facebook now seems to have gone a step further in recruiting retail affiliates and companies.

They have recently announced a new ‘WANT’ button. Much like the ‘LIKE’ button that all of us on the social media platform will be very familiar with, the ‘WANT’ button fashions the same sense of personal stampage. Retailer pages will be the first to display the button, as well as another new one called ‘COLLECT.’ These latest pilot additions form part of the new ‘COLLECTIONS’ feature for and designed specifically for retailers online. Retailers will now not only be able to keep tabs on their most popular products, but they will also be able to upload and create a catalogue on Facebook using brand new functionality of the site and its tools. Brands currently involved in the pilot study are Victoria Secret, Neiman Marcus and Pottery Barn – very large chains and brand names in the USA.

We are a little sceptical. It seems Facebook is starting to move away from what it was originally set up for and more into the business market side of things. As if Mr Zuckerburg doesn’t have enough money already, is he trying his hand at something that in future years, could ultimate make company websites obsolete? OK, so you can’t actually purchase anything from Facebook at the moment, it sends you offsite. Does this mean then that they are trying to compete directly with Pinterest, gathering items that you ‘like’ and ‘want’ to put into your sidebar of ‘collections,’ sharing these with the rest of your Facebook friends?

It seems like Facebook has now become a word and a place of ‘normality,’ where it’s almost standard that you’re part of the Facebook family. It seems that the frustration and annoyance of adverts down our sidebar has gone unnoticed and the greedy minds behind the brains are after more…money is the main driving factor here. How it works is a little more difficult, but we’ll try and simplify it as much as we can: Users will basically be offered the chance to make purchases from a retailers catalogue of products when they ‘like,’ ‘want’ or collect’ a product from the ‘collections’ section of the page. Details of product/item/interest is then shared with your friends and associates on the social media site.

Granted, at times it may seem like a good idea to marry up an item seen on the Facebook page of e.g. Topshop to a quick buying solution tab ‘Want’ or ‘Collect,’ but how much will it work? The pilot is under way and we suppose it will only be a matter of time when we can search, stalk, buy and see what everyone else is buying on a platform with over a billion users. Scary or scarily clever…we’ll let you be the judge of this.

Facebook does gifts?

Facebook is gearing up to become much more than the leading presence in social media to date. It seems the social media moguls are ploughing ahead and dipping their toes in the online retail market. A US trial is taking place to send out real gifts from the Facebook platform. You can send gifts to your friends, ranging from cupcakes, stuffed bears and gift-cards for a cost.

Facebook has dabbled with a similar idea before, starting out small with sending virtual gifts to people, some free, and some for a small cost. The team are looking to go big this time, and have got some of the high-end brands on board during the trial. Starbucks – the leading coffee chain, Magnolia Bakery –New York’s most famous bakery (made even more well known through ‘Sex and the City’), and Gund – a huge bear retailer, are all in on the trial act. Only a small percentage of people are involved in the trial, but we’re looking forward to the outcome of this.

It seems like a natural progression for Facebook to take on, what seems like such a daunting task to the rest of us, with the gumption and drive of the big boys in business. With the social media platform notoriously known for working with companies to track what we shop for online, whilst browsing on and after visiting the site, we predict it won’t be long before we start seeing last nights browsing items pop up on the right hand side of our screens.

It has not yet been stated if and indeed when the trial will end, when the scheme becomes multi-nationals and inevitably world-wide. However, we can only assume that with Facebook being as big as it is, that it will only be a matter of time before companies sign up to the project. With shares in Facebook remarkably low considering the wealth the company holds, this is one way they are almost certain to make more on the advertising scheme of things, with top retailers paying above the odds to be listed on the social media pages.

 

 

Facebook’s Timeline and How It Can Help Your Business

At the beginning of the month Facebook introduced Timeline for Pages, a new layout that will enable you to highlight specific stories or items of interest, interact with your followers to a greater degree and offer the ability for users to send you private messages. Most users are already familiar with Timeline through their personal accounts but there are some differences incorporated in to Timeline for Pages that can help your business.

Using a two-column approach that allows you to highlight important stories at the top of the page for up to seven days, Timeline signals to your followers that you want them to take note of it. Your general news feed is spread across the page with the timeline running down the centre. You can now determine what information is readily available to your audience, playing up those items you deem important and hiding anything you no longer want to appear to the public. You can even go back and fill in any gaps to ensure your users are getting a cohesive and complete view of your brand or business

We recently blogged about Insights for Pages, with Timeline those Insights will be visible in an admin panel at the top of the page, unseen by the public. Covering everything from your notifications to private messages, new likes and tips, the admin panel also provides access to the entire activity log for your Page.

The About section for your business is now front and centre, right underneath the new cover photo. Revise this section now, let your readers find out more about your company or where to find you elsewhere on the web. Utilise the cover photo to post something interesting and brand related. Facebook has strict rules on what can and can’t be included in a cover photo and, with it being the first thing your users will see, it should be carefully considered.

You can add information to the boxes to the right of your About section, previously these would have been links on the left hand side of your Page. Four boxes will always be visible, with photos being the first, but you can order the remaining three however you please. Take the opportunity to include up to twelve pieces of information or apps that are significant for your business.

Use the composer to create Milestones for key events in your company’s history such as a product launch or the opening of a new store; celebrate, emphasis and make it easy for your audience to learn about the important happenings. Milestone posts, like any posts in your feed that you star as important, will take up the full width of the page and require a photograph.

Your users will see information about friends who have interacted with your Page, offering incentive for them to get involved. By highlighting your followers and their activities Timeline for Pages is increasing your ability to interact with your fans, your comments in reply to their posts will appear here and on their feed.

Admin access levels are apparently in the pipeline, allowing you to grant differing permissions for any employees who may need to administrate your Page. This can greatly help your customer service department with the advent of private messages for Pages, allowing them access means they can do their job without requiring an intermediary.

Timeline will be rolled out for all Pages by the end of this month (March 30th). For those wanting more information on how to use Timeline for Pages there’s a handy interactive learning video linked from the help menu at the top of your Page.

Resources to help your transition:
Facebook Pages Terms – https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
Introducing New Facebook Pages – https://www.facebook.com/help/pages/new-design / https://www.facebook.com/about/pages
Image sizes guide - http://www.supercod.com/internet/facebook-timeline-photo-size/

Here’s what Timeline will look like for pages! They are all changing on the 30th March – so get prepared!

Google+ And The SERPS

As has been suspected for some time, the new addition of Google+ is indeed beginning to make it’s presence known within the SERP’s. SEO stars around the world are in a frenzy about how they can get ahead of the game and use Google+ for their advantage.

The main point of interest for the search results is the +1 feature which adds a kind of approval from users/customers for links and products or the whole site. This +1 is also said to feed into the main Google Algorithm and could possibly have positive effects on your rankings.

Not only that but with the various opportunities Google+ Pages offer including circles to share content and contact details, the potential implications of Google+ on your SERPS are phenominal.

I think this recent search says alot…

To find out more about how your business can use Google+ get in touch today and see how Bright Digital Minds can help you.

Google+ For Business

As Google is one of the largest and some may say most important companies in the world, it only makes sense that it would want to make a move into social networking and the business networking world. As a result, it has created new pages to help businesses boost their revenue and gain greater visibility across Google’s many channels.

In the past, Google+ has restricted businesses from creating pages, however they now welcome businesses to the world of social media giving them the opportunity to share vital information with other G+ users and use features such as circles and hangouts to maintain a connection with their customer base’s. With over 40 million people already using G+, it’s important for small businesses and corporations to have a place where they can interact and advertise services without really “advertising” at all. Now companies can build relationships with people, as well as benefit from putting G+ pages into search results. Businesses can also link their Google plus page with the ad words campaign, making visibility extremely easy for businesses.

Here are some interesting facts and figures about G+ and its popularity with the social media world –
*The dominant age bracket is 25 to 34
*G+ is made up of mostly males, with around 72% currently using the social networking service.
*The 10 most common occupations for Google+ users include engineers, developers, software developers, and designers.
*Girls currently make up only 28% of the social networking site.
*G+ cost over $500 million to build completely

If a business is wanting to increase sales, using G+ to do so may be very wise in building customer retention and ROI. Since it is still fairly new to the social media world (it was open to the public in June 2011), people have an easier time navigating the site and following your posts rather then if they used Facebook to do the same thing. If you have a website, you can also add the ‘+1′ button so that people can like your post and interact with it. In the Internet marketing world, visibility is very important for small businesses who want to establish an online presence. No matter what your business is involved in, using G+ to interact with your customers and fans is a great idea in giving people a chance to communicate with each other and getting others to voice concerns on how they think your company could run better. It might take years before Google plus is as popular as Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t regard G+ as competition; as a $1 billion company, it has still been able to gain lots of followers based on it’s ad revenue model and search query domination.

Exciting New Changes Are Being Made To Twitter Timeline To Improve Quality

Twitter is rolling out new changes to their timeline and have been doing so since the end of September. It’s all about Twitter Quality. Their plan is to make the changes slowly for members, so they can adjust over a period of time; rather than all at once. Twitter intends to allow the user to switch back and forth for a period of time, to enhance the learning curve. Unlike the large Facebook changes we have seen recently that have caused uproar, Twitter have chosen to introduce these changes softly.

Most of the big changes will be familiar to those who use the mobile applications. Mobile users have already been enjoying the enhanced versatility and control in the timeline for quite a while. As you open and hover over links, you will find in-line listings of retweets and favorites at the top of the page instead of at the bottom.

Want to check out a profile? Now instead of changing the sidebar, when you click the members name a light box will cover the page supplying all the needed information. The changes to the twitter timeline seem to make the sidebar more useful rather than obsolete as many may argue.

These new redesigns may encourage members to spend more time in twitter time line. The new threaded like conversions may seem more convenient to desktop members once they get the hang of it. You can now click an open bottom, which expands the tweet and includes replies in the display.

The redesign to the twitter timeline seems to improve conversation tracking. Most are saying that the changes are making an already easy to use social media site even easier to use.

Twitter has also changed its authentication requirements for third-party users; this will greatly improve the speed of switching between timeline and other applications for their mobile users.

Spending more time in twitter timeline can be an advantage to easy quick changes in conversations and newsfeeds. Don’t forget the added in-line media feeds for your photos and videos. The open button will allow for quick back and forth replies and the inclusion of the visually important photo and video feeds.

Message In A Bottle – Primitive Social Media

Coming across this story this past week really brought a smile to my face. So many people think blogging is the first form of social media, and until this week, so did I. Apparently we were all wrong.
message in a bottleHarold Hackett has been sending letters in bottles out since May of 1996, from his home in Canada. He’s sent out almost 5000 bottles with an impressive 3,100 responses from all around the world. Sometimes, the bottles take over 13 years to arrive and for a letter to come back to Harold, but he now receives Christmas Cards and all sorts from his new ‘followers’ or ‘fans’.
Talk about social networking at it’s finest. A fabulous way of getting your message out there in a unique way – move over Rick Rolling – this is a new era in social media. Although granted – not the best for the environment or the fishies!

Take a look at the great video put together by the BBC. I think we can all learn an awful lot about new ways of being creative with our marketing efforts, and how to engage potential clients or customers from Harold. What a super star!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14859116

Welcome To Bright Digital Minds

Finally after what seems like weeks and weeks and months of plotting, writing and building, Bright Digital Minds is finally live!

Hopefully the site gives a good insight into the many services BDM offer along with some interesting articles on digital marketing. We’ll be updating the site regularly so make sure you keep coming back.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook too;
https://twitter.com/brightdm
http://www.facebook.com/BrightDigitalMinds

Huge thanks to everyone who has supported BDM these last few weeks, from the creative aspects to the content tweaking and the feedback!
Here’s to a bright future!

Blank Dave

One of the most powerful videos I have ever seen, I just had to show it. It’s something I always show potential clients or people just interested in social media as it really emphasises the true power of social media, and how it works beyond what you think.

This shows how one person uses social media to influence his buying decision, then becomes a brand advocate himself, apparently influencing over 435 people in one week – pretty powerful stuff!

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