It is impossible to reflect on the latest social trends and not be drooling at the possibilities.
The big players in the industry continue to expand their offerings and push the envelope; whether it’s Facebook building out its promotions, Twitter’s new product enhancements, and continued innovation from LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and the rest.
Correlation doesn’t equal causation, however, and the latest update in social media may not become the next biggest thing in social advertising. While the social landscape continues to change, the time will only tell what new developments will stick and become true social catalysts.
With that in mind, 2014 has been a jam-packed year for social progress so far. After scouring through the headlines, here are the most intriguing developments for social and search.
Showcase the Brand within Your Brand on LinkedIn
Out with the old and dated Products and Services page, and in with the Showcase page from LinkedIn.
The new showcase page allows a company page to host multiple pages for different products or brands under the company umbrella. LinkedIn describes it as “[a] page for aspects of your business with their own messages and audience segments to share with.” A showcase page looks almost identical to the LinkedIn company page, (for example, this Office page as part of the Microsoft company umbrella).
In my estimation, no social media platform has presented a more compact and organized space to highlight different business segments than what LinkedIn provides here. The former product pages have been deleted, so a strong LinkedIn presence would be wise to update to a showcase page immediately.
Twitter Unveils New Profile Pages
Twitter continues to innovate their current offerings, as they unveiled a new profile page layout a couple short weeks ago. The new profiles have a similar look and feel of another profile page from a social media counterpart, but nevertheless will allow users to create more of a vivid and engaging homepage for visitors.
With more engagement come more opportunities to optimize profiles and draw in new followers. In these new profiles, for example, users can choose tweets from their timeline to highlight more so than others on their profile or spotlight a larger photo as their Twitter background.
Thinking big picture, this writer believes this may be the first of a series of updates to the Twitter user interface. In the meantime, adapting to these new pages is a necessary change for brands trying to maintain or build their Twitter presence.
Shopping with Hashtags is Real. Yes, Really.
Like two mega-titans joining forces, Twitter and Amazon banned together an excited development in social advertising and a potential watershed moment for Twitter. It’s been nicknamed “shopping with hashtags”, and it is just as awesome as it sounds.
Here’s how it works: When Twitter users see a product they like (with an Amazon product link), they can add to their Amazon shopping cart by just replying with the hashtag #AmazonCart. Check out the #AmazonCart video describing the “social shopping” initiative in more detail.
Both Amazon and Twitter are (seriously) banking on the impulse buyers that scour the Twittersphere for deals. Bloomberg News provided a well-researched report on this deal, including the ground rules for shopping by hashtag: “Amazon and Twitter users must connect their accounts on the two websites to enable the new service… The items won’t be purchased until users go to their Amazon shopping carts to complete the transactions.”
While Amazon got the first bite out of Twitter’s impulse buyer market, it’s unclear whether browsers will be converted to buyers through the social media platform. Nevertheless, it will be an interesting development to keep an eye on.
Check Out Mike’s Social Advertising News Roundup for 2013.