As the social networking site with the most users by far – over 1 billion – Facebook has been springing forward to trail-blaze the next big move. With over 600 million of their users accessing the site through their mobile device, the launch of “Home” android app/operating system came as no surprise. The idea behind Home is to develop an ecosystem that puts people before apps – putting your newsfeed on your home screen so you see status updates rather than apps. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg presented Home as the “best version of Facebook there is.”
Facebook and HTC partnered to launch the first phone to have Home pre-loaded onto it, appropriately called the HTC First. The phone went on sale for $99 with a two-year contract through AT&T last month. Just last week, the HTC First dropped to the price of $0.99 and today, AT&T announced their decision to officially discontinue the phone. However, this does not mean the death of Home just yet.
Facebook VP Cory Ondrejka states, “Home is the first product we’ve released that’s really about ‘mobile-best’ and the transition beyond ‘mobile first.’” Facebook’s making their mobile intentions known and are going all out in their efforts. Perhaps Home is not revolutionizing the mobile experience just yet, but it has boosted “the number of daily comments and likes someone leaves on the news feed by 25%.” For a social networking site with over 1 billion users, 25% more activity is no small feat.
In fact, Home hit 1 million downloads just yesterday according to the Google Play store.
What are the features of Facebook Home?
Cover Feed: Streams of posts from your NewsFeed are right on your home screen. Whatever your friends are sharing at the moment is what you see. You can also set up notifications that will pop up on your screen, reminding you of events, calls, app updates, etc.
Chat Heads: Just like Facebook Messenger, Chat Heads allows you to keep the conversation going even if you are using other apps. All your conversations are in one place and you can chat from anywhere on your phone.
App Launcher: To access the apps you want, you can set up the app launcher with your essential apps.
What does this shift from online to mobile mean for businesses?
Now more than ever, the focus of your content should be image heavy. On Facebook, photos and videos are far more successful at garnering engagement – likes, comments, shares – than plain text and links. Facebook is a visual economy, and the focus on mobile only intensifies the importance of images. Mobile users are far less likely to read text-heavy posts in transit and Facebook’s algorithm is more optimized to keep people on the platform rather than linking off.
The move to integrate social networking with tech devices seems to be the move. Just think of Google Glass or the Apple iWatch. The next big thing seems to be to engage individuals beyond their computers – on-the-go, all-day every day – whether it be in their hands, on their face, or on their arm. To keep up with the growing trend of constant connection, businesses should be sure to be more visual in their social media marketing efforts.
What do you think of the move to mobile and wearable tech? How will marketing change with increased levels of consumer engagement?
Top Story: 3 Changes Facebook is Making to Your “Home”
For years there has been speculation about a “Facebook Phone” that would be built fully around the platform, but there has yet to be any credible information of its materialization. The rumor of a Facebook Phone took another hit yesterday with the announcement of “Facebook Home”, a new Android experience (not quite software, but more than an app) that re-skins your phone with Facebook content and apps. Facebook Home will create three major changes to Android devices it is installed in:
Cover Feed – Facebook Home will replace your phone background with images from your News Feed, with small text captions superimposed on top. The photos will continually shift, although it is unclear how far back it will be drawing from.
Chat Heads – This is Facebook Home’s chat interface that will pop up a small picture of the senders face in a circle on the screen that can be tapped on to continue the chat. What is really unique about Chat Heads though is that it merges text messages and Facebook Messages, so they are received in the same manner, possibly upping the usage of Facebook Messages.
Facebook Launch Tray – Facebook Home will also replace the Android launch tray with one that has the user’s favorite apps, including native Android ones, as well as Facebook ones.
HTC will soon be launching its phone the HTC First, which, staying true to its name, will be the first phone to have Facebook Home installed natively.
What do you think of the Facebook Home announcement? Would you install it?
Under the Radar: LinkedIn to Add Mention Capability
In the world of Networking, you can never be too engaged with your connections. This week LinkedIn launched a new feature in which users can Mention companies and other professionals in status updates. Though not all profiles have the new service yet, they will be rolling out changes moving forward.
LinkedIn has long allowed users to “Like,” Comment, and Share status updates from other users throughout the platform. Though they have taken the signature “Thumbs Up” from Facebook (with a professional spin), LinkedIn has ditched the idea of the “@” symbol used for the original Mention on Twitter. Users will be able to simply type the name of a contact or company within the status update field. Similar to Facebook, a drop-down menu will appear with matches to select from.
Mentioned users will receive real time notifications on in their inboxes, allowing them to respond quickly and engage with users and companies directly.
Wondering about people you aren’t connected to? Though there is no way to directly mention those outside of first-degree connections, professionals have the opportunity to engage with them in the comments section of a post. If a user you are not connected with comments on a post, you may mention that user in your own comment on the same post. This feature allows professionals to expand their networks organically.
The addition should ramp-up overall engagement on the LinkedIn Update Feed, bringing users to the site for reasons beyond resumes.
Interested in this feature? Try it out today. According to the LinkedIn blog, English-speaking users will see the change soon while other countries are in the pipeline. LinkedIn also plans to extend this feature beyond status’ and comments in the near future.
Tool of the Week: Pongr Incentivizes Brand Photography
Do you love snapping pics of your favorite things? Why not get paid for it? Boston startup Pongr asks just that.
Photo-marketing site Pongr makes a game out of brand photography. To play, users simply snap a photo of an advertisement or product, and send it over to Pongr via email or text – no app required! Submitting photos also gives users the opportunity to “climb the corporate ladder” from intern to CEO (like mayor status on FourSquare).
Imagine – you are walking down the street when you see a Starbucks advertisement for their newest season offering. It’s a hot summer day, and that watermelon-mint lemonade (why is this not an offering yet?) looks like just what the doctor ordered. Rather than sprinting in to place your order, you snap a photo of the ad and send it to Pongr. Not only have you been hired as a Starbucks “intern,” but you’ve just earned yourself a 10% off coupon. Now that drink is definitely yours.
The marketing value of Pongr is clear: brands are able to identify their biggest influencers and build those critical relationships in offering incentives. Not only will their biggest fans continue to send in photos, but they may even share those photos on their own social media networks.
“People already like to take pictures of themselves with brands,” Pongr founder Jamie Thompson explains. “So if you’re a Sephora enthusiast, and you’re inclined to take your picture in front of their lipstick poster, with Pongr you can do that and see if Sephora is going to give you anything in exchange.”
Several major brands, such as Dunkin’ Donuts and UNREAL candy, have leveraged the site’s massive potential to bring in user-generated content to roll out successful crowdsourcing campaigns. To promote a new product, Sierra Mist asked users to submit photos of their Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash for a chance to win a 3-month supply. Cross-promoted on twitter with the hashtag #CranSplash, the contest presented a new way to unleash the untapped potential of consumers.
What do you think about this new social media network on the block? Will you get in the picture?
Around the Hub: New Balance Launches Boston Marathon Campaign
Athletic brands in Boston are smart to jump on the largest athletic event our city sees: The Boston Marathon. This year, we’re celebrating the 117th marathon in Boston and New Balance is kicking off a marketing campaign that fits right into both the event and their brand. Called the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”, it’s dedicated to running in Boston.
First, New Balance is creating ads for bus shelters and light pole banners and select MBTA stations will have digital flat screens. The ads will contain Paul Revere-friendly taglines like “The Runners are Coming, the Runners are coming,” and “Made for Midnight Miles.”
But this campaign is about more than just ads; there’s a way for consumers to get involved on social media, too. If you happen to see Paul Revere in Downtown Boston, take a photo of him and tweet out with #nbboston2013. You’ll be rewarded with a card that you can bring to New Balance’s Boylston Street store for a chance to win everything from shoes (including the limited-edition version of the 990v3 and 574 that they’re unveiling to coincide with the campaign) to gift cards to water bottles.
The shoes New Balance have designed to coincide with the campaign will be glow-in-the-dark and come in dark midnight-like colors (think navy and purple) and will also include stars, Paul Revere’s lantern, and a map of his route. Talk about one of a kind!
We absolutely love that New Balance is combining their athletic mission with rich Boston history and we can’t wait to see the results of this campaign.