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Jan 31, 2012

The Business of Being Social: January 2012


A Regular Roundup of Social Media Musings by Anna Gerz & Mike Wilt

This month’s collection of all things Social Media examines a collection of lesser known networks and the content that fuels our social habits.

Content Continues to Reign

January saw more political events embrace social media than just the Republican primaries and President Obama’s Google+ hangout: Two anti-privacy bills were threatening to change the Internet. Although the SOPA and PIPA bills targeted piracy sites, the proposed changes would be more far-reaching and affect content across the entire web, with various updates and tweets being “censored.” Many social and tech sites, including Wikipedia, chose to black out portions of their sites on Jan.18 to reflect what the Internet could look like, if the bills had passed.

These failed bills were originally intended to protect content, which is especially noteworthy for the marketing world, as we all really dive into content strategy in 2012. In fact, several of the recent redesigns on social networks have resulted in a greater emphasis on the content. Facebook’s Timeline allows users to highlight the most important stories and pictures, while Twitter’s simplified interface is meant to “bring you instantly closer to everything you care about.” Last month we explored how these aesthetic updates would affect the way your audiences interact with your brand online, but SOPA and PIPA have given us reason to review these interface updates from a content marketing perspective as well. We’ve all heard the slogan “Content is King,” but what happens to your kingdom when the content is censored?

Those Other Social Networks

The big guys aren’t the only one making moves out there. Sure, Google and Facebook have their name in the headlines every month, but there are a lot of other really interesting things happening in the social space. 

  • Formspring, the “Ask a question, answer a question” network, continues to expand its Q&A goodwill with an Android app and a growing user base.
  • CheckThis is probably my favorite find of the month. As with most great things, the beauty is in its simplicity. The service is centered around content development. You can choose to “tell, sell, hire” or create a custom page of content for a singular purpose. The URL is then yours to promote through any number of channels. I can’t think of a simpler way to create content. And, as we know, content is king.
  • Reddit is hardly a small endeavor, but it seems like the now the service is getting some print. This month Reddit topped 100,000 unique visitors at one time. All of which presumably combing through the interwebs and calling out the content worthy of your attention.
  • We’ve talked about Vimeo before, but the creative YouTube alternative just received its first major update since 2007. Changes include a conscious emphasis on ease of use and features the established Vimeo community has been lobbying for.
  • Weibo, China’s homage to Twitter, is 250 million users strong. That is half of the country’s population. But in response to Weibo’s amazing growth, the Chinese government wants to remove the anonymity that makes half the folks I follow on its U.S. counterpart so hilarious.

The B2B space is all about targeting your message. If one of these social networks can help you better reach your audience with the content you are publishing, then by all means, jump on in. Your social media strategy doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, end at Facebook and Twitter.

And, because you can’t let a month go by without the big guys making moves:

  • Hope you like Timeline: the visual Facebook feature is now rolling out to every user.
  • Google+ gets personal: weaving together data from Google+ and other properties, Google Search now serves up personalized results under the banner “Search plus your world.”
  • Plus (get it?), Google is also allowing pseudonyms, in a recent reversal of opinion.
  • YouTube hit a milestone that involves “billions.” That’s “billions” with a “b.”
What has caught your social-savvy eye this month?

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