Social Media Roundup: Big Announcements From Facebook and Google!
Anyone in the Internet Marketing world has likely been engulfed in recent news regarding Facebook & Google’s Social Media developments. We’ve certainly been taking notes on all the buzz surrounding both firms & now that we’ve had a chance to digest both the official and unofficial stories about each, we’re ready to report on what’s been going on and how it will affect internet marketing for businesses of all types.
Facebook Launches Skype Calling & Video Chat
Facebook made a few announcements this week, most notably, the launch of Skype calling and real-time video chat from within the Facebook interface. While not something that has an immediate affect on internet marketing for businesses, it is important to note that video chatting and web-based phone services are growing in popularity as a means of communication. The most tech-savvy businesses out there are gravitating towards these services as, at least, an alternative to the static webpage contact form for generating new leads and maintaining existing customer satisfaction. An interesting bit of , is that MySpace has had Skype-powered calling since 2007 and video chat since 2004 but both were given lukewarm receptions by social media users.
Mark Zuckerberg also announced, in a rather underwhelming fashion, that Facebook’s membership has now grown 750 million people worldwide. The reason for treating that news as relatively unimportant, according to Zuckerberg, is because Facebook no longer sees the importance in counting users, now that there are so many. As many businesses turn towards utilizing social media for their SEO efforts, its important to note that any web property with a user base quickly approaching 1 billion people is not an online community anyone can easily dismiss.
What Zuckerberg did note as being significant however, was that Facebook users are sharing more “things” (links, photos, videos, other users’ posts, etc.) at an exponentially growing rate. As noted before, the act of sharing data through various social media channels is what affects search engine ranking the most out of all social media influencers in search engine algorithms. What this means is that as more links, photos, videos & other pieces of information about any one “thing” (like a brand, a product, a service, etc.) are shared, the more positive of an effect on organic search engine ranking.
What’s also important to note about sharing, is the degree of influence of those who are doing the sharing. What this means is that, when anything is shared on Facebook, users with more friends have a greater impact on a brand or product’s overall SEO efforts (by this we mean organic ranking as influenced by overall social media presence) than those with less friends.
Google Rolls Out Google+
The flipside to Facebook’s new features launch, is Google’s bevy of social networking products, encapsulated under the name Google+. While some are saying that Google+ has the potential to dethrone Facebook as the premiere social media platform, others are saying that Google+ is simply another mound of dirt on the grave of Google’s social media endeavors, as most of their other social media products have failed to make a positive impression. Professional and personal perceptions of Google aside, we found it a little ironic that Mark Zuckerberg is currently the most popular user on Google+.
Google+ includes several cleverly named interfaces: Circles, Hangouts, Instant Upload, Sparks and Huddle. Many of these are simply Google’s take on common features of other social media sites, while a few of these actually excel in ways not seen on sites like Facebook or Twitter. What’s important for businesses and Google+ is that, for now, Google has plans to roll out business profiles in the future. Currently, Google+ is restricted to individual users. Until Google announces the launch of Google+ Business Profiles, don’t be fooled by any social media agency offering development and management for Google+ profiles.
Circles is your friends list & sharing feed (a little like Facebook’s “Wall”), taken to a new level. Circles allows users to compartmentalize their friends based on common interests or the type of relationship (co-workers, family, etc.) and allows for customizable sharing rules that can be applied to one or more of a user’s friend Circles.
Hangouts is the Google+ interface for real-time video chat. Users can organize hangouts based on their Circles or simply by available/online friends at a given time. Hangouts can also be configured to integrate YouTube viewing and sharing. Google claims about Hangouts, that “Until teleportation arrives, it’s the next best thing.”
Instant Upload sounds like exactly what one would expect: an interface for adding videos and photos to one’s Google+ profile, but with an interesting twist. Mobile devices tied to a Google+ account can be configured to automatically upload videos & photos to one or more folder within the account, upon capture. Each folder can be configured to have its own Circles-based sharing rules as well.
Sparks is essentially a Google+ user’s interests area. What’s interesting to note about this feature, is that where Facebook users would typically ‘Like’ a brand, public figure or service’s page and subsequently see updates from the page on their own Wall, Google+ users get current updates about their interests (broad and specific, alike) whenever they visit the Sparks area of their Google+ profile. Sparks also supports Circles-integrated sharing with friends.
Huddle is an interface designed to take multiple 1-to-1 text message conversations and consolidates them to group text-chat sessions based on common topics, upcoming events and users’ Circles. Google is calling Huddle the ultimate tool for simplifying text/SMS and instant messaging.
What This All Means
While its common for search engine marketers to hastily tout ideas, theories and even the occasional snake oil -type of service as the cutting edge methodology for new developments in the SEO and Social Media spheres, two of the very few unchanging aspects of search and social media marketing is the concept of patience and being dedicated to long-term, ethical practices. In sifting through all the recent news about Google and Facebook, it was overwhelming (and a little disheartening) to see some blatantly false information being spread around about how to market one’s business using such platforms and features. While bad SEOs are quick to praise, promise & sell, good SEOs are quick to learn, adapt and impart knowledge well ahead of the sale. In short, a deep understanding of how changes in SEO work is crucial for a marketing campaign’s success. Business owners outside of the internet marketing industry know that lofty and unrealistic promises don’t hold merit in their fields, so they shouldn’t in our field either.
If you’re excited to learn how these features can help a marketing campaign, go beyond learning and manipulating the mechanics of said features and turn to trusted sources with realistic and industry-endorsed methods, when they become available.